Letters to the editor:
Baby's first protest
I read in Windy City Times that Cardinal Francis George would be presiding at a mass celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Archdiocese Gay and Lesbian Outreach (AGLO) at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Sunday, June 16th. The Rainbow Sash Coalition posted an announcement of a planned demonstration in front of the church. As a former member of AGLO and gay father of an adopted 7-year-old African-American daughter I decided to be present ... and take Camille along.
When we arrived there were about two dozen Rainbow Sash supporters loudly protesting the cardinal's positions on gay marriage, adoptions and other issues important to the community. I noticed several former AGLO members among the protesters. Signs urged motorists to blow their horns and many gladly complied.
Camille and I entered the church to the hushed sounds of violins in the distance. We sat in the back. When the time for mass arrived and the Cardinal and entourage approached the rear, we went to the back doors. I held an inner one open and Camille held the outer one. For a brief time the jarring sounds of the protest filled the nave. Then I was pushed aside by one of the ushers.
Once outside we saw the Chicago Police beginning to silence the protesters. Drivers still beeped as they passed. I asked Camille if she wanted to drive by and she said she did. But when the time came, I parked in front of the church instead and let out a sustained beep of the horn. It took a minute for the policeman to come over. Things started ominously. He asked if I planned to run him over as well. Did I know what I was doing was illegal? I cited the signs but then added: "He wants to destroy our family. I think that should be illegal too." I continued, "I wanted to bring our daughter to the protest...I also wanted her to see the police response"...and he should "do what you need to do." He paused. Finally, looking at Camille he said, "go on about your business". As we pulled away he smiled at her and waved. She asked if he was a good policeman.
It was a Father's Day to remember.
The local scene
Letter to the Editor:
Chicago has, without a doubt, the most vibrant live queer-music scene in the country. Neither New York City nor San Francisco comes close to the number of live LGBTQI music events, musicians and bands.
We have Ripley Caine's Cake Chicago series in Rogers Park, the monthly Queer Amp at Quenchers in Logan Square, Parlour's Local Music Lounge in Edgewater, Stephen Leonard's Untapped at Sofo Tap in Andersonville, and two of my own: the Homolatte series at Big Chicks in Uptown, and Bear All at Touché in Rogers Park. We also have Tim'm West's Front Porch Series, Lair Scott's Queer Fest America, and Kathie Bergquist's Saphho's Salon series at Women & Children First Books, which often includes queer musicians.
We have amazing LGBTQI performers and groups, from folk artists Jeffrey Altergott, Emily White, Dalice Malice and Mike Grimes, to experimental bands Congress of Starlings and Orange Drink, to rappers T.O.V., Roy Kinsey, Deja K Taylor and Drow Flow, to rockers The Recruitment, Swimsuit Addition and Software Giant, to piano-based performers Ian Wilson, Vanessa Vincent, Erick Deshaun Dorris and Kyle Greer, to acoustic artists Meagan Bird Sieberg, Dr. Dolphin, Shoes For Mabel and Elias Krell, to R&B/soul artists Marshall Titus and Nhojj, to electronica artist Blue Redder.
That doesn't even come close to listing all of the musicians and bands I know of, currently making original music in this fantastic queer community of ours.
So my question is this: Why doesn't Pride Fest ever have any of these amazing performers on their stages? As in NEVER.
Pride Fest takes no interest whatsoever in what our LGBTQI community is doing in terms of live, original music. In fact, Pride Fest's original live music line-up rarely, if ever, includes LGBT performers. In the 2013 line-up, I was only able to find one original music group, Xelle, that was queer-led. None of the headliners are from our community. Years back, I used to protest Pride Fest for this reason, and it did get some publicity at the time, but it's obvious that Pride Fest continues to this day to not care about actual community involvement.
I do understand that the line-up, being almost completely heterosexual dance music artists, is meant to cater primarily to gay males. So why is there absolutely no interest in catering to lesbians? I do remember when the Dyke March began, and how the leaders of that organization said that they felt they were being left out of Pride activities. Is Pride Fest doing their best to prove them right?
Less from Moore
Dear Ald. Joe Moore,
A little more than a year ago I wrote you an open letter that Windy City Times published regarding the homophobic and anti-gay organization The New Life Covenant Church, which the equally homophobic and anti-gay Rev. Wilfredo "Choco" de JesÃšs heads.
Here is what I wrote you then:
"I read to day with great distress that the New Life Covenant Church, headed by the incredibly homophobic and bigoted Rev. Wilfredo de Jesus, will be holding services in the Auditorium of the Gale Math and Science Academy on W. Jonquil. Gale is a Chicago Public School.
While Mr. de Jesus has the absolute First Amendment right to spew his bigoted bile as he chooses, we feel it is inappropriate for him and his hateful organization to be permitted to use taxpayer funded facilities. While they may be paying a fee to use those facilities it begs the question as to whether Ms. Washington, the principal, or the LSC would permit National Socialists or The KKK to access those facilities for a fee.
The First Amendment does not guarantee his access to our school facilities to promulgate hate.
It is particularly unfortunate that Mr. de Jesus has chosen the Easter and Passover season to deliver his and his organizations message of homophobic hate and intolerance in a Chicago Public School Auditorium on Easter Sunday.
As a teacher, taxpayer, homeowner, gay man and person of faith I wish to protest in the strongest terms the use of taxpayer funded facilities devoted to learning and the formation of future citizens to be used to further the message of hate, bigotry, and intolerance set forth by Mr. de Jesus and his hateful organization.
We hear of students being bullied and harassed, of being killed or committing suicide due to the hateful message of Mr. de Jesus, Fred Phelps, and others, and now our schools are being opened to the very messengers of hate who create the atmosphere bigotry we fight through efforts to help and support these very students.
I will be writing the principal of the school and will also be submitting letters to the editor to the local gay press. We will be spreading the word to friends, family and neighbors."
You never answered the letter.
When I wrote in 2012, de JesÃšs's organization met only at Gale School.
Since then, the organization has expanded to the public parks.
My partner of 32 years and I own property and pay property taxes which support and maintain the Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools.
The New Life Covenant Church is, of course, tax-exempt.
I cannot marry my partner of 32 years because of the hateful message preached by "Choco," the Rev. James Meeks and Cardinal George.
Mr. de JesÃšs' stance on gay rights, and same-sex marriage in particular, is well-documented. Indeed he, along with Meeks and George, pressured lawmakers in Springfield to defeat gay marriage.
We are disgusted by the fact that homophobic and antigay groups like the New Life Covenant Church continue to preach their hateful message in our parks and schools simply by laying down their thirty pieces of silver.