How gratifying it is to see again that the gay and lesbian community is as diverse as ever. We do not, nor is it necessary that we should, speak with one voice. Such was the case with the Jan. 12 edition of WCT in a letter of support for Cook County Clerk David Orr and his refusal to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, signed by a veritable mélange of self-anointed arbiters of approved gay thought, including even a miscellaneous Reverend along the way for added oomph. While Mr. Orr's support and advocacy for gay rights in past years has been exemplary, never should we be content with status quo until full and equal civil rights are attained for all people.
The case for gay marriage is a civil-rights issue. Rosa Parks didn't wait for the General Assembly to pass an ordinance allowing her to sit anywhere on a bus. She sat where she wanted and was arrested. It was the act of her arrest, and her civil disobedience that helped spark one of the greatest episodes in American history: the Civil Rights Movement. Let us hearken to the days of Thomas Paine and his incendiary Common Sense and to Thoreau's Civil Disobedience for guidance. To paraphrase Mr. Paine, 'these are the times that try gay men's and women's souls'. These writings, acts of civil disobedience in and of themselves, helped to fuel the fervor of an independent America with inalienable truths that all humans are created equal.
Handing out awards at galas with inscriptions that may as well say, 'You like us, you really like us' to Assemblymen that already support our issues is not an effective strategy. Glad-handing the friends we already have is not an effective strategy. Same-sex marriage is in many ways a health issue—ironic then, that several of the signatories to the Jan. 12 letter are involved in healthcare social services—not gay-rights issues. More ironic still that the leaders [ of ] Chicago's gay rights' advocacy groups were not included at all. Civil rights, history tells us, must be fought for; they are very seldom granted to individuals because, 'well, it was just time'.
Constitutional amendments to prohibit same-sex marriage in certain states did NOT occur because of movements within those states to approve of same, as the letter suggested. Those initiatives were specifically prepared to thwart efforts like those in Massachusetts: again, the antithesis of that suggested in the letter!
Many of us applaud the actions of San Francisco's mayor conducting gay marriage ceremonies.
The mayor of New Paltz, New York, put his town on the map for issuing marriage licenses. Yes, the licenses were invalidated. But these acts of civil disobedience were reminders to all citizens that gays and lesbians will not be silenced—that genie is out of that bottle; that we will continue to push the envelope; that we will be heard; and that we will not be stopped until gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendereds all enjoy equal protection and rights under the law.
Brad Abbott, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for printing Paula Martinac's 'Lesbian Notions: The Limited Lesbian' in the Jan. 12 issue. It's pretty scandalous how the descriptor, 'Lesbian' has been so thoroughly disappeared. Again. Until Paula's commentary, the only one I'd ever heard complain that lesbians dare not speak their identity and survive the respectable world of literature, was the notable lesbian writer, Sarah Schulman, who, for decades, has been making the point to disinterested mainstream types, straight and otherwise. It seems that as long as they had theirs, why would it bother them that out Lesbians were exiled from success?
So, good for you, Paula, and all other lesbian champions everywhere on this battered old earth.
In 'Glyconutrients: The Next Big Thing?,' [ printed in the Jan. 19 issue of Windy City Times ] the contact information should have been listed solely as email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org; also, interested persons can call Jan Dee at ( 773 ) 251-7363. ( Readers should ignore Dr. Omelchuk's Web site address. )
The talk will still be held Jan. 28 at the Transitions Learning Center, 1750 N. Kingsbury, at 7 p.m.