The following was sent to Commissioner Lawrence R. Moretz, Territorial Commander, Salvation Army, Central Territorial Hdqts 10 West Algonquin Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016.
In response to the decision of the "Commissioners Council" to rescind the progressive steps taken by your West Territory to grant health benefits to certain adults including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered ( LGBT ) life-partners, our partnership plans to redouble its efforts to challenge the antigay teachings and resulting discrimination in hiring and job benefits by the Salvation Army. Rejecting the correct stance of your West Territory that it would be "immoral" to not provide health benefits to all employees; and apparently unconcerned about the damage your teaching and discrimination does to our people, our friends and sons and daughters, you and the other commissioners have returned your organization to a position of immoral, harmful bigotry.
We demand that the Salvation Army declare that it will hire qualified openly LGBT persons, and that it will provide domestic partnership benefits to couples of any sexual orientation. Your recent action enhances the ample evidence already available that the Salvation Army is an antigay bigot organization. The "secret memo" revealed by the Washington Post in early July 2001, and the response of the SA national commander dated July 13, 2001, indicate that the SA wanted Congress to gut local ordinances protecting LGBT people in hiring and benefits in exchange for supporting the "faith-based initiative" of the Bush Administration, and that the SA does discriminate in hiring on the basis of its "moral position" against homosexual behavior.
To highlight our demands, we have scheduled a protest against Salvation Army antigay practices in hiring and employment benefits for November 23, at 12 PM, at the intersection of State and Randolph in Chicago, Illinois. Our slogan is, "Don't Give to the Kettle of Hate," and we will continue to portray the Salvation Army not as a worthy charity, but as an antigay bigot organization until you agree to nondiscriminatory hiring practices and domestic partnership benefits for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. Its called fairness, Commander.
Greater Chicagoland Council of Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians ( PFLAG )
Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches ( Great Lakes )
Chicago Anti-Bashing Network ( CABN )
A gay night at the opera
Last night my partner and I were greatly pleased by the Lyric's 2001 production of Vicenzo Bellini's "Capuleti"—beautiful music that carried homosexual undertones.
Bellini lived from 1801 to 1835. Born in Sicily, he died at the young age 34 in Paris. He never married and was mourned by his male friend Donizetti in his famous "Lament for Bellini" for the loss of life at such a young age.
I Capuleti e I Montechi is the history of the feud between two families and the love between Romeo Montechi and Giuletta Capuleti.
The opera premiered in 1832, at the dawn of the Romantic age when women in travesti were beginning to take over the roles previously assigned to the castrati. My only vision of the life as castrati is from Anne Rice's Cry to Heaven, but I found it ironically illuminating that Bellini reversed the castrati Giuletta role for the innovative travesti Romeo and assigned Giuletta to a soprano. Romeo being a "beardless youth" lent himself readily to the purpose. The first composer to make a success of this was Bellini's teacher, Nicolo Zingarelli, whose Giuletta e Romeo of 1796, furnished with a happy ending was still in circulation during the composing of Bellini's piece.
Performing to a sold-out audience Nov. 13, the Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vasselina Kasarova quickly established her leading role. Under her guidance "loud is not dramatic—expressiveness is dramatic" we were serenaded to some of the most beautiful soprano/mezzo-soprano duets in opera history. Soprano Andrea Rost portrayed Giuletta.
A speechless audience endured a warm kiss on the lips between the two women in the lead role in the middle of Scene Two, Act One. I only saw one couple leave the opera because of it.
Ulisse Santicchi gave us the most dramatic set, which was met with awe by the public, especially in the Third Scene of Act One when he portrays the wedding scene in a large hall of the Capuletti's palace with amazing use of staircase, columns, and mirrors.
The subliminal message of the loss of life between two youths for the sole purpose of loving each other is not lost to most of the gay couples you could see throughout the audience.
Here it is doubly imprinted by the fact that you have two young women killing themselves because of a tyrannical father who will not allow her daughter to carry her heart's desire. If you assign the role of the feud to the role of societal prejudices, you will end with a great gay night at the opera, all with beautiful music.
Carlos T. Mock, MD