On Sept. 30, six major organizations will be vying for Chicago's gay dollars. These are the events scheduled:
— Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
— Lehman Brothers presents the Lesbian Community Cancer Project's Fall Brunch
— ACLU of Illinois' Celebrate the Bill of Rights!
— Chicago House's Night of the Pharaoh
— Gerber/Hart Library's Silver Anniversary Gala with Dan Savage
— Project ALMA Fashion Show for the Association of Latin Men in Action.
My partner and I started a Web calendar in June 2001. We noticed that there were many nights with conflicting events while other nights were completely devoid of a worthy cause to support. We thought that by having a public access calendar listing all the GLBT-oriented events in the city, organizations could coordinate their events to give the people of Chicago the opportunity to support more than one organization. Out of that concept, The Pink Agenda ( www.pinkagenda.com ) was born. We have had some success; many organizations do check the calendar and it has helped with the overcrowding somewhat. However, we still get event crowding like on Sept. 30.
As an activist myself, I encourage our GLBT organizations and institutions to take a moment and visit our online Chicago calendar at www.pinkagenda.com/calendar/chicago/ before scheduling their events. I also encourage organizations to try to spread their events over the year and throughout the week. You can post your events yourself, by clicking on the plus sign on the date of your event and filling in the details.
Carlos T Mock, M.D.
[ Editor's note: The online edition of Windy City Times, www.windycitymediagroup.com, also posts future events as soon as we receive announcements from organizations, as much as one year in advance. ]
Letter to the Editor
In light of the U.S. Defense Department reactivation of 12,500 former active duty military personnel for combat duty, it seems incongruous that the Pentagon persists in its anti-gay witch-hunt by discharging 11,000 gay military personnel.
The economic loss of these trained servicemembers exceeds $364 million. Those discharged include at least 244 doctors, nurses and medical specialists as well as 55 Arabic-speaking linguists, an illogical action since we're at war with a largely Arabic-speaking enemy. It's time for our political and military leaders to demonstrate the integrity to admit that current American policy is based on prejudice, not on military necessity.
Throughout the history of our country, gays and lesbians have capably served in the military, as they have throughout our society. The U.S. is virtually alone now among advanced nations, our allies and fellow NATO members in maintaining the prohibition against gays. The standard argument is that the acceptance of gays will undermine unit cohesion, morale and performance, the same arguments used against Blacks and women from serving in uniform. Yet, that is not the finding of nations which have lifted the ban against gay military service. They have found no unit disruptions or increased anti-gay crimes. Military forces that accept gays—including Australia, Canada, Israel, and Britain—found that most gay servicemembers do not reveal their biologically-determined sexual orientation to their peers after the lifting of the gay ban. Rather, they simply want to serve without fear of being fired.
If they serve, homosexuals should receive the same domestic-partner rights and survivor benefits as heterosexuals.
With national polls showing that the majority of Americans now support gays serving in the military, and foreign forces demonstrating that inclusion of gays is not harmful to military capability, it is time to end this senseless ban against gay and lesbian Americans. It simply doesn't make sense to involuntarily recall thousands of former troops at the same time thousands of current personnel are being involuntarily discharged.
The fact remains that gays who volunteer for military service today serve with distinction and do more for our country than the majority of their heterosexual peers who find contentment in college and the work force, and never serve the nation.
Military leaders can preserve military effectiveness by holding all personnel to the same standards and expectations of professional conduct, regardless of gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.
Bob Zuley, Chicago