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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Quotelines
2000-02-09

This article shared 1190 times since Wed Feb 9, 2000
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[ Leonardo DiCaprio is an ] androgynous wimp." — Presidential candidate John McCain.

"Gay men and lesbians are often portrayed as subverting the social order. But what are they trying to do? Join the military! Get married! Fix up the house and raise kids! In short, build the kind of world the religious right dreams of, except that the basic social unit is a happily married couple of the same sex. No one disputes that the original purpose of the marriage laws was to facilitate procreating. But is this notion obsolete? Lots of people think so. ... With the liberalization of adoption rules in some jurisdictions, some gay couples are raising children, and using 'procreative technologies' such as artificial insemination, a few lesbians have borne children after coming out. Following that line of argument, one might easily conclude that it's unfair to deny marital benefits to people in long-term conjugal relationships solely because they're homosexual. ... If gay men and lesbians want to buck the hetero trend away from marriage and face the prospect of divorce and spousal support, why should the straight world care?" — Cecil Adams in his 'The Straight Dope' column in the Chicago Reader.

"There's something distressingly predictable about the spectacle of gay people meeting to accuse each other of treason. Wherever you look, it seems, queers are attacking other queers for being gay in an incorrect way. Sex, politics, religion, even carrying a rainbow flag: All are grist for the calumny mill. Some of these battles truly involve matters of life and death —as in the sex wars that erupted during the AIDS epidemic's early years. But more often the 'crisis' is like one of those absurd European conflagrations that begin when someone is thrown out of a window. No wonder many gay people who might otherwise be attracted to activism prefer to leave it to the zealous and the zany. We've lost touch with the first principle of any democratic community: Live and let live. Instead, we endlessly police each other for signs of impurity, fighting over symbols while the substance of our struggle remains unaddressed. Take the great Millennium March debate. Now that organizational problems have been solved, the event will certainly take place in Washington, D.C., on the weekend of April 30 —but not without intense criticism from many progressives, who object to its siphoning off of money and movement energy. There are also accusations that the march has been lax in its outreach to people of color, leading Gay Men of African Descent to withhold its endorsement of the event. Some activists even contend that the turn of the millennium is an unduly Christian occasion for a gay gathering. If this sounds like a typical movement hissy fit, it is. ... But this latest ruckus is part of a larger culture war raging in our community. Like the culture war in American society, this conflict is ultimately about control. Behind the sound and fury lies a perennial question: Who owns gay liberation? The answer ought to be, No one." — Richard Goldstein, executive editor of The Village Voice, in a guest column in the Feb. 15 Advocate.

"Courageous is the word you read in the mainstream media whenever a gay activist breaks ranks. So generous is the reward that virtually anyone who attacks the gay community from within is guaranteed a platform. Camille Paglia owes her notoriety largely to a steady skewering of lesbians and gay men. Her assertion that Matthew Shepard was asking for it by trying to pick up straight boys regaled readers of Salon, the same liberal Web site that celebrated gay pride last year by publishing a piece rejecting gay pride. The author, of course, was gay, and his message was something no straight liberal dares to send —but many love to hear. Of course, queers are hardly the only minority group that suffers from this syndrome. Black writers who argue against affirmative action draw enormous attention, though they represent a tiny fraction of the African-American community. So do postfeminists 'courageous' enough to accuse their sisters of hating men. The media seem to find it vastly amusing when minorities fight among themselves. The only thing more entertaining is a serial killer from the pariah classes. But next to Jeffrey Dahmer's final solution, the best way for a queer to get attention is to symbolically devour his or her own." — Goldstein.

"I will never agree with those who argue, as [ Andrew ] Sullivan does, that once we've won the right to marry and serve in the military, we should throw a big party and call the gay movement off. Nor will I concur with radicals who oppose gay marriage on the grounds that it promotes a patriarchal institution. But all these people share something with me. We've been through the wringer of homophobia and it has shaped us into that most intangible thing: a community. I am bound to Bruce Bawer, tied to Dan Savage, even stuck with Camille Paglia ( though I'd rather be stuck in an elevator with Jesse Helms ) . These are my people. If they cannot flourish, neither can I. And as long as that's the case, I owe them something more important than mere consensus. I owe them respect." — Goldstein.

"While I'm not fond of the general concept of trying to do physical harm to anyone, I don't see an effort to increase someone's chances of getting the flu to be all that big a deal. At worst, what [ Dan ] Savage did posed no greater risk than if [ presidential candidate Gary ] Bauer simply walked into a public elevator and remembered to breath. By comparison, the hateful rhetoric that has spewed forth from the mouth of Gary Bauer —on the campaign trail, in his fundraising letters, and in his previous roles —has done genuine physical and emotional harm to many many people. ... Bauer's rhetoric gives comfort and encouragement to homophobic thugs, to hateful parents who would rather see their children harmed than gay, and to pseudo-religious people everywhere who somehow think that Christianity and Judaism have room for messages of bigotry and personal hatred. I trace the deaths of people like Matthew Shepard right back to the lap of the likes of Gary Bauer." — Project Inform's Martin Delaney responding to attacks on sex columnist Savage's recent infiltration of Bauer's Iowa campaign, licking doorknobs and the like in an attempt to contaminate Bauer and his staff . Savage, who lives in Seattle, also registered to vote in Iowa —and he could face voter fraud charges. He chronicled his exploits for Salon magazine online.

"I've studied the 'bible' at least as much as Bauer ... including translating it from the earliest known Greek texts to the English. Collectively, the real teachings therein are far less critical of the likes and behaviors of Dan Savage than they are of the scribes, hypocrites, and Pharisees personified by Bauer and today's 'religious right.'" — — Delaney.


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