Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWS How to survive a botched assassination attempt
by Susie Bright
2011-01-19

This article shared 2893 times since Wed Jan 19, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Just before the people who tried to kill me picked up their weapon—the gun, the knife, the pipe wrench, the suitcase bomb, the broken scissors—here's what they yelled at me, their battle cry of elimination:

N*****-loving Communist Cunt

Fucking Dyke

Kike Whore

Homosexual Harlot

White Slaver

Jew-Hater

Gynocidal Woman-Hater

Rape-Enabler

Hippie Scum

Beaner-fucker

Gook-Lover

Patriarchal Tool

And I'm really not that big of a deal.

I think the first time I got an eliminationist message was from a Nixon-defending high school cheerleader I enraged in 10th grade, who merrily slammed her locker door on my hand: "People like you ought to be shot."

Well, the cheerleader's dream almost came true. The bright-eyed vision that everyone who disagrees with "you" should be put before a firing squad is the kind of delusion that fuels such massacres as the one we've witnessed this week in Arizona.

Sticks and stones do break bones, and pejorative calls to arms incite their arsenal. I can't put up with Sarah Palin or Fox News taking offense at the mirror that's been held up to their mugs—they are not the victims here. Messianic crusaders like Palin wield rhetoric to condemn, they imply that a certain type of "bad American" doesn't deserve to live.

"Don't retreat, reload," Mama Grizzly insists. Fox TV's shrieks of indignation remind me of Beavis & Butthead's "Cornholio" character, the tweaker at the top of his voice, "ARE YOU THREATENING ME?"

But it's the opposite, isn't it? The deluded charismatics are threatening the non-believers, their critics. They don't sit at home wondering if liberals or socialists or queers are going to snuff them in the night— instead, they face ridicule—that's their ultimate tragic fate.

But the average zealot doesn't see it that way. As the bullying provocateur, s/he imagines that s/he is the lamb, a lamb who just happens to have a full clip of ammunition.

Are their adoring followers, the lone and troubled gunmen, "crazy?" Of course they are. I'm sure my small-time bug-eyed assailants were "troubled at home," feared by their family and friends, easily suicidal. A fragile, shattered individual looks for ideological fuel to give them strength; they are mesmerized by apocalyptic language that justifies slaying their dragons.

My attackers from past decades didn't know "me," anymore than assassin Jared Lee Loughner knew Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. The symbolic subject of every attack is nothing but a target to the assassin, the prize. When the big cheeses paint gun sites on our photos, or demand in print, or on the mike, that we suffer pain and eradication, the young martyr is only too happy to pick up a Glock. They don't want to read about peace, love, and understanding.

What happened in my case, when I was the "one-who-must-be-cut-down?" Obviously, I'm not nearly as famous as many targets who've hit the headlines—thank goodness for that. There's thousands of activists who've been in my shoes, and I wish they'd speak up now, especially the women, since our sexual virtue is always dragged into our "villainy."

I've been lucky to have nine lives, and don't relish the publicity of drawing attention to it. Who wants to look for sharks? There's no doubt, I've been chilled by political batshittery—the never-ending anonymous bullies who swear they will be successful next time. There is little one can do to protect oneself—except keep in the light.

I mean "light" literally, not spiritually. The most outspoken figures, who insist on public debate, democratic access, and eschew anonymity, are the ones who who make it safer for everyone to speak out, as well as saving their own ass. We're harder to attack when we're not isolated. This is why Gifford's case, as a gung-ho public servant, is so paradoxical and tragic.

My life and flesh was saved by friends, every time. I was rarely alone when my would-be assassins struck. When I read about the people who ran to the gunfire in Tucson, like Daniel Hernandez, and held the victims in their arms, that's when I cried. People like that embody the generosity and courage of America's best ethic.

When a .357 was pressed into my gut in Louisville, 1977, by a Klansman pissed off about school integration—a car screeched up right behind us, and interrupted his tirade. When a freight company goon grabbed his wrench to cripple me as I passed out strike-support flyers, I didn't know if I could walk. I didn't understand why I was bleeding—but I was bodily picked up by a quick-thinking comrade. It was my supporters who grabbed me out of all three bomb-targets, and the local firemen made me feel like nothing could get to me.

I remember after one bomb threat in Western Massachusetts in the '90s, the local police, who were no great fans of the liberal university in their midst, asked me why anyone would want to bomb me, a innocuous-looking young mom, Irish Catholic with freckles. I probably looked a lot like their wives or daughters.

I sighed. "I'm not Martin Luther King; this is ridiculous. I've been in civil rights and labor movements all my life, but this takes the cake. You know who this mad bomber is? She's likely a young undergrad from the Women's Studies department who's become convinced by one of her beloved professors that I'm not a feminist after all, but more of an anti-Christ.

"They think I'm a rape-monger, but I'm actually here to talk about ... female orgasm, and who gets to control women's sex lives."

"Female WHAT?" the sergeant said.

The shameful Dworkin-MacKinnon years of the 1980s, when a war of sexual politics broke out between women who'd shared in the same trenches for years, was bizarre. The more years that go by, the sicker it makes me. A battle over ... whether pornographic peep shows were the foundation of women's oppression ... evolved into a freak show.

In one instance, I went to the University of Minnesota, and was greeted by a blood-stained banner and flyer that proclaimed: "First, there was slavery in the Roman Empire. Then, the Holocaust. And now, Susie Bright comes to speak to the U. of M. campus."

Seriously.

It would have been just another knee-slapper, except for the event that ended my controversial lecture there.

I was seven months pregnant; I had to go to the bathroom every few minutes. I asked my producer to follow me into the lavatory on the ground floor; I felt a little nervous from all the anti-Susie protests upstairs in the auditorium.

It was one of those giant tiled restrooms with a dozen stalls and porcelain sinks lined up against the wall. From the rear corner a young blond woman, with a sharp tool grasped in her hands, rushed up to me. I don't know what I would have done without my colleague there. Or without my giant belly giving this young woman pause.

She was in tears as she accused me of "female genocide"—yes, she with the blade in her hand. It made her angry to see me as a mommy-to-be, a real woman who had to take a piss, who might not be a monster after all. She wanted me to be that monster so badly, so she could destroy me.

To be truthful, social justice activists of all kinds do share something with MLK: we are demonized, particularly around issues of race and sex, national identity, class affiliation—this is the stuff creepy dog-whistlers and cocked riflemen are made of.

I've been told I should shut up and die (in more than a rhetorical way) because I protested the Vietnam war, because I was a labor activist, because I was a shameless women's libber, because I was a "race traitor," because I was a pervert, and in the final baroque twist, that I was a sexual demon to my own kind. Many of those issues seem quaint now, others feel like today's headlines. It was never a question of shutting up, and I thankfully escaped the chum fest—but it took its toll.

All bigots' accusations are sexually neurotic. Women—and this certainly includes Congresswoman Giffords—who are outspoken in their politics are typically called whores, and castigated for "sleeping with the enemy." The enemy is typically defined by the color of their skin, the nature of their desire, the neighborhood they come from. We are called "sluts" (not in a fun way) if we champion reproductive rights. Our "virtue" is assailed if we don't "stick with our own kind." They call us "Bitch," and everything is justified from that word on. It would be a childish rebuke if our names didn't end up on their hit lists.

The entitled, frustrated madman is not going out on dates. He churns inside himself with erotic titillation and guilt. He imagines that the queers, the "colored people," the "perverts"—are all out to get him, to expose his limp, terrified underbelly. If only our beleaguered patsy could "kill" his temptation, his "torment," then he thinks he'll sleep better at night.

But as Jared Loughner knows, as well as every prick that raised their hand against me, sleep does not come. The agonies don't go away; there's always another monster. And as long as we keep handing frightened sick people guns, violent puritanical manifestos, and a culture that loves a romance of apocalypse, the handwringing will do nothing but soak the ground.

Susie Bright is the author of Big Sex Little Death: A Memoir. She has been sneaking into Windy City Times ever since she was editing her first magazine, On Our Backs.


This article shared 2893 times since Wed Jan 19, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SAVOR South Branch Tavern & Grille 2021-08-19
- Before taking a bite of anything at South Branch Tavern & Grille (100 S. Wacker Dr.; https://www.southbranchchicago.com/), patrons are likely to be impressed. The reason lies in the picturesque views surrounding the spot. Ensconced near some ...


Gay News

VIEWS U.S. Senators: It's time to act against anti-LGBTQ discrimination 2021-07-28
- Georgia has had the eyes of the nation on it for some time now. It's just over five years since people across Georgia braced themselves as lawmakers sent sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation to the desk of then-Governor ...


Gay News

OP-ED Foreign drug pricing puts America's most vulnerable patients last 2021-07-03
By Guy Anthony - It's no coincidence that American companies led the charge to develop COVID-19 vaccines. Numerous policies—from strong patent protections to a welcoming immigration system—help ensure that the world's smartest scientists can ...


Gay News

Op-Ed: Elevating 'T' in LGBTQ: State government, transgender equity in 21st century 2021-06-28
By Illinois state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz - In recent decades, our laws, pop culture and morality have shifted dramatically for same-sex couples. Our LGBTQ+ neighbors are interwoven into the fabric of our communities now more than ever. We celebrate this recognition and indeed ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Pride at work 2021-06-23
- Pride Month is a chance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people to be proud and visible in a world that tells us not to be. Pride Month is a chance to celebrate and ...


Gay News

LETTER: Pride, a time for hope 2021-06-12
- Pride is so much more than a parade, a march or even a demonstration for the LGBTQAI community. In other words, this is an opportunity for us to celebrate our diversity among our various communities, and ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Tulsa Race Massacre reparations would begin the healing 2021-05-31
- When HBO's 2019 Watchmen series opened with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, and HBO's 2020 Lovecraft Country series closed with scenes from the riots, most Americans had never heard of the event—even Tulsans. On May 19, ...


Gay News

Illinois Holocaust Museum makes statement on anti-Semitic attacks 2021-05-28
--From a press release - Dear Museum Community, At Illinois Holocaust Museum, we are appalled at the recent rise in worldwide anti-Semitic incidences. We cannot stand by while Jews and synagogues are violently attacked, including in Skokie, New York, Los Angeles, ...


Gay News

LETTER A matter of race 2021-05-20
- I applaud Mayor Lori Lightfoot's courageous statement on only giving one-on-one interviews to journalists of color. She obviously wants to see a public dialogue on this matter. White privilege is a topic we must look at ...


Gay News

The Amazon Trail Notes from a Homebody 2021-05-19
- 's finally here. The end of total lockdown. Am I ready? Absolutely not. I like my burrow. I don't wanna play with others. We've fashioned a comfortable little routine. Week days, work. Evenings, spend time alone ...


Gay News

Illinois Latino Agenda issues statement on shooting of Adam Toledo 2021-04-15
--From a press release - On March 29, 2021, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer. Since the shooting, there have been different narratives formed of who Adam Toledo was. Various media have made allegations saying ...


Gay News

Pastor Donnie McClurkin's struggle with sexuality mirrors the Black church's 2021-04-13
- The most significant factor that keeps the Black church on the down low are closeted, homophobic ministers. Pastor Donnie McClurkin—a three-time Gospel Grammy winner and the former poster boy for ...


Gay News

The Amazon Trail, How to Write a Book 2021-04-10
- I'm not giving away any secrets here. Not saying it's simple or that anyone can do it if they send $25.00 to Post Office Box 1,2,3. Nope, it's a personal journey and every story has a story. Here's mine, about the ...


Gay News

OP-ED The closet doors are opening 2021-03-30
- (NOTE: The International Transgender Day of Visibility is March 31.) I recently learned that according to a new report, the number of people in this country who identify as LGBTQ has increased by 60% since 2012. ...


Gay News

OP-ED: An AAPI hate crime we dare not say 2021-03-30
- On March 16, Robert Aaron Long killed eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent. Long's action has not yet been classified as a hate crime because the motive, he stated, was his sex ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.