By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
That may be a fair deal for folks with plenty of cash and no cachet, but for the rest of the gay community, it's a rough trade.
After Rudolph Giuliani addressed the Log Cabin Republicans' convention last month, a press release from the clubs hailed the mayor for his "sweeping" domestic-partner ordinance. Here is a classic case of turning peanuts into pearls.
A truly sweeping law would be like the one in San Francisco that requires firms doing business with the city to offer their workers domestic-partner benefits. But the New York statute merely applies to city workers, allowing private employers to do as they like. Giuliani has blocked a stronger ordinance, and he only backed the current one as a quid pro quo for the Empire State Pride Agenda's decision to remain neutral during the last mayoral campaign.
How pro-gay is Giuliani? Depends on what kind of queer you are. If you brunch with the big boys, he's on your side up to a point but if you're a person of color or a person with AIDS, chances are your quality of life has declined during Giuliani Time. The mayor presides over a police force that has been the subject of numerous complaints from the Anti-Violence Project regarding gay people (especially blacks and Latinos) harassed by cops for hanging out. Hundreds of activists have been jailed in demonstrations like last year's Matthew Shepard political funeral, when police violently broke up a march through Midtown. At last year's Pride parade, hecklers were arrested after the mayor burst unbidden into a black gay contingent. Then there was the demo at last month's Log Cabin convention, when police stood by while hotel guards beat protesters and dragged them out of the building.
Giuliani has significantly cut funding for AIDS programs, trying (unsuccessfully) to kill the Department of AIDS Services and eliminating city money for the nonprofit agency Housing Works, which had protested the cuts. His allies on the Board of Education have stifled the Rainbow Curriculum and hampered the distribution of condoms in the schools. He gay-baited former schools chancellor Ray Cortines, calling him "precious," and even had a Treasury agent attached to the U.S. Attorney's office investigate Ed Koch's sex life, when Giuliani was preparing to run against Koch in 1989.
Giuliani is a master of covering his tracks. But in this case, he's being aided by gay conservatives. No politician ever had a better beard.
Research: Jason Schwartzberg