Letters

Mark White
Sydney, Australia

Michael Musto replies: If gay lib is the freedom to act the way you want, then one type of gay shouldn't be deemed a better role model than another. I feel Madonna's just adding to the oppression of the nellies.


Gay Glib

In Norah Vincent's warmed-over Roger Kimballisms regarding the February 7 forum on queer politics presented by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Baruch College [Higher Ed, February 22], she chides me for not including any "libertarians, conservatives, and old-school liberals" on the panel. I guess Vincent didn't want the facts to get in the way of her knee-jerk caricature of the discussion, but if she'd done even minimal reporting, she'd have contacted me (since we're colleagues at the Voice, finding me is a no-brainer). Vincent would have learned that we invited most of the people she says should have balanced the panel and many others. They declined.

One old-school liberal told us he didn't think it was appropriate for queers to debate issues like marriage in public; a leading conservative demanded a speaker's fee of $2000; some invitees failed to respond to repeated messages. So we decided to open the discussion to the audience early to make room for a wider range of opinions.

We also understood that in presenting three progressive yet disparate speakers, our panel was achieving a kind of balance in the broader context, since the conservative and old-school views are widely published in the mainstream all the time. (Indeed, Baruch students told me that they had frequently read arguments for including gays in hate-crime legislation, but until the forum, had never even heard that there's cautionary dissent among queers.) But now that Vincent's spouting in the Voice the very clichés that you can find in the tabloids any day of the week, it's clear that she neither understands nor cares about that principle, which is also dear to this paper: making space for thoughtful alternative views.

Alisa Solomon
Manhattan


Out-Cast

I applaud the efforts of those who want to be inclusive (using terms like "two-spirit," etc.), but they must now go one step further and include people who don't necessarily agree with every ounce of the militant queer community's perspective on this big ol' crazy world.

As a young college student with pretty solid liberal credentials, I felt like an outcast in the gay community simply because I liked to wear lipstick, occasionally slept with boys, and honored my parents' marriage. It would be a shame indeed if we queers, who worry endlessly about gay teenage suicide, were to let one gay teenager who happens to be a Republican, or who wants to go to business school, or who truly feels that abortion is wrong, slip into the abyss of despair and suicide. We must take better care of our own.

Congratulations to Norah Vincent for her witty, courageous, and truthful look at people who claim to be inclusive, and who have such tremendous power in the gay community. I'm glad the Voice has been brave enough to give this woman the column she deserves.

Gretchen M. Michelfeld
Manhattan


Stockholm Syndrome

Reading Alisa Solomon's article "Lesbian, Gay, and Binational" [February 29], about amending immigration laws to make them more gay-friendly, sent my blood pressure skyrocketing.

I am an American living abroad, in part because my boyfriend could never live in the U.S. under current laws, and Sweden welcomed me. It's reading this kind of news that makes me realize I'm not likely to move back. As a gay man, I'm treated with respect I would never get in the U.S.—and I have little hope for a country where such a simple change in the immigration laws isn't likely to happen soon, especially in light of recent legislation such as the Defense of Marriage Act.

Gysbert Menninga
Stockholm, Sweden


In League

In James Ridgeway's Mondo Washington column [February 29], he states that three of the leading candidates for president have Ivy League degrees. For the record, Alan Keyes has two Ivy League degrees from Harvard: a B.A. in government affairs and a Ph.D. in government affairs.

Oze McCallum
Atlanta, Georgia


Officer and a Gentleman

Dear Nat Hentoff,

I'm a retired police officer who spent two days in your company in 1973 after your apartment had been burglarized. I captured the perp who was trying to use your bank book to unload some of your cash. I remember how we spoke of the seemingly hopeless crime wave that was going on then.

I wonder how you feel now, since there has been such a huge falloff in crime partly because of the Giuliani administration. I remember that you seemed like a knee-jerk liberal who believed that criminals were the victims of a racist society in America. Are your feelings still the same? Do you still believe that environmental factors are responsible for people's actions? Are you still a hardcore liberal? I seem to recall that you had an enlightened view on abortion because you were an atheist. Are you still with thee woman who accompanied you to court? Do you remember the event?

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