By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
HOLD ON, HOLDOUTS
Erik Baard's article "Standing on Ceremony" [December 10-16] fails to present a well-researched, bipartisan argument on ways the heterosexual community is responding to or supporting the fight for gay marriage. Should we really be praising these "hetero holdouts"? Instead, shouldn't we ask whetherby proactively denouncing their legislated right to the institution of marriage (and the corresponding emotional and socioeconomic benefits)this holdout community is actually abusing a position of privilege not available to gay couples interested in securing the right to marry? And what next? Will these couples refuse to pay for health coverage until socialized care is freely available for every citizen? In presenting a biased view of the achievements of these middle-class holdouts, Baard fails to show how these "activists" are benefiting the ongoing fight for marriage rights for all couplesregardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
MORE THAN A FEELING
I read Erik Baard's "Standing on Ceremony" while sitting at work, and I almost cried. The piece fleshed out an unspoken feeling I had the day my husband and I went to San Francisco's City Hall to sign our marriage license. Both of the clerks helping us were gay men, and when I looked at the long line of flower-carrying, grinning couples behind us, I could barely look the clerks in the eye. I felt, at once, hypocritical and patronizing: the former because I do sympathize with gays' rights to marry (particularly since one of the honored guests at our ceremony was a gay man who's been with his partner longer than I've been with my husband) and the latter because I naturally assumed that those clerks must, of course, have wanted to get married and, therefore, needed my sympathy.
Baard's parallel between gay marriage and miscegenation also struck a chord, as my husband is white and I'm black. Sad to see that we represented the gains of a long-fought struggle while in the presence of another that has so far to go.
Goldstein's analysis of this complex conundrum is brilliant, and his conclusion is incisive. The males of our race have historically regarded power as the most important determinant of one's value. Now, shaking in their boots, men who buy this primitive understanding of human communal life will become the ultimate victims of their own cruel method of valuing human lives. Makes me want to marry my partner just to see them squirm.
ISN'T THAT SPECIAL!
Richard Goldstein's article on gay marriage was wonderful. I especially loved his closing paragraph, which referenced religion as a way of relieving this fear and conflict, rather than inflaming it. I sent it to our priest. He and I believe that it is the primary role of Christianity to confront the issues that involve excluding or harming any of God's creatures.
A young woman in a gay and lesbian student group that our church recently hosted said something quite insightful: The reason fundamentalists fasten onto homosexuality as the ultimate evil is because it is the one sin they know for sure they aren't guilty of. Anything elselying, adultery, even killingthey either have done or can imagine themselves doing under certain circumstances. But for the straight "Christians," homosexuality provides a transgression they can denounce loudly without the slightest twinge of self-recognition. And it simultaneously distances them both in their own minds and in the public view from a "scary/despised" fringe group. How convenient!
Cullowhee, North Carolina
CAN'T STAND THE SILENCE
In response to Rivka Gewirtz Little's article about the execution-style slaying of Gidone Busch ["Lost Legacy," December 10-16] and as someone who held a public protest right in front of One Police Plaza, I must respectfully correct the author's assertion that "the voice that went largely unheard by both police and activists was that of the mental health community."
In fact, the mental health community has remained strangely silent regarding the murder of Gidone (Gary) Busch. Having followed this travesty of justice in the papers since 1999, I have never read any account wherein the mental health community has been publicly quoted in support of Doris Boskey.
As a former mental patient myself who has never been charged with a violent crime, but is often perceived as being a danger to myself and others, I question the silence of the mental health community. This is not the first time that a former mental patient has been killed because of this perceived threat, and I'm convinced that it won't be the last. Why must I fear for my safety because of such apathy?
Rivka Gewirtz Little replies: Mental health advocates have fervently challenged NYPD abuse of the mentally ill since Gidone Busch's deathmostly through years of private negotiations with police. Louder protest might have accomplished more.
Sharon Lerner's "Period Peace" [December 3-9] completely neglects the fact that men haven't had new options in birth control since the invention of the condom. However, there is a male pill currently in development, with clinical trials under way in both Australia and Scotland. The benefits of a male pill would be enormous for society and would finally give men the opportunity to control their reproduction as women have for the last 40 years. That would truly be a revolution.