By Albert Samaha
By Darwin BondGraham
By Keegan Hamilton
By Anna Merlan
By Anna Merlan
By Tessa Stuart
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
In his letter to the editor ["Ol' School," Letters, June 2127] building owner Gregg Singer's rationale about the community benefiting from a proposed dorm can't be taken seriously, because the East Village, a/k/a NYU-ville, has become fodder for dorms by the NYU law school, Cooper Union, and the New School. The only trickle-down for the community is more evictions, more closing of small businesses, and more developers eager to make us look like a bad xerox of midtown. How ironic, Singer talks about a community that he has antagonized and disrespected, yet he writes to Metro and The Village Voice bandying about megamillions that we will never see or feel. Community members who make this area so desirable want to hold on to the landmark buildings. If more isn't done to protect the historic buildings and support our people, you will have to visit the Village (East and West), Bowery, and Lower East Side reconstructed in a museum or Las Vegas.
Livid over lip-lock
I am appalled at the disgusting illustration depicting the president and vice president kissing like lovers ["Make Love, Not War," The Queer Issue, June 2127]. This goes beyond freedom of the press. I hope to God you sick people are shut down and run out of town. You don't deserve a voice of opinion.
I totally relate to Rachel Kramer Bussel's "Gay Until Penetration" [Lusty Lady, June 2127], but as a gay woman who is consistently mistaken for being straight. In fact, it took me a long time to realize that I really don't like men on a more than a case-by-case basis because I didn't fit my own assumptions about what a lesbian is. It's still difficult to convince my family that I'm not going through a phase. They expect me to be a Birkenstock-wearing, short-haired typical dyke, but I'm just a girl who likes girls, even though I don't set off most people's gaydar. I think it's unfortunate that people don't realize that sexuality isn't necessarily about how you dress and do your hair.
Buffalo, New York
For the kids
Re Kristen Lombardi's "New Lessons in Class" [June 2127]: I've lived on the Lower East Side for practically all my life. I have a grandson I've raised since birth. I applied to NEST two years ago and went on the interview. Well, the interviewer was arrogant and did not have my grandson's application on file. The principal, who is Latin, is one fruitcake who disregards her own kind for the privileged and is an insult to our community. Yes, make room for these kids who want a good chance in life. Go do your thing for the betterment of our poor kids, who want a better future.
All bark, bullshit bite
Re Nat Hentoff's "Bound and Gagged" [Liberty Beat, June 2127]: If you don't like it here, move to Cuba. Your friend Fidel will be a lot more open to putting you in prison and torturing you. So, please think before you write about things you know nothing about. You are living in the best city in the world and I bet you have modern things (cell phones, color TVs, and a nice place to live), so why bite the damn hand that feeds you? If you only have friends that believe what you believe, you will never get the other side.
Re Aina Hunter's "Targeting the Testers" [June 2127]: I'm frustrated with media coverage of animal rights groups, particularly those that engage in direct action. These groups get pegged as extreme and even radical, while the deplorable treatment of animals remains accepted as normal. Members of the media often forget that compassion, not hostility, drives animal advocacy. I applaud the Voice for depicting these groups not as heartless terrorists, but passionate activists who have, if anything, too much heart.
San Francisco, California
It is a politically frightening time when activists can be sentenced to decades in prison for being effective. As Hunter pointed out, none of the defendants are accused of committing any illegal acts. Yet they will all be sitting in prison for years.
A seven-year sentence is extreme for nonviolent protesters exercising their right to express their opinions. What bothers me most is that concentrating on the suffering endured by the subjects of animal testing is not going to put an end to it as long as people believe that the results are beneficial to humans. It is unlikely that animal testing will be discontinued until enough people understand that these results can be harmful, even lethal, for humans. The problem is that every species is unique, and even small differences in cellular and molecular requirements render results obtained on one species unreliable for another.
Swain, New York
As a pacifist, ethical vegetarian, and strong believer in animals' rights to live naturally, I say to WAR, SHAC, and all these brave activists who risk jobs, health, and freedom for the benefit of animals: Go friends, go. You speak for the voiceless, for the used, misused, and abused. Keep fighting.
Los Angeles, California
I am 100 percent in support of and in awe of the courage and determination of groups like SHAC and WAR. Abusing innocent creatures is the worst crime I can think of, in the same league as abusing innocent children. These helpless creatures, nonhuman no less than human, look to us for protection, and instead get treated like inanimate objects. I shall do everything I can to spread the word among people who I know care about the well-being of nonhumans to help assure that the evil Huntingdon Labs goes belly-up. As for the individual who sliced in half a screaming, writhing puppy, if I had the power to bring down on him/her an early and very painful, terrifying demise, I surely would.
Re Danial Adkison's "Bliss or Miss" [June 2127]: Whoever had the brilliance to focus on John Wessel and Billy O'Connor, I congratulate you. They are exceptional role models who, as gay business owners and humanitarians, are involved with every aspect of helping by sponsoring benefits and giving generously to numerous causes, and they're the sweetest LTR couple I have ever known. I am proud to have these two men as friends. Bless you, guys, for talking the talk.
As much as I enjoyed Adkison's story on the prospects for same-sex marriage in New York State, I was disappointed by his characterization of the passage of the Sexual Orientation Non- Discrimination Act (SONDA) in December 2002 as being the result of "a deal between the Empire State Pride Agenda, Pataki, and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno."
Certainly the Pride Agenda played a key role in what was a 30-year struggle by hundreds of organizations and individuals, but I am surprised that the Voice did not mention the impact of openly gay state senator Tom Duane, who helped shepherd not only SONDA but also New York State's Hate Crimes Law, which passed in 2000, becoming the first law in New York State to specifically include protections for lesbians and gay men. We in the LGBT community often talk about why it's so important to have a seat at the table, and having Tom Duane in that seat in the state senateand lesbian Deborah Glick in the state assembly (who was joined in 2003 by openly gay assembly member Daniel O'Donnell)was critical to the passage of SONDA.
As the author of a gay-themed novel published this past spring, I was glad to see Edmund White's piece about the renaissance in gay fiction ["The New Gay Fiction," June 2127]. At least these worthwhile novels are seeing print even if they're not being brought to the attention of readers (I know I'll be picking up several of them based on White's descriptions). As a woman, a novelist, and a reader I know there are a lot of women interested in gay men's stories (witness the popularity of the film Brokeback Mountain), yet this type of fiction is never marketed to women, though women are arguably the main audience for literary fiction.
Nancy Kay Shapiro