"Dykes against gender"? Oh, please. Soyon Im's article on gender issues in the dyke community ["Gender warriors," 6/22] was thoughtful and well written, but sadly her editor seems not to have read it before writing the blurbs. Every single person interviewed in the article has a gender and knows what it is. We didn't say we are "against" gender, but that our genders are more complex than what most of the world wants to see. Gender is my favorite sex toy, and I wouldn't want to live in a world without it. The article's subtitle, "Butch dykes are overthrowing gender categories," makes matters worse by ignoring the fact that several of the women quoted in the article are FEMMES. Femmes do every bit as much as butches to subvert simplistic gender categories, and Soyon noted this in her article. But her editors, like much of the rest of the world, queer and straight alike, have made femmes invisible yet again.
Shoot the oppressor!
In response to your article "Gays & guns" [6/22]: This is exactly the kind of straight- (if you'll pardon the pun) forward, commonsense, HONEST journalism that is sorely lacking today in the media in general, and with regard to firearms in particular. OF COURSE gays want, and should have, guns to defend themselves. Every oppressed minority in history has learned, the hard way, that oppressors can't oppress an oppressee who shoots back.
In America, privately owned firearms are used to prevent crimes about six times as often as they are used to commit them—as many as 2.5 million times a year, according to Department of Justice statistics. The reasons are simple: Guns SAVE lives, because criminals prefer UNARMED victims.
Straight, not narrow,
Stand up to fear!
I would like to thank Knute Berger and Seattle Weekly for the well-written, informative, and objective article entitled "Gays & guns" [6/22]. The decision to own a firearm for lawful self-protection is a deeply personal one. For those law-abiding citizens who make the decision to acquire a gun, proper training and a commitment to safe handling and storage is vital.
I commend members of Cease Fear, as well as all others within the Gay and Lesbian community who have chosen to stand up to fear, hatred, and anti-gay violence, regardless of whether a firearm is part of that choice.
CHARLES F. MASON
Guns are dead wrong
After reading Knute Berger's "Gays & guns" [6/22], an article that I find completely absurd, I was moved to take action in the form of a stern warning to Cease Fear; WATCH OUT FOR WHAT YOU PROMOTE. It is a sad day when any group of people gets together to promote firearms as a means of safety from attack. Fact: "There are 43 shootings of family members or acquaintances, in suicides, nonjustifiable homicides, and accidents for each instance in which a gun at home is used to kill in self-defense" (Kellerman, Al, New England Journal of Medicine, 1986). What this boils down to is that, although abuse and hate crimes directed at sexual minorities deserve serious attention and action, the use of firearms as a means of protection from these crimes will actually cause the deaths of more gays and lesbians than protect them.
As a child of a lesbian mother and the sister of a gay brother, I grew up in Missouri and have seen firsthand several instances of violence directed at myself and my family. What I can't understand is that by promoting firearms as protection, Cease Fear is adding to the problem. Fact: "The percentage of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth who reported having attempted suicide (that required medical treatment) in the previous 12 months was 4.5 times greater than the percentage of heterosexual youth who reported having made a suicide attempt" (Seattle Public Schools Teen Health Risk Survey, 1995). Do we really want to promote behavior that may increase the suicide rate of sexual minorities? If Cease Fear thinks that accessibility to guns will not directly relate to an increase in completed suicides by gays, they are dead wrong. There is a clear link between accessibility and suicide completions with guns.
I read that Cease Fear plans to promote their message at the Pride Parade. I plan to be there too, but I will be preaching the truth about guns until I'm blue in the face. I hope others will join me.
Am I the only one out there that is tired of reading about the struggles of people that choose to engage in sex acts the majority of us find repugnant? Your definition of "liberation" ("Queer politics," 6/22) will never happen. Homosexuality will never be accepted as normal, never has been, never will be. Many people become physically ill when they see two fat dykes kissing in the park or two hairy men touching each other romantically. You can debate the issue for another four decades but the bottom line is that behavior is offensive to most people. Keep the public displays of affection and your sexual preferences private. Just as it is annoying to hear a heterosexual proclaim himself to be a colon crusader it is annoying to hear a homosexual state the same. If you do your job and pay your bills nobody will really care who you sleep with. It is that simple. Quit worrying about it and get on with your lives.
Recently, I've heard many people decrying the Vermont decision to allow 'civil unions' as well as the recent decision to give same-sex domestic partner benefits to Washington state employees.
They complain that our country is slowly giving homosexual partners more and more rights. They demand to know if we want children growing up thinking it is perfectly fine to live in gay or lesbian relationships.
The answer, quite simply, is yes.
I ask those people to consider the following: About 40 percent of homeless teenagers are gay. In Seattle, 35.8 percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth compared to 22.5 percent of heterosexual youth report engaging in high risk or heavy drug use. And finally, gay teenagers are about two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. All of these statistics show how much gay youth want to escape a world that teaches them that they are dirty, evil, subhuman, or worse.
Antigay activists are right when they say children learn from example. And the example they promote is one of prejudice and injustice. And that is infinitely more dangerous than equality.
I certainly hope you aren't paying Michael Krugman and Jason Cohen money for their insipid and meritless column. These boys are about 12, right . . . and I presume that is their demographic? I not only enjoy Aimee Mann and Michael Penn's music [see the Culture Bunker, 6/15], but also respect them for what they are trying to achieve within the music world right now—artists' rights and equality, and, well, a living, like the rest of us. They are talented, hardworking, and committed, unlike the two "content providers" of Culture Bunker. What is the problem here—are Krug-boy and Cohen peeved that Mann and Penn are achieving success, and receiving long overdue exposure and props lately? If they cut through their juvenilia bullshit, perhaps their column might actually someday be of some worth . . . but, again, when you're writing for the 13-year-old genitalia-fixated Korn fan, I suppose you must stay focused on being mean-spirited and not use too many big words (yes, praise is a difficult concept for the pubescent male to understand—better to stick with name-calling and general ill will). Mann and Penn have worked hard to get where they are today. I find it both odd and ridiculous that Krugman and Cohen would blatantly insult both musicians on such low levels—without any explanation as to what, exactly, they have a problem with.
Even if I wasn't a Mann and Penn fan, I'd still find Culture Bunker tasteless and without merit. I guess the concepts of maturity and journalistic integrity are lost on these two boys, and apparently on you as well, for printing this load of manure. I imagine their next column will include detailed instructions on how to perform fellatio on oneself with a beer bong. No thanks.
Hooked on grass
Knute Berger [Uffda, 6/22] is right when he says we need to break our lawn habit in order to do something about the local Canada geese. In fact, planting native riparian vegetation instead of grass next to lakes and streams would help improve aquatic health in other ways as well. But I'm sure I'm only one of many who will write to tell you that Knute left out a commonsense step that lots of people could take to address the goose and mallard situation. It's easy and it's cheap: Stop feeding them!
Waxing poetic on EMP
Listen, folks, it's very simple: It's called EMP [see "What is it? E.M.P.," 6/15] because although it may seem museumlike, in fact, it's not a museum. Museums are houses of dusty relics and artifacts devoted to the creators of such and the only interaction that is encouraged is that which can be accomplished with one's eyes and ears. One leaves a museum humbled, feeling small and insignificant, thinking, perhaps, that "If I had had an art education maybe I could have been the next Raphael/Rembrandt/Renoir."
EMP is dedicated to the premise that we are all creators. That the only obstacle to creating music is one's own inhibitions. That the spirit of creation is in all of us. Hence the Sky Church—a place for the spirit to soar while experiencing the music project of a particular guest artist—maybe even YOU.
What if Jimi hadn't the spirit, the courage of his convictions? What if he wallowed in the fact that he had no experience of music education? What if he never thought to project?
Then perhaps we would have the ordinary building carefully designed by a committee of elected officials and taxpayers and paid for with tax dollars dedicated to the sounds of the Pacific Northwest that might have been preferred by those who are so offended by the swoopy architecture Paul Allen pushed Frank Gehry to create and it would be called, oh, I dunno, maybe something creative such as the Pacific Northwest Rock 'n' Roll Museum. And being a building that didn't take any chances, it certainly would not offend anyone, or, (heaven forbid!) make anyone THINK.
And what kind of experience would that have been?
KRISTY K. MARSHALL
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