Alex Blaze

Queer weekend Reader

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 26, 2007 7:32 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Weekly Reader
Tags: Queer Weekend Reader

  • One mother of a gay man is mad as hell and won't take it anymore:

    You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair. I don't know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didn't put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse. God gave you brains so that you could think, and it's about time you started doing that.

  • Julia Serano responds to the NY Times' summary of Alice Dreger's defense of J. Michael Bailey's "science":

    Of course, this week's NY Times article doesn't discuss the hypersexualization of trans women in our culture, and it barely mentions the fact that Bailey falsely presented stereotypes and sexual innuendo as "science" without any hard data to back his claims up. Rather, the article focuses almost entirely on accusations made by Alice Dreger in her forthcoming article in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, in which she claims that several prominent trans activists stooped to conducting personal attacks on Bailey during their campaign against the book. As Dreger comments in the NY Times article:

  • Ryan Thoreson explores the possibility that gay marriage, civil unions, foster parenting, and adoption will be used as wedge issues in 2008:

    And unlike 2004, the relationship between GLBT groups and politicians is beginning to seem mutually beneficial. In Massachusetts, a ban was kept off the ballot until 2012 when Governor Deval Patrick, Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, members of the state's congressional delegation, and party leaders like Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi took part in an intensive lobbying strategy to remind state legislators how disastrous the fight would be for Democrats nationwide in 2008. Enough legislators switched their position that the bill was defeated in the State House -- and with the financial and political backing of the Democratic Party, it was killed before it became a liability for their candidates or the citizens of Massachusetts.

  • Kellee Terrell questions why media narratives surrounding black gay men who cheat on their wives is different from that of white gays who do the same:

    The media have bombarded Dina with questions: "Didn't you know he was gay?" "How could you still sleep in the same bed with him after you found out?" Yet in the popular analysis of Governor McGreevey's alleged deceit, the words "down low" and "HIV" have been kept on the QT. They were also curiously absent in another prominent case of a white man having gay sex on the sidelines of his marriage: the evangelical leader Rev. Ted Haggard. He acknowledged, in his words, "sexual immorality" with a male prostitute and having bought crystal methamphetamine (a drug that has helped the fuel a spike in gay HIV infections) from him. No one, at least among the most prominent media accounts and interviews, asked Haggard's wife, Gayle, if she had subsequently gotten tested for HIV or feared having contracted it.

  • Michael Hood has the story on a waitress who was targeted by one of the richest families in Seattle:

    Sounds like trivial gotcha gossip well beneath the majesty of the likes of Sharkansky so often called an "influential Seattle Republican." Right?

    Wrong.

    Hell hath no fury like parenting scorned! And you don't know vindictive 'til you meet the Sharkanskys! Instead of letting this go and minimizing eyeballs to this trivia, the Sharks turned both barrels on the single mother of two who works two jobs and barely keeps her head afloat.


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Michael Bedwell | August 27, 2007 3:28 AM

The blisteringly eloquent letter from "one mother of a gay man" has started circulating on the Net again as if it were written in 2005 or even more recently. It actually first appeared in a New Hampshire newspaper in April of 2000. But Sharon Underwood's truth is timeless and should be routinely and repeatedly copied to every antigay bigot, big and small, every time they stick their heads out of their holes to spread hate, directly or indirectly, because their first and most defenseless victims are LGBT youth. For its first local recipients, I nominate Tony Dungy and Jeanne Atkins.

Full letter followed by “Advocate” interview:

Many letters have been sent to the Valley News concerning the homosexual menace in Vermont. I am the mother of a gay son and I’ve taken enough from you good people. I’m tired of your foolish rhetoric about the “homosexual agenda” and your allegations that accepting homosexuality is the same thing as advocating sex with children. You are cruel and ignorant. You have been robbing me of the joys of motherhood ever since my children were tiny.

My firstborn son started suffering at the hands of the moral little thugs from your moral, upright families from the time he was in the first grade. He was physically and verbally abused from first grade straight through high school because he was perceived to be gay.

He never professed to be gay or had any association with anything gay, but he had the misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the other boys. He was called “fag” incessantly, starting when he was 6. In high school, while your children were doing what kids that age should be doing, mine labored over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be sure his family knew how much he loved them. My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldn’t bear to continue living any longer, that he didn’t want to be gay and that he couldn’t face a life without dignity.

You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair. I don’t know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didn’t put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse. God gave you brains so that you could think, and it’s about time you started doing that.

At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the belief that this could never happen to you, that there is some kind of subculture out there that people have chosen to join. The fact is that if it can happen to my family, it can happen to yours, and you won’t get to choose. Whether it is genetic or whether something occurs during a critical time of fetal development, I don’t know. I can only tell you with an absolute certainty that it is inborn.

If you want to tout your own morality, you’d best come up with something more substantive than your heterosexuality. You did nothing to earn it; it was given to you. If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no effort whatsoever on my part. It is so woven into the very soul of me that nothing could ever change it. For those of you who reduce sexual orientation to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be changed by a 10-step program, I’m puzzled. Are you saying that your own sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you could change it at will? If that’s not the case, then why would you suggest that someone else can?

A popular theme in your letters is that Vermont has been infiltrated by outsiders. Both sides of my family have lived in Vermont for generations. I am heart and soul a Vermonter, so I’ll thank you to stop saying that you are speaking for “true Vermonters.”

You invoke the memory of the brave people who have fought on the battlefield for this great country, saying that they didn’t give their lives so that the “homosexual agenda” could tear down the principles they died defending. My 83-year-old father fought in some of the most horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live. He says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their part and bothered no one. One of his best friends in the service was gay, and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered not at all. That wasn’t the measure of the man.

You religious folk just can’t bear the thought that as my son emerges from the hell that was his childhood he might like to find a lifelong companion and have a measure of happiness. It offends your sensibilities that he should request the right to visit that companion in the hospital, to make medical decisions for him or to benefit from tax laws governing inheritance.

How dare he? you say. These outrageous requests would threaten the very existence of your family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage. You use religion to abdicate your responsibility to be thinking human beings. There are vast numbers of religious people who find your attitudes repugnant. God is not for the privileged majority, and God knows my son has committed no sin.

The deep-thinking author of a letter to the April 12 ‘00 Valley News who lectures about homosexual sin and tells us about “those of us who have been blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing” asks: “What ever happened to the idea of striving . . . to be better human beings than we are?”

Indeed, sir, what ever happened to that?
------------
A Vermont mother roars - mother of gay child speaks out against homophobia
Advocate, The, June 20, 2000 by Charles Kaiser

One of the reasons that Vermont became the first state to approve civil unions for gays and lesbians must surely be the presence of splendid citizens like Sharon Underwood of White River Junction. As the single mother of a gay son and two other children, Underwood had kept silent for years in the face of the "standard gay bashing" she heard whenever she went out with friends.

Even her coworkers at the housing manufacturing company where she works didn't know she had a gay child. But in April the anger that had been building up for more than two decades finally burst out of her when she wrote a brilliant 1,000-word polemic for her local paper, Valley News, in West Lebanon, N.H. The 50-year-old computer programmer had never written anything professionally before, but she suddenly discovered the amazing power of her own words.

Point by point Underwood disposed of every homophobic myth--beginning with the idea that sexual orientation is chosen--and she struck a gigantic chord. Two other New England papers immediately reprinted her article. Then someone E-mailed it to author and Democratic National Committee treasurer Andrew Tobias, and he posted it on his Web site. The headline read: "The Best Thing I've Read All Year." Gay activist Larry Kramer E-mailed it to dozens of friends, including playwright Arthur Laurents, and each of them E-mailed it to dozens more. Tobias also listed an E-mail address for Underwood, and within three weeks she had received 1,000 E-mails--every one of them favorable.

"I get home, and every night my answering machine is jammed," Underwood said. "It's wonderful, but it's exhausting. A Hawaii paper is reprinting it, the Anchorage [Alaska] paper is reprinting it, and I just got an E-mail from an Episcopalian minister in South Africa!" She wrote her piece for "every parent who supports a gay child. It's time this nonsense stops. These religious-right people are like the emperor who has no clothes. Who are they that we have to be afraid of them?"

Her letter describes the suicide note her son wrote when he was 17, but the story has a happy ending: Her son, Ian LaRose, is now 28 and living happily in Boston with a boyfriend. "He has found happiness," she said. He told her that the only thing he regretted was that her letter left the impression that "being homosexual is a regrettable thing--and it isn't. What's regrettable is what you have to go through to find the peace that you should have been able to have from the beginning."

Today, her son doesn't even remember the traumas of his childhood.

"But," his mother said, "Mom remembers."


To me, there is nothing more powerful than the words of a parent of a GLBT child. I could have written this letter. I just wish people would GET it! Why should our children, who we love more than anything in the world, be singled out for hate and discrimination? I wish they could have seen my son when he was first born - this tiny innocent child. What would they see? Why should he be singled out for their fear and distortion? There is nothing I won't do for my son and all the other GLBT people out there! They do not deserve this crap!!!!