One year later
Reading Judy Shepard’s words one year after her son Matthew was bmtally and senselessly murdered really tugged at my heart [“The Shepard Family Heals,” October 12]. I pray I never have to face that ldnd of pain. Judy reaffirms the lessons often learned while on the grief journey: Don’t take too much for granted, don’t wait to share your feelings and to understand that everyone goes through grief in their own way. Thank you for bringing her grief journey to light with such accuracy and reality. Unfortunately, this story is “preaching to the choir.” We need to enlighten middleclass America outside Laramie.
Jayan Landry Conlin, Andover, Mass.
The statement by Jay Fromkin, spokesman for the University of Wyoming, makes one understand exactly why the Shepard murder occuffed there [“A Town Reflects on Itself,” October 12]. Fromkin’s ass is in the air, and his head in the sand. He fails to understand what Shepard’s murder was all about and what it means for his school and community. When will it hit people that Shepard was a healthy undergraduate seeking sexual oudet (not a prohibited activity among straight students) when he went to the Fireside Lounge? What happened afterward does not seem to bother Fromkin as much as it should.
R. Baird Shuman, via the Internet
Matt was my good friend, and his death changed me in many ways; I look at the world a little less naively now and have a strength to deal with adversity against gays that I have not always had. Every once in a while something occurs here in Laramie that causes me to question the wisdom of staying in Wyoming, but the memories of my friend fuel me again, and I approach the world with a more positive outlook. Other things that help are magazines such as yours. When I see articles that help to keep the memory of my friend Matt alive, it does my heart proud. I hope you continue to present your informative, insightful views of gayness; after all, it’s a world for all people, of every race, creed, color, and sexual orientation.
Ronnie Gustafson, Laramie, Wyo.
Bradley vs. Gore
It was a pleasure to read that Bill Bradley has the integrity to tell it like it is about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act [“Bill Bradley Wants You!” October 12]. Bill Clinton and Al Gore have given a lot of lip service to gay rights, but their record is “don’t ask, don’t tell.” And I know I am not the only gay man who is embarrassed that the so-called gay rights president is associated with the most pathetic sexual misdeeds of any president in history. Gore has continually defended Clinton; voting for him is giving aly proval to personal dishonesty.
David Havelka, Irvine, Calif.
My vote goes to Gore. Bradley sounds good, but so many do in the beginning. Despite letters to the contrary, Gore is as good a friend to the gay community as any rve heard and read about in your pages. The reality is, no one person will do what all of our diverse community wants. Gore has many times over proved he is on our side. We must remember that we are not the only group or issue the president must address.
Wayne Menger, San Francisco, Calif.
First we have Clinton setting us up with his “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy while winking at the military’s intensified campaign to weed out gay personnel. And what a leader he proved to be by signing the Defense of Marriage Act. Now we have Bradley pandering to gays by telling The Admcate he opposes the Knight initiative, but when the time came to take a real stand, he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. Yeah, he’s another politician I can trust–and support.
Ed Rybka, Culver City, Calif.
Finally–a presidentiai candidate I can vote for without holding my nose! I thought I would support Gore until I read his interview. The Bradley interview was concise and informative.
Scott Seibert, Portland, Ore.
Bradley is apparently a decent man with rational, humane ideas about homosexuality. So is Gore. Maybe George W. Bush is too. However, like all successful politicians, when they find they are too far ahead of their troops, they make strategic retreats from significant action, leaving their gay supporters more frustrated and demoralized than ever. It is time for us to get over our infatuation with the presidency and concentrate on legislatures and the courts, where the power to make and enforce our rights really lies.
Steven Glogger, Philadelphia, Pa.
Why don’t you just concede the election to the Republicans! I opened my October 12 Advocate to see the banner BILL BRADLEY’S GAY GOALS. Should he be nominated, this banner will be used in every right-wing flier and advertisement. It will not matter if his opponent “disavows” these groups; it will get the play they want.
Duke Himmelreich, Norwalk, Conn.
Right on, Maude!
What? No gay-themed Maude episode [“Gays Go Maude,” October 12]? I watched the show as a child. Most of the social issues probably went over my head, but I distinctly remember the episode in which Maude’s neighbor, Arthur, is upset about a gay bads proximity, as he saw it, to a school. Maude scoffs, saying the children would have to take two buses and a taxi to get from one to the other. I remember their visiting the bar and Maude’s husband Waiter’s being rebuked for ordering orange juice. I didn’t get it, until someone explained the Anita Bryant connection. The best part was when Maude ridicules Arthur’s concerns by saying something like, “Has it never occurred to you that gay people are people?”
Sean Sell, San Diego, Calif.
Telling our stories
I was pleased to see The Advocate lifting the veil on the influence of gays in children’s books with its excellent article on Remy Charlip. However, I confess to thinking “The Gay Dr. Seuss” [October 12] was likely to be about Tomie dePaola, illustrator of more than 200 children’s books, Larry Dane Brimner, author of close to 100 books (some specifically touching on gay issues), or the late James Marshall, author of George and Martha. I hope youql continue to showcase the broad diversity of our community.
Robert Flowers, San Diego, Calif.
In so many words
Gabriel Rotello’s plea for a “word for those who lived and loved and lusted for people of the same sex before modern words like homosexual were coined” is worth considering [Last Word, October 12]. Perhaps modeled on the same classical improvisation as lesbian, we queer men could call ourselves thamyrians, from Thamyris, who, according to Robert Graves, was the first man who ever wooed one of his own sex. Since it’s already succumbed to unmourned desuetude, maybe there’s no chance of resurrecting uranian to mean (again) a man who is sexually same-minded. My own favorite ungendered possibility is Gerald Heard’s coinage of isophyl in an essay in Mark Thompson’s Gay Spirit. Heard doesn’t offer its etymology, but I presume it means “same kind.” Whether or not the ancient Greeks deserve to be called homosexuals, it seems fair to think of some of them as isophyls. Then we could also speak of Abe Lincoln and Emily Dickinson as probably having isophylic proclivities.
Joel Michael, York, Pa.
Regardless of what the academics say, I think most of us can clearheadedly refer to Michelangelo as gay. Da Vinci? Gay. Alexander the Great? Gay. Who cares if they didn’t see themselves as gay? They were gay, just as nearsighted people were nearsighted even before science gave us the term nearsighted.
Dave Gantt, Washington, D. C.
If we must play the silly little game of defending our uranian heritage semantically, then the proper name for the historically self-inclined would be arrows, as in, “Arrows by any other name still knows a good thing when it gets it.” Can we really take “deconstructionists” seriously, or is this just another closet game?
Richard Christiansen, Glorieta, NM.
For the record
The photo of Hillary Clinton on page 51 of the September 14 issue of The Advocate was provided by Reuters.
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