I want to commend you on a revealing interview with George Michael ["All the Way Out," January 19]. Unfortunately, he is the perfect poster child for the religious right. While he admits to having only a few gay friends, he characterizes gay men as promiscuous, incapable of monogamy, unstable in relationships, and lacking in sufficient nurturance to parent children. It appears he does so to justify his own excesses and conflicted self-image. His description of the great honesty and intimacy between him and his partner reads a lot more like codependence and enabling behavior. Michael needs to stop projecting his internalized homophobia, get out of denial and into recovery, and stop giving ammunition to our enemies.
Jeff Feathergill Helena, Mont.
I am a 24-year-old straight female and have admired Michael since I was 10 years old. Your article was one of the best I've read about him in years. It is so nice to see how happy he finally seems to be now that he is openly out, has his greatest hits CD in stores, and has a very cute and caring boyfriend. I am pleased that Michael handled his bathroom incident with such dignity and humor--that's the George we have come to know and love!
Ally Sweet, New Orleans, La.
To blame the police or the press for his arrest suggests that Michael is a victim Not likely. He did what he did for the thrill, the shame, maybe even the publicity. In the process he reinforced the stereotype that gays are sexual deviants who prey upon innocent straight people. The only victim I see is the gay community.
Mitch Hagan, Indianapolis, Ind.
I'm not convinced Michael doesn't still think of himself as bisexual. It's entirely possible the love of his life may turn out to be a woman. Even if he ends up having, as he so amusingly put it, "a retro hetero" moment, I will continue to admire him for his candor and straightforwardness. What an excellent role model he has become!
Don Charles, Kansas City, Mo.
I must admit to having had a Michael poster in my room as a teenager. It was never a tip-off as to my own sexuality because my mother and sister were both just as fond of him as I secretly was. Michael has become only more handsome with age, and his abilities continue to entertain. Perhaps it is his talent that prompts his jealous and unrelenting accusers.
Mycah Wells, Charleston, S.C.
The daily grill
In her hectoring interview of Andrew Sullivan, Sarah Schulman came across as Jane Fonda at her doctrinaire loopiest ["Man in the Hot Seat," January 19]. Schulman thinks Sullivan has been "selected by the dominant group." Where does this dominant group meet? In the cafeteria of The New York Times? In Trent Lott's basement? The implication that Sullivan is somehow perceived as a safer, gentler version of "real" gay people (i.e., Schulman and her pals) is ludicrous. Sullivan is published widely and regularly for his qualities of lucidity, passion, and wit. Period.
Michael Neville, Milwaukee, Wis.
I was stunned by Sullivan's Victorian attitude that "people who have sex outside of love are operating from a place of low self-esteem." Just because some of us do not subscribe to monogamy does not mean we are unable to construct meaningful emotional relationships. And when he says "the gay movement was hijacked in the '70s" and that Stonewall "was a diversion from our capacity to integrate into society," he is really preaching assimilation and advocating that we remain in the closet.
Robert Schanke, Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Schulman's interview with Sullivan revealed more about her personal axes to grind than it did about his views. Her accusatory line of questioning about his thoughts on abortion and her cynicism about why he has become such a prominent gay spokesperson struck me as inappropriate. I would have liked to hear more about his book, not another rehash of "assimilation vs. liberation."
Dorie Clark, Somerville, Mass.
Kudos to Schulman for pointing out that Sullivan's political stance represents an attack on the hard-won gains of second- and third-wave feminist thought. For a gay man to fail to think about the relationship between the oppression of women and the oppression of queers is a terrific error.
Carol Guess, Bellingham, Wash.
Schulman has no right to indict Sullivan or anyone else for choosing a different means of attempting to effect change. Schulman may indeed believe that protesting in St. Paul's makes same-sex marriage more palatable to straight America. The straight Americans I know agree with Sullivan: Such a claim is ludicrous.
Tony Phillips, Chicago, Ill.
From too gay to ex-gay As an out 19-year-old lesbian attending graduate school on a campus with one other openly gay student, I found Michelangelo Signorile's article "What Happened to Gay?" [January 19] a welcome one. Since coming to this school, I have repeatedly been informed by well-meaning fellow students that I am "too gay" and that I would be more popular if I would "tone things down a bit." I tolerated this advice, only to be informed by the other openly gay student that I am "not gay enough."
Gays will never gain real ground in our fight for equality until we practice what we preach: acceptance of difference. All I know is that I am gay and cannot change that. If I could, I would be able to return to my fundamentalist Christian parents' home and would not be working full-time to put myself through school and spending this holiday alone in an empty dorm.
Christie Norton, Syracuse, N.Y.
Signorile's argument against the ex-gay movement is well-intentioned but based on some fallacies. Had liberal and moderate ex-gays not been excluded from [creating] the ex-gay newspaper campaign, the ads would have defended the welfare of gay youth, denounced hate crimes, and acknowledged that gays are valued members of the nation's congregations--all without compromising ex-gays' message that choice is a factor in one's sexuality. There is nothing "dangerous" about ex-gays' acknowledging that sexuality is fluid. What/s dangerous? The theft of sexuality and spirituality by the religious right--and the demonization of entire categories of people (gays and ex-gays) based on the actions of a few. By not dialoguing with open-minded ex-gays and heterosexuals, we risk demonizing our allies as well as our enemies.
Mike Airhart, Washington, D.C.
You may have left your readers the wrong impression about the REMEMBER MATTHEW button displayed with your article "Matthew Shepard Inc.?" [January 19]. This button was not part of any fund-raising appeal It was paid for by One in Ten, the presenting organization of Washington, D.C.'s gay and lesbian film festival, and provided to the more than 20,000 festival attendees. The purpose of these buttons was to help a grieving community.
Mark Betchkal, Washington, D.C.
The objections to "money [being made] off [Shepard's] murder" and the depiction of these money-raising efforts as "disgusting" make it seem as if the groups referencing Shepard (of which we are one) are for-profit enterprises, personally benefiting from the exploitation of his tragedy. What the article fails to mention is that there are groups that have been working tirelessly on the issue of hate crimes for years--with relatively minor community support in comparison to the support garnered by other gay causes. If any good can be attributed to this catastrophe, it is the fact that Shepard's crucifixion was a wake-up call to a heretofore complacent pool of financial supporters. I agree that groups not doing antiviolence work should be called to task if they "exploit" Shepard to raise funds.
Richard Haymes Executive director, New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
For the record
In the article "For Bitter or for Worse" in our December 8, 1998, issue, we reported that religious groups spent $2.2 million in support of Hawaii's November ballot initiative against same-sex marriage. Two groups cited in the stow, Focus on the Family and the Mormon Church, were among several that contributed the $2.2 million; these two, however, did not spend that total amount. The Advocate regrets any confusion that may have been caused regarding these groups.
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|Publication:||The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)|
|Date:||Feb 16, 1999|
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