Letters • December 26, 2008

Posted on 22 Dec 2008 at 4:32pm

The time for nice is past
I attended the protest on Dec. 10, at the Cathedral of Guadalupe and found it very disappointing. The organizers of the protest seemed more interested in media coverage than in getting the gay community’s point across. The church had a mass scheduled to start at 7 p.m., but the organizers gave a "rah-rah" speech at 6:35 p.m. and had the protest broken up by 6:45 p.m., just as churchgoers were arriving.

The church had costumed performers with drums banging going into church between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., seemingly in an attempt to draw attention from the protesters. Instead of us making noise, we quietly held signs— OK, this leather boy rattled his chain collar in protest to their drums. None of the organizers had ever heard of ACT-UP from the 1980s.

While many call for us to "open" communications with both the black and Hispanic communities, the time for that is over. They have stabbed us in the back with their lack of support and do not deserve and have not earned our support. It’s time we stand up for our rights and be ready to take them. They are not going to be handed to us and we must fight — yes, fight — for them.

People like Jesse Garcia of Stonewall Democrats and Chuck Schenck of Affirmation Dallas (a support group for gay Mormons) claim we should not "offend or isolate" the Hispanic or Mormon communities. Well, guess what! They have offended and upset our community, so now is the time for action. We need to look at the tactics of ACT-UP and show our oppontants we are not going to roll over and play dead.
In a recent interview on "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart brought up the point that while religions claim that being gay is a lifestyle choice, isn’t religion also a lifestyle choice? If it isn’t, then why do some people convert to other religions? Is that a lifestyle choice or the way they were born? It’s time to tell churches and religions that we don’t all agree with their Bibles or religious teaching, just as they may not agree with our lifestyles.

The time for us to be "nice" has passed. Talking has not worked. It’s time to show we mean business, and once we show we mean business, they will have no choice but to deal with us and give us our rights. Let our legacy not lead to camps but to freedom.

Hopefully all groups that are being passive-aggressive will remember in the 1960s when our "community leaders" were trying to "talk" to the straight community. It wasn’t until the Stonewall Riots that they sat up and took notice of us and realized we were a force to be dealt with and not just a group that they could quietly scare into a corner and tell to be good. We had the balls to say, "We’re mad as hell, and we’re not taking it anymore.

Ed "boy ed" Kosary,
American Leather boy 2006/07; South Central Leather boy 2004; Dallas Leather boy 2003

Zamboni explains resignation
Being a part of something so dynamic and so personal has been a wonderful experience. People have touched my heart so deeply, and are what continued my drive to keep Join The Impact-Dallas going after the City Hall rally in November. This has been an experience I will never forget. Unfortunately, my family has experienced a health-related blow. We learned last Thursday, Dec. 18, that my partner’s mother has cancer, which will require frequent travel to the East Coast. Gail and I weighed my options of remaining regional organizer with Join The Impact and came out with the decision to resign, which I did last Friday, Dec. 19.

It was a very difficult decision. I will remain active in the community and work on projects originally planned over the last two months, but some of the key reasons for this decision are listed below. I am in the final stage of placing two co-organizers in the position to take over JTI-Dallas. One is Elizabeth Pax. She has been involved since day one and will do a great job. The other position should be named shortly.

Organizing a coalition of sorts with representation from all existing groups will be key, giving the community a united voice. I encourage the organizations to become a part of this. Amy Balliett and Willow Witte, co-founders of JTI, are looking for my replacement for the regional position.

On the way out, there is a need to clarify some issues. One is the false information Blake Wilkinson of Queer Liberaction put out saying that DGLA, Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and other existing organizations were decision makers in the Prop 8 Rally. The decisions fell squarely on my shoulders. I knew no one and they helped shortcut me to contacts — we had four days to organize this event, and when things like the Spanish-speaking media request for Telemundo came in, they got me a contact and the interview was done.

Second is my sincere hope that with peer or community pressure, that Blake, Gabe Coppinger and anyone else will discontinue the full scale attack on me as well as Join The Impact-Dallas that started back on Nov. 10th. The sole reason was Blake wanted a march instead of a rally and I told him no. He wanted to bash the LDS church on stage and in the media, and I told him no. So instead of just accepting what the majority wanted and moving forward, a school-ground bully was formed and I was its target.

Despite pleas from the media and those close to me to address this in the open, I have, until now, remained largely silent about this. The only people these two 20-something young men have hurt is the LGBT community. Only with deep reservation and hesitation would I personally consider working with either of them on a joint project again.

Gabe continues to claim Dallas’ November rally received only 10 seconds of press. 10 seconds? Local coverage alone was over 1 minute per all four channels, plus Dallas Morning News (print and video) for local mainstream.

National highlights: Dallas led the Southern region at 365gaynews on Nov. 20. Dallas led AP reports from Vermont to California. The No On Prop 8 campaign has our coverage posted.

Gabe has received two pages of links for media. Queer Liberaction gauges the success of an event solely by media coverage it obtains, so by that standard, we were a success.

The vigil this past Saturday, Dec. 20, was wonderful. We had to make some last-minute changes, such as pulling all press releases except for Dallas Voice and DVtv, because late Thursday night, Dec. 18, Gabe and Blake disagreed with the decision to not have protest signs at our event. Later it was discovered Blake had also discussed this in his "public meeting" for QL. Instead of pulling the event, I pulled the press concerned with the news showing an internal counter-protest in front of all places, the Galleria. So if any of the 54 wonderful souls who stood out and froze without any mainstream press, you can thank Blake and Gabe of Queer Liberaction.

Go forward and work together. Get involved. Let our united voices be heard. Let us win what we want so deeply, and so rightfully deserve. We are on the brink of change that is so close we can almost taste it. Remember, we are here for the same end result.

Etta Zamboni
Dallas

Don’t mess with us!
So, Jesse Garcia thinks thinks the protest at the Cathedral of Guadalupe is "not going to be a very good first impression"? Wrong.

With Mexico and the Catholic Church’s long, often violent history of blatant homophobia, this is exactly the kind of first impression they need.

I heartily agree with Israel Luna: So what if their feathers get ruffled or their feelings are hurt. These "recent immigrants who can’t even vote" (translation:illegals) need to know from the start that in this country, queers are not to be messed with.

Donny Carr
Colleyville

Thanks for the ‘gift’
I have just read the Viewpoints section in the Dec. 19 issue of the Dallas Voice, and want to thank you for the nice "gift" this holiday! Finally, some points of view with real backbone in them.

I am so tired of reading letters that suggest we should take what we can get, and postpone true equality. It was great to see people standing up for their rights, especially with the stab-in-the back we got this week with Obama’s pick of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the inauguration.

We should not be in the position of explaining our need for civil rights but demanding them. Thank you Dori, Gabe and David for restoring my faith in the local gay/lesbian community. Right on!

Michael Cowan
Dallas

It’s about more than Warren
To my fellow members of the LGBT community:

Two facts are being ignored in this reactive discussion about the Rev. Rick Warren and the inauguration invocation led by the Human Rights Campaign and other members of our community.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery — a man who worked with Martin Luther King in the Southern Christian Leadership, a man who is a strong advocate for gay rights — is giving the benediction at the Inaugural of Barack Obama. Furthermore, approximately 170 members of the LGBA (Lesbian Gay Band Association) from across the United States will form a marching unit in the inaugural parade. LGBA will be a positive, visible representation of the LGBT community. Two members of the Oak Lawn Band will be part of that marching unit on Jan. 20. This is a celebration of historic proportion. Barack Hussein Obama will be our president in the truest sense of the word. We can either focus on the negative aspects of our society and continue mourning our sorry plight or join in celebrating the positive so that we may execute change that matters. Please join me in choosing the latter.

George K. Krieger
Dallas

Picking Warren par for the Obama course
When it comes to the uproar over Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation, the real shock is that the GLBT community should be surprised by Obama’s actions. They are eerily reminiscent of the Democratic Primary.

Early on, Obama put together an "Embrace the Change" group to tour the South that included Donnie McClurkin, a homophobic gospel singer who had severely disparaged gays and lesbians. When GLBT complaints were raised, Obama’s campaign responded with the same "come together" rhetoric it is using now in the Warren controversy.

In light of his conduct, it is incredible for Obama to claim, as he did in his press conference, that he is a "fierce advocate" for GLBT equality. A "fierce advocate" would invite a lesbian minister to deliver the invocation at the inauguration and then preach to those on the religious right who objected about "coming together."
The sad truth is Obama never was a "new breed" of politician. Many months ago, he made a cynical calculation that the GLBT community (1) had nowhere else to turn politically, and/or (2) was too small to matter, and therefore could be sacrificed when needed.

Nick Even
Dallas

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 26, 2008.

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