Editorial: The safest place is ‘out’

BTL Staff
By | 2018-01-16T16:02:20-05:00 September 20th, 2007|Uncategorized|

A key role for the LGBT press is to frame the issues of the day, and help create a dialogue about the controversies that face us all. Here at BTL, we take that role seriously, sometimes have fun with it, but we always seek to tell the truth as we see it, through the most honest lens with which we can focus.
This week our reporter in Lansing received a death threat from the so-called “Army of God” because he is consistently writing the truth about radical right wing activists here in Michigan. The threat seems to try and quiet our reporter, and this paper, by instilling fear. But it has had the opposite impact on us.
We believe that the safest place is out in the open, where anyone can see us, understand us, and if it moves them to, then criticize us too. It would be counterproductive in the extreme for Between The Lines to hide, or to temper our remarks about domestic terrorist groups, especially in reaction to a threat.
We recognize there are risks associated with our right to free speech and a free press. There may be individuals who will take the law into their own hands and try to physically hurt us or our reporter, Todd Heywood. But we believe that those risks exist anyway, and the only way to counter such outrageous attempts to stifle us is to speak out all the more loudly. We also recognize the need for prudent precautions which we have implemented.
Michelle Brown writes this week about a letter received by Ann Perrault and Jackie Victor, a highly visible lesbian couple, owners of Avalon International Breads in Detroit, and parents of two adorable children. The writer of the letter tries to convince Perrault and Victor that they are sinners because of their sexual orientation. It is important to note though, that these out, brave women received many other letters and emails after the story appeared in the Detroit Free Press- all of which were positive and supportive. Social change always occurs gradually, and over the span of the last few decades the nature of response letters to out LGBT people has shifted decidedly in our favor. It is the few, strident critics that are becoming the vocal minority.
It’s been said many times that if every LGBT person were suddenly recognizable, the world would become more accepting. There are simply too many of us, and too many important relationships that intertwine us all. That may be true. But we know that the right to express ourselves as out, open, proud LGBT people is the essence of our movement for social change and acceptance. We will not back down and we applaud others who will stand proud too.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.