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S/he said: Elton, Olympics and Dr. Oz

By | 2018-01-16T14:41:47-05:00 March 4th, 2010|Opinions|

Compiled by Howard Israel

“While persecution remains a reality for most of these gay characters, just as it does in many movies and television shows featuring gay love stories, the widening acceptance of AIDS as a pandemic rather than a gay disease, and the broadening debate on gay marriage and gay soldiers, have led, and have to some extent freed, writers and producers to use a wider lens to explore a broader landscape. The new shows this season, meanwhile, are at their heart about remarkably unremarkable love stories – romantic or platonic – among gay people. In some ways the shift from explicit political statements to subtler storytelling reflects the debate in gay political circles about whether to continue fighting at the ballot box and in the courts for gay rights immediately or instead to take a longer view that involves building alliances and giving time for more Americans to come around on issues like gay marriage.”
– Patrick Healy, in his review of NYC’s new season of plays, titled “New Gay Theater Has More Love Than Politics,” http://www.nytimes.com, Feb. 23.

“I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East – you’re as good as dead.”
– Elton John, in an interview titled “I Have So Much More To Do,” http://www.parade.com, Feb. 20.

“People in the gay community have to realize they’ve got to take themselves out of it. It’s not against anybody. I’ve been getting heat for this, but there are people behind me saying that they appreciate it. It’s about what people can identify with when they’re watching the sport. It doesn’t have anything to do with gayness. Effeminate men can identify with effeminate skating. Masculine men can’t identify with that. When I watch it, I can’t identify because I don’t move like that. My consciousness doesn’t feel like that. It’s the way you carry yourself. There’s a certain strength to it when a masculine skater steps onto the ice and attacks a program. With the feminine skaters, the use of the hands becomes very soft, down to the fingertips. There’s a lot of little details, but essentially you can pick up on it in the first few movements. It has a lot to do with choreography. A lot of the choreographers out there, the male ones, are very effeminate. The skater ends up picking up that style. As a male skater I don’t want to be considered a beautiful skater. I want to be a strong skater.”
– Elvis Stojko, ’94 and ’98 Olympic silver medalist figure skater, in an interview titled “Can figure skating go butch?,” about the effeminate image of men’s figure skating, http://www.salon.com, Feb. 15.

“I want to talk about ice skating. You are not asking Sven Kramer (Dutch, European and World All-round Champion skater) about how his relationship is going. So why would you ask me? If I would’ve had a relationship with a guy, you wouldn’t have asked me either.”
– Ireen Wuest, openly gay Dutch speed skater and Olympic Gold winner in women’s 1.500 meter speed skating at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, responding to reporters who were more interested in her relationship with Dutch speed skater Sanne van Kerkhof than her ice skating, http://eurout.org, Feb. 14.

“Politicians who deny gays and lesbians basic equality should be thrown out of office.”
– Bill Smith, deputy executive director of the Gill Action Fund and adviser to the “Fight Back New York” group, a political action committee of well-financed gay rights advocates which has started to take aim at state senators who have opposed same-sex marriage, http://www.nytimes.com, Feb. 24.

“In the introductory segment of his hour-long health show, Dr. Mehmet Oz hosted two transgender children and their families to discuss their process of realizing and embracing their respective identities. Eight-year-old Josie and her mother Vanessia, members of the organization Trans Youth Family Allies, talked about first learning the word transgender and how drastically Josie’s life improved once she stopped being forced into a masculine identity that did not fit her. Next, 15-year-old Isaac and his parents Arturo and Monica explained how they decided that taking hormone blockers and undergoing a double-mastectomy would be best for him. While references to surgery and anatomy did come up, Dr. Oz did not focus on those aspects of their stories. Instead, the producers refreshingly included footage of Isaac stating that while the hormones and surgery helped, ‘I’ve always been me.'”
– Anna Wipfler, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s Transgender Advocacy Fellow, in her blog titled “‘The Dr. Oz Show’ Raises the Bar for Transgender Talk Show Coverage,” about the respect and accuracy with which Dr. Oz presented and discussed a topic that has often been mishandled by media professionals, http://glaadblog.org, Feb. 18.

“Prejudice against lesbian and bisexual women in sports discourages girls and women from participating in sport out of fear of being called ‘lesbian.’ Homophobic attitudes and policies that target lesbian and bisexual athletes, coaches and administrators perpetuate this prejudice. Homophobia pervades all of sport, influencing the lives of male as well as female athletes. Addressing homophobia in women’s sport and in men’s sport acknowledges the web of sexism, homophobia and gender oppression that can limit the experiences of athletes of all genders and sexual orientations. “It Takes A Team!’ reflects this inclusive approach to addressing homophobia in sport. Though ‘It Takes A Team!’ focuses on LGBT issues in sport, we are committed to creating athletic climates that are respectful and safe for people of all races, religions, abilities and socio-economic statuses.”
– Women’s Sports Foundation, about its program designed to end homophobia in sports, http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org, Feb. 2010.

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 27th anniversary.