S/he said

By |2009-08-27T09:00:00-04:00August 27th, 2009|Opinions|

Compiled by Howard Israel

“Core Asian values can stifle a gay man’s ability to live happily. Instead of knitting families together, Confucian values, which heavily stress patriarchy, tear families apart. You’re expected to live at home, go to school, get married, have kids and have your parents live in your house. Because I’m gay, I can’t follow that. It’s not the same. I won’t have those kids. I won’t have that wife. Fear of failing is prevalent in Asian culture. When I was young, my parents made sure that I did everything correctly, without making mistakes. The experience made me feel that I would suffer if I didn’t do everything correctly. Being gay is no exception.

– Paul Nguyen, 19, in an article titled “When it’s stifling to be out: Gay Asian American men say cultural values keep them from coming out,” Northwest Asian Weekly http://www.nwasianweekly.com, July 30.

“I am very pleased to begin my support of The Trevor Project, which saves lives every day through its critical work. It’s extremely distressing to consider that in 2009, suicide is a top-three killer of young people, and it’s truly devastating to learn that LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. I deeply hope my support can raise the organization’s visibility so even more despondent youth become aware of The Trevor Helpline’s highly trained counselors and Trevor’s many other resources. It’s vitally important that young people understand they are not alone and, perhaps even more important, that their young lives have real value.”

– Daniel Radcliffe, “Harry Potter” star, in a statement about his major donation to The Trevor Project, the non-profit organization that operates the only nationwide crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth, http://www.thetrevorproject.org, Aug. 10.

“The idea that an 18 year old who has just experienced the greatest athletic victory of her life is being subjected to this very public humiliation is shameful to say the least. The people with something to hide are the powers that be in track and field, as well as in international sport. As long as there have been women’s sports, the characterization of the best female athletes as ‘looking like men’ or ‘mannish’ has consistently been used to degrade them. When Martina Navratilova dominated women’s tennis and proudly exposed her chiseled biceps years before Hollywood gave its imprimatur to gals with ‘guns,’ players complained that she ‘must have a chromosome loose somewhere.’ For years, women athletes had to parade naked in front of Olympic officials. This has now given way to more ‘sophisticated’ ‘gender testing’ to determine if athletes like Semenya have what officials still perceive as the ultimate advantage – being a man. Let’s leave aside that being male is not the be-all, end-all of athletic success. A country’s wealth, coaching facilities, nutrition and opportunity determine the creation of a world-class athlete far more than a Y chromosome or a penis ever could.”

– Dave Zirin & Sherry Wolf, in a column titled ‘Caster Semenya: The Idiocy of Sex Testing,’ about World-class South African athlete, Caster Semenya, age 18, and the controversy over the rumor that Semenya may be a man or not “entirely female,” http://www.thenation.com, Aug. 21.

“Is it likely that God made whole groups of people whom he or she despised? I mean, arrows have been thrown at women, at black people, at Jewish people and now, gay people – for not being ‘good enough’ or ‘right enough’ to be used by God. Is it likely that God would call people to work for him or her if God thought those persons were part of the bane of a society’s fabric? Is God so narrow-minded, and God’s scope so limited, that God would only want to use straight, white men to do his or her work?”

– By Susan K. Smith, senior pastor at the Advent United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio, in a guest column titled “It’s Not God’s Problem,” http://www.WashingtonPost.com, Aug. 5.

“I believe this may be the very first African-American church to hold a same gender wedding, and that’s something that just wouldn’t have happened years ago. But times are changing, people are becoming more accepting of their fellow citizens and we are slowly arriving at more of a ‘live-and-let-live’ kind of world. It’s not an easy process, and there have certainly been some detours along the way, but I think all the kind words I’ve received about this ceremony suggest we’re living in a friendlier, more open society. Our society is definitely making progress.”

– Cambridge, Mass. Mayor Denise E. Simmons, in a press release, announcing the marriage of Mayor Simmons and her longtime partner, Mattie B. Hayes, on Aug. 30, at historic St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge, http://queertwocents.blogspot.com, Aug. 21. Mayor Simmons is the first black lesbian mayor in the U.S.

“The actual factors behind the decline in marriage, the two legal scholars argue, relate to an expansion of choices for (heterosexual) couples that developed through the liberalization of laws related to divorce, sexuality, cohabitation and contraception. All of those changes had expanded heterosexual couples’ options and changed their choices long before countries opened eligibility to marriage or a marriage-like status to gay couples. The idea that conservatives could shore up marriage by maintaining a restriction on eligibility – keeping same-sex couples out – rather than by reversing the legal liberalization of marriage and related laws strikes (legal scholars and myself) as completely illogical.”

– M. V. Lee Badgett, author of “When Gay People Get Married,” a study of same-sex marriage using information and data gathered from the 16-year history of legal registered partnerships and same-sex marriage in Scandinavia and the Netherlands, http://www.AlterNet.org, Aug. 15.

“When I started in the mainstream it was the gays that lifted me up. I committed myself to them and they committed themselves to me, and because of the gay community I’m where I am today. (Before agreeing to tour with Kanye Wes, Gaga told him) I just want to be clear before we decide to do this together: I’m gay. My music is gay. My show is gay. And I love that it’s gay. And I love my gay fans and they’re all going to be coming to our show. And it’s going to remain gay. Gay culture shall gush undiluted into the rapids of society. It shall not be co-opted, fancified, dolled up, or Uncle Tommed. I very much want to inject gay culture into the mainstream. It’s not an underground tool for me. It’s my whole life. So I always sort of joke the real motivation is to just turn the world gay.”

– Lady Gaga, American singer-songwriter and musician, in an interview, explaining her devotion to gay culture, http://www.Out.com, September issue.

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.