™ I found Rip Corley's column on "What
About Being Gay on the Job?" both
amusing and terribly sad. It was nothing
but an echo ofthe old straight maxim
that "if you stay in your place, we won't
bother you," i.e., second-class citizen.
Corley's statement that our need for
protective employment laws was "probably true" indicated to me a total lack of
understanding of the situation. If there
were such laws, even the most closeted,
paranoid Gay would not have to fear a
"camp" remark being directed toward
him or her. In any case, it seems that the
employer should enter such a situation
only when the persons involved fail to
resolve any difficulties. I do not wish to
under-emphasi/e discretion, but how one
wishes to be treated is a personal and
individual choice, and it is the individual's
responsibility to communicate this to
another, not the employer's.
Straights also use camp, and office
morale will not be upset is camp statements, gay or straight, are taken for what
they are: humorous.
t I also was wondering if there is anything
Pibout Gay People that Mr. Corley does
like. His first two columns seem to me to
have been telling us how to be more like
straights, and I don't think the straights
have been doing such a great job of running the world.
Also, has Mr. Corley forgotten his Gay
Sisters? If his column is going to address
itself to the entire Gay Community, it
should stop condemning the Queens (for
they are Gay) and ignoring the Lesbians
(for they are Gay, too).
The "Rappin' with Rip (Corley)" column in your last issue ("What about
being gay on the job?") trivializes the
issue of employment discrimination
against gays. Gays are not seeking the
right to "camp" or "tell dirty jokes" on
the job, but the right to have the job, free
from the fear of being fired if their employers should discover that they are gay.
I have often heard the anti-gay argument: "sure you can be gay, as long as
you don't flaunt it." Corley's argument
comes dangerously close to this, with his
distinction between "gays who are fired
merely for being gay" and gays who are
"provocative in their manner."
Would merely revealing oneself to be
gay constitute a "provocation" in Corley's eyes?
It is unfortunate to see a gay commentator give so much ground to the anti-gay
arguments used to justify the denial of
Dear Brother Allen:
About your paper. It's really nice:it
gives information that is needed in the
community. We need to become more
aware of, and more in touch with our
own community, since the Het media has
blacked us out of view. I'm glad to see
that many cities around the country are
beginning to work inside the community,
as well as outside.
Please keep me on your mailing list
since I want to know all that is happening in your area, and it seems that can be
done by reading the Community News.
In Gay Love.
Mark Segal, Executive Director
NEW TEXAS PUBLICATION
(Houston) Pointblank Times, a new publication for lesbian/feminists, began publication in Houston this month.
The first issue includes articles such as
"Plain Brown Wrapper: The Lesbian in
Modern Novels." poetry, impressions,
news affecting lesbian/feminists and more.
Subscriptions are $3 for 12 issues from
Pointblank Times, 1241 W. Bell. No. 4.
Houston, TX 77019.
Public Action vs. Private Lobbying
An issue confronting gays in the effort to repeal Section
21.06 and other discriminatory laws is the problem of public
action vs. private lobbying. As we face a traditionally conservative public, we have to ask ourselves which of the two approaches will further serve the interests of gay people. Judging
from the experience of other gay groups, the answer overwhelmingly would have to be public action.
We have seen in other states and regions campaigns which
succeeded in removing offensive statutes through quiet, competent lobbying. But we have also seen these private successes
overturned by all-too-public reactionary campaigns. Reinstatement of anti-gay statutes in Colorado and Idaho are the
best examples of this.
The inadequacy of a campaign depending entirely on private
lobbying lies in the fad thai il docs not teach the closet. It
does not signal to anonymous and isolated gays the majority
of Kinsey's 10% - that they have brothers and sisters who are
Standing up for their rights. It should bo our duty to aim our
efforts towards these gays, as well as to civil libertarian public
hppinlon. A public campaign will have a chance to reach these
'gays as well as public opinion, and this is the important
point for gays - it will have this effect oven if the campaign is
defeated by a political reaction from the right wing. We have
nothing to fear from such a defeat.
Suppose, on the other hand, that our efforts succeed privately but are reversed by a right-wing campaign. This is the sort
of defeat which does only harm to the gay movement. The
media, one of the few tools we have in reaching our brothers
and sisters who must remain in the closet, would carry no news
ofthe reform. And the public forum would be abandoned to
the repetitious and familiar arguments of the right wing, which
would only be too happy to seize the publicity we had foregone. The defeat in New York City to enact anti-discrimination ordinances was really a victory of sorts: at least we now
know what weapons the reactionaries are going to use against
us. The gays there came very close, and the next time the\
try they will likely succeed. But the gays in Colorado are in a
more difficult position.
There is a place and a need for competent lobbying, which
after all is simply the petitioning of government for a redress
of grievances. But to assure meaningful results it should be
coupled with a public campaign. Defeated openly, we could
return again. And if we succeeded openly, drawing out the
poisons from the right in the process, our success would more
likely be permanent.' Michael Merrill
COMMUNITY NEWS MARCH-APRIL 75 3