One Community! One Voice!.
FEBRUARY 13. 1998
Established 1974 as the Montrose Star,
reestablished 19S0 as the Houston Montrose Star.
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incorporating the New Orleans Crescent City Star.
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Talking about community values
A queer form of political correctness tries to silence discussion of moral choices.
by CHRIS CRAIN
For all our talk about breaking
down societal taboos and giving voice
to unpopular points of view, we homosexuals have a verboten topic all our
own. We have an awfully difficult time
talking about moral values.
It's easy enough to understand why.
All our lives, lesbians and gay men
have been hammered into submission
by "family values" rhetoric and the
social and legal condemnation thai
has come along with it.
Understandably, we are wary of the
coercive power of public morality and
the relative ease with which media-
hungry politicians and religious leaders use talk about "values" as a wedge
to divide folks into convenient camps:
American vs. un-American, the saved
vs. the damned, us vs. them.
Our collective take on the historical
role of public "values" in this country
is not an attractive one. Judeo-
Christian moral values have been
used, many would say warped, to subdue ethnic minorities (particularly
blacks) and women inlo second-class
citizenship, while reserving full participation in American society for the
proverbial "straight white male." espe
cially those of the WASP variety.
** One by one, each of these oppressed
groups has thrown off the yoke of
value laden discrimination, and has
won civil rights, cultural acceptance,
and greater involvement in the life of
Now that il looks to be our turn
(finally) to live our lives without moral
condemnation from the outside, we
gays seem loath to open up Pandora's
box and allow a free-flowing dialogue
of our own about the "lifestyle choices"
we make as gay men and lesbians.
And woe to those who dan* by to
broach that forbidden subject mailer.
We eat Ihese heretics for lunch—pasting ihem with vicious personal
attacks, impugning their motives.
overstating their positions and. most
discouraging of all. tarring them as
"self-righteous" and accusing them of
acting like the Queer Moral Majority.
The ones on the cultural right take the
most heal. Gabriel Rotello. Michelangelo
Signorile. Andrew Sullivan. Camille
Paglia, even Larry Kramer—all caricatured as hypocritical, bitchy, moralizing airbags in something of a hysterical (panicked!?) over-reaction to their
very passionate arguments about the
kind of world we homosexuals should
be working toward.
Drug use, unsafe sex, public sex,
religion, sexism—each of us makes
choices in these areas that affect our
lives and the culture and society we
share. Why shouldn't these issues be
open lo vigorous, respectful and civil
debate? To be sure, none of these cultural critics is beyond personal criticism. r\nd some sling mud al Iheir
intellectual rivals wtth at least as
much rigor as do their critics.
But is that the point? Should personal attacks pass muster as social
criticism? Is it all about engaging in a
contest for whose private life best
reflects her moral philosophy? We
need to find a language with which we
can (alk about values without difference of opinion being confused for
condemnation. Otherwise, we have
managed to take live-and-let-live
moral relativism to an all new level:
Not only is your morality your own
business, but when someone else
shares her ideas about values and life
choices, she's somehow violating your
Why be offended when someone else
questions your ethical choices?
Because il mighl make you second-
guess your own value system? Because
you're sick and tired of having to
defend your life to someone else, thank
you very much? To bow out of that
conversation is to check out of life, or at
least a thoughtful, examined life.
We'll never win the hearts and
minds of Judeo-Christian middle
Americans if they adopt the same
head-in-the-sand intransigence to our
view of how the world should be.
Let's set an example, as a community, of how folks can thoughtfully and
respectfully examine iheir individual
value systems without condemnation,
recrimination or invoking governmental coercion.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Hi Ho Silver screen
■Just wanted to take an
opportunity to thank the
Houston Voice and reviewer
Stephen Underwood for the
excellent reception that you gave
the film "American Cowboy."
As a result of the review and
other coverage in the Houston
area, the film played lo a sold-
out crowd at MFA's Brown
Auditorium. The audience was a
wonderful mix of people many of
whom indicated that they had
come because of Mr,
As the executive producer of
the film, I just wanted to let you
know that we appreciate the
work of your fine publication
and that I turn to it myself every
week to be in the know about
Houston's events, happenings
and special film offerings.
Keep up the good work.
* IJart-iss'-Wiaf could bave.Wn.
——\?u*r vneflen'-f .
labTech Mrotiauf WIY&A
barbie fcarWe barbie
I wanted to lake Ihis time to
commend you on a excellent
paper. These past weeks I have
noticed the layout of the paper
has been superb! As always the
articles are very informing and
(rue to the picture, bul the lav-
out has made the text to be a
delight to read and very enjoyable. I know (hat il takes super
leam work to publish a newspaper on a weekly basis. But the
editor should be congratulated
on working with a group of Individuals who can grab a readers
attention wilh the layoul of the
paper. I hope as the editor of the
Houston Voice you will pass this
Information on the the various
departments. And each and
everyone of you should pat your-
self on the back.
A devote reader
via the internet
FEBRUARY 13 1