Friday, March 23, 2007

Tolerance

A little while ago, I posted about how the local gay and lesbian health center, Howard Brown, does not have the word "gay" or "lesbian" or "homosexual" on any of their advertisements that they plaster all over the city's buses and trains.

My lovely friend Angel, who has provided more HIV/AIDS prevention programming for young people in this city than almost anyone else I can think of, left this comment...

"You're so ACT UP! Once an 80's fag, always an 80's fag."

I laughed so hard because it is so true.

At 37, I am at a strange age in the gay community. I remember my friends dying so quickly from AIDS that I didn't have a chance to say goodbye. And I also have lived a full decade with protease inhibitors keeping my HIV-positive friends alive for far longer than any of us thought was possible.

I have lived to a point in our history when television has hits like WILL & GRACE and QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY. I've lived to see an out lesbian host the Academy Awards and I've seen her girlfriend attend the ceremony - - as her girlfriend!!!

Hell, other than Jim J. Bullock on TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT, there WERE no gay people on television when I was growing up!

I know that we've come far, but I feel like I'm living in a world surrounded by folks in The Mattachine Society and I'm aching to throw bricks at the cops outside of The Stonewall Inn.

Gays today are so concerned about people calling them a faggot. How about raging and screaming when gunmen bust into a room full of gay men at a New Year's Eve party on Chicago's south side and open fire and no one calls it a Hate Crime?

Gays are worried about Ann Coulter calling a straight Presidential candidate a faggot. How about rioting when Andrew Anthos is beaten to death with a pipe?

This is Andrew Anthos. Andrew's death angers me.

Just a few weeks ago, he was a 72 year old gay man living on disability who had been working for years and years on a dream of his...

To light the Dome of the Michigan State Capitol.

To make it glow red, white and blue once a year to honor veterans and police officers.


On February 13th, he was riding home from the library on the bus, quietly singing along to the music on his headphones, when a young man asked him if he was a faggot.

Andrew ignored him and got off the bus, but the young man followed him. Andrew then started helping a friend of his in a wheelchair who was stuck in some snow and the young man again asked him if he was a faggot.

Andrew said yes. Then the "young man" hit Andrew in the back of the head with a pipe as Andrew's friend yelled for him to stop.

Andrew then slipped into a coma.


Andrew died 2 days later.


One of the articles I read about Andrew's murder said...

"The Capitol dome should be lit to honor what Anthos, in his death, has come to symbolize: the patriotic ideals of peace, inclusion and tolerance."

Of course, the Capitol Dome should be lit in Andrew's honor. Money should pour in from gay and lesbians across the country to make Andrew's longtime dream a reality.

But as for those "patriotic ideals"...

Peace? Absolutely.

Inclusion? Alright. I've give you that one.

Tolerance? Fuck No!

I don't want to be "tolerated."

I "tolerate" the long line to get a drink at Sidetrack. I "tolerate" seeing my ex in public. I "tolerate" the sucky lyrics to WICKED.

I don't want to be "tolerated" and Andrew's death should not stand for "Tolerance."

Andrew's death and the death of Matthew Shepard, Harvey Milk and all of my friends who died of AIDS before Ronald Reagan would even say the fucking word must lead to Acceptance.

And if gays won't be accepted by straights, then we gay men and lesbians need to get angry. And scream and yell and rant and rage until no one else can ever be bludgeoned to death for admitting, openly and honestly, who he is!

Thank God, Larry Kramer is back. But sadly, what Larry said about AIDS years ago is still true to this day.

"Who cares if a faggot dies?"

5 comments:

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I agree, you should have nothing less than full acceptance.

Master Aaron said...

MARY ELIZABETH RADER, since WHEN did you start tolerating the lyrics to Wicked?!?!?!? When did THAT shit occur?

On a more serious note, Yup. And also, so true. And thanks for saying it. And kudos for being someone who walks their talk. And thanks for talking when so many of the rest of us have gotten comfortablein our condos.

Stephen Rader said...

Aaron - First off, how did you know my proper full name? "Mary Elizabeth" is what's writtn on my birth certificate, but I thought I had destroyed that document to hide my age. I hope it at least lists my birth year as a proper "1985."

That WICKED cast raises a lot of money for people living with AIDS. As long as that continues, I will tolerate the lyrics to WICKED. I give and I give...

Thank you for saying that I walk the talk - - I hope I do. And you may be in a condo now, my dear, but you will never stop raging against assholes. You always speak the truth - - even when it hurts - - and I adore you for it.

Master Aaron said...

Oh, I forgot that I wasn't quite finished. Is the use of the word "faggot" the last taboo? Can we double-fist each other at a het/homo cocktail party, but not use that unforgivable word? And while I'm on this rant, if you advertise for leather encounters on a web site specifically devoted to such devotees, post pictures of your posterior, waxed, vacuumed and pried open so wide that even the casual observer can check for Jimmy Hoffa, and describe yourself in the narrative as a "sub," or a "heavy use bottom," or a "slave looking for 24/7 ownership," and then you freak out at the word "faggot," WHAT UNIVERSE ARE YOU LIVING IN, BITCH?

Oh my. I didn't know that demon was in here.

Stephen Rader said...

Aaron - Preach it, brother, PREACH IT!!!

Who is this "sub?" Sounds like a scene with him would be about as fun as listening to a hip-hop album with Tipper Gore.

What a stupig fag he is. :)