The issue of the proposed Shelby County ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation baffles the mind. Commissioner Wyatt Bunker's statement that men would be wearing dresses in the workplace is not simply misinformed rhetoric, it shows his incompetence as a civil servant to interpret the regulations he has been elected to establish.
Most large companies have dress-code policies. I work for a Memphis corporation that employs a lot of gay men. I've never seen any of them wearing a dress. Why is it so difficult for citizens of Memphis, of all places, to recognize the value of doing what is forthright and forward-thinking rather than continue to propagate stereotypes, prejudice, and hatred?
The signs the sanitation workers held stated "I Am a Man." They didn't say "I Am a Black Man," "I Am a Gay Man," "I Am a [insert whatever you need to here] Man." Is it so difficult to be a city where companies want to bring their businesses and where their employees want to work?
My challenge to Memphis: Stop political infighting; stop the corruption; stop promoting personal interests; and do the right thing for the community as a whole. Do what is right for your neighbor. Do what is right for your fellow citizens.
I've been reading and hearing a lot lately about gay marriage, as if that is the only right we homosexuals are denied. I keep hearing ridiculous and trite debates between homophobic straight people and all-too-often complicit gay people over what rights I deserve. My e-mail inbox is overflowing with requests for donations to legal and political campaigns that are taking too long for baby-step results, if any.
Why aren't we fighting with the spirit of the Stonewall rioters? Why aren't we lying down in churches, wearing blood-red hand prints like ACT UP did? Why aren't we in the streets en masse screaming our demands for "Civil Rights or Civil War; Gay Rights Now"?
To every person who has cast a vote against my equality, to every person who thinks it is cute or clever to say "that's so gay," to every homophobic person of any degree, remember this: You can debate my rights forever, and it will not matter. Your hate does not change me. Your laws do not change me. I am still queer, and I am still right in front of you.
I am serving your food to you in restaurants. I am ringing up what you buy at the cash register. I am taking you where you need to go. I am entertaining you on the radio, on television, at the movies, and on the sports field. I am performing your life-saving operation. I am teaching your children. I am defending you in a lawsuit. I am transporting your goods. I am building your homes.
I have always been here, and I always will be. You cannot, you will not, change or get rid of me. I am queer. And I will remind you every chance I get.
The City Budget
I loved last week's Letter from the Editor. Bruce VanWyngarden argued that the city should maintain essential police and fire department services by cutting unnecessary and wasteful spending from the bloated budgets of overstaffed city agencies. I hope to see more editorial comments — and perhaps investigative reporting and stories — like this. I think the city's "shareholders" would appreciate more reporting of the detailed proposed expenditures in the city budget, as well as actual city expenditures for last year.
I am also happy to see that, of all people, the Flyer editor is taking the lead in espousing the conservative principles of cutting wasteful government spending, ensuring essential government services are effectively and efficiently performed, and (trusting but) verifying that city government officials are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
Regarding Tim Sampson's latest Rant on Dick Cheney: Cheney protests President Obama for "criminalizing" the Bush/Cheney administration's actions.
Did Nixon teach Cheney nothing? Outing CIA agents, warrantless wire-tapping, and torture are crimes. He says we can't safely imprison terrorists. If any Democrats said that, he'd call them unpatriotic. Why is he all over television but not before Congress under oath?
The Democrats won. If Cheney can't take it, he should go crying back into his hole. As Republicans used to say: Support the president.
J. Andrew Smith
Corrections: Sabrina Ball's and Randall Grahm's names were misspelled in last week's edition.