WBEZ | lgbt http://www.wbez.org/tags/lgbt Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Could Illinois' next governor undo same-sex marriage? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/could-illinois-next-governor-undo-same-sex-marriage-109844 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/thumb_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicagoan Christie Pettitt-Schieber has spent a lot of time thinking about the future of same-sex marriage in Illinois. Apparently, so has her girlfriend of two years.</p><p>As Pettitt-Scheiber tells it: &ldquo;She goes on Etsy all the time, and she will, pull up, like, hundreds and hundreds of engagement rings, and then force me to look at the website and go, &lsquo;Do you like this one? Do you like this one? What do you think about this one?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>But before they take the plunge, Pettitt-Schieber, 26, asked Curious City a more fundamental question about Illinois&rsquo; gay marriage law, which was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-says-he-will-sign-marriage-equality-bill-month-109084" target="_blank">approved by the legislature</a> late last year and is set to take effect statewide on June 1st.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Could the next governor reverse the same-sex marriage legislation that just passed?</em></p><p>Gay marriage has been a hot-button political issue in Illinois for a few years, and the allegiances and beliefs involved don&rsquo;t always break along party lines. After months of furious lobbying and nose-counting by both backers and opponents, the bill to legalize same-sex marriages passed by a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-says-he-will-sign-marriage-equality-bill-month-109084" target="_blank">narrow margin</a> in the state House in early November.</p><p>But the foundation of Christie&rsquo;s question gets to an apolitical issue: the relationship between the branches of Illinois government.</p><p><strong>Illinois Civics: 101</strong></p><p>To find out whether an Illinois governor could unilaterally undo the state&rsquo;s same-sex marriage law &mdash; or any law, for that matter &mdash; we called up Charles Wheeler, director of the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield and an expert on the state constitution.</p><p>Wheeler&rsquo;s answer is pretty straightforward: &ldquo;No.&rdquo;</p><p>But there&rsquo;s a civics lesson behind that &ldquo;no.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The Illinois governor has no ability to unilaterally rewrite the statutes,&rdquo; Wheeler said. The only way a governor could undo a state law was by the same way it was done in the first place: with the approval of a majority of state Senators and Representatives.</p><p>The closest an Illinois governor can get to ruling by fiat is an executive order, Wheeler said. But the <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con5.htm" target="_blank">Illinois Constitution</a> only lets governors use that power to reorganize parts of state government, not to magic away laws they dislike. And even then, the legislature can overturn an order.</p><p>But that doesn&rsquo;t mean governors haven&rsquo;t tried.</p><p>When former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois House in 2009, the charges against him weren&rsquo;t limited to the corruption that would later send him to prison. Buried in the <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/95/HR/09500HR1671.htm" target="_blank">laundry list</a> of Blagojevich&rsquo;s misdeeds was Article 9, which accused him of &ldquo;utter disregard of the doctrine of separation of powers&rdquo; when he unilaterally expanded a state healthcare program that the legislature rejected.</p><p>Complicating matters more recently is a ruling <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/judge-allows-same-sex-couples-marry-cook-county-starting-now-109751" target="_blank">last month</a> by Chicago Federal Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, ordering that gay couples in Cook County must be issued marriage licenses immediately, rather than waiting for the new law&rsquo;s original June 1 start date. Coleman <a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/140221%20Federal%20gay%20marriage%20ruling%20Cook%20County.pdf" target="_blank">wrote</a> that the state&rsquo;s current prohibition of same-sex marriages (which is still in effect until June) violates the U.S. Constitution. That ruling <a href="http://www.senatormccarter.com/index.cfm?sectionid=22&amp;parentid=21&amp;sectiontree=21,22&amp;itemid=532" target="_blank">put an end</a> to one downstate Illinois Senator&rsquo;s move to repeal the gay marriage law.</p><p>For Wheeler, all of this adds up to one conclusion: &ldquo;I would be willing to bet any amount of money that Illinois will not repeal same-sex marriage.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Answers from the candidates</strong></p><p>Given that any repeal of the gay marriage law would take an act of political will (versus executive decree), Curious City asked the two Democrats and six Republicans running in the March 18th gubernatorial primary whether they would work to overturn same-sex marriage.</p><p>Some answers required some tooth-pulling (as you&rsquo;ll hear in the <a href="#playlist">audio excerpts</a>&nbsp;below), but here&rsquo;s what they had to say.</p><p><strong>Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn:</strong> &ldquo;The Governor led the charge to make Illinois the 16th state to embrace full marriage equality, and he is proud to have gotten the job done,&rdquo; spokeswoman Brooke Anderson wrote in an email. &ldquo;This was a major step forward for Illinois. As long as he&rsquo;s Governor, he will defend this law and make sure all couples have equal rights in Illinois.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Democrat Tio Hardiman, anti-violence advocate:</strong> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the law. If somebody was to bring some legislation to my desk, we would look at it. But ... I plan to enforce that law. People need to be happy in their lives. I&rsquo;m not here to, you know, try to play God with people&rsquo;s lives.&rdquo;</p><p>The four candidates running for the Republican Party&rsquo;s nomination <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/79102861/Live-Republican-candidates-for-Illinois-governor" target="_blank">were asked a similar question recently</a> by the Chicago Tribune editorial board.</p><p><strong>Republican Illinois State Sen. Bill Brady:</strong> &ldquo;I&rsquo;d be consistent with my position,&rdquo; Brady said. He clarified that he would sign a repeal &ldquo;if it came to me,&rdquo; but added &ldquo;it&rsquo;s unrealistic to even address the issue.&rdquo; Brady <a href="http://ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/98/senate/09800SB0010_11052013_001000C.pdf" target="_blank">voted against the bill</a> in the legislature.</p><p><strong>Republican businessman Bruce Rauner: </strong>&ldquo;I would not sign it if there hasn&rsquo;t been a referendum on it. I wanna see what the voters want on that issue. I won&rsquo;t take any action on that issue unless I see what the voters want.&rdquo; Rauner has repeatedly refused to reveal how he feels about gay marriage.</p><p><strong>Republican Illinois State Sen. Kirk Dillard:</strong> &ldquo;If [a repeal] got to my desk [I would sign it], but that&rsquo;s not gonna happen. Let&rsquo;s focus on things like the economy and how we&rsquo;re gonna fix the state&rsquo;s finances.&rdquo; Dillard <a href="http://ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/98/senate/09800SB0010_11052013_001000C.pdf" target="_blank">voted against the bill</a> in the legislature.</p><p><strong>Republican Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford: </strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not gonna get to the desk. It&rsquo;s not gonna pass. It&rsquo;s not gonna get there. It is the law. ... I did not support the bill from the religious standpoint of it.&rdquo; Rutherford was out of the legislature when the same-sex marriage bill was passed, though he previously <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/96/senate/09600SB1716_12012010_006000C.pdf" target="_blank">voted in favor</a> of same-sex civil unions when he was a state senator.<a name="playlist"></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/26498163&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong>It&rsquo;s all politics</strong></p><p>If the unilateral repeal of gay marriage by an Illinois governor is legally impossible, it&rsquo;s also politically improbable, said Gregg Durham, an Illinois pollster who has worked with many Republican candidates (though he said he is not currently working for any gubernatorial campaign.)</p><p>Durham said the Republican candidates&rsquo; hesitation to talk about repealing gay marriage &mdash; even if they believe it should be repealed &mdash; is because it&rsquo;s a losing issue for the Illinois GOP.</p><p>&ldquo;I would tell them to run away as fast as they could from the question,&rdquo; Durham said.</p><p>Why?</p><p>Public opinion, for one: Durham&rsquo;s polling reflects growing approval of same-sex marriage in Illinois, and more resignation from people who are still opposed to it.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re starting to hear less and less about changing it, and more about, &lsquo;Fine, can we get onto more important issues now?&rsquo;&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Durham also cites the political math in Springfield. Democrats enjoy large majorities in both houses of the General Assembly, and the party has two powerful leaders &mdash; House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. Both exercise broad control over which bills are actually called up for a vote.</p><p>And even with those hefty majorities, and the support of some heavy-hitting Democratic pols, the gay marriage vote was still a tough one for rank-and-file lawmakers. And the difficulty wasn&rsquo;t just for Republicans, whose party platform defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.</p><p>Durham&rsquo;s own polling also showed opposition from some Democrats in Chicago and southern Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;No one likes to pay for real estate twice,&rdquo; Durham said. &ldquo;The passage of that bill took a long time and a lot of effort by a lot of people. Now they don&rsquo;t wanna go back and have a second vote on it &mdash; anybody, probably on either side of the issue.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe">Alex Keefe</a> is a political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p><p><em>Note: This report received additional support through <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center">Front &amp; Center</a>, an occasional WBEZ series funded by The Joyce Foundation. </em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 15:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/could-illinois-next-governor-undo-same-sex-marriage-109844 LGBT members in NW Indiana fight against same-sex marriage amendment proposal http://www.wbez.org/news/lgbt-members-nw-indiana-fight-against-same-sex-marriage-amendment-proposal-109682 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Indiana LGBT two-way.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Indiana is a step closer to cementing the state&rsquo;s ban on same-sex marriage for possibly years to come. The state already outlaws same-sex marriage.</p><p>On Monday a senate committee passed a measure that would enshrine the ban in the state&rsquo;s constitution. Pushed by Governor Mike Pence, it goes before the full Senate later this week.</p><p>But not everyone supports the constitutional ban, known as House Joint Resolution 3. The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce says it could hurt in attracting top talent to the state.</p><p>And some members of the LGBT community wonder why the Hoosier state is moving in the opposite direction of neighboring Illinois.</p><p>They recently sat down for a conversation with WBEZ&rsquo;s Michael Puente at our bureau in Crown Point, Ind.</p></p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/lgbt-members-nw-indiana-fight-against-same-sex-marriage-amendment-proposal-109682 Reeling Film Fest returns with a different take on queer cinema http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-10/reeling-film-fest-returns-different-take-queer-cinema-108773 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/reeling photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After three decades, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/reeling.filmfest">Reeling: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival</a> is making a few changes.</p><p>There&rsquo;s the new name, which now includes bisexual and transgender in the title (though most still know the fest by its shorthand name, Reeling).</p><p>The fest also has a new location, at the <a href="http://www.thelogantheatre.com/">Logan Theatre </a>in Chicago&rsquo;s Logan Square neighborhood.</p><p>And there&rsquo;s a new approach to what constitutes queer cinema, thanks to new programming director <a href="http://www.knightatthemovies.com/Knight_at_the_Movies_About_Me.html">Richard Knight Jr</a>. The lineup was announced Wednesday night.</p><p>&ldquo;I wanted to bring some films into the festival that were not exclusively gay, gay gay,&rdquo; said Knight. &ldquo;... It&rsquo;s certainly there. But it&rsquo;s not like two guys meeting in a bar sort of thing.&rdquo;</p><p>One of those films will close the fest. Ludwig II is about a 19th century Bavarian monarch. The film isn&rsquo;t explicitly a work of queer cinema, but Knight saw it differently.</p><p>&ldquo;When you see the movie, it&rsquo;s gay. He&rsquo;s in love with the horsemaster, he has erotic dreams, he kisses him,&rdquo; said Knight. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not very often that you see a $70 million epic around a gay figure.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>As the longtime film critic for Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/windycitytimes.php">Windy City Times</a>, Knight said he took the job at Reeling because he loves queer cinema and the thought of showing these films was &ldquo;tantalizing.&rdquo;</p><p>But getting audiences onboard hasn&rsquo;t been as easy. In recent years the festival has struggled to find funding. Last year organizers took a break to assess the situation and, as it turns out, retool the festival.</p><p>Knight said he&rsquo;s had had to learn in short order how to balance his artistic interests with commercial realities.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s more of a consideration than I thought it would be,&rdquo; said Knight. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know how (executive director) Brenda Webb has done this for 30 years.&rdquo;</p><p>The 31st Reeling Film Festival opens Nov. 7.</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter and co-hosts the WBEZ podcasts <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels</a> and <a href="https://soundcloud.com/strangebrews">Strange Brews</a>. Follow her on<a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter</a>,<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn"> Facebook</a> and<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram</a></em></p></p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-10/reeling-film-fest-returns-different-take-queer-cinema-108773 Should we use the 'L word' for Jane Addams? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/JABE%20ADDAMS%20TOPPER.jpg" title="" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F109020582&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Note: we also aired a segment about Jane Addams&#39; work and the Hull-House legacy on<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-09-06/afternoon-shift-jane-addams-columbia-college-creative-writing">&nbsp;the Afternoon Shift</a>. You can listen to that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619#Afternoonshift">segment here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>In the early 20th century, <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_learn/_aboutjane/aboutjane.html">Jane Addams</a> was among the most famous women in America. The Chicagoan worked, lived and <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=aAnLrCOHRQ8C&amp;pg=PA181&amp;lpg=PA181&amp;dq=love+on+halsted+street,+louise+knight&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=RWB0IeyMbw&amp;sig=JT3I6ZKzYfEY2sNnG9AKxHffSrI&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=6rknUpXxEIaayQHLiIDQDQ&amp;ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=love%20on%20halsted%20street%2C%20louise%20knight&amp;f=false">loved </a>on Halsted Street in the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_learn/_abouthullhouse/abouthullhouse.html">Hull-House settlement</a> she co-founded with <a href="http://asteria.fivecolleges.edu/findaids/sophiasmith/mnsss64_bioghist.html">Ellen Gates Starr</a>. Her career was one of struggle and triumph as she organized, fought for social services on behalf of immigrants, children, women and other disenfranchised groups. At one point the FBI considered her &ldquo;<a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_museum/_museum/historyoncall/fbifile.html">the most dangerous woman in America</a>.&rdquo; In 1931 she became the first American woman to earn the <a href="http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1931/addams-bio.html">Nobel Peace Prize</a>. Addams passed away in 1935.</p><p>The only two remaining buildings of Addams&rsquo;s once 13-building Hull-House settlement are easy to miss on the vast campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, which overtook the area. And recent UIC graduate Adam Peterson used to pass by them when he was a student on his way to an American feminist history class. It was in this class that he learned about Jane Addams, but he says the class didn&rsquo;t touch on her private life.</p><p>&ldquo;We did touch on her background as a white, middle class, well-educated woman who just didn&rsquo;t want to be married and be a housewife,&rdquo; Adam says. &ldquo;But then there were just these ambiguities that were said in passing [about her sexuality], but not fully discussed.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>This glossing-over prompted him to ask us this carefully worded question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Could Jane Addams be considered a lesbian with the current use of that terminology?</em></p><p>If you&rsquo;re looking for a quick &ldquo;Yes, she was&rdquo; or &ldquo;No, she was not&rdquo; answer, you&rsquo;re out of luck. People most involved in Jane Addams&rsquo; history and legacy showed me and Adam that it&rsquo;s worth asking about the lesbian label, but it can be a problem. And, if you do apply it, it&rsquo;s best not to do it so quickly.</p><p><strong>The brunette in a yellow confection dress</strong></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with an art history mystery. In 2006, a lifetime after Jane Addams passed away, <a href="http://arthistory.aa.uic.edu/faculty.php?profile=lisalee&amp;subj=5">Lisa Yun Lee</a> took up the position of Director of the<a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html"> Jane Addams Hull-House Museum</a>. One day she came across a fetching painting of a brunette in the museum&#39;s back offices.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WEB%204.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; height: 400px;" title="Jane-Addams Hull-House Director Lisa Yun Lee discovered this painting in 2006, which sparked some discussion into Jane Addams' relationship with Mary rozet Smith. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p>Lee says the painting was initially described to her as being a great example of the work of <a href="http://schwartzcollection.com/artists/alice-kellogg-tyler">Alice Kellogg Tyler</a>, an accomplished painter who taught at the Art Institute of Chicago. She also taught at Jane Addams&rsquo; Hull-House settlement.</p><p>But, Lee says, &ldquo;As soon as I started asking &lsquo;Who is <em>that</em> person in the painting,&rsquo; there were hushed tones and confusion. And people said, &lsquo;Well, some people say that it&rsquo;s Jane Addams&rsquo; partner.&rsquo; Other people say it&rsquo;s her biggest business supporter. Other people said, &lsquo;Well, of course. It&rsquo;s her lesbian lover.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>The more Lee prodded, the more she realized the depth of debate surrounding the woman in the painting and her relationship with Addams. Lee says Hull-House started to dig through the historical record and &ldquo;ask different kinds of questions.&rdquo; At this point the staff realized this woman was indeed Jane Addams&rsquo; chosen partner in life.</p><p><strong>Mary and Jane</strong></p><p>This woman was Mary Rozet Smith. Lee says until people debated the painting, Smith had pretty much been written out of the historical record. But as more surfaced about her relationship with Jane Addams, Smith&rsquo;s fuzzy place in the Hull-House settlement&rsquo;s history became clearer.</p><p><a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/lib/specialcoll/services/rjd/findingaids/MSmithf.html">Smith came from a wealthy Chicago family</a> that made a fortune through manufacturing. She was drawn to the work of the Hull-House settlement, taking on several roles: philanthropist, benefactor (some might say a sugar mamma), and Jane Addams&rsquo; lifelong companion.</p><p>Addams sums up an early encounter with Smith in this unfinished poem dating from 1895:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20poem.jpg" title="" /></p><p>Scholarship suggests Smith and Addams&rsquo; lives became deeply entwined. Over 40 years they wrote letters and love poems to one another. Addams requested that most of her letters be burned upon her death; she had felt they were too intimate. (Note: <a href="http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jowh/summary/v009/9.4.freedman.html">Burning letters was not uncommon</a> at the time.)</p><p>The pair also vacationed together and traveled around the world, sometimes calling ahead to request a double bed, which was not unusual for women friends to do. Addams had Smith listed as an emergency contact on her passport. They also made major financial decisions, such as co-owning a home in Maine. At one point they considered adopting a child together.</p><p>As for that large painting of Smith in the yellow dress? Addams sometimes traveled with it &mdash; wrapping it up and schlepping it with her across country.</p><p>Historians say that when Rozet Smith passed away in 1934 (a year before Addams), Jane received condolences from far and wide, not unlike a widow in heterosexual relationship.</p><p>But what does this all mean? Does this kind of evidence equate to proof that the pair were lesbians?</p><p><strong>Women who love women</strong></p><p>What does the word <em>lesbian </em>mean? Well, if you use an expansive definition that does not by necessity have to include sex, then many people agree that, yes, Addams and Smith were lesbians. (After all, even married couples can have little or no sex, yet their heterosexuality is not called into question.)</p><p>Several sources tell me the most important thing to consider is what, exactly, having a relationship like this meant<em> in Jane Addams&rsquo; time.</em></p><p>One good person to ask is <a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/wsweb/people/faculty/demilio/demilio.html">John D&rsquo;Emilio</a>, a professor of Gender and Women&rsquo;s Studies and History at the University of Illinois. And conveniently, his office is a few short blocks from the Hull-House museum.</p><p>He defines a lesbian as &ldquo;a woman who turns to other women for the love, and emotional support and intimacy that most human beings like to have in their personal lives.&rdquo;</p><p>With this definition in hand D&rsquo;Emilio feels comfortable assigning the lesbian label to Addams and Smith, even though he says it&rsquo;s impossible to know whether Smith and Addams had sexual contact. And even if we were to find out, he says, he wouldn&rsquo;t change where he lands on the use of &quot;lesbian.&rdquo;</p><p>But how does D&rsquo;Emilio take those letters that were burned and deemed &ldquo;too intimate&rdquo; by Jane Addams? Could those have contained &ldquo;smoking gun&rdquo; evidence for those bent on equating sexual contact with the term lesbian? &nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/web%202.jpg" style="float: right; height: 300px; width: 400px;" title="A photograph of Jane Addams and Mary Rozet Smith inside the Hull-House Museum. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p>&ldquo;They just wouldn&rsquo;t have been writing about that,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s just no way. This is not the world of Hugh Hefner and <em>Playboy</em>. So that&rsquo;s not what they were writing about. But what they were writing about was the open expression of how much the other person meant and how much I need you!&rdquo;</p><p>Even though D&rsquo;Emilio is confident in saying Jane Addams was a lesbian, he can understand why others might not feel comfortable using the term. And, he says, he prefers using the term &ldquo;woman-loving woman.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>A decoder ring for history</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/wsweb/people/faculty/brier/brier.html">Jennifer Brier</a> is an Associate Professor of Gender and Women&rsquo;s Studies and History at UIC. Her take on the question?</p><p>&ldquo;I would say no,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;As a historian I would say no. As a lesbian who exists under the current definition &mdash; sometimes I&rsquo;d like to say yes. But in the end, I say no.&rdquo;</p><p>She says &ldquo;lesbian&rdquo; <em>was </em>a term used in Addams&rsquo; time, but Brier says Addams wouldn&rsquo;t have used it to describe herself and that &ldquo;it wasn&rsquo;t a phrase that had meaning for her.&rdquo;</p><p>Brier argues this point matters. She says it&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ahistorical">ahistorical </a>to assign the term to Addams retroactively, and that can be dangerous; shorthand terminology can bypass context and you can lose the richness and diversity of human behavior. We can also mistakenly believe that we understand what being a lesbian meant at the time. And Addams&rsquo; era indeed had very different relationship cultures. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;You need a decoder ring,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;And the decoder ring has to be adjusted to each historical period to actually function. It has to be tuned to the right frequency to understand what&rsquo;s happening at a particular moment in time.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Platonic love</strong></p><p>Since sex is so ingrained in our current culture&rsquo;s notions of what being a lesbian entails, it&rsquo;s worth noting that this was not the case in Jane Addams&#39; time; romantic relationships did not necessarily entail sex. On the question of whether Addams may have even been celibate, several experts tell me the general feeling is: &#39;Maybe, but it&#39;s impossible to know.&#39;&nbsp;</p><p>What historians do know is during the Victorian era <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/platonic%20love">platonic love</a> was in the air. It described a meeting of souls, not necessarily bodies, and was viewed as a pure kind of love that same-sex couples could enjoy. Men could share a Platonic love with men, and women with women. The intimacy in these relationships could be as deep as any hetersexual relationship, but they were not framed in terms of sex.</p><p>Lisa Junkin, the interim director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, says that Addams&rsquo; early writing expresses belief in platonic love and &ldquo;wanting to channel sexual impulses, believing that people should channel them essentially toward social justice &mdash; doing good in the world.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WEB%201.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Newspaper clippings about Jane Addams as a social reformer are on display at the Hull-House Museum. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" />This idea of diverting sexual energy to more high-minded pursuits was present for men and women, and in the era&rsquo;s lexicon, too. John D&rsquo;Emilio says instead of using the phrase &ldquo;to come&rdquo; for male ejaculation, the phrase used at the time was &ldquo;to spend.&rdquo;</p><p>As D&rsquo;Emilio tells me about this facet of history, he breaks into a mock conversation that may have actually taken place in the Victorian era: &ldquo;Did you <em>spend</em> your seed? Well, I sure hope not because we&rsquo;re a people who believe in saving!&rdquo;</p><p>D&rsquo;Emilio says the ethic among the middle class at the time was to be prudent and industrious, and that too much sex was the opposite of that. Sex exhausts your resources.</p><p><strong>Boston marriages</strong></p><p>Addams and Smith referred to their relationship as a marriage in some writings, and this era enjoyed another kind of sanctioned love that came with a term: Boston marriages. D&rsquo;Emilio characterizes Boston marriages as deep relationships and commitments between two middle-class, college educated women.</p><p>Etymologically speaking, he says, the word &ldquo;Boston&rdquo; refers to the preponderance of women&rsquo;s colleges in Boston, while &quot;marriage&rdquo; is used because many of these women never married and lived a lifetime with another woman. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Think about it this way,&rdquo; D&rsquo;Emilio says. &ldquo;This is a generation in which sex is not out there in the public. Sex is supposed to be quiet and private and behind closed doors. And so Boston marriage becomes a very neutral and acceptable way of describing something, that if described in other terms might be scandalous.&rdquo;</p><p>It can be argued that Boston marriages could be considered a corollary of lesbian relationships today, but it&rsquo;s not clear whether sex was included in these setups.</p><p>D&rsquo;Emilio says &ldquo;Boston marriage&rdquo; was a term that acknowledged a relationship and intimacy &ldquo;without getting into the stuff we&rsquo;re not supposed to talk about.&rdquo; Ironically, D&rsquo;Emilio says in part because there were taboos against openly discussing sex, there was a kind of flexibility in what happened behind closed doors; it just wouldn&rsquo;t end up in polite conversation.</p><p>Professor Jennifer Brier adds it&rsquo;s important to remember Jane Addams was part of a subset of women who were of the class and means to be able to pioneer new ways to be a woman. There weren&rsquo;t many outlets for women at the time to be in non-traditional roles (especially leadership roles). The same goes for becoming trailblazers who open up new opportunities and jobs for women, immigrants, adolescents and new ways of existing in society &mdash; the basic work of Addams and Smith at Hull-House.</p><p>&ldquo;She [Addams] didn&rsquo;t rely on patriarchy in the way we think of today,&rdquo; Brier says. &ldquo;She didn&rsquo;t rely on men for her economic or emotional support. She made her life with women at the Hull-House.&rdquo;</p><p>And Addams was not the only woman at the Hull-House to buck gender norms. Other examples include Dr. Cornelia de Bey, who was a homeopathic doctor affiliated with the settlement and who lived with a woman and dressed in tailored, masculine garb. Hull-House co-founder <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=aAnLrCOHRQ8C&amp;pg=PA181&amp;lpg=PA181&amp;dq=love+on+halsted+street,+louise+knight&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=RWB0IeyMbw&amp;sig=JT3I6ZKzYfEY2sNnG9AKxHffSrI&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=6rknUpXxEIaayQHLiIDQDQ&amp;ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=love%20on%20halsted%20street%2C%20louise%20knight&amp;f=false">Ellen Gates Starr was also Addams&rsquo;s partner at one time</a>.</p><p><strong>An alternative label</strong></p><p>These questions around both labeling Jane Addams and the painting of Mary Rozet Smith never left former <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>director Lisa Lee&rsquo;s mind. Instead, she felt the museum needed to represent the complex information around the painting and the era. And it wouldn&rsquo;t do to simply call Addams a lesbian.</p><p>So she and staff created an &ldquo;alternative labeling project&rdquo; to foster dialogue around the painting labels. The museum staff offered three labels (&ldquo;tombstones&rdquo; in museum lingo) to sum up the painting of Mary Rozet Smith and invited visitors to weigh in. They were:<object height="520" width="620"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;set_id=72157635410603458&amp;jump_to=9684980861" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;set_id=72157635410603458&amp;jump_to=9684980861" height="520" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"></embed></object></p><p>Interim director for the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>Lisa Junkin was on staff for the alternative labeling project. She says they received many responses to the labels, ranging from hate mail to fan mail, and everything in between.</p><p>&ldquo;Occasionally there&rsquo;s also a sense of fear or anger that we&rsquo;d be telling that story, especially around young people,&rdquo; Junkin says. &ldquo;There have been teachers who have cut off the educators from telling the story of the relationship or who have covered over the label when students walk by &mdash; even though both the educators and the label don&rsquo;t use the term lesbian with younger groups.&rdquo;</p><p>Beyond the celebration and hatred for bringing Addams&rsquo; sexuality into history, the public provided useful suggestions, too. One person pointed out that none of the labels gave information about Mary Rozet Smith beyond her relationship to Jane Addams.</p><p>Which, from Junkin&rsquo;s vantage, was a problem.</p><p>&ldquo;For us as feminist historians, as a feminist site, that&rsquo;s really problematic, right?&rdquo; Junkin says. &ldquo;We essentially gave her the &lsquo;wife treatment,&rsquo; which should be avoided.&rdquo;</p><p>Here&rsquo;s the label the museum settled on:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5537/9685555669_1f36ecd159_b.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/slide%204%20web.jpg" title="" /></a></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em>Click the above image to see a larger view.</em></span></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The museum staff culled through the inboxes crammed with email and the drawers filled with Post-it notes. After that, they reconceived their permanent exhibit. In 2010 the museum curated a new presentation of their permanent collection, including the display of photographs made of Addams and Smith together.</div><p>But that once-mysterious painting of Mary Rozet Smith? It now hangs prominently in the former bedroom of Addams.</p><p>Junkin says &ldquo;the goal was to show instead of tell, and let the audience come up with their own understanding based on the evidence we can provide.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>A new look at old sex</strong></p><p>Junkin says after the alternative labeling project of Mary Rozet Smith, the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>has made conversation about sexuality more prominent. It&rsquo;s also created new programming, including a four-year film series around the sex positive movement and contemporary issues of sexuality. It also built new displays mention Hull-House&rsquo;s role in progressive sex education. (Junkin says one of Chicago&rsquo;s first birth control centers was at the Hull-House). She adds that staff have made their displays and tours more inclusive.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LENA FOR WEB.jpg" style="float: left; width: 338px; height: 450px;" title="The Hull-House Museum's Lena Reynolds will be a tour guide for the museum's new Gender and Sexuality Tour. She stands next to a painting of Cornelia de Bey, a physician, activist and educational reformer once affiliated with the Settlement. She was known to dress in tailored, masculine garb. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p>In the first week of September, the museum debuts a new tour that directly places the Hull-House in queer history. The working title: the &ldquo;Gender and Sexuality Tour.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>The tour&rsquo;s mastermind, Christian Alfaro, is a UIC student and <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>educator. Appropriately enough, he learned about Jane Addams&rsquo;s non-conformity by taking a tour led by Lisa Junkin, who talked about the painting of Mary Rozet Smith.</p><p>&ldquo;Representation like this is important,&rdquo; Alfaro says. &ldquo;It actually helped with my own self-identity.&rdquo; The sentiment prompted him to learn more about Addams and ultimately start the tour Hull-House residents&rsquo; challenge to gender conformity.</p><p><strong>Closing the circle</strong></p><p>I phone Adam Peterson, the curious fellow who prompted this conceptual odyssey in the first place, to let him know whom I&rsquo;d talked to and how they came down on Addams and the use of the &ldquo;L word.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Well it sounds like this is opening a whole can of worms,&rdquo; he says. (I agree)</p><p>But he finds it all fascinating, he says, and in the end more interesting than a simple yes or no.</p><p>It&rsquo;s reminiscent of what I hear from Lena Reynolds, a <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>educator.</p><p>Reynolds says when she gives tours she doesn&rsquo;t use the term lesbian per se, but she does say that modern-day members of the LGBT community embrace Addams as one of their own.</p><p>&ldquo;She&rsquo;s part of this bigger movement even if it was a time before the movement existed,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Whether or not we want to put the word on it &hellip; that she was fighting for equality and acceptance and human rights is undeniable. And that she valued love is also undeniable.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Correction: This article initially misstated details concerning Jane Addams&#39; Nobel Peace Prize. She was the first American woman to receive that honor.&nbsp;</em></p><div>To learn more about the work of Jane Addams and the Hull-House settlement and how it continues today, listen to WBEZ&#39;s segment from <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift">The Afternoon Shift</a> below.<a name="Afternoonshift"></a></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F109175414" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/jbrandel-0" rel="author">Jennifer Brandel</a> is Senior Producer of Curious City and Interactive at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/JnnBrndl"> Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/117289484797285268506" rel="me">Google+</a></em></p></p> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 17:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619 Gay advocacy group wants Chicago to suspend sister city program with Moscow http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-advocacy-group-wants-chicago-suspend-sister-city-program-moscow-108236 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Moscow Sister City_130731.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>LGBT advocacy group Equality Illinois wants Chicago to suspend its sister city program with the Russian capital of Moscow.</p><p>The <a href="http://chicagosistercities.com/sister-cities/moscow/">program</a> organizes local events, such as the Russia Day celebrations and the Russian-American Business Forum, to help strengthen cultural and commercial ties between the two cities.</p><p>Russia recently passed a law that bans people from holding gay pride rallies and informing minors about the LGBT community.</p><p>Equality Illinois also calls for Illinoisans to cancel business dealings with or travel plans to the eastern European country.</p><p>Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov says some local businesses have already stopped selling Russian products.</p><p>&ldquo;We live in a city that is very conscious of treating everyone with equal dignity and respect, and by us partnering with Moscow, a city that&rsquo;s... the opposite of where Chicago stands, I think we&rsquo;re going to send a strong message by saying that enough is enough.&rdquo; Cherkasov said.</p><p>Chicago Sister Cities International says they must continue the program so LGBT Russians might still feel welcome here. A statement from the organization also noted that it&rsquo;s important to keep the lines of communication open.</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/jclee89">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 30 Jul 2013 17:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-advocacy-group-wants-chicago-suspend-sister-city-program-moscow-108236 Morning Shift: Revamping Lake Shore Drive http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-30/morning-shift-revamping-lake-shore-drive-108220 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/LSD-Flickr- guanacux.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The city is planning to revamp Lake Shore Drive to make it more accommodating to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. What will this mean for your commute? How would you change Lake Shore Drive?</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-31.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-31" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Revamping Lake Shore Drive" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 30 Jul 2013 08:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-30/morning-shift-revamping-lake-shore-drive-108220 Chicago Pride Parade crowd tops 1 million http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-pride-parade-crowd-tops-1-million-107906 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/PrideParade2013.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago police say more than 1 million participated in the Chicago&#39;s Pride Parade.</p><p>The number is a big spike from last year&#39;s roughly 850,000. Organizers said the Supreme Court&#39;s recent decisions energized people and pleasant weather during the day helped.</p><p>A coalition of supporters known as Illinois Unites for Marriage had promised a diverse, statewide group at the event.</p><p>The annual Pride Parade took place Sunday on the city&rsquo;s North Side.</p><p>It kicked off at noon on Montrose Avenue and Broadway Street, eventually winding its way down to Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side.</p><p>The Illinois Senate approved legislation in February that would legalize same-sex marriage. But the House adjourned last month without voting on the measure, after sponsor Rep. Greg Harris said he didn&#39;t have the votes for it to pass.</p><p>But most attendees didn&rsquo;t have politics on their mind as they danced and celebrated pride for the gay community.</p><p>State politicians made an appearance despite the fact that they didn&rsquo;t call the same sex marriage bill up for a vote in the Illinois House just a few weeks ago.</p><p>Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made his way down the parade route and even though he&rsquo;s expressed his support for same sex marriage, riled up a few people in the crowd.</p><p>Erin Dunmoore from Will County said she felt like he and others were pandering to the crowd.</p><p>&ldquo;They are talking the talk but not doing what counts, so that&rsquo;s disappointing.&rdquo;</p><p>Some people in attendance were there for the first time.</p><p>Karen Enciso came from Mexico and said she was quite impressed with the turnout.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m straight, but we are individuals, there has to be no difference. Sexuality is a decision and everyone has to be free for that.&rdquo;</p><p>Alexander Roi, who has attended the parade for the last 17 years, said Illinois needs to step up and move towards equality for all.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody else is going to be doing it. It&rsquo;s about taxes, it&rsquo;s about rights, it&rsquo;s about everything equal for everyone.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Mariam Sobh is the midday and weekend news anchor at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/mariamsobh" target="_blank">@mariamsobh</a>. The Associated Press contributed to this report. </em></p></p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 07:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-pride-parade-crowd-tops-1-million-107906 Worldview: LGBT movement in North Africa and the Middle East and a serving of mariachi http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-06-26/worldview-lgbt-movement-north-africa-and-middle-east-and-serving <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP800879356802.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F98577868&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>We learn about the LGBT movement in North Africa and the Middle East and take a dive into the world of mariachi music.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-scottish-independence-and-mariachi-music.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-scottish-independence-and-mariachi-music" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Scottish independence and a serving of mariachi" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 10:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-06-26/worldview-lgbt-movement-north-africa-and-middle-east-and-serving Hate crime wave: America’s underreported LGBT street violence http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/hate-crime-wave-america%E2%80%99s-underreported-lgbt-street-violence-107404 <p><p><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/195207ebe97e6810320f6a7067005511.jpg" title="Memorial from a New York City rally to honor Mark Carson, shot and killed in the city's historic West Village. (AP/Frank Franklin II)" /></p><p>I&rsquo;ve always heard that most accidents happen close to your home, within 5 miles of your house. Last night I was two blocks away from my apartment, fumbling to find my keys for our front door, when a man took a swing at me. I was listening to my headphones and not paying attention to him or his increasing proximity. Instead of whatever he yelled at me, I heard M83&rsquo;s apocalyptic drums.</p><p>I looked down at my shoes and ducked. He missed my head by a wide margin, his aim so poor that I wondered if he meant to hit me or scare me. His friend, who I hadn&rsquo;t noticed watching us, just laughed. I couldn&rsquo;t hear him, but I saw his teeth.</p><p>I walked away. I should have ran or said something to them, but I just walked. I could barely register what had happened. I sat down on the couch and put my head in my hands. I realized I wasn&rsquo;t breathing. I sucked in, but it didn&rsquo;t feel like a breath.</p><p>Earlier that day I told my grandmother over the phone I would be walking home that night. My gym was closed for Memorial Day, and I figured the distance between Lincoln Square and Rogers Park would make up for it. 3.5 miles, each way. My Nana told me to call her the next morning to tell her I was okay. She always tells me to do this when I&rsquo;m out late and walking alone. She worries, so much so that it keeps her up at night.</p><p>I&rsquo;ve always told her she has nothing to worry about&mdash;because I have privilege in the matter of street harassment. I have trans friends who have to experience transphobic attacks&mdash;usually verbal, sometimes more physical&mdash;just for riding the train. As a male-bodied person, I can walk to my local cafe without having a guy scream at me from his car, who thinks that I should take lewd objectification as a compliment. Most days I&rsquo;m allowed to be myself without anyone saying anything about it.</p><p>I often brag to her about how &ldquo;safe&rdquo; I feel.</p><p>I wonder if Mark Carson <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/18/new-york-gay-hate-crime-shooting-_n_3299277.html" target="_blank">felt safe</a> when a man approached him outside of a bar, telling him that he and his friend looked like &ldquo;gay wrestlers?&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>That man&mdash;later identified as Elliott Morales&mdash;shot and killed Carson. Reports indicate that when police apprehended him, Morales &ldquo;<a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/05/murder-suspect-laughed-bragged-prosecutors-say.html" target="_blank">laughed and bragged</a>&rdquo; about the killing.</p><p>Because Carson&rsquo;s murder happened in the West Village, the historic haven for New York&rsquo;s queers and artists, the gay media quickly latched onto the crime. Because this isn&rsquo;t where we think crime happens. Hate crimes don&rsquo;t happen next to the Stonewall Inn. They don&rsquo;t happen in the gay-friendly Hell&rsquo;s Kitchen, where it&rsquo;s not uncommon to see men arm-in-arm or two women kissing on the sidewalk.</p><p>This is where activist Eugene Lovendusky was attacked on Friday. Lovendusky was <a href="http://www.queerty.com/gay-activist-is-ninth-victim-of-hate-crime-in-new-york-20130526/" target="_blank">punched in the jaw</a> as assailants yelled &ldquo;f*ggot&rdquo; at him.</p><p>He is hate crime&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/05/26/1211760/-LGBTQ-Hate-Crimes-on-the-Rise-in-NY#" target="_blank">victim</a>&nbsp;22&nbsp;in New York this year, one of a <a href="http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/05/a-wave-of-lgbt-hate-crimes-strike-new-york-city/" target="_blank">half dozen</a> this month alone. It happened in Union Square, on 33rd Street.</p><p>On May 5, <a href="http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-nick-porto-and-kevin-atkins-relief-project" target="_blank">Nick Porto and Kevin Atkins</a> were attacked by four Knicks fans outside of Madison Square Garden. They threw Atkins and Porto to the ground while repeatedly kicking them. Atkins left with a broken nose and Porto a fractured wrist.</p><p>Atkins and Porto told police officers their assailaints shouted anti-gay slurs at them; they called them &ldquo;f*ggots,&rdquo; just like Lovendusky. Despite this language, the police <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/07/new-york-knicks-gay-crime-_n_3230744.html" target="_blank">told reporters</a> it was &ldquo;too early to call it a hate crime,&rdquo; labeling it a &ldquo;possible bias attack.&rdquo; The pair were attacked while holding hands.</p><p>Statistics show that queer people are <a href="http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/splcs-intelligence-report-gays-targeted-for-hate-crimes" target="_blank">more likely than any other group</a> to be victims of a violent crime, and across the country hate crime numbers are on the rise. According to statistics from Orange County police, their LGBT hate crime numbers have <a href="http://www.mydesert.com/viewart/20130523/NEWS10/305230007/Anti-gay-hate-crimes-nearly-double-Orange-County" target="_blank">doubled in the past year</a>, despite &ldquo;general downward trends&rdquo; in hate crimes overall. The same is true in New York, where LGBT hate crimes are <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/05/26/1211760/-LGBTQ-Hate-Crimes-on-the-Rise-in-NY#" target="_blank">up 70 percent</a>&nbsp;while overall numbers plummet. 2011 numbers showed that hate crime rates against queer people were the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/02/anti-gay-hate-crimes-murders-national-coalition-of-anti-violence-programs_n_1564885.html">highest in history</a>, but 2013 is well on its way to topping that.</p><p>However, these numbers are likely inaccurate, as police often <a href="http://sonomavalley.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/formal-apology-from-sheriff-officer-over-hate-crime-failure" target="_blank">discount or play down</a> sexual orientation and gender identity in crime reports.</p><p>In April, a Sonoma Valley student was <a href="http://sonomavalley.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/formal-apology-from-sheriff-officer-over-hate-crime-failure" target="_blank">knocked off his skateboard</a> by seven teens who taunted him while they wailed on his prostrate body. They robbed him and left him there. The 18-year-old teenager was vocally out in his high school, which was known to the assailants. Despite their repeated use of slurs, police labeled it a &ldquo;fight,&rdquo; implicitly blaming him for being beaten. &quot;Fight&quot; indicates two parties are at fault.</p><p>When the teenager pleaded with them to listen to his story, police told him &ldquo;what colors not to wear, not to ride a skateboard, and stay away from the neighborhood because it was gang &lsquo;turf.&rsquo;&rdquo; This is like blaming a woman for being harassed because she was &ldquo;wearing a short skirt.&rdquo; This says he invited violence in for being himself.</p><p>The teenager&rsquo;s mother, Kristin Land, had to <a href="http://sonomavalley.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/formal-apology-from-sheriff-officer-over-hate-crime-failure" target="_blank">demand an apology</a> from local police to get them to recognize the crime for what it was: hate.</p><p>&ldquo;The whole point of this story is that incidents are going unreported,&rdquo; Land told reporters. &ldquo;Kids are afraid to come forward. The one someone does come forward, the police do not report it...When a violent thing happens, the community has a right to know.&rdquo;</p><p>Although police mishandling has been crucial in underreporting the hate crime wave, the media has also dropped the ball on homophobia. According to Media Matters, which tracks statistics on news coverage, Fox News <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/05/23/report-fox-news-cnn-prioritize-jodi-arias-cover/194192" target="_blank">didn&rsquo;t cover the Carson story</a>. CNN mentioned it all of <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/05/23/report-fox-news-cnn-prioritize-jodi-arias-cover/194192" target="_blank">once</a>, devoting its coverage instead to the Jodi Arias trial. Mark Carson got 50 seconds. Even liberal, gay-agenda-lovin&rsquo; MSNBC has aired five times the amount of coverage on Arias as they have on Carson.</p><p>Carson is only the tip of the iceberg. Queer people are murdered every day without the mainstream media raising much of a fuss. Where was the outrage for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/paige-clay-chicago-transg_n_1437606.html" target="_blank">Paige Clay</a>, <a href="http://www.advocate.com/crime/2012/08/16/trans-teen-murdered-chicago" target="_blank">Tiffany Gooden</a>, <a href="http://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/05/01/mount-vernon-baltimore-murder-trial-postponed/" target="_blank">Lawrence Peterson</a>, <a href="http://unfinishedlivesblog.com/2010/04/27/florida-lesbian-murdered-by-girlfriends-father/" target="_blank">Courtney Bright</a>, <a href="http://www.mambaonline.com/article.asp?artid=8078" target="_blank">Patricia Mashigo</a>, <a href="http://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/05/01/mount-vernon-baltimore-murder-trial-postponed/" target="_blank">Joseph Ulrich</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/brandy-martell-california-transgender-woman-shooting_n_1471209.html" target="_blank">Brandy Martell</a>, <a href="http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2010/10/03/nj-murder-of-trans-woman-victoria-carmen-white-beloved-by-many-disrespected-by-law-enforcement/" target="_blank">Victoria White</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/24/larry-king-murder-gay-tee_n_1112241.html" target="_blank">Larry King</a>, <a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/tyli-a-mack-another-hate-crime-another-murder-another-day-without-full-equality-america" target="_blank">Tyli&#39;a Mack</a>, <a href="http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2010/08/destiny_lauren" target="_blank">Destiny Lauren</a> or <a href="http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/02/12/sanesha-stewart-is-dead-and-i-have-only-tears-for-her/" target="_blank">Sanesha Stewart</a>?</p><p>When the<em> Cleveland Plain-Dealer</em> <a href="http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2013/04/30/cleveland-plain-dealer-dehumanizes-murdered-transgender-woman/" target="_blank">reported the murder</a> of transgender Cemia Acoff, they referred to her dead body (which was &ldquo;stabbed, tied with a piece of rope attached to a block of concrete and dumped into a pond&rdquo;) as &ldquo;it.&rdquo; If hate crimes work to take peoples&#39; power away, this dehumanization only furthers the cause.</p><p>At a time when marriage equality pushes across the country, Southern Poverty Law Center&rsquo;s Mark Potok believes this &ldquo;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/hate-crimes-against-gays-in-america-2013-5" target="_blank">desperate anger</a>&rdquo; against LGBTQ people is &ldquo;ratcheting up in direct proportion to the losses that the religious right has suffered.&rdquo; Hate crimes against Latinos and Muslims <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/national-politics-inspire-hate-crimes-expert/story?id=19195183#.UZ6a1VG7HD0" target="_blank">skyrocketed</a> through the aughties, as September 11 and immigration became some of the defining issues of the decade.</p><p>In France this week, violence broke out as 150,000 protesters <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2331545/Gay-marriage-Paris-protests-enter-second-day-violence.html" target="_blank">stormed the capitol</a> ahead of the country&rsquo;s first same-gender marriages, set to take place on Wednesday in Montpellier. Marriage opponents threw bombs and rocks at police and attacked two journalists. These protests were backed by the country&rsquo;s Roman Catholic church.</p><p>Similar rallies have been mounted in Chicago to <a href="http://southfloridagaynews.com/articles/anti-gay-protests-in-chicago/113231" target="_blank">oppose the passing</a> of state marriage legislation, which may come up for a vote this week. Even Mark Carson&#39;s <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/killing-gay-man-nyc-draws-protesters-062943751.html" target="_blank">funeral got protested</a>.</p><p>While marriage equality gets all the media coverage (because it&rsquo;s the nice version where It Gets Better), this shows there&rsquo;s more to the story; there&rsquo;s a dark side to equality. We miss what people like Cemia Acoff and Mark Carson died for -- the culture of ignorance and dehumanization that allows us to decide that others are less than us and don&rsquo;t deserve basic human rights.</p><p>If Potok is right, we need to start taking these cases of violence seriously&mdash;because our hate crime wave is far from over. Should Illinois pass equal marriage this week, we&rsquo;ll only be the 13th state to celebrate equality. There are 37 more states to go. That&rsquo;s a lot of desperate anger ahead.</p><p>However, marriage won&rsquo;t win the war. It doesn&#39;t stop discrimination or slap the gun out of Elliot Morales&rsquo; hand. Marriage can&#39;t light up the dark while I walk home. Equality is more than legalizing love. It&rsquo;s about protecting humanity.&nbsp;</p><p>When I talk to my grandmother, I don&rsquo;t plan to tell her the world is safe. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean we can&rsquo;t fight for it.</p><p><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can find Nico on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p><p><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p></p> Tue, 28 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/hate-crime-wave-america%E2%80%99s-underreported-lgbt-street-violence-107404 Heterophobia is not real http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/heterophobia-not-real-106263 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/89011.jpg" style="width: 601px; height: 260px;" title="(AP)" /></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Quiz question! What does heterophobia have in common with Manti Teo&rsquo;s girlfriend, Keyser Soze, Brontosauruses and &ldquo;Having It All?&rdquo; </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Answer: None of these things exist.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A debate about the existence of heterophobia -- spotted in the wild by scared hunters as it foraged for homosexual berries -- has been at the heart of a recent controversy on Tumblr.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In recent months, the heterophobia tag on Tumblr has turned into a space where heterosexual users can decry &ldquo;mean homosexuals&rdquo; who make them feel bad for being homophobic. Instead of looking at criticism as a moment of reflection and a learning opportunity, these folks would rather pull out the privilege card -- and the term &ldquo;<a href="http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/privilege-shaming">privilege shaming</a>&rdquo; has actually been coined. </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Yes, folks. People are now shaming people for shaming them for being narrow-minded, bigoted bags of phalluses. This is what happens on the internet. To think, some people just look at porn.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">To describe anti-anti-gay behavior, homophobes are using the term &ldquo;heterophobia&rdquo; to show those angry queers the error of their ways, and one post in particular has been circling the interwebs like a buzzard looking for rotting meat. It claims that &ldquo;heterophobia is just as bad as homophobia.&rdquo; I won&#39;t link to it here, because that&#39;s hits, so you should read this <a href="http://widowblacks.tumblr.com/post/45168796774/heterophobia-is-just-as-bad-as-homophobia-you">response</a> instead. Isn&#39;t that better?</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If you&rsquo;re upset about people just making up words now, a) don&rsquo;t go on Tumblr, ever and b) the term isn&rsquo;t new. According to Dr. Ray Noonan, the misnomer &ldquo;heterophobia&rdquo; was coined in the 80&rsquo;s and first graced the academic page in 1990 as a way to describe the feelings of distrust that queer people sometimes feel toward a society where they are marginalized and systemically abused. It&#39;s not bigotry in the way we think about homophobia. It&#39;s fear; it&#39;s angst; it&#39;s paranoia. It&#39;s that emotion you feel when a group of bros are walking down the street late at night, and you&#39;re unsure of whether you should be scared. It&#39;s learning to expect the worst from a society you think hates you.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">However, this version is not the same thing. The term elsewhere gained parlance as a way to discredit the growing equality movement and call their campaign for equal rights &ldquo;reverse discrimination.&rdquo; For homophobes, it&rsquo;s not heterosexuals that are the problem, but the gay agenda who sees a problem where one does not exist. Queer people simply <em>hate </em>straight people. Hate is hate, y&#39;all -- except that it&#39;s not the same thing at all.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Eminem used this argument on his 2000 album, </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The Marshall Mathers LP</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">. The record itself, like much of Slim Shady&rsquo;s early career, is stunningly homophobic -- for which Eminem was much criticized by queer listeners. (Remember the Elton John mea culpa performance? That was fun.) On &ldquo;Criminal,&rdquo; Eminem responded to his gay critics in the way only an immature, misogynistic wifebeater can -- by putting the onus on them. Em informed us, on this &ldquo;critically acclaimed&rdquo; track:</span></b></p><blockquote><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&ldquo;My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/That&#39;ll stab you in the head/Whether you&#39;re a fag or lez/Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest/Pants or dress - hate fags? The answer&#39;s &quot;yes&quot;/Homophobic? Nah, you&#39;re just heterophobic.&rdquo;</span></b></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Since then, Eminem has come a long way on bigotry, but at the time, the song helped &ldquo;bring back&rdquo; heterophobia as a word that people use and a nice &ldquo;Get Out of Bigotry Free&rdquo; Card. The term allows queer people to be dismissed for having an opinion, and the idea has hung around in popular culture, from preachers who use it to sanctify God&rsquo;s law to <a href="http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/06/cee-lo-green-tweets-homophobic-comments-following-negative-review/">Cee-Lo Green</a> blaming a female critic for not liking his show. Green responded to the negative review by saying: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m guessing ur gay? And my masculinity offended u? Well f--k u!&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">This rationale is similar to the one that <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/amyodell/daniel-tosh-has-been-making-rape-jokes-for-years">Daniel Tosh</a> infamously displayed last year by verbally assaulting a female attendee at his show. In his act, Tosh claimed that all rape jokes were funny because &ldquo;rape is hilarious,&rdquo; and one woman called him out for it. Tosh then replied: &#39;Wouldn&#39;t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her?&rdquo; Rather than taking responsibility for his comedy and the message it sends to women, Tosh blamed the victims.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&ldquo;Heterophobia&rdquo; seeks to do the same thing as a rhetorical tool, but the problem is that it makes no sense. Even at a linguistic level, it means the opposite of what its heterosexual user thinks it means. &ldquo;Hetero&rdquo; means difference and &ldquo;phobia&rdquo; translates to fear, equaling &ldquo;fear of difference&rdquo; when you put them together. So, technically, heterosexuals are engaging in the exact kind of activity that they are attempting to shed light on. Call out fail, guys. You can do better.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">On top of being etymologically nonsensical, inciting heterophobia (to quote my friend, </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/gay-marriage-conservative-cause-argument-against-equality-106068">Yasmin Nair</a>)</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> is the &ldquo;most outrageous, insensitive, doltish, demeaning argument ever.&rdquo; To use the term at any time in any context ever makes you Glenn Beck levels of ignorant, stupid and awful. It&rsquo;s a disservice to linguistics, all argumentation ever (sorry, Socrates) and any dignity you have as a human being. Anyone who ever, <em>ever </em>believes that heterophobia and homophobia are even remotely equivalent should neuter themselves with a rusty paper clip, lest future generations mutate more clustercusses of stupidity.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Heterophobia, as straight people &quot;define it,&quot; is a queer person making you check your privilege. Heterophobia is walking into a space that you don&rsquo;t own and realizing that your rules might not apply here, and that you have to be mindful of your use of pronouns, chosen name and/or consent. Heterophobia is someone telling you that you need to be a better ally and pushing you to be more accountable and mindful in your relationships to others. Heterophobia isn&rsquo;t a phobia at all but a part of life, realizing that you don&rsquo;t know everything and that you have learning and growing to do. </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If forcing straight people not to erase my bisexuality and be respectful of my gender and the identities of those around me makes me a heterophobe, then sign me up for heterophobia. I&rsquo;m the biggest heterophobe the world has ever seen. I will march down the street waving my flag of heterophobia. I won&rsquo;t stop until my heterophobia is recognized as being valid. I will not rest until we don&#39;t call it heterophobia anymore. We can just call it demanding respect. </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I&rsquo;ll tell you what heterophobia isn&rsquo;t. Heterophobia is not equivalent to a systemic norm that bullies queer youth and tells them they aren&rsquo;t good enough to live. Heterophobia didn&rsquo;t push me down on the playground or throw my backpack in the garbage. Heterophobia didn&rsquo;t whisper behind my back or make me feel like no one would ever be friends with me, if they knew who I really was. Heterophobia didn&rsquo;t ignore me when I came out or ruin my relationship with my father or scream &ldquo;Hey, there&rsquo;s the f*g!&rdquo; in my high school hallway. Heterophobia didn&rsquo;t tell me I didn&rsquo;t belong in church. Heterophobia didn&rsquo;t tell me that God wanted me dead. </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Because it doesn&rsquo;t exist. It&rsquo;s the tool of those want to believe that God is right but are too afraid to say it themselves. It&rsquo;s the tool of cowards who would rather feel vindicated in their hatred than recognize it for what it is. It&rsquo;s the tool of those who would rather keep the system the way it is, or refuse to recognize there&rsquo;s a system at all, than work to change it. Heterophobia says you are wrong and<em> irrational</em> for critiquing the system. Heterophobia says that good queers don&rsquo;t question their second class status, because their worth is conferred on them by agreeing with straight people. Heterophobia says that good queers stay quiet. Heterophobia says you shouldn&rsquo;t fight back.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If there&rsquo;s any good that&rsquo;s come out of this, it&rsquo;s that Tumblr users banded together to drown out the Tumblr homophobes by <a href="http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/heterophobia">reclaiming th</a></span></b><a href="http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/heterophobia"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">e term </span></b></a><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">and taking it back from anyone who even remotely believes the term to be valid. A Tumblr user who goes by the catchy name of &ldquo;<a href="http://shutthefuckupstraightpeople.tumblr.com">Shut the F*ck Up Straight People</a>&rdquo; proposed that <a href="http://shutthefuckupstraightpeople.tumblr.com/post/45688137627/reclaim-the-heterophobia-tag">followers</a> &ldquo;write a post (or numerous posts) about heterophobia. Like, why it&rsquo;s not a thing or why it&rsquo;s amazing or why you are one or anything you like, really.&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In response, Tumblr has seen hundreds of users flood the dashboard with posts turning the table on the term, showing how hollow and meaningless the idea is. Here&rsquo;s a list of my personal favorite submissions:</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">1. From <a href="http://punkcub.tumblr.com/">PunkCub</a>: &ldquo;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">You don&rsquo;t go homo or bi or trans to hell. The expression is &lsquo;going </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">straight</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">to hell.&rsquo; Wake up America.&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">2. From <a href="http://purplebeards.tumblr.com">PurpleBeards</a>: &ldquo;W</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">ith all the oppression and heterophobia that&rsquo;s been occurring recently, I feel it would really help if I tell them to their face that I for one am very open-minded and have no problem at all with them being straight. In fact, I know quite a few straight people, and I&rsquo;ve never once had a problem with it. I&rsquo;ve been to some straight weddings too, I don&rsquo;t totally agree with it but I&rsquo;ll support their rights all the same. I&rsquo;m a gay ally.&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">3. From <a href="http://cookingpyro.tumblr.com">CookingPyro</a>: &ldquo;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Once someone pointed out a straight to me, but it was actually a pair of impeccably ironed slacks. One time, I tried starting a Straight-Straight Alliance club at my school to lure out the heteros, but all I got was a one piece swimsuit, a croissant, and a picture of Ben Stiller.&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">4. From <a href="http://howlsofexecution.tumblr.com">HowlsofExecution</a>: &ldquo;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">So, heterophobia isn&rsquo;t a thing. Like, does everyone remember that time that show got boycotted and people were outraged over because a heterosexual couple kissed?! No? You don&rsquo;t remember that? Oh, right. That&rsquo;s because it never happened.&quot;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">5. From <a href="http://cleromancy.tumblr.com">Cleromanc</a>y: &ldquo;Making heterophobia jokes may not advance &lsquo;The Cause,&rsquo; but it sure as heck makes me feel better about the institutionalized oppression that I gotta deal with every day. So, how many heteros does it take to screw in a lightbulb?&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">We can&rsquo;t erase homophobia or mend decades of systemic oppression in one Tumblr post, but it feels a lot better when we fight back together.</span></b></p><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Nico Lang blogs about LGBTQ life in Chicago. You can follow Nico on Twitter @Nico_Lang or on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/NicoRLang">Facebook</a>.</em></div></p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 07:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/heterophobia-not-real-106263