Letters

CNN we ain’t

RE: “Boys Do Cry“”

03/31/00

Thank you for reporting on the virulence of gender-based hate crimes in our society. If only the MoJo Wire had the media clout of CNN, Time-Warner, or the other giants! This is a story that needs to get out. Again, thanks for doing your part to validate our transgendered brothers and sisters and to increase the sensitivity and understanding of the rest of us.

J. Cooper and D. Nelson


Thanks for having the courage to bring this “closeted” topic to the forefront. I am a reader from your first issue way back when a college student in New York and it is refreshing to know the magazine still has the courage of its convictions.

Sue Dawson


White buffalo/white villain

RE: “Sacred white buffalo killed

03/30/00

The magazine’s generally great, as are the Must Reads, but I’ve a bit of a problem with the way the white buffalo story was presented. Clearly the Sioux man shot the buffalo and could’ve elected not to do so if he didn’t want to. People don’t shoot sacred creatures if their faith really means that much to them.

The feeling I get is that somehow this had to be edited to make a white person the heavy, and who better than a cop? That’s an easy way out. It simplifies things for leftists who don’t want to think too hard and keeps an ultimately racist stereotype of a “pure” native community, of a single mind, intact. Surely MoJo isn’t supporting the notion that we all have to do what authority figures tell us? That we’re not responsible for our own actions in these cases?

I’ll also point out neither your article nor the one in the Nebraska paper provided the reader with any clue as to what the normal procedure for dealing with rampant buffaloes is in that corner of the world, and what less-violent alternatives there may have been. Lacking this background, the racist/insensitive jackbooted thug depiction of the officer is rather unfair.

You can do better, and usually do.

Chris Randolph


Shell we dance?

RE: “Shell Ads on the MoJo Wire

03/30/00

The Shell ads are a good thing. How are we ever going to change big-business by reporting about them from the sidelines and not taking them personally to bat?

Diane Lasek


I was disturbed by the advertisment banner for Shell. Not only is it tacky for a leftist publication to give advertising space for multinational corporations, but by doing so in this case you’re also participating in whitewashing Shell by featuring ads presenting them as a globally responsible company.

Martin Sundstrom
Sweden


Alive and Well responds

RE: “Foo Fighters, HIV Deniers

03/29/00

I am writing in response to Mother Jones’ recent report on the Foo Fighters’ benefit concert for Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives. The baseless and incorrect statements contained in the piece are particularly disappointing since they come from a magazine with a reputation for progressive investigative journalism.

MoJo’s characterization of Alive & Well as a group of HIV deniers in league with right wingers and anti-Semites has no basis in logic or in fact. We are a group of HIV-positive diagnosed people who work to dispel common misconceptions about HIV and AIDS that create unfounded fear and prejudice and lead to misdirected research and education efforts. We sponsor medical studies of health-enhancing approaches to resolving AIDS and fund scientific studies that objectively examine the HIV hypothesis. Our data comes from respected scientific and medical journals, governmental publications and international news journals. We stand in direct opposition to right-wing groups who whip up hysteria about AIDS, seek to criminalize HIV, demand names reporting and mandatory medication, and want containment camps for people who test positive.

The article falsely states that Alive & Well implicates anal sex as a cause of AIDS when our work actually highlights the lack of scientific evidence that acquired immune suppression is contagious by any means. More specifically, my book does not contain the word “anal” anywhere in the text.

I am disappointed that a magazine with a long standing reputation for publishing progressive ideas and uncompromising examinations of current events has descended to repeating, rather than challenging, unfounded ideas about HIV and AIDS. To do so while hurling unkind names at the Foo Fighters, Alive & Well and others who support open inquiry and uncensored dialogue is unkind and irresponsible.

Christine Maggiore
Founder/Director, Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives


Not pretending

RE: “Boys Do Cry

03/28/00

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for daring to speak the truth about Brandon Teena. Of course, I could have expected no less from Mother Jones. As both a subscriber and a female-to-male (FTM) transgendered man, I applaud you in covering this story accurately.

All too often this year, as the media buzz around “Boys Don’t Cry” continued, I have found myself writing letters to newspapers and television programs asking them to recognize that Brandon Teena was transgendered and that his story is a drop in the bucket among the violence perpetrated against our community. Instead, mainstream media outlets such as NBC’s “Dateline” single out this incident as if it had no context in the number of increasingly brutal hate-crimes against transgendered men and women. Moreover, most media outlets continue to use female pronouns (i.e., she or her) and to report that Brandon was “a woman pretending to be a man.”

Finally, someone understands that he wasn’t “pretending,” he was transgendered; and I thank you for placing his story in the appropriate context, as well as for using the pronouns that he used to describe himself. Once again,the MoJo Wire is a media leader!

Riley Morgan