Letters

Hitting a nerve

RE: “Boys Do Cry

03/23/00

Thank you so much for your insightful article. Your observations contrasting dewy eyed responses to the movie “Boys Don’t Cry” against the general apathy toward vicious anti-transgender hatred and violence are directly on the mark. No one fully understands transgenderism. Not scientists, nor psychiatrists, nor transgendered individuals themselves. I think we can all recognize bigotry and hate criminality. Terrorism against transgendered persons must end. Directing a bright spotlight on terrorists is just the first step. Enactment of strict anti-hate crimes laws with explicit provisions for transgendered individuals is overdue.

Mike


Thank you very much for your coverage of hate crimes against transgender people. Roughly once a month, I see another alert about a hate-motivated murder of a transgender person, and despite the fact that the crime took place miles away from my home, it has a large impact on my sense of safety in this world. As a transgender person, I organize my life around my fear of hate crimes (or other forms of marginalization). Although I have not experienced discrimination worse than a few threats, comments, and possible loss of job candidacy, I’ve greatly altered my life to expose myself to the lowest risk possible given my circumstances. These alterations range from avoiding medical care to sitting in a restaurant where the fewest people will see me to planning where I will live based on safety rather than closeness to my family. I believe that as our society is further informed of transgender people’s humanity, the violence and eventually the everyday marginalization will begin to subside. This article works toward that goal. Thank you.

Jordan


Bursting with Durst

RE: “The Durst Awards

03/22/00

Well, Mr Durst has made me laugh myself silly. How grand to find out that someone, besides myself, REALLY can’t stand Bob Dole and his Viagra. Mr. Dole seems to be laughing inside while delivering this earth-shaking news to all the men “out there.” This TV ad should recieve a bad-taste award, right up there with the ones about genital herpes! Thanks again.

Marilyn Ortmann


Gender-bender trend?

RE: “Boys Do Cry

03/22/00

Thank you for your hard-hitting assessment of the attention transgenderism has received as a result of “Boys Don’t Cry.” I’m glad ya said it but, damn, I wish it weren’t so true! Thankfully, numerous conversations about gender identity have been started in numerous areas in response to “Boys.” Hopefully, the actors will win the award they (and writer/director Kimberly Pierce) deserve so that Hollywood will consider honest “gender-bending” characters as viable subject matter in the future. Sadly, we have a long way to go before we see the type of hate and misinformation that lead to rape and murder of Brandon Teena eliminated in society. As a transgender-identified activist, I take this as a personal challenge to make sure my voice is heard. As a journalist, this is your challenge to continue to find ways of keeping gender identity issues in the public forum.

Casey L. Gradischnig


Hungry for more

RE: “Homie-sexualz

03/21/00

Jake Ginsky’s article is a good beginning, but it left me hungry for more. Do gay rappers turn to hip-hop expression because they’re gay, because they’re hip hop, because they like hip hop, or because they think it’s fashionable? What about the “homie-sexuals” who have sex with other men but don’t consider themselves gay? What about lesbian rappers, who in the traditional discourse may be “butch,” but still aren’t “hard” enough to sell records?

Breaking gayness into hip-hop may be one of the most important and interesting culture wars we see. The visibility of the gay pride movement has been quelled as AIDS moves out of the white homosexual population and into the heterosexual black and Latino population. Homosexuality, multiculturalism, and all the character options of the P.C. early-1990s are far less trendy now than they were then. The nonacceptance of gayness into hip-hop is a microcosmic reflection of the nonacceptance of all subcultures and non-dominant lifestyles into our culture as a whole.

Hip-hop is a place for people of color to speak their minds. But in the growth of its popularity, many other groups have turned to hip-hop’s expressiveness to claim their own marginality. The struggle homosexuals will face as they try to come through the gates will be a fascinating one.

I hope Ginsky will follow up this article with some more in-depth research.

L.V.R. Odiaga