Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-09-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Letters: Immigration/marriage; A goodbye
2008-06-18

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Immigration/marriage

Dear Windy City Times,

We take exception to Yasmin Nair's phony claim that same-sex marriage advocates are 'cynically' piggy-backing on other people's movements like the struggle for labor and immigration reform to promote their own positions to the exclusion of the latter ( 'Viewpoints: Queer Immigration: Change the Paradigms' in the Jan. 9 issue ) .

For example, she accuses 'queers who claimed to fight for immigration' of not caring about the special plight of the undocumented. ( Notice her sneering use of claimed; she apparently has in mind all the LGBT people who recently participated in last May's immigration march in Chicago, many for the first time—would it have been better had they all stayed home? ) . She further accuses activists who work for a liberalization of asylum laws of having narrow interests and ignoring the millions unable to seek asylum from the ravages of global capitalism.

Does Nair name any offenders or offer any quotes? Does she even attempt to document her impressions? The answer is no. And this just shows she is setting up a strawman in order to target activists and groups she doesn't like. Such divide-and-conquer tactics are typical of the Right with its use of wedge issues to split working people apart. Why would she want to further its agenda when her opinions are clearly in the progressive camp?

Laying aside any suspicion that Nair wants to carve out some self-promoting niche and from there wag her righteous finger at the rest of us, her reasoning may run something like this: She attacks the 'gay movement'—using warning quotes to show the phrase is suspect—for selfishly believing that legalizing gay marriage will be a panacea and that further struggle will be unnecessary. She may view that movement—again, no names mentioned or quotes given—as composed of a lot of rich white gay guys who, once the fight for gay marriage is won, will simply abandon the struggle. Why stay and fight over different issues for people of a different social class, different ethnicity, different nationality, or different color?

Is this her worry? That victory, say, in California and New York on one front means deflating defeat in a host of others, many in areas unrelated or only tangentially related to gay issues? 'We'e won our fight; good luck on yours...' as former gay allies abandon the political arena to suck up the so-called narrow advantages of their hard-won victory? ( Actually, for anyone who studies the issue, it quickly becomes clear that working-class couples have the most to gain from legal marriage equality ) .

If the above is Yasmin Nair's mindset, then it sadly reflects more about her than it does about the thousands of committed activists she maligns. Most of us aren't rich, many of us are not white, and some of us aren't even gay. But all of us, we suspect, have far greater powers than Nair supposes for seeing the links between the different struggles and knowing that any one victory in one arena, though welcome, is only incentive to try harder in all the others.

We therefoe contend that if anyone is blinkered it is Nair when she smugly refuses, for whatever reason, to entertain the possibility that passion and dedication in the fight on one front does not preclude a recognition of, and willingness to fight for, a sane and free society on all fronts.

Roger & Patricia Fraser

Rolling Meadows

Editor:

In her recent column, Yasmin Nair sputters against gay marriage with the degree of venom one has come to expect out of the Illinois Family Institute. In Nair's rendition, the struggle for legal equality in marriage is responsible for everything from male pattern baldness to global warming.

To 'prove' her point she erects two straw men to knock down:

1 ) That equal marriage advocates claim that 'marriage will solve all our problems'.

2 ) That equal marriage advocates are somehow alien to and cynically using other progressive issues such as immigrant rights, citing the recent joint LGBT contingent at the May Day immigrant rights march as 'evidence.'

The article she wrote a few weeks ago about the contingent was slanted, and her most recent column outright dishonest. She falsely paints a picture of non-immigrant ( read: white ) LGBTs at the May Day march as only being interested in marriage rights and not at all concerned with immigrant rights. This is directly contradicted by what contingent members said on the day of the march, whom she conveniently quoted selectively, and the text of the emails, posters and flyers used to publicize the contingent.

Rather than engage in a pointless 'he said, she said' about the interviews, we'd refer your readers to the incontrovertible evidence of the publicity itself, including text agreed upon by all five co-endorsing organizations in the contingent, four out of five of whom have memberships that are overwhelmingly people of color with direct ties to immigrant communities.

Fully one-third of the text is about legalization of the undocumented. Another third is logistical information about the contingent, and another third dealt with three additional reasons LGBT people should support immigrant rights, in the following order:

1 ) liberalizing asylum laws so that LGBT people could more easily flee anti-gay repression abroad

2 ) supporting so-called 'binational couples,' that is, couples where one partner is not a U.S. citizen and the other is. Equal marriage rights would allow some of these couples to naturalize the non-U.S. citizen spouse

3 ) dropping the ban on the immigration of HIV-positive people into the U.S.

Don't take our word for it—text of the publicity can be found at chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/82069/index.php.

It is ridiculous to claim that Gay Liberation Network activists in the fight for equal marriage rights think that this reform would be a panacea for all that ails the LGBT community. What we HAVE said it is that the single most widespread example of legal inequality affecting LGBT people, and that addressing this inequality would give material benefits of particular importance to working class LGBT people such as health care insurance, pension and social security survivors benefits—some 1,138 federal benefits according to a 2004 General Accounting Office study. As the experience of African Africans amply demonstrates, formal legal equality is far from being everything that's needed, but it's nonetheless an important step on the road to full freedom.

In a country projected to spend 3 trillion dollars on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and bleeding red ink at every level of government, it is absurd, as Nair does, to counterpose these immediate benefits that would come with marriage to truly free, universal health care, which is offered by none of the presidential candidates. It's just empty sloganeering. It's simply stupid to say that one can't be in favor of both equal marriage rights and the longer term goal of free, universal health care and any number of other reforms that will necessarily be hard fought and require a movement far more powerful than we have today.

Finally, it is a contradiction for someone who postures herself as being for human liberation to tacitly side with the anti-gay right on the equal marriage issue. If you're against gay marriage, Nair, the solution is simple. Don't have one. But don't, like the anti-gay right, deny other LGBT people their own self-determination and right to make that choice for themselves.

—Gay Liberation Network

Yasmin Nair responds:

My report is separate from my op-ed; the latter expressed my views weeks after the former. Hence, the word 'Viewpoints' that is in bold print.

About May Day: I was there to report on a march about immigration rights, in which queers played a role. I wasn't there to report on GLN's publicity material.

Non-immigrants aren't all white. And not all non-white people are immigrants. For instance, Nicole Perez, whom I quoted, isn't an immigrant. I reported a diverse set of opinions. GLN writes that the piece was 'directly contradicted by what contingent members said on the day of the march,' as quoted by me. So how was the report 'slanted'?

Evidently, GLN's complaint is that I didn't write a piece more 'slanted' in its favor.

About my views: Calling me a right-winger is an attempt to exclude me from the conversation on gay marriage, on which there's no unanimity. Does everyone think marriage should be the only way to access health care? Why should the poor have to marry for benefits? How's that different from forcing people on welfare to undergo 'marriage counseling'?

The gay-marriage movement merges the right to get married with the right of people to basic benefits. But you can't advocate for rights based on identity politics and also present them as universal rights. For the Frasers and GLN, gay marriage supersedes all other rights. In that, they're the ones being partial.

I stand by my report and my opinion. Discerning readers will understand the difference between the two.

Saying goodbye

Dear Editor:

Recently, I resigned as director of behavioral health at Howard Brown Health Center. My resignation was occasioned by my election to a three-year term on the board of directors of the American Psychological Association ( APA ) beginning January 2008. Just four months into my term, it was clear that the time and travel commitments as well as the work of the board would preclude meeting my administrative responsibilities at Howard Brown and, consequently, I submitted my resignation.

Though I was at Howard Brown only 19 months, I worked with an exceptionally dedicated and capable staff that made me proud of the work they do. I also learned much about the challenges an LGBT health center faces in order to provide the expert and affirmative care our community deserves. What I learned will inform my work at the APA with first-hand experience of those challenges.

As one of the two openly gay psychologists on the APA board, I have unique and powerful opportunities to promote the health and welfare of LGBT persons nationally and internationally. One has only to look to the recent California Supreme Court decision recognizing same-sex marriage to understand the effectiveness of APA's leadership role on LGBT issues and the role of LGBT psychologists in the APA. Of the many amicus curiae briefs the court received, only two were cited in the text of its decision: those of the California Psychological Association and the APA. After leaving Howard Brown, I have returned to private practice on a limited basis here in Chicago.

I want to thank Michael Cook, Howard Brown president and CEO, for offering me a rare opportunity to serve the LGBT community in Chicago. I want to thank, especially, my colleagues in the Department of Behavioral Health Services for their support and, finally, to thank the entire staff and volunteers of Howard Brown for their many and often unsung contributions to the health of our community.

Armand Cerbone

Chicago


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

MOMBIAN True stories, trans tales and more in new picture books 2020-09-16
VIEWPOINTS Get involved in Michigan now 2020-09-15
Reeling 2020 reviews 2020-09-12
VIEWPOINT The common thread of LGBTQ+ stigma and mental health 2020-09-02
LETTER TO THE EDITOR Wear a mask 2020-09-02
My case for being in Congress 2020-09-01
LETTER What's in a name? And striving for racial equality 2020-08-19
VIEWPOINT Coming-out letter 2020-07-28
VIEWPOINT Uncle Charley 2020-07-22
Stand up and be counted 2020-07-10
LETTER Standing up against racism 2020-06-27
MOMBIAN Supporting LGBTQ families requires that Black Lives Matter 2020-06-24
Remembering a leader: Larry Kramer 2020-06-02
Planning your legacy: VA benefits for LGBTQ veterans and servicemembers 2020-05-27
THE AMAZON TRAIL Is there a doctor... 2020-05-27
VIEWS LGBTQ discrimination is a disgrace 2020-05-18
LETTER Handling the pandemic 2020-05-13
MOMBIAN: COVID-19 pauses family-building for many LGBTQ people 2020-04-29
LETTER In praise of Pritzker 2020-04-29
OP-ED The media needs to stop reporting about Queen Latifah's sexuality 2020-04-28
LETTER Administrative errors 2020-04-15
OP-ED: COVID-19 LGBTQs, minorities disproportionately affected 2020-04-15
THE AMAZON TRAIL A giant 2020-04-15
Teachers Union: South Side Black residents need ready access to services 2020-04-06
LETTER Missing Marc 2020-04-03
COVID-19, closed churches and LGBTQ Catholics 2020-03-29
OPEN LETTER Census 2020: The LGBTQ+ community counts 2020-03-27
Chief judge weighs in on bail reviews during COVID-19 epidemic 2020-03-21
THE AMAZON TRAIL Mick's potato fertilizer 2020-03-17
Stop comparing coronavirus to early HIV/AIDS. Just stop. 2020-03-17
Open letter about Coronavirus and the LGBTQ+ communities 2020-03-11
VIEWS In 2020, being queer could be key to a courageous career 2020-02-08
OPINION 'Trans-formal' education 2020-02-05
VIEWS Warren's America would center our voices 2020-01-28
VIEWS College for LGBTQ students 2020-01-22
THE AMAZON TRAIL The tabloid edition 2020-01-22
LETTER Impeachment 2020-01-22
MOMBIAN LGBTQ parenting: The year in review 2020-01-08
THE AMAZON TRAIL All I want for the holidays is a left earbud 2019-12-24
MOMBIAN Childhood stories of LGBTQ, other social justice activists 2019-11-26
 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.