Columns 2009

If it’s good enough for J.Edgar Hoover….

According to Jerry Prevo’s letter to the editor in Sunday’s paper, his main problem with the city’s proposed ordinance protecting homosexuals’ civil rights is that it would allow men to dress as women for work. Hmm… isn’t that what Milton Berle did on his TV show in the 50s? And didn’t Tom Hanks get his start as a cross dresser in a sitcom. Then, of course, we have J. Edgar Hoover – there was a man who knew how to make a dress pop.

I erupted in laughter upon realizing his main objection to this ordinance is his belief that if passed, gay men would blanket the workplace with skirts, heels and makeup.  He also apparently believes it authorizes gays to be sexually promiscuous with pornography during work hours. Tough luck for all those straight guys out there who found their company blocked access to porn on their work computers. If this ordinance passes, they’ll apparently have to find a gay friend who is willing to share his screen.

In all seriousness, am I the only one who read that relatively bizarre letter and thought, as the Bard so eloquently once wrote, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

Fear mongering under any guise is a hateful and nasty way to try to hurt someone who is different from you. The Nazis did it with the Jews. America did it after 9/11 with Muslims. The confederate states did it with blacks – it wasn’t all that long ago that a black man looking at a white woman equaled a death sentence in many parts of the American south. And now some people are trying to use it on gays in Anchorage under the guise of Christianity.

Most mail I received in response to last week’s column supported my position, though some did so with clear limits and reservations. Many stated that Jerry Prevo simply did not really represent Christianity. A lot of people said that while they didn’t understand how someone could be gay, and maybe could never support the concept of gay marriage, they didn’t hate gays and felt their civil rights should be protected.  All in all, most letters were thoughtful ruminations on what is clearly a difficult issue for many people. 

But as always, there were the haters. They were the ones who substituted “ph” for “f” in the spelling of some words in order to get it by any obscenity filter I may have on my e-mail account. Many were little more than rants that made it clear I’d be going to hell to spend eternity with all the gays I was protecting. They quoted the Bible to ensure I understood they were speaking with authority. After reading those letters, I think hell would be a much safer option for me.

Jerry Prevo is entitled to his opinion because this is America. And Jerry Prevo and his following have the right to keep gays out of their church, again because this is America.

For his followers who wrote me in a rage because I support “special” rights for gays and they want to know where their special rights are, I suggest they look at the tax exemptions their church has – not only for the church building itself, but for just about any property it owns. They should check into how this ordinance specifically allows them to follow their beliefs and discriminate against gays if they wish. That’s a special privilege. In fact, probably the greatest specially protected entity in this whole country is its churches. They don’t pay taxes and they won’t have to follow this ordinance.

Contrary to Prevo’s fears, most gay man are not standing in their doorways dressed in drag waiting for the moment they can go to court and try a case in a lovely skirt and blouse ensemble. Most have families, bills and pets and live a stable life. And the more flamboyant part of the gay population no more represents the majority than the drunks, druggies and prostitutes you read about every day in the paper represent typical Alaskans. 

This world is already filled with groups who hate each other. Why would anyone claiming to be Christian want to add to that?