Letters to the editor

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday August 10, 2022
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Letters to the editor

I guess we missed the memo

Seeing all these young people standing in line at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center to get a monkeypox vax, for many of us I have to ask: since those who are at risk most (the elderly and those with compromised immune systems), why are none of us informed as to where we can possibly get vaxed? Who is informing the people who I see in line and why are the rest of us not getting the memo? That is, exactly who do you have to know to get in line and where are the priorities in reaching out?

John Mortimer

San Francisco

Author is clueless

Like anyone who considers the U.S. a democracy, author James Kirchick is clueless ["Author explores DC's gay past in 'Secret City," July 20]. "The movement," he states, "has achieved nearly everything it needs for gay people in terms of equal rights and legal rights and protections, we are equal citizens, full stop...it should declare unilateral victory." He glosses over the Florida schoolteachers now forbidden to mention same-sex relationships; he ignores Texas Republicans calling homosexuality an "abnormal" choice not entitled to protection from discrimination. According to Kirchick, "we should be directing our attention [to] the real medieval treatment of gay people in places like Iran, Uganda, China, or Russia ... countries that are not democracies are really suffering."

The country that's not a democracy is the U.S., and are we ever suffering. Our last president, Donald Trump, having lost to Hillary Clinton by 3,000,000 votes (democracy?), appointed three reactionary, unaccountable Supreme Court justices for life whose decisions 70% of us oppose. Emboldened by this new cohort, Justice Clarence Thomas is now inviting challenges to legalized same-sex relations and marriage. Yet missionaries like Kirchick want us to be preaching to China and Russia when we should be fighting Washington.

And notice who's missing from Kirchick's democracy-deficit list: U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia (no elections, homosexuality punishable by death, gay men tortured and executed) and Bahrain, home to U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, where "accusations of homosexuality ... are levied against critics of the Bahraini government ... [as a] means of bullying reformers" (Wikipedia).

Kirchick only pounds approved U.S. punching bags, not just China and Iran, but also trans anti-war activist Chelsea Manning, who, he once wrote, should "face the strictest possible punishment for [her] treachery" ( https://www.vice.com/en/article/mgg838/what-if-chelsea-manning-was-russian). When RT News asked him about her court-martial he refused to answer, instead choosing to attack Russia. For missionaries the problem is always elsewhere, never here. Kirchick praises Washington's gay apparatchiks — "the perseverance of these people who served their country when their country didn't want them is important to acknowledge" — but Manning's service outweighs theirs. The former Army private who exposed U.S. violence in Iraq revealed the truth of a criminal occupation, and paid for it with jail and treatment Yale and Harvard law professors called "a violation of the criminal statute against torture" (https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2011/04/28/private-mannings-humiliation/).

Jay Lyon

San Francisco

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