Letters to the Editor

  • Tuesday March 14, 2006
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Editorial unfair

Your editorial regarding Brokeback Mountain losing the Oscar was unfair ["Hollywood's homophobia, March 9]. Assuming the movie lost because of homophobia is the same as assuming racism because Hustle and Flow didn't win best picture. You get five nominees each year and four of them are going to lose. You can speculate all you like but remember when it comes to movie opinions they vary for various reasons.

I am gay and proud of it but the movie did not pack the emotional wallop for me as it did for many others (including my mother). Personally, I thought it was a snoozer and I did not find it to be realistic in many ways. I found it very heavy-handed. I thought Crash was a much more thought provoking and entertaining movie. You may strongly disagree with my opinion but this does not make me homophobic. I think it was fantastic that a "gay" movie was finally made that showed masculine gay men in a love story setting but I didn't think it was a great movie.

Personally, I think a lot of gay people have gotten carried away with their emotions regarding this movie. This is a good thing because movies are supposed to take you to a magic place. But just because Academy voters don't agree with your opinion (or the opinions of many of us) does not necessarily mean it was because of racism or homophobia. No matter how angry you are because you really loved the movie and really wanted it to win does not change that fact.

Robert Biller

San Francisco

Brokeback backlash

Crash ... Boom ... Ouch! As I sat and watched the Oscars with my family, I can say I wasn't surprised Crash won for best picture (and it was a good movie). But I still felt like I'd been slapped down ("take that, you uppity ..." echoed in my head). Of course, Brokeback Mountain didn't win because so many straight men are uncomfortable with gay men and they are 50 percent of the population, after all.

Actually, it is probably a good thing to be reminded of our place in the world but it still infuriates me to realize that society doesn't care about us.

Any solution to my anger? Yes, I can get out of my comfort zone and ask and challenge straight men about their attitudes. And I know that Brokeback may have lost as best picture but it will exist as a testament to our humanity. When it comes out on DVD, lots of guys (in my office and elsewhere) will finally see it in the privacy of their own homes and maybe change their attitude. I can hope, can't I?

Mike Brockman

San Francisco

Feeling ripped off

I don't know about you but I'm feeling ripped off right now. Brokeback Mountain won top prize at virtually all the American and British award shows leading up to the Oscars. Not only has it been a cultural phenomenon but also the highest rated film as can be from the pink section of the Sunday Chronicle . Yet it was denied the Oscar for best film of the year, that honor going instead to Crash, which opened to mixed reviews. 

Despite Ang Lee's plea for tolerance of gay love at the Oscars, Hollywood chose instead to "turn its back on an unflinching gay love story" as the New York Times put it.  Apparently a movie about two virile, rugged, young cowboys in love with each other was too subversive for Hollywood and Middle America and didn't meet their stereotype of who gay people are. Ironic, isn't it, that all the straight people involved in the making of that masterpiece might be the victims of homophobia. But Hollywood does listen to the sound of money so it is important that the LGBT community support this film financially. If you haven't seen the film as yet, go see it. And if you have seen it, go again and take along a couple of friends. Brokeback has made about $80 million domestically up to now and $100 million seems to be a magic number in Hollywood. Let's help this movie exceed that mark so that other filmmakers will be encouraged to make more films portraying our lives with honor and dignity.


Bernard A. Niechlanski

San Francisco

Suicide painful for family, friends

I was saddened to read Zak Szymanski's February 23 article ["Gay man jumps off Golden Gate"]. I know first hand some of the pain and anguish Ken Bostock's friends and family is feeling, having lost my uncle to suicide just before his 50th birthday. More than 30,000 people in the United States die by suicide each year. Although most depressed people are not suicidal, two-thirds of those who die by suicide suffer as Bostock is reported to have from depression.

A growing body of research estimates that gays, lesbians, and bisexual youth attempt suicide at a rate two to three times higher than their heterosexual peers. Some studies indicate that the rate of attempted suicide for transgender youth is higher than 50 percent. While less studied, I believe that the LGBT community continues to struggle with suicide throughout our lifespan and may be particularly vulnerable again in our senior years.

I applaud Supervisor Tom Ammiano's leadership as a member of the Golden Gate bridge board to push forward on a suicide barrier for the Golden Gate Bridge. Everyday folks also have an important role to play in suicide prevention.

That is why this July 22, I am choosing to walk with thousands of other people in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's overnight walk. Over 90 percent of those walking in last year's event lost a family member or friend to suicide. I am proud to be helping break the isolation and stigma that surrounds both suicide attempts and death from suicide.

I have never before attempted something on the scale of this march – where I will be walking for 20 miles though the night to create a message of hope and healing. I strongly believe in the prevention initiatives for which I am walking and raising funds, as well as the power that we have collectively.

Please walk with me, in person or in spirit. Your donation can make a crucial difference. 

If you or someone close to you is currently feeling suicidal please get help today by calling 1-888-333-AFSP. 

Jennifer Rakowski

Community United Against Violence

San Francisco

Angelides's gay support

Thank you for your informative profiles of the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates ["Angelides mirrors voters' gay marriage views," January 19 and "Westly, long an LGBT ally, aims to be governor," March 9] . Though your most recent piece last week mentioned that "Angelides has the support of Leno and others in the community," I think it would be of interest to your readers to know the full extent of LGBT support for his campaign.

State Senators Sheila Kuehl and Christine Kehoe, Assembly members Jackie Goldberg and John Laird, Supervisor Tom Ammiano, former Supervisor Leslie Katz, former Treasurer Susan Leal, Thom Lynch, Jim Hormel, Al Baum, Commissioner Theresa Sparks, Commissioner David Campos, Commissioner Debra Walker, Robert Haaland, Cleve Jones, Kathy Levinson, Mike Sullivan, Mike Marshall, Laurie McBride, Gloria Nieto, the Reverend Penny Nixon, Steve Collier, and Peter Poulos, to name just a few, are all proudly supporting Treasurer Angelides in his primary this June 6.

Though a county supervisor was quoted as saying, "[Steve Westly] is the only Democratic on the horizon who can beat Arnold," I know that Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Dianne Feinstein, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez would all emphatically disagree given that these four statewide leaders are campaign co-chairs of Phil Angelides. Add to this impressive list of supporters the endorsement of the California Labor Federation and business and labor leaders across the state and one can clearly see the formidable strength of the Angelides effort.

Given that both Mr. Angelides and Mr. Westly are strong supporters of our community, let us do that which we can to keep the debate on issues and not on personal attacks.

Mark Leno, Member

California Assembly, 13th District

San Francisco