Larry Kramer: “Who Cares if a Faggot Dies?”

As a follow-up to his speech at New York’s Gay & Lesbian Center and last week’s Times Square ACT-UP Army protest, Larry Kramer writes an open letter to heterosexuals in today’s L.A. Times, asking them why many stand silently as the hate parade goes by:

Larry_kramer“Gays are hated. Prove me wrong. Your top general just called us immoral. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is in charge of an estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian troops, some fighting for our country in Iraq. A right-wing political commentator, Ann Coulter, gets away with calling a straight presidential candidate a faggot. Even Garrison Keillor, of all people, is making really tacky jokes about gay parents in his column. This, I guess, does not qualify as hate except that it is so distasteful and dumb, often a first step on the way to hate. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama tried to duck the questions that Pace’s bigotry raised, confirming what gay people know: that there is not one candidate running for public office anywhere who dares to come right out, unequivocally, and say decent, supportive things about us.”

And make no mistake, Kramer places much of the blame on gays themselves: “You may say you don’t hate us, but the people you vote for do, so what’s the difference? Our own country’s democratic process declares us to be unequal. Which means, in a democracy, that our enemy is you. You treat us like crumbs. You hate us. And sadly, we let you.”

Now here’s a kicker.

The L.A. Times identifies Kramer in the tagline to the piece as “an aging 72-year-old gay man (who) isn’t hopeful about the future.”

AgingWhether or not you agree with Kramer’s approach, you would think that the paper could find a bit more respect in its description of the longtime activist. After all, his work with ACT UP was a major force in getting the AIDS epidemic the attention it deserved at crucial moments throughout the crisis. It’s pretty sick that the L.A. Times chooses to write him off as “an aging 72-year-old gay man.”

Would they have had the balls to classify Gloria Steinem as “an aging old woman?”
I think not.

UPDATE: I just received an email from Larry Kramer and he says that he did not write the tagline. Kramer says they also changed the title of the piece, which was originally “A Letter to America’s Heterosexuals”.

And in related news, here’s a new interview with Kramer from Rex Wockner.

Why do straights hate gays? [la times]

You may have missed…
Jim McGreevey Joins Larry Kramer in Times Square Protest [tr]
Activist Larry Kramer Calls for New “Gay Army” in Speech Marking ACT UP’s 20th Anniversary [tr]

Comments

  1. rob adams says

    Tag-lines are, traditionally, approved by both parties. And Kramer’s most certainly sounds straight out of his mouth.

    While i don’t agree with everything his says, right now he’s the closest thing our community has in the form a National Sage. The future does not look good for a community with so many self-loathing habits and values.

    Presently, the Gay-American community is only united in our spending habits.

  2. Jonathon says

    Thanks for posting this bit re: Kramer’s op-ed. I found it to be a well-written piece and quite expressive of my own feelings about the prejudice we live with each and ever day.

    Were that all gays were as focused on winning the battle for our full measure of equality as they are with finding that perfect outfit or picking up that cute trick at the bar on Friday night.

  3. David says

    After reading the article I think it is fair to say that this tag line was part of the title or tag line from Larry Kramer. Knowing his humor and sarcasm, It seems like something he would say. Has anyone seen a response from him?

  4. Art Landis says

    I don’t know if you guys read March’s Atlantic on Tim Gill – I really resonate with it.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200703/tim-gill

    Gill’s main point is that people only respond to fear (created in a legal and ethical manner) – we need to create a culture of fear for gays. Ultimately that is how minority groups gain power and social status.

    Create fear in your corporation, organization. Don’t be a flowery girlie stereotype. Sue, intimidate (legally), and take money away from people who don’t approve of you.

    If we don’t do this, we are letting them hate us and get away with it.

  5. phil says

    How depressing. For what it’s worth, I do not feel hated. I amd 52 and live in the MidWest. My family, co-workers and neighbors all accept me and my partner of 17 years. They are terrific. My partner is out at work, too, and his co-workers are terrific. We have no problems whatsoever, zero, nil, zip. Things *have* to be better today than ever before. I remember those days and can assure you that they are. Larry Kramer doesn’t speak for me. His view is cranky and warped.

  6. PC says

    “…Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama tried to duck the questions that Pace’s bigotry raised, confirming what gay people know: that there is not one candidate running for public office anywhere who dares to come right out, unequivocally, and say decent, supportive things about us.”

    Um, Giuliani?

  7. Brian says

    If it weren’t for cranky, warped people nothing would ever get done. I’m thankful for Larry Kramer’s dogged persistence, even if I might not always agree with him or with how he puts things.

  8. Frank L says

    While I respect Larry Kramer and his history of activism, I disagree that abstaining from a vote in 2008 is a logical solution.

    I don’t like any of the presidential candidates currently out there, but nobody (including Larry Kramer) can tell me that there wouldn’t be a world of difference for federal policy toward gay people between Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama being president and John McCain or Mitt Romney. There’s just no comparison.

    Withholding a vote because “all candidates sell us down the river” is the ultimate in meaningless cynicism. Larry Kramer can keep his cynicism.

  9. says

    We’ll have to wait to see if he responds, but I have a feeling he didn’t choose the by-line. Most freelancers don’t get to (The NY Times says this explicitly – I don’t know about the LA Times). The editors probably picked up what he wrote in his article and used similar phrasing to create that byline. But that doesn’t automatically mean he approved it. Often even staff writers don’t get to approve headlines and by-lines to their own stories.

  10. Frank L says

    I doubt that Kramer would have approved that tagline. It just makes him look like a whiny out-of-touch septuagenarian crybaby, which (even though the paper agreed to print the op-ed piece in the first place) was probably the LA Times’ intent. The Times isn’t owned by a bunch of muckraking progressives anymore.

  11. hoya86 says

    re: Phil’s comments.

    Good for you! Glad to know that you have no problems whatsoever, or as you say “zero, zip, nil”. Assuming that’s even remotely true – good for you, but there a lot of gay men and women who can’t say that and one of the reasons is the atomsphere of hate being created by the current administration, Peter Pace, not a few of the evangelical establishment, the Catholic Church…the list goes on so I won’t bore you.

    Larry Kramer may not speak for you – so be it, but considering your position of blissful privelege, who do you speak for?

  12. says

    Though I liked the version of this that was Kramer’s speech last week, the same message targeted at straight people came off scolding and shrill. “I think your hate is evil” ? What constructive purpose does that serve? Or any of this article, other than to lay guilt on straight people?
    The idea of an ‘open letter to straight America’ is a good one, but not as an excuse to moan about things like “My lover and I don’t want to get married just yet, but we sure want to be equal.”

    It’s important to point out the colluding role that straight people have in the ongoing ‘hatred’ (I like Kramer’s term on that) that the country is gripped by. But I think it would be more constructive to point out how much of that hate is still out there, and chide the kind of straight people who say “I have tons of gay friends” but vote for someone who would deny those friends’ existence or dignity.

    Being a campy, over-the-top, militant activist for the gay audience is fine: We need to hear that shit, and go out and do something for once. But he should have toned it down for the mass, mainstream audience.

  13. phil says

    I’m sorry, but Larry Kramer’s shrillness has always annoyed me. He makes some good points but the article as a whole is skewed toward the negative. The gay community has made great progress. I can REMEMBER the 1960’s, the 1970’s…when you never saw the word “gay” in the paper and when people routinely equated gay with child molester. Either you are all young folks or you have forgotten what it was like. Things are better today than ever before. Perfect? No. But my life is pretty darn good. I have NO PROBLEMS being gay in my MidWestern town. My partner and I don’t hold hands at the mall, but neither do we hide it from our family, friends, coworkers. Everyone is very accepting. Straight people don’t hate ME. Not the straight folks I know.

  14. says

    Oh, wait, I’m not done.

    To Phil – with all due respect, and your situation does sound great, but are you sure about that? You may not be personally hated, but are you allowed to marry your partner? I live in the Midwest, too, recently came out with no problems, live with my bf of two years and it’s all great. But I can’t marry him.

    I think that was Larry’s point. By voting for and accepting politicians who will accept our donations and use our tax money but won’t treat us as equals, we’re allowing ourselves to be treated unequally. I don’t agree that we shouldn’t vote for anyone, but being accepted in your own little world and being accepted economically and legally nationwide are two different things.

  15. says

    “While I respect Larry Kramer and his history of activism, I disagree that abstaining from a vote in 2008 is a logical solution.”

    Amen, Frank. Is there ever going to be a “perfect” candidate? No. But some sure beat the hell out of others. What if, for example, black Americans decided to not vote (a hard-earned vote, mind you) because a certain candidate didn’t represent ALL of their main interests to a perfect T. You telling me Strom Thurmond would have been better than a Lyndon Johnson?

  16. rjp3 says

    Until we can all hold hands with whoever we want at the mall we are not safe.

    Only the war on sex makes it dangerous.

    In Europe and the Middle East men hold hands. (Remember the picture of NaziBush and The Saudi Prince)

    Straight men should be free to hold hands at the mall – without fear of what other citizens will do to them.

    —-

    As for the byline … ALL BYLINES and HEADLINES are written to spin the news by the editors – not the writers.

  17. Greggie says

    Maybe I’m repeating what one or several people may have written, but it’s very difficult to know how to appropriately represent oneself. If I call myself simply a man, then sexuality is not an issue and there is a more pure equality. But then I risk denying, or refusing to acknowlege that which makes me a gay man…my sexuality, which is ultimately integral. It’s so frustrating, sad, painful, and complex because I end up working so hard for people to see who I am, and in that effort I could be showing the exact opposite. I hope I have not contradicted myself. I guess I wanted to show how difficult it is to make sense of it all.

  18. Matt says

    I Think that Larry Kramer poses an interesting question. Why is hate directed toward Gay People? Historically why have we been attacked and deprived of equal status under the law? Is there something real achieved by attacking Gay people, and who benefits from such accepted behavior? I wonder whether anyone could point me in the direction of a good piece of Psychoanalytical research in to the mechanism behind such apparent hateful behavior towards gay people, it would be an interesting read.
    I have been lucky in that (so far) my Family, circle of friends, work colleagues, local community have not made me feel hated, but I must say looking at the way I am discriminated against on a collective basis, I certainly do not feel equal, and there is definitely a group mentality that exists that accepts and even promotes Gay bashing, belittlement and deprivation, to the extent that our political representatives can feel totally comfortable ducking the issue with what amounts to contemptuous disdain.
    I think it is important to support one another, stop being reactive & diverted by the cleverly crafted agenda of the bigoted and start to craft a world for ourselves that if necessary keeps our economic wealth within our community. I am tired of being kept on the defensive the whole time, what is it about the way I conduct my life that means that I have to constantly defend my right to do so?

  19. Greggie says

    I also wanted to write that I truly cherish this blog (even if Anna Wintour hates the word). I feel so much more informed now that I read it daily. Thanks, Andy. Good show!

  20. rjp3 says

    Greggie you are JUST a MAN.

    Straight men define themself by their sexuality to deminish and overpower you – to scare gay and bi men into silence. Thus they get more power over a group.

    Gay men define themself as GAY to take the POWER BACK.

    Saying you are a MAN is correct. Own that.
    Your equal.

    Saying your a OUT GAY MAN gives you MORE POWER. Your taking power away from those who do not want you to be out.

  21. nycredneck says

    did you really just suggest giuliani?!?!?

    has he even uttered the word “gay” since he decided he was running for president? Until he’s forced to, we won’t know if he’s had a change of heart (political necessity) like romney or not, and the fact that we have to wait makes him as bad as everyone else.

  22. Art Landis says

    Phil – I think this it the mentality of your neighbours:

    It is ok that Phil has a little friend with him, as long as they keep it out of sight. (Especially away from the children!) But no, holding hands and asking for legal rights is too much. We can’t vote for that.

    So, maybe it is ok by you to accept this as a compromise, but I don’t think younger people would accept it.

  23. Art Landis says

    All: I don’t think you guys have read the link I posted, but it really is worthwhile if you have the time.

    Tim Gill is a former software entrepreneur that sold Quark (the publishing software) and made to the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans (as a gay man). The article is a description of what kind of activisim he is doing in his home state of Colorado.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200703/tim-gill

  24. John says

    This tagline issue vividly underscores the message of Mr. Kramer’s letter.

    The Times tagline writer should get a lesson in using google, and The Times should follow-up with a prominent apology, retraction, and correction that respectfully acknowledges Mr. Kramer’s contributions. Moreover, I understand that 72 is the new 60.

    Didn’t the Chicago Tribune people recently buy the LA Times?

  25. ecoralguy says

    Larry has done more for the gay community then others, but the way la time treated him is a shame. I can only hope the The Advocate and the other gay new mag’s will print his letter that way he wrote it.

  26. Mitchell says

    Larry Kramer and Act Up! are true American heros. Unless you are of a certain age you don’t rea;lly understand the holocoust gay men went through in the 80’s and 90’s. The only voice that got through was Act Up and Larry.

    Yes, he is shrill, opininated and loud…but it is all from a loving heart so big as to make you weep. I lost 20 friends myself. Do you younger guys know what it’s like to lose every one of your closest friends. To attend funeral after funeral of young people dead from a disease our country would not face.

    We all should hang on every word Larry says. He only speaks truth. It’s time to wake up my friends. It’s time to Act Up as well! We owe the next generation a safer place to live. We did the best we could. It’s your turn now.

    You may think you can not make a differnce. Larry did against all odds. So can you.

  27. Patrick M says

    To Matt:

    I am a PhD student in psychology. There has been a lot of research in psychology recently on homophobia as a separate form of discrimination and hate. It is interesting that you asked about “psychoanalytic research” because, in many ways, psychoanalysis as a branch of psychology has itself contributed to homophobia with a skewed view of the derivation of homosexuality. This view is slowly changing.

    One good intro to this is http://www.cyberpsych.org/homophobia, an online discussion that acknowledges psychoanalysis’ flaws in the past, and that also has references to other resources.

  28. Leland says

    There was a fascinating [and depressing] documentary on PBS recently about the transformation of the “LA Times” after the Tribune Company bought it. They own not just the “Chicago Tribune,” but several other papers around the country, 20-some TV stations, and, of course, the Chicago Cubs. Whatever else they might claim to be about, the documentary made clear that not just making money, but increasing how much they made was more important to them than “good journalism.” Contrary to legend about being eclipsed by TV and the Net, newspapers like the Times continued to make huge profits from ad revenue, but not enough to please the parasistes at the Tribune Company who forced layoff after layoff. In short, headline/subtitle/tagline writers—never the most informed lot [and, with rare exception NOT the same as the authors of the articles themselves]—are more likely to be younger [read smaller salaries] and more ignorant.

    Luv Larry as I do, nevertheless, it’s unlikely his ego would have led him to submit “72-year old gay man” rather than “72-year old gay author [or playwright or activist].”

  29. Frank L says

    Actually, the offensive tagline read “AGING 72-year-old gay man,” which is even worse. Do they ever call Bette Midler an “AGING 61-year-old straight woman”? Unbelievable.

  30. Jack! says

    I agree with everything Matt and Art Landis said. Art thanks for bringing that article to us, it was great. Gill’s message is to donate to state and local campaigns to throw out anti-gay candidates before they hit the national stage or enact anti-gay laws.

    I thank Larry for everything he’s done for gay people. He’s right on the money with his comments. Many people do hate gay people but try to cover it up as reasonable or not hateful.

  31. Thomas says

    The singling-out of specific groups as targets for oppression and discrimination (Jews, women, blacks, Latinos, gays, etc.) has to end with us, the gay community. We have to fight not only for our rights, but for the rights of everyone, period. Let’s stop making it “all about us” and stop the whole ballgame. If we want to talk “equality” let’s hold that out for everyone, something that hasn’t been done before by one group.

  32. Frank L says

    Also, just to add to what I said earlier, I may disagree with what Larry Kramer says about 2008, but I am totally in awe of and indebted to him and his achievements — and the achievements of others like him, including the late and recently departed Barbara Gittings — without whom the relative freedoms and visibility we have as gay people today would be nothing but a distant mirage.

    I may be unhappy about the way life is for gay people right now, but it’s a whole hell of a lot better to be gay now (the existence of a blog like this being a prime example) than it was when I was cowering in the closet in college 20 years ago.

    So, Larry Kramer, if by some happenstance you’re reading these comments … thank you. Thank you (and your compatriots) for making the lives of the generations that follow you so much better.

    And thank you, Andy, for this fantastic blog. I may not always agree with your posts, but I read this blog religiously and always find something worthwhile when I do.

  33. John C says

    Re: Kramer’s “shrillness”. Major political change rarely (if ever) comes about through good manners. Martin Luther King may have kept his cool but his speeches were backed up by angry race riots. Then how about Stonewall? The women’s suffrage movement? Women got themselves the vote by breaking windows, chaining themselves to fences and seeting fire to mail boxes (these days they’d no doubt be charged with terrorism).

    Maximum respect to Larry Kramer. He was fighting for people’s lives during the 1980s when the Reagan govt didn’t give a shit about “the gay plague”.

  34. says

    Whether I agree with Mr. Kramer’s politics or tactics is immaterial to the fact that I greatly respect him for his work and efforts on behalf of gays, lesbians and people with AIDS.

    Like him or not, he is an historic figure in the gay/AIDS movement. And to reduce his stature as a national and significant activist to merely an aging gay man worried about the future is grossly offensive.

    And I wrote a letter to the LA times saying so.

    And asked of the LA times, why to they hate gay people?

  35. Matt says

    Kramer has *always* been shrill. Frankly, I think a shrill response from someone who kind-of represents the gay community is about due.

    The comment above from someone who said he should have “toned it down” … I think the time for playing fair and being “straight-acting” is past.

    For the last few years, I, too, have come to believe that U.S. gays are under attack. The words used in the media have gotten worse, and the laws on the books have too.

    ACLU can be our “straight-acting” and ineffectual reps. But some of us gays (like me) think that Kramer’s anger is justified and represents our same anger. And I am wiling to protest, sue, and be as OUT as I can be if it makes these right-wing bullies back down.

    They’ve really gone too far.

    When is ENOUGH enough??

  36. Leland says

    Appreciative youngin’s might also be interested to know that Kramer produced and was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay of one of the most beautiful and sensual films ever made: Ken Russell’s adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s “Women In Love.” Forget Russell’s other, sometimes ludicrous films, WIL was highly praised by critics at the time [1969] for his faithful treatment of the novella about two male/female couples and the bisexuality of one of the men.

    The marvelous, much-missed Glenda Jackson won her first Oscar for it, and the extended scene of two fully frontally nude, men [Alan Bates and Oliver Reed in their prime] wrestling erotically by fireplace light is still remembered by film buffs gay and nongay.

    Love, sex, war, class warfare, madness, it has it all. Available on DVD, but if anyone lives where there’s a local theatre that shows classic older films, experiencing its lush, lyrical painterly, technicolor magic on the giant screen is well worth the wait. One scene alone, of a nude couple embraced in death, I’ve long fantasized about having a wall-size photo of.

  37. eric says

    I admire Larry Kramer for the contributions he’s made to our civil rights and for being an agitator. I think he’s right in the sense that we need to call out homophobia when we see it and demand better. On the other hand, there has been progress. Ultimately, the tone of his writing/speeches are always so negative, whiny and off-putting (as opposed to stirring and inspiring) that, in the end, I never really feel like supporting him or his agreements. He always seems to alienate people (gay and straight) rather than rallying them to action in a positve way.

  38. jimmyboyo says

    The root of homophobia

    It is genetic.

    Sorry to say this but all hate of the other is genetic. Billions of years of evolution hardwired in us via our ancestors that strangers, otherness, and different can carry death (viruses etc).

    Education/ environment can lessen the hate and improve the condition of the most hated at the time but humans as long as humans exist will always find a scapegoat. Humans will always hate some group different from them. The groups change but the hate doesn’t.

    Part of the problem is judeo christian values which point out our differences from other humans which triggers the fight or flight response from differentness. judeo christian values have always preyed upon this fight or flight genetic trait in humanity to perpetuate the power of certain people.

    We can alleviate this by tossing out the judeo christian value system which prides itself on pointing out differences instead of finding commonality. But in the end the demon(figurative)of hate will always be a part of the human genetic makeup. It enabled our ancestors to survive and evolve.

  39. jimmyboyo says

    PS

    The only sure fire way to get rid of all this hate and fear of the other, the stranger, the different in humanity is a planet wide centuries long eugenics program.

    Forbiding the most fearful and hateful from breeding while only allowing the least fearful and hateful to breed till you have a much calmer breed of humanity. Just like we do with dogs and breeding out ferociousness in certain breeds to make them more docile.

  40. Leland says

    There is much to admire, Matt, in the HRC Corporate Equality index, BUT the outrage is the game it plays relative to the weight given the ratings on whether or not a company “engages in action that would undermine the goal of GLBT equality” which resulted in Coors getting a 100 % positive rating, despite their tiny footnote, “It appears that a significant shareholder of this company may have supported an institution whose primary mission includes undermining the goal of GLBT equality. To HRC’s knowledge, such support has not affected the company’s policies related to GLBT employees.” Hey, HRC assholes, you’re contradicting your own scoring mechanism, splitting hairs between what’s done in the company’s name and what’s done with company profits. That gay Dallas Coors was one of HRC[F]’s founders and gay Scott Coors is on their business council impresses me little more than the fact that Mary Cheney was a paid “Get The Fags To Buy Our Beer Again” shill for them. For those interested in the truth behind the smoke and mirrors, see the article below from Salon about former Coors head Pete Coors [probably the “significant shareholder” above] who is still on the Molson-Coors board. Fortunately, he lost the Senate race in which he endorsed a Constitutional amendement banning gay marriage [which the company took out ads to distance themselves from], but there’s no evidence I’ve seen that he still doesn’t support the extreme right wing groups mentioned below, including the rabidly homophobic Heritage Foundation which was started with seed money from his Neaderthal father.

    “The Coors campaign’s deceptive advertising
    Colorado beer baron Pete Coors is running for Senate as a moderate conservationist. But he’s given millions to anti-environmental and anti-feminist groups.
    By Joe Conason
    October 22, 2004 | In the long and colorful history of Coors, there came a time about two decades ago when the heirs of the Colorado brewing dynasty realized that their ultra-right political legacy was discouraging sales of their once-legendary beer. When a broad coalition of labor, minority, gay and environmental organizations successfully urged consumers to boycott Coors, the company veered toward crisis.
    The Coors solution was to keep the politics but change the image. Suddenly, the company began to buy advertising in gay and minority publications and lend its name to pride events, while simultaneously offering sponsorship to a few environmental groups. Coors’ philanthropy was split between two foundations, the relatively innocuous Adolph Coors Foundation, named for the family patriarch, and the obscure but reactionary Castle Rock Foundation. A sophisticated public relations strategy promoted the virtues of the family’s younger and more attractive executives — notably Peter Coors, who was portrayed as a smiling sportsman and conservationist.
    So while the Coors heirs maintained their political ties with far-right and religious-right outfits — from the Free Congress Foundation to the Council on National Policy — the brewing company courted gay and minority groups, going so far as to provide domestic-partner benefits to gay employees. It hired none other than Mary Cheney, daughter of vice president-to-be Dick Cheney, as its gay community liaison. Using this skillful strategy, the Coors interests have managed to mute harmful publicity while pursuing their traditional political aims. They could market their brews to minorities, gays and environmentalists while funneling the profits into right-wing propaganda that those consumers would consider obnoxious or worse.
    Now that Pete Coors is running for the U.S. Senate in Colorado, the same tactics that cooled the Coors boycott have been engaged to soften his political persona. The candidate’s real politics, as reflected in his family’s continued underwriting of ultra-right organizations, are scarcely different from those of his forebears. But after defeating an even more outspokenly rightist opponent in the Republican primary, the Coors campaign has skillfully presented its candidate as a vaguely moderate conservative. Otherwise he would have no chance of defeating Ken Salazar, the moderate and highly popular state attorney general who won the Democratic Senate nomination.
    As the Denver Post noted during the bitter Republican primary contest, the “bland and vague” views espoused by Pete Coors covered him with a “moderate sheen.” That allowed him to “appear conservative enough to win the primary, then drift toward the center if necessary come November.” Indeed, the Coors campaign is almost content free. On his campaign Web site, he provides little beyond reassuring rhetoric about his positions on issues. He promises to reduce taxes and to “preserve and protect our natural resources.” He opposes abortion but doesn’t reveal what, if anything, he would do to discourage it.
    As a politician, Pete Coors is no doubt well advised to gloss over the rougher edges of his philosophy. As a philanthropist, however, he can hardly disavow the millions he has distributed to promote his family’s tradition of right-wing extremism.
    The Coors campaign Web site offers little information about the candidate’s views about Social Security, for example — but his foundations have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that promote radical privatization, including the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute. (While all these organizations prefer such anodyne descriptions as “reform” to “privatization,” the policy is clear enough.) For the past several years Cato has led the drive for privatization, likely to become a central goal in a second Bush administration.
    Coors courts female voters, boasting endorsements from Republican and corporate women’s groups. Women in Colorado might be taken aback, though, if they understood his foundation’s commitment to fighting against women’s rights. Both the Castle Rock and Coors foundations have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Independent Women’s Forum — a group of conservative women whose role is to undermine legal protections for their own gender. So extreme is the IWF that its leaders opposed the landmark Violence Against Women Act, complaining that such federal protections encourage women to “distrust” men.
    And in keeping with his “conservation” credentials as a former president of Ducks Unlimited, as well as the strong preferences of Colorado voters, Coors professes to support environmental protection. But the record of his philanthropic endeavors is clear. The right-wing think tanks and activist groups subsidized by Castle Rock are unanimous in their hostility to environmental legislation. Heritage, American Enterprise Institute, Cato, the Independent Institute and various other recipients of Coors largesse are reliable outlets for energy-industry propaganda, usually dressed up as scientific “research.” Their studies tend to minimize the effects of global warming, push oil drilling in sensitive areas such as the Alaska preserve, and oppose sensible energy conservation initiatives. However friendly Pete Coors may feel toward ducks, he and his family have provided consistent financial backing to organizations that oppose environmental protection, including of wetlands, ducks’ critical habitat.
    Perhaps the most damaging donations by Coors are its contributions to conservative legal groups, such as the Pacific Legal Foundation and the Landmark Legal Foundation, which litigate against environmental regulation. In a typical case, the Pacific Legal Foundation, which received $50,000 from Castle Rock in 2002, filed suit on behalf of a Baccarat Fremont, a casino developer fighting against wetlands protections on a Northern California site. Using the tax-exempt funding provided by Coors, these conservative legal firms assist timber, mining and other development interests to thwart environmental protections.
    Should Colorado voters closely examine the Coors philanthropic record, they will find that the “moderate sheen” applied by the family’s political publicists is rather thin. Beneath that veneer lie those same old right-wing impulses. As the poet once sang, in words that perfectly capture the Coors tradition: “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”

  41. Matt says

    Thanks for the input Leland, have can you reference a better index/guide that can be consulted. I would hate to be stymied in to inaction because there is no perfect system yet in place. It is good to know that you keep a watchful eye on these things but until there are better alternatives I am left to rely upon those organizations that have at least made a step in the right direction. We have to start somewhere if we are going to effect change.

  42. Leland says

    You’re welcome, Matt. You might also check out http://www.buyblue.org periodically. They rate companies on a variety of progressive values scales, and how much they contribute to Democratic and Republican candidates—whenever they can identify such information.
    That was where I was shocked to discover that Amazon once gave primarily to Repugs [it’s now about 50-50].

    According to them, the Coors family own 27% of the newer Molson-Coors joint venture.

  43. VB says

    I’m not surprised about the headline and subhead (tagline) as those are always written by newspaper editors and the LA Times is clueless at best and homophobic at worst when it comes to gay coverage–what precious little there is. Also in the last managment shakeup some months back, the editorial page was put under the control of the publisher (new from Chicago, natch), not the editor as before, resulting in the purge of liberal columnists and a decidely more conservative tone. I doubt they had any idea of who Kramer really is.

    Kramer is a welcome link to the 90s media image of gay men and women that was feared, sexually charged and a little dangerous. They were halting the stock market, marching into Saint Patricks and outing Malcomb Forbes! Now gays are mostly seen as harmless and largely sexless lifestyle experts–the best buddy to a nation of TV-watching fag hags. And those are our friends!

  44. Stephen says

    There will always be people who don’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle. Yet some of these people gays & lesbians work closely with, have meals with, socialize with, go to movies with, are our neighbors. Their right to disagree with what homosexuals do in the bedroom in large part is based on their integral belief system. The majority of these people don’t separate their humanistic side and their religion. They are part and parcel to one another. Gays and lesbians must accept this because we are not going to overthrow religion no matter how hard we try. People who have a religious/Christian core are hard-wired, so to speak.
    If every homosexual and lesbian were to distance themself from others based on different beliefs across a broad spectrum of topics (political, socail, economic, etc.) we (and they) would become lonely people. Let’s agree to live together and share common ground, interests and values in our lives, realizing that the alternative promotes isolation, illness and at times, hate.

  45. Leland says

    Oh, fuck you, Stephen, and the Hello Kitty pink plastic pony you rode in on. Who gives a damn about their “integral belief system”? It’s their hateful behavior I oppose—blocking or trying to overturn LGBT civil liberties; physical violence against us; and their hate speech which contributes to those things.

    Really, Girlfriend. Save your choruses of “Kumbaya” and Smores for summer camp.

  46. jimmyboyo says

    Wow leland, especialy catty today?

    You must be jonsing for a reichen article so you can post about your obsession and get your bitchyness out.

    Though I disagree with stephen (By damned I am going to try to overturn every single religion before I die…LOL)he does make a point.

    There are 6 billion people on this planet with an estimated 9 billion going to be here in 2050 if trends stay the same.

    There will always be people who disagree with us. The numbers are against us. The goal then (with these people vs those we can change) is to try to find some common ground with them so that we don’t tear each others’ throats out.

    That is unless you can become god king of earth and implament a world wide centuries long eugenics program that breeds out hate from humanity much like we breed out agression in most dog breeds.

  47. jjessex says

    I’m not sure why I choose to comment on this particular posting–after reading so many news items and postings about one let-down after another (on the gay front 😉 )–however I will.

    I’ve not had a particularly rough time of being gay, unlike some, however it strikes me as so ridiculous, this hate. I agree with other commentators when they say “but WHY, why hate so much?” I sometimes just don’t get it.

    Oh it is easy to see the apparatus that leads to this hate–society, the church, etc.–but why? If it is some evolutionary rge cloaked in bigoted religious values, okay, but really then why don’t you haters despise childless couples?

    Personally I don’t really need to get married, and, if I do, it really is no-one’s business but my own.. except.. the state provides umpteen benefits for married persons. Perhaps this year the federal government can just do without my taxes.. afterall, why should I pay to be defamed, abused, ridculed, marginalized, etc.

    Further on the subject of Kramer or others, I’m afraid I have to disagree. Some characterize him as shrill, etc. Really, how polite does one have to be when they are being marginalized, assaulted or killed? Fuck that shit. Hate is wrong. Hatred, bigotry, assault and vileness are wrong–and doubly sickening when they hide behind pious religious rhetoric.

    I am actually suprised that we “gaze” have put up with all this crap for so fucking long. Yes, profanity. You see, this marginalization is something I don’t belive one can always be polite about.

    People ‘hate’ gays and lesbians for what? I mean what really? One aspect–out of MANY–of my life is that I have sex with men. Okay, so what? What impact does my sex life have on your existence, hater? The answer is Z E R O. So get the fuck out of my business and go about solving some problems in the world such as hunger, disease, homelessness, rape, mysogyny, poverty, WAR, profiteering, economic hardship, global warming, corruption-in-government, etc. etc.
    etc.

    Sorry for being more angry than I intended; but I don’t feel like being polite when I’m being denigrated and marginalized and killed.

  48. says

    When the first women’s rights convention was held in the USA in 1848, the convention participants, men and women, all agreed that the hardest thing to do is to convince an oppressed people that they do indeed deserve to be treated as equals, and that those who oppress them are never their friends.

  49. says

    I haven’t read all of the comments, so hopefully I’m not repeating anything, but I just thought it was worth noting that in the Orange County version of the L.A. Times, both the title of the piece and the tagline are different.

    In the OC version, the title reads is…

    To: Straights
    From: Gays
    Subject: Hate

    and the tagline reads…

    “LARRY KRAMER is the founder of the protest group ACT UP and the author of ‘The Tragedy of Today’s Gays'”

  50. Stephen says

    Leland:

    In attempting to be rational, reasonable and understanding of others perspectives, you sure don’t lead by example.

    I don’t condone any hate or hateful actions by anyone against any group (sans self-defense in a life-threatening situation). I, unlike yourself, can dismiss another’s opinion about one’s sexual identity and still maintain a friendship with those same people. You, concversely, would rather spew hate, separation and isolation.

    Have fun in your elevator for one.

  51. Matt says

    Wow we have to give it to Larry Kramer, he is certainly excellent at inspiring debate on a subject that does not seem to get the attention and debate it deserves. Thank You Larry for your tireless campaigning on our behalf. Thank you for inspiring heartfelt & rational thought about a subject that is long overdue for serious consideration and action to stop the irrational hating that is directed at our community. It appears that we need more people like you, but sadly we have been blinded by the convenience of life in the “civilized” world, and the latest sale items at Barneys, Target, Best Buy…… Unfortunately I can not claim to be excluded from the general malaise that allows us to watch the effects of Katrina on our television sets, allow our troops to fight a war but suffer no hardship at home in support, the list is long, but thank you for throwing a pebble in this particular pond!

  52. jamie says

    “LARRY KRAMER is the founder of the protest group ACT UP and the author of ‘The Tragedy of Today’s Gays'”

    This was the tag line in Los Angeles. So, let’s get the story right. No disrespect was used to describe Mr. Kramer.

  53. bd@gmail.com says

    The other day my companies HR Manager called me a “pretty boy” in reference to the difference in our lifestyles (he’s also gay). I have to admit, I was offended. I don’t have any type of relationship with this person (personal or otherwise). Also, I’m in my early 40’s. Wondering if I should make a deal out of this.

  54. TP says

    One thing is for sure, when all is said in done, Larry Kramer is one of a handful (if even) of gay men who have truly made a difference. Who else do we have in the public eye truly pushing to dialog along? He’s brave, articulate and doesn’t take shit from anyone. We should all be grateful for the work he has done on behalf of our community.

  55. Jeremy says

    When will we stop calling homosexuality a “lifestyle” ?? It is such an American thing to do; gays and lesbians elsewhere in the world don’t use this self-limiting phrase. I don’t think that American gays and lesibans are helping themselves if they use it either. “Lifestyle” sounds like something you chose, and also sounds like a fasion, not something that’s part of who you are. It also separates gay and lesbian people from the rest of the community. I’m a New Zealander that just happens to be gay. I certainly don’t live a ‘lifestyle’ that’s markedly different from other NZers…

  56. Kim says

    RE: the roots of homophobia

    This topic has run through a few of the posts, and I don’t really think the main reason has been mentioned. I think the hatred of gay men and lesbians is closely linked to the hatred and oppression of women. The patriarchal system is set up in such a way that straight men control the women within their own households. They are able to “own” the children of those women by shutting them off from the rest of the world; they are certain that those children are their own offspring if they know the woman is unable to freely move and make their own decisions. Gay men undermine that system by providing a living, breathing example of the fact that men don’t have to behave that way. Lesbians undermine it in more obvious ways by rejecting that they need men in their lives as husbands and masters.

    This is why I am so torn about the marriage issue. On the one hand, I realize that it should be an individual choice whether to marry or not. I also realize that, of course, the institution has different connotations today than it did millenia ago when women were traded from father to husband. However, I can’t get past the idea that it IS, in fact, an institution based on ownership and control. Straight men “husband” both their wives and their livestock. Fathers still “give away” their daughters to husbands, transferring control from one straight man to another. Also, I believe that marriage represents the very social order that is responsible for gay-bashing.

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