Comments

  1. Danny says

    wow. a small town in Michigan. This is a miracle. Middle-America is coming out of the closet and standing up for its gay loved-ones–be they coworkers, neighbors, friends or family members.

    I’ve said it over and over–the most powerful weapon we have is Coming Out. The more we do that the more the hatred withers.

  2. Christopher says

    Nothing she can say offends me more than her hair. Did you see it on video? The woman is leading a city council meeting filled with people calling for her resignation and she couldn’t be bothered to drag a brush through it.

  3. Donald says

    She couldn’t care less who she has offended, she hasn’t learned anything. She just wants it over and for the “queers” to shut up about it. Troy should toss her to the curb.

  4. bob says

    people are emboldened in their hatred when they think that they are in the majority – that people will agree with their hatred. This is a clear example of what happens when people say ENOUGH. Let this be a lesson for others who think they can just sling these comments and not pay the price for their hatred.

  5. Artie says

    One commenter correctly noted that “queer” is often used as an adjective in academic contexts, and the import is very progressive:

    At Harvard and Yale, there is no “Department of Gay Studies,” there is a “Department of Queer Studies,” just as there is “queer cinema” (cf. Wikipedia article on “The New Queer Cinema”).

    This asswipe mayor of Troy, Michigan is using the word as a noun, which reeks of bigotry. I will offer my question about double standards again. Would Janice Daniels think I was just making a little slip if I called her a loudmouth c*nt? I’m sure that what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. No more double standards, please — not on the Internet, not in the media, not anywhere. Thanks.

  6. Gigi says

    I’m so proud of these people for standing up to the mayor like this. She handled this entire situation in a very unprofessional manner. I wish the video was longer. I want more!

  7. dan says

    Troy, MI is a large suburb north of Detroit. About 6 square miles and 25 minutes north of downtown Detroit via I-75. It feels good to see the residents of Troy, by in large, also very conservative, stand up and represent. Metro Detroit is a very conservative, largely manufacturing blue collar region. I am glad that people are speaking up and seeing the light.

  8. Brian says

    She seems like a thoroughly awful person, and I don’t want to defend her in the least, so this post may be ill placed. But I have to say I’m not entirely clear on what words are ok vs not ok. Obviously anything with an f is bad and everybody knows it. I think gay is universally ok, although a lot of people, including me, would find someone saying “the gays” as something of an idiot. And then of course there’s the whole “that’s so gay” issue, so clearly the word can be used nastily as well as positively. Homosexuals used to be the neutral word but I think has now passed into the offensive realm. And I sense that queer is moving in the direction of homosexual. As commented above, there’s the academic queer studies, which is uncontroversial, there’s the famous “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” protest chant. It sounds like from above if she had said queer people are getting married, that would have been ok, since it’s an adjective? (I know the sentiment would still make her a jerk, but would the use of the word also be offensive? I’m sure “the queers getting married” would be offensive, just like “the gays”. But if gay and queer as an adjective are ok, and neither is ok with the word “the” preceding it, it’s a bit confusing that gay is ok as a standalone noun but queer is not.

  9. downtownla says

    I went to high school in Troy. It is definitely not blue collar. It’s in Oakland County and one of the richer cities in the state. It’s where Kmart used to have its world headquarters, as well as Volkswagen of America and a few others. That’s why I am so surprised that this teabagger won there. I actually think Obama carried the city.

  10. says

    A correction to what Danny said — Troy is not a small town. It is one of the nicer suburbs of Detroit with a population of 80K. While it isn’t the richest, it does have the upscale mall known as the Somerset Collection. It is in Oakland County, known for being one of the richest counties in the country and a bastion of the GOP.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy,_Michigan

    It is so good to see the teenagers take her to task and to see so much gay support from the community.

  11. Jeffrey in St. Louis says

    @Brian: the thrust of her comment is that she no longer wants to carry a bag that says she loves New York because New York allows gay people to marry. It wouldn’t have mattered if she had said “queers” or “gays” or “homosexuals”, the viewed legalizing same-sex marriage as sufficient reason for hating New York.

    The fact that she used the word “queers” made her comment even more hateful.

  12. Brian says

    I’m not sure I agree, Jeffrey. For me, what you’re saying is exactly why I think she’s an idiot, ie her whole comment about the bag. And I assumed that’s why everyone was up in arms. But from the hearing, the comments here, and her defence it’s clear that almost everyone is focused on the use of the word queer rather than the anti-marriage stance of her broader comment. That’s why I wanted to focus on how offensive the word really is.

  13. Steve says

    I agree that this is so much about the word “queer”, as some people make it out to be. It’s about her being so ashamed of marriage equality in NY. Even if she had said “gays”, it would still have been an offensive statement

  14. paul b. says

    She wants to “move on” to another topic because she’s uncomfortable and not one bit remorseful. If a “body language expert” reviewed this video…and the others…I’m sure they would see discomfort…i.e. I’m a victim here…in her body language.
    She’s a bigot and then a liar on top of that. Remove her from public service now!
    She’s got the rest of her life to make sincere ammends…and you know she would…NOT!!!

  15. Gary says

    Here is a woman who posted this loathsome rant on Facebook and then was elected mayor of this city. I think we should consider that her bigotry and homophobia were probably quite clear to many who know her and to many who voted for her. Homophobia is alive and well in Troy (and everywhere). She may become quite successful politically. Watch your back, Michelle O’Bachmann (as Letterman calls her); you may have a new opponent some day, perhaps in 2016 when you run for President again.

  16. Gregv says

    Brian: I think it is she who tried to pretend it was about one word. Those people speaking out at that meeting wouldn’t have been there is she’d just used an off-color word on an otherwise non-offensive context.
    Personally, I find the word qu**r annoying when anyone connects it to gay people in any context, but it’s not annoying enough for me to bother with if someone uses it as an adjective for a film, etc.
    No matter what word she uses, it’s the sentiment that she’s offended by others having basic human rights that is really offensive. That one word barely registers as a sidebar alongside the whole ugly context.
    Likewise, imagine her using any slur against any other group to state that she is against their basic human rights, and it would be the same.
    What if she had referred to Obama as a “zebra” for being bi-racial. It would be very different If she had said, “I love families of all kinds, black, white or zebras” (I would be annoyed by her choice of one word only) versus saying, “I miss the good old days when them zebras had no rights and could never be President” (then the entire context is offensive and the slur is magnified by the ugly context of the speech.)

  17. Randy says

    They just don’t get it. It’s not enough to apologize for using the word “queer” (which doesn’t offend me). The problem was the statement itself, and the message it sends.

    Canada is only 20 miles from Troy, and a lot of Canadians do our holiday shopping in the Detroit metro area, with Troy being one of the options. But when Troy’s mayor insults New York this way, she insults us too, and I’m not spending my cash in Troy until she’s replaced. It’s clear a genuine apology isn’t coming.

  18. ladydragon543 says

    @downtownla

    I went to HS in Troy too, (Troy Athens, represent~) and I’m not at all surprised that a tea party member won. Troy has always been overwhelmingly republican/conservative.

    I’m almost certain Obama didn’t win in the city, but I’m pretty sure he carried Oakland County.

    That being said, I’m proud of the residents for standing up to her. Politicians at any level shouldn’t be allowed to get away with hateful comments like that. Even in private (they should be called on it by their family/friends imho) but most definitely in public. I mean c’mon now. Common sense, anyone?

    @Brian

    As for using the word “queer”. Yes, its been used in academic instances, etc, but I’m pretty sure her generation used the word “queer” as an insult. She clearly meant that she doesn’t support Equal Marriage (neither does the whole of Michigan, sadly–there was a vote on it about…2ish years ago? Medical Marijuana? OK. Gay marriage? Not so much…) and she definitely chose to use a word that, to her, had a negative connotation.

    That’s purely conjecture on my part of course, but I’m pretty sure the use of the word “queer” in the context of her post pretty much screams negativity, don’t you?

  19. ravewulf says

    As horrible as she is, I wouldn’t call her “The Worst Person in the World” as there are so many other loathsome cadidates for that title. Maggie Gallagher, members of NOM, CWfA, AFTAH, and the WBC are certainly worse.

  20. Brian says

    Yes, everything in her comment screams negativity, because she’s a complete jerk. I guess I didn’t express myself clearly, because I find her comment loathsome. What I was trying to get at was that the use of the word queer is the least bothersome part for me personally, but the bulk of the comments were about how offensive the word queer was, and I didn’t realize it was such a sensitive word.

    Personally I never use the word, it just seems outdated, like calling a clinic an infirmary. But I guess what we’re saying is that it’s the context that matters, which I believe is still the case for homosexual. (acceptable in scientific literature, not in NOM mailings).

  21. Dave says

    To those progressive types who think it is OK to use queer if you are “reclaiming”the word, stop it already. It has been 20 years since gay hipster activists decided to shock the world by reclaiming the word “queer.” They haven’t reclaimed anything. It is still a slur. Only now, bigots like this mayor can muddy the waters by pointing to “queer studies” and “queer cinema”. For once in your lives, think about how your actions are affecting others and stop promoting an anti-gay slur.

  22. SK says

    As a resident of Troy, MI, I am NOT surprised in the least by the election of a Tea Party candidate. (NO, I did NOT vote for her!) At the end of the day, Troy is a conservative, Christian, Republican town, as is the balance of most of Michigan. Her half-baked apology hasn’t accomplished anything except to make those of us with a driver’s license which reads “Troy, MI” and who teach our children that love comes in all sizes, shapes, colors, genders, origins, belief systems, etc. to be ashamed of our Mayor!

  23. Mark says

    Obviously her only perceived “mistake” was posting what she posted and getting in trouble for it. That’s what she is sorry for–not for what she said.

  24. Artie says

    @ Dave,

    I’m not trying to promote the use of “queer” as an adjective in academic contexts; I’m just noting that many academics at top universities do this, as well as many gay filmmakers. I’m not saying that it’s a smart thing to do.

    The main point of my comment regarded bigots who insist on a double standard: they think calling someone a queer is OK on the internet or in the media but calling someone (like Janice Daniels) a c*nt on the Internet or in the media is not OK. I think my main point is still valid. No double standards. Ça va?

  25. rafi says

    I think it’s okay to use “queer” in the co-opted way it’s progressed to. A lot of people self identify as queer because gay/lesbian/bisexual seems too limiting to them; and queer has sort of emerged as a more accessible term to replace the increasingly unwieldy LGBTQQIPAA string.

    But like any co-opted word, it has a nasty past. So it ends up being context that defines each particular use. In this case, Mayor Asshat’s context was clearly negative, which made the definition of “queer” in her use the derogatory one.

  26. says

    Dave, it’s because of those who’ve fought to empower the Queer identity that I’m the Out and Proud gay and queer-identifying man that i am today.

    despite being gay, i’ve found much strength and pride in my queer identity. the courage to be who i am, and what i am, and exist apart from the “perceived norm” and yet not feel like i’m any lesser because of it.

    being empowered by a queer identity has NOTHING to do with this woman’s use of slander – the problem was not the word, but her intent behind it.

    those who fought for the queer identity, which is indeed separate from “gay” are utterly thinking about the lives of others – namely those who cannot, or refuse to, “blend in” who need to find strength in their visibility.

    i’m a self-identifying Queer man. that doesn’t negate the hateful intention of this woman’s bigoted statement.

  27. Tarc says

    I’ll be direct: I WAS going to Sommerset collection to drop a load of cash on holiday gifts. NOW, I am not going to spend a dime in a community that seems to feel that woman represents them. I’ll spend my dollars at gay-friendly locations or with gay-friendly businesses. I hope the corporate overlords see this and act accordingly.

  28. Craig says

    Queer as Folk
    Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
    Queerty.com
    Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens(book)

    I hate the word but we have to stop using it if we expect others to stop using it.

  29. Brian says

    Well, I’m giving up on this topic. I was really leaning toward the conclusion that queer is becoming a pejorative word and gay remains the only acceptable word, but now from little kiwi’s comment it sounds like queer is an affirming word for some people who find gay too restrictive, although I probably have that wrong.

    On a personal level, as I said earlier, I find it tinged with negativity and sounding antiquated so will never use it, but I guess there are some people who self identify with it. I googled the term to try and figure out who is queer but not gay but couldn’t understand it. So I’ll probably just stick with gay, and I apologize in advance if I inadvertantly call a queer person gay.

  30. Katie birch says

    I live in Troy and did not vote for this woman. I had no idea about this post showing up until after the election was over. I just did not like her then, and I don’t like her now..conservative like me..or not. She has cast an embarrassing and bright light in a negative way upon this city and should be out of there! Where do I sign the petition to get started?

  31. says

    You do have it wrong, Brian. But that’s ok. This is a Teachable Moment.

    Not all gay people are Queer. Not all Queer-identifying people are gay. I identify as gay, and I identify as Queer. I SELF-identify as Queer; I don’t identify nor label others as Queer. I dont’ find gay “restrictive” – it’s just not the same as Queer.
    two separate things.
    there are lebians, bisexuals, transpeople and others who identify as Queer – deviating from the expected norm, unconventional.

    the pride in that identity comes from being empowered to exist apart from the perceived norm, not demanding to be a part of it. different need not mean lesser nor less deserving of equal treatment and standing.

    i have no desire to Blend In to the norm, but that doesn’t mean that discrimination against me is justified.

    i’m very lucky to have found Toronto’s Queer community when I was coming out – sharing experiences and connections with not just other gay males but bisexuals, lesbians, transpeople, and those whose orientations and/or gender-identities may not be grasped by a label as of yet. the strength imparted on me was not “that i’m just like everyone else” – but that i didn’t have to be like everyone else to be a person of worth and value.

  32. Brian says

    Well, I still don’t get it, your explanation is sort of like what I was seeing on the internet, a bit too amorphous for me. Maybe queer is supposed to be like an umbrella term for everyone who isn’t straight? Anyway, it’s not important, I’m happy to be gay and you’re happy to be queer, and this bigot mayor is still an idiot.

  33. says

    well, i’m happy to be gay, but I’m also happy to be Queer.

    Queer is a statement of sociopolitical identity. I’m not sure what it is that you’re not getting, I thought I was pretty clear. What needs further clarifying? While I’m a gay man, I also self-identify with the Queer communities – LGBT people who live and indeed are visible and identifiable as ‘different’ from the perceived ‘norm’.

    but yes, this woman is still an idiot and not because of the word she chose to use, but the feelings she harbours that drove her to use that choice of word.

    she might as well have said “blacks” – it’s simply showing disgust and disdain for an historically-targeted group.

  34. Brian says

    Honestly I don’t want to argue about this, I really am trying to understand. I think my confusion stems from that one phrase you stick to to distinguish queer from gay, “different from the perceived norm”. Do you mean the heterosexual norm, or a gay norm? In first reading I thought you meant the heterosexual, or societal, norm, in which case wouldn’t all gays be queer since by definition we don’t identify with the man loves woman norm? So maybe it’s the gay norm that you’re not identifying with, but if so, I’m not clear which part. It can’t be in a way that’s already covered, like transexual, bisexual, etc so I can’t quite get where queer fits in. Sorry if any of this was offensive, it’s my ignorance doing the offending.

  35. jack says

    Mayor Daniels bigotry has given the people of Troy MI the opportunity to show the country what they are made of. And they have shown us that they are made of real good stuff.

  36. says

    brian, no worries buddy.

    it’s neither the gay norm nor the heterosexual norm. that’s the thing – it’s merely “The Norm”. the greater cultural norm – as opposed to perhaps “counter-cultural” offshoots. there are mainstream gays, there are mainstream straights; their spheres overlap more often than they don’t. the same is true with counter-cultural pockets – Queers.

    yes, you’re right. gay people, inherently, deviate from a perceived norm. but many gay people don’t want to be seen as deviating from anything. they want to be seen as “normal” – as perceived by the greater population, mainly straight. but normal is the wrong word to aspire to – it’s not the norm to be gay, because it’s less usual, a deviation from the expected. like being left-handed, really. what it is is natural. it comes naturally to us. it’s in our nature.

    queer is not “who” or “what” you are, but “how” you are about it.

    😀

  37. Tom J says

    I was born in Michigan and until the time I moved away, I was proud of that fact. Now, I avoid telling anyone that I was from there…
    totally embarrassed…

  38. Vint says

    Accuracy check: One commenter claimed: “At Harvard and Yale, there is no ‘Department of Gay Studies,’ there is a ‘Department of Queer Studies'”

    Not true. Neither Yale nor Harvard has a department devoted to gay studies, and neither have any degree-granting entity that contains the word “queer”.

    At Yale, the LGBT Studies undergraduate curriculum is housed in the program in Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS).

    At Harvard, undergraduate degrees in lesbian and gay studies are conferred via the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality. This is a committee, not a department. And it is a committee without the term “gay”, “lesbian”, or “queer” in its title.

    Harvard does have an endowed named visiting professorship (the F. O. Matthiessen Visiting Professorship in Gender and Sexuality) dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies, the first such position in the U.S….though again, its title has no “gay”, “queer”, or “lesbian” in its title. It was established in 2009.

  39. Mike B says

    I live in Troy, I’m very proud of my fellow, community taking such a deliberate stand. It really did shock me but, looking at it, I’m not really surprised. Troy has some badasses.

  40. Pastafarian says

    I live in Troy and ask for a boycott of all business in Troy until the mayor steps down. I would be more that discussed, but the local students that showed up to voice their mature comments restored my confidence that progress will triumph over hate. Hopefully we can move from the Boston tea party era to the 21st century a bit quicker.

  41. mitch says

    There are some things and words,that should not be put on,facebook.But,what happened to
    the first amendment?free speech.Our country
    has been going down the tube,for many years.
    People can,curse and mock,the name of Jesus,
    the son of God,and,thats life but don,t say
    anything about an ungodly,lifestyle,the media,jumps right on it.God,ordained marriage,between on man and one woman,thats it.It is not hatred,to make this statement.
    God loves the sinner,but hates the sin.

  42. Ann Gray says

    Even in Texas we wouldn’t tolerate a statement like hers. I am sorry she has caused pain to so many Troy residents; I guess you ARE ashamed. Do you have a recall possibility?
    Her statement is totally obnoxious; almost as bad as some Rick Perry makes. I wonder what was said in your churches this morning about God’s love for all people.

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