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Queer 101
Thank you, LEO, for your last cover (April 19), which so boldly framed the recent controversy over our governor’s removal of sexual orientation and gender identity from the list of protected categories for state employees.
I don’t know of any gay man or lesbian who would be offended by your use of the word “queer” on your cover. Quite the opposite. I think most gays and lesbians would actually appreciate that we have a local newspaper willing to stick its neck out for us.
“Queer” has a queer history. As a pejorative for homosexual men, it’s been around for more than 100 years. But as with every other minority, members of the group have often used that term differently. Just as blacks have used the “n-word” amongst themselves in casual conversation, so do gay men use the “q-word” when with each other. Sometimes it’s a mild rebuke, sometimes a wry tease when a gay man does something stupid. In another sense, it’s a way of making fun of the larger culture’s attitudes: a kind of sneering back.
Beginning in the late 1980s, a new generation of gay men and lesbians started claiming the word “queer” for themselves. These were kids born in the 1960s or early 1970s who were just starting college. Some colleges eventually started offering courses in “Queer Studies.” I believe the University of Louisville had such a course at one point. Younger gay men and lesbians were attempting to grab the word and throw it back in the face of the larger culture. But it was also a rebellion of sorts against the older generations of gay men and lesbians, who considered the word offensive. A new generation simply wanted to establish its own identity.
Thank you for your continued coverage of gay and lesbian issues. Louisville’s gay and lesbian communities know they can count on LEO when the chips are down. Too bad we can’t count on our governor (or our legislature, for that matter) for anything.
David Williams

Stick to Sports, Billy
After reading Billy Reed’s column titled “What’s Lost When Leadership Plays to the Base” (April 19, LEO), it’s apparent that Mr. Reed should stick to sports. Where has Reed been, what has he been reading for the last 20 years? Evidently, not in Louisville and obviously not the Gannett-owned Courier-Journal.
Billy Reed will never convince me that The Courier-Journal is anything more than a misinformation machine controlled by the Democratic Party that spews nothing but leftist propaganda. If Mr. Reed would take the time to read some of the leftist tripe written by David Hawpe or the blatantly racist garbage penned by Betty Baye in the paper’s editorial section, he’d come to the same conclusion. I won’t even go into some of Bob Hill’s slanted tirades in the Metro section or the leftist tilt The C-J tries to inculcate in just about every major news story.
Even though I do not agree with most of LEO’s columns, columnists or “news” stories, I like the rag. You people do not masquerade around pretending to be something you are not, bipartisan.
Barbara Rhoades

Back-Handed Reporting
Billy Reed pulled off an impressive piece of investigative reporting when he assembled the pieces of the puzzle of why local and state power moguls have fixed their radar onto the LG&E site. I’d like to hire Mr. Reed to investigate another issue that involves MSM (mainstream media), including The Courier-Journal. Why has The C-J devoted not one, not two, but at least five editorial page pieces to the trashing of black, progressive Congressperson Cynthia McKinney?
To update: McKinney (D-Georgia), within her right as a congressperson, bypassed a checkpoint in the U.S. Capitol she has bypassed for 11 years. When grabbed from behind by a white police officer, who alleges he failed to recognize her (and thus failed to do the job he had been specifically trained to do), she evidently back-handed him. He’s claiming assault, and she’s claiming racial profiling. McKinney says she has been repeatedly hassled at this checkpoint by white officers. MSM as well as trash-talking shock jocks of radio and TV fame have immediately discounted her claim. The Courier-Journal printed two nationally syndicated columns, one nationally syndicated political cartoon, one unsigned local editorial and, finally, a piece from its own black editorial writer, Betty Winston Baye. All of these pieces were disparaging of Rep. McKinney. Did any one of them allude to the fact that Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-Texas) also relates that she has had her “unfortunate experiences” at this checkpoint ( No. Did any one of these writers think it reasonable to inquire if perhaps other black congresspersons have also had “black moments” at this checkpoint? No. Did any one of these journalists include the fact that, in 2001, 350 black Capitol police officers filed a class-action discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. government claiming harassment and discrimination on the part of white Capitol police officers? No. Did any one of them refer to the fact that in 2003, the Congressional Black Caucus wrote a letter to the U.S. Capitol Police Board and to the Chief of Police citing continued abuse ( No. Why not? Sorry, I smell a hidden agenda here. So what is it?
Footnote: I wasn’t there to witness what went down when Cynthia McKinney made contact with the Capitol guard, but I can tell you, as a woman, that any woman would be hard pressed to predict what she would do if unexpectedly grabbed from behind by anyone! I know what my self-defense books and courses tell me to do. I bet McKinney didn’t do that!
Marcia Schneider

Like Passover Lambs
This week I drove by to see the famed but still decidedly empty “infill” development again in Clifton (Clifton Lofts), built on the bones of two historic homes, and then drove by a grand old house someone must really want burned down on Frankfort Avenue, just blocks from where my wife and I once lived over what was the Gohmann-Meyer corner drug store. It isn’t too far from the new Girl Scout headquarters that fills a space that was once home to only a kennel and a grand Victorian house, a white gingerbread house I once dreamed of owning — a house demolished for what reason no one is certain. Neither addition to the urban landscape really looks like progress but rather shows that the promised land of infill development looks more and more like a wilderness. (No ill will intended to scouts — my sister is a Girl Scout Council’s executive director in Alabama.) The rehab/reuse of the Franklin-Roosevelt Elementary, on the other hand, seems appropriate.
In the old days, Old Testament that is, blood on the doorposts and lentils spared those within from the Angel of Death. But where do you splash lamb’s blood when the doorposts and lentils themselves are in jeopardy? Is such continued sacrifice of the irreplaceable necessary? Is it possible that the myth of urban infill development is like the perky plastic-egg-toting Easter bunny — a real departure from the authentic story of who we are and who we want to be?
Doug Lowry

Poker Politics
Richard M. Nixon enjoyed a loyalty from some of his underlings not communal to George W. Bush. At least J. Gordon Liddy kept his mouth shut. Reagan had his flunky, Ollie North, who talked yet said nothing. Now, from every angle around the table, more deals are being cut than in a poker game. The stakes are high, Georgie; go big or stay home.
On the count of three, everyone in this GOP administration: Lay down your cards, spill the Bush beans and force this so-called president to fold and throw in, throw up and head on back, disgraced, to Texas. Or from under whatever petroleum pump rock he crawled. There be oil in them thar pockets, not patriotism. Three of a kind (Delay, Abramoff, “Libby”) beat a pair (Bush, Cheney) every single time.
J.T. Falls