Why a gay and lesbian issue? Why not?
When Proposition 2, known euphemistically as the “marriage amendment,” passed last fall, I felt dismayed but not surprised. After all, with the blessing of President George W. Bush, the emboldened Religious Right has become entrenched in American politics and culture — so much so that Texans were willing overwhelmingly to insert discrimination into the state constitution.
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from the editor
In statewide efforts to defeat the proposition, San Antonio’s LGBT community was quieter on the issue than other major Texas cities. A Wedding Cake celebration at Joan Grona Gallery raised awareness among gays and lesbians, but it did not reach many of their straight allies who needed to vote en masse to upend the orchestrated prejudice of Prop 2.
In general, San Antonio keeps discussion of its LGBT issues in the closet. Last fall, when Amnesty International released its report, Stonewalled, detailing police abuse of the local LGBT community, public outrage was non-existent. When a transgendered individual was allegedly raped by a city cop (DNA evidence points to the officer, who was arrested and is awaiting trial), there were no protests at City Hall or in front of police headquarters. When no one complains, bigots take that silence as consent.
Who are these Out gays and lesbians on the cover?
Clockwise from center: District 7 Councilwoman Elena Guajardo; Lisa Goehri, university student and hard-working member of the Liberty Bar waitstaff; David Reed and Keith Taylor, co-owners of Shag the Salon; Harry Haines, Trinity University professor and Vietnam veteran; Chuck Squier, Palo Alto professor of drama and public speaking, whose theatrical pieces have been staged at Jump-Start; and Jenn Olivia, activist and co-editor of Xika magazine.
It was in light of these events that I began chewing on the notion of publishing a special gay and lesbian issue, which I hope will be an annual feature. While the Current often reports on issues important to gays and lesbians, printing a half-dozen or so stories at once allows us to explore several aspects of the LGBT community and provide additional context. There is no LGBT media in San Antonio — and the Current isn’t pretending to be one — but someone has to address these important topics.
Other stories in the Current's
Telling it straight
Would the rich gay, white men please stand up?
Politics is personal
Local lesbian and gay resources
A lifeline for parents
In the company of men
A crown fit for a queen
One more for the road
For example, as you’ll see in Gilbert Garcia’s article about LGBT-friendly churches, many progressive religious leaders figured largely in opposing Prop 2. Inside this week’s Current, you’ll also find stories about UTSA’s first gay fraternity, San Antonio’s first openly lesbian City Councilwoman, Elena Guajardo, PFLAG, and the demise of the Diversity Center and the LGBT community’s political anemia. We’ve mixed in lighter fare, including coverage of the much-anticipated Miss Gay San Antonio pageant. And while W.D. Deli is not known as a gay restaurant, its biannual Sunday drag brunch is the perfect place to stop, perhaps after church.
For members of the LGBT community, I hope these stories will galvanize them to find their political voice, which so far has risen barely above a whisper.
For their straight allies, I hope they make the connection between violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians and the erosion of social justice for everyone.
For those who still contend that gays and lesbians are a threat to families and civilization — that they are pushing a “homosexual agenda” — let me remind them that I have been approached several times in a city park by someone trying to convert me: not a lesbian, but a Jehovah’s Witness pawning off The Watchtower. •
By Lisa Sorg