Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 15 September 1997

CHRISTIAN RADIO HOST URGES DEATH TO GAY PEOPLE

AT DIANA MEMORIAL: WORLD WATCHES GAY COUPLE MOURN

EARLY SEPTEMBER REVIEWS IN THE GLAADAlert

By Don Romesburg
GLAAD Publications Manager


Contents:

1.) Christian Radio Host Urges Death to Gay People (Crawford Broadcasting, KBRT-AM, FCC)

2.) At Diana Memorial, World Watches Gay Couple Mourn (E! Entertainment, MSNBC & NBC, CBS, ABC, Newsweek)

3.) Deseret News Is Mouthpiece for So-Called "Ex-Gay" Movement (Deseret News, Scipps Howard News Service)

4.) Who Has The Image Problem? (Chicago Tribune)

5.) Philly Paper Ignores Key Versace Family Member (Philadelphia Daily News)

6.) SF Chronicle Looks Back at Transgender Films (San Francisco Chronicle)

Christian Radio Host Urges Death to Gay People

On the August 29 show of Crosstalk on Christian-owned KBRT-AM in Costa Mesa, California, host Rich Agozino suggested that homosexuality should be punishable by death.

According to his interpretation of the Bible, Agozino said that, "Lesbian love [and] sodomy are viewed by God as being detestable and abominable....Civil magistrates are to put people to death who practice these things." He also urged listeners and callers to write to state legislators calling for laws that would sentence lesbians and gay men to death. When asked to comment on his host's execution-style morality, KBRT-AM station manager Ed Personius claimed Agozino was just encouraging people to follow the "word of God." Don Crawford, Jr., general manager of Crawford Broadcasting West, of which KBRT is a subsidiary, was unavailable for comment, but an assistant confirmed that Crawford Broadcasting was "Christian owned and operated."

At a September 11 meeting, the Orange County Human Relations Commission passed a resolution urging people to: 1. Write the station manager at KBRT-AM; 2. Write Don Crawford, owner of the station; 3. Warn both that Agonizo's call for a death penalty on the basis of sexual orientation "foments deep fear in the gay and lesbian community" and "promotesviolence against gays and lesbians in Orange County," adding that both KBRT and Crawford "are responsible" for any increase in violence against lesbians and gay men in the near future.; and 4. Send a complaint to the FCC.

In addition, people who are within the broadcast area of KBRT should note several sponsors and ask them if they feel it is "Christian" to urge death to gay people when one of the Ten Commandments states "Thou Shalt Not Kill," and urge advertisers to take their business to a station more interested in promoting genuine Christian love and inclusiveness. Contact: Don Crawford, Owner/President, Crawford Broadcasting, P.O. Box 3003, Blue Bell, PA 19422, phone: 215.628.3500, fax: 215.628.0818; Ed Personius, Station Manager, KBRT-AM, 3183 Airway Avenue, Suite D, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, fax: 714.754.0735; Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 1919 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20554, phone for AM Radio Complaint Division: 202.418.2795, e-mail address for complaints: enf@fcc.gov.

At Diana Memorial, World Watches Gay Couple Mourn

Thanks in large part to live feeds from British networks Sky News and ITN, the American media coverage of the Princess Diana funeral and memorial services featured two gay men comforting one another. According to viewer reports to GLAAD, coverage by at least E! Entertainment Network, MSNBC, NBC, CBS and ABC included a montage of mourners in London that had two men embracing and weeping, and one of the men gave the other a comforting kiss on the forehead. In addition, the September 15 issue of Newsweek features an image by the Associated Press of two men holding one another in mourning.

Considering that over 33 million Americans (86 percent of the audience share) watched the funeral and surrounding coverage on television, this casual inclusion of gay people showed how we are, indeed, everywhere and a part of the mosaic of society.

Please commend E! Entertainment Network, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and Newsweek for recognizing the value of representing gay people in one of the most-watched news events of the decade. In addition, encourage them to continue this kind of inclusive coverage in the future. Contact: Edward Zarcoff, News Director, E! Entertainment Television, 5670 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036, fax: 213.954.2621; MSNBC & NBC: Andrew Lack, News President, NBC Television Network, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112-0002, fax: 212.664.7234; Andrew Heyward, News President, CBS Television Network, 524 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019-2902, fax: 212.975.9387; Richard Wald, Senior Vice President, ABC News, ABC Television Network, 77 W. 66th St., New York, NY 10023-6201, fax: 212.456.2381; Maynard Parker, Editor-in-Chief, Newsweek, 251 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019-6999, fax: 212.445.5068, e-mail: letters@newsweek.com.

Deseret News Is Mouthpiece for So-Called "Ex-Gay" Movement

On September 6, two days after a gay youth leader in Salt Lake City took his own life, the Deseret News ran two blatantly propagandist articles on the so-called "ex-gay" movement under the auspices of news. The primary story is about Evergreen International, which is the Mormon version of the radical Christian group Exodus. According to the story, the group was formed "by a group of young men who struggled with homosexual tendencies and wanted to help encourage each other to live gospel principles." The article then promotes an upcoming Evergreen conference. While it neglects to seriously examine the massive criticism of the so-called "ex-gay" movement or quote anyone with a contrary view of this frequently damaging and shame-inducing practice, it throws this bone: "While some people argue that homosexuality is as inherent as race and can't be overcome, [group leader] Pruden said successful transition is possible. In fact, the founders of the organization have now made the transition, he said." It quotes Pruden: "Homosexuality is a psychological condition that professionals deal with [i.e. "cure"] very well in non-religious people."

The second story, by Scripps Howard News Service on other ex-gay "ministries," while biased towards the voices of "ex-gays," offers a little more balance. "Transformation ministries are highly controversial," it allows, "and they make people angry. The medical and psychologicalcommunity says transformation methods don't work. Gay Christians and others who support equal rights for homosexuals are offended by the idea that they have to be straight to be saved." It also quotes a representative from Metropolitan Community Church, saying, "'I believe we are created in the image of God. Why would God heal us of that?'" Finally, the Deseret News lists the phone number and a toll-free hotline for the Mormon ex-gay group and another plug for the conference.

Seventeen-year-old Jacob Orozco, a gay youth leader who was to be the president of the East High Gay-Straight Alliance this school year, killed himself while living in a community where the overwhelming message about being lesbian or gay is one of shame, sickness and sin. In the same city where in 1996 the Salt Lake City School District banned all extra-curricular activities rather than allow East High students to form a support group for gay youth, the Deseret News continues the stigmatization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through inaccurate and aggressively biased journalism.

Demand that the Deseret News do a follow-up story on the many valid communities of faith, medical and psychological professionals and ex-ex-gays who have rejected the anti-gay radical religious movement as less about love and faith and more about hate, myths and stereotypes. Let them know that their irresponsible and unprofessional journalism is partially responsible for the deaths of lesbian and gay Utahans unable to survive a society that can be openly hostile towards instead of supportive of them. Contact: Don C. Woodward, Managing Editor, Deseret News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, UT 84110, fax: 801.237.2121, e-mail: letters@desnews.com; Dan Thomasson, Bureau Chief, Scripps Howard News Service, 1090 Vermont Ave. NW, 10th floor, Washington, DC 20005-4905, fax: 202.371.0773.

Who Has The Image Problem?

A misguided commentary in the September 8 Chicago Tribune claims "Gays Need to Confront Their Image Problem." John McCarron, who defines himself as a "straight, married-with-kids white guy who lives in the suburbs," says, "almost everywhere one looks, gay life is being normalized [and] legitimized. This is progress." But, he laments, "if only they'd get ridof that garish Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade. It's fun to cheer the freaks in their fishnet stockings and falsies [and] watch the bare-chested boys planting wet ones on each other's kissers. But it's also terribly subversive to the far more important march that gays are making towardsocial and legal equality." McCarron says the road to freedom forks in two distinct paths: "One road is the way of martial monogamy, sexual restraint and middle-class respectability," he says, claiming this is also the road to civil rights for lesbians and gay men. "The other is a path lined by bathhouses and leather bars, by serial sex and wear-it-on-your-sleeve sensuality." This road is a "dead end." He says that society increasingly sees sexual orientation as a class worthy of equality, while "sexual promiscuity is still regarded [as] voluntary behavior worthy of public disapprobation." McCarron feels, "gay America cannot have it both ways. Why would any thoughtful homosexual participate in a circus-like event that, to a large extent, only reinforces straight prejudices about the gay-promiscuity link?"

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is not monolithic. We are a complex network of individuals, many of whom are currently denied the possibility of legal marriage in America, and some of whom are neither monogamous, nor exhibit "sexual restraint," nor, for that matter, have the economic means or desire to achieve "middle-class respectability." Pride is more than a PR stunt to correct prejudices some people may have--it is a time for all members of our community to celebrate who they are, and how they define themselves. While some heterosexual people are uncomfortable with segments of the community that fail to emulate them and even "reinforce straight prejudices," asking gay people to give up that diversity is like telling Chicanos not to speak Spanish at a Cinqo De Mayo festival lest some white people think they cannot speak English. And then there are the "circus-like" heterosexual events, such a Mardi Gras, wild frat parties and singles bars which perhaps McCarron should urge fellow straight people to abandon, lest a "straight-promiscuity link" deny them basic civil rights. Finally, McCarron's portrait of Pride makes the same mistake all-too-often made by the media: His tunnel vision excludes mention of the PFLAG parents, the children of lesbian moms and gay dads, the gay firefighters and the gay politicians.

Please let McCarron and the Chicago Tribune know that an embracing of the diversity this country is built upon will clear up any "image problem" that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face-without layers of our rich, thriving culture being lost in the process. Contact: John McCarron, c/o The Chicago Tribune, P.O. Box 4041, Chicago, IL 60611-4041, fax: 312.222.3143, e-mail: tribletter@aol.com.

Philly Paper Ignores Key Versace Family Member

On September 8, a quiet New York memorial service for Gianni Versace was attended by his life partner, but you wouldn't know it from the Philadelphia Daily News' coverage. According to a September 10 story, th service was for "family and friends. And what family -- what friends! In addition to the designer's siblings Santa and Donatella, mourners included Versace amici, customers and competitors, like Madonna, Whitney Houston, Woody Allen, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Naomi Campbell."

Identifying these people as "family and friends" and not mentioning Antonio D'Amico, Versace's partner of 11 years, dishonors Versace's life as an openly gay man, the love shared by him and D'Amico and the relationships of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people everywhere.

Tell the Philadelphia Daily News that just like with straight people's spouses and significant others, our partners should be considered "family," and to do otherwise is an insult to gay people and a glaringly inaccurate portrayal of our lives and loves. Contact: Brian Toolan, Managing Editor, Philadelphia Daily News, P.O. Box 7788, Philadelphia, PA 19101, fax: 215.854.5691, e-mail: dailynews.opinion@phillynews.com.

SF Chronicle Looks Back At Transgender Films

In anticipation of the release of the critically acclaimed film Different for Girls, the San Francisco Chronicle featured a September 6 article on the history of transsexuals in film. "Kim, the modest secretary in Different for Girls, isn't the first big-screen transsexual, but she's one of the first whose gender reassignment and surgical history weren't treated with freakish curiosity," it begins. Going back to "the dour biopic" The Christine Jorgensen Story in 1970, the article notes that "the movie manages to be simultaneously dull, lurid and embarrassed by itself." It discusses Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, a 1971 movie about a transgender serial killer, but fails to mention the far more popular Silence of the Lambs (1991). Along with the works of John Waters and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, PBS' Tales of the City (1994) and John Lithgow's Oscar-nominated performance as Roberta Muldoon in The World According to Garp (1982), it describes Terence Stamp as "demure and poignant" in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994).

As audiences around the country discover Different for Girls, which opened September 12 in limited release, the Chronicle's placement of the films in a historical context gives the multi-layered film even greater depth.

Please thank the San Francisco Chronicle for this brief history of film representations of transsexuals. Contact: Jerry Roberts, Managing Editor, San Francisco Chronicle, 901 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103-2988, fax: 415.896.1107, e-mail: chronletters@sfgate.com.

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The GLAADAlert is the weekly activation tool of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. GLAAD promotes fair, accurate and inclusive representation in the media as a means of challenging homophobia and all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

Contact GLAAD by e-mail at glaad@glaad.org or by phone at 213.658.6775 (Los Angeles), 212.807.1700 (New York), 415.861.2244 (San Francisco), 202.986.1360 (Washington, DC), 404.607.1204 (Atlanta) and 816.374.5927 (Kansas City) Report defamation in the media by calling GLAAD's Toll-Free AlertLine! 1-800-GAY-MEDIA (1-800-429-6334) Visit GLAAD's Web Site at http://www.glaad.org "GLAAD" and "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation" are registered trademarks of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Inc.

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1998 BEI; All Rights Reserved.
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