Letters from the Issue of October 17, 2002

The unraveling of the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Mark Leslie Woods

Miami Beach

Unraveling in the Time of Danger

Festival chaos could create clarity: I have worked with many visionaries, both in the field of medicine and while serving on various nonprofit boards. Some of these people are able to put the mission of the organization above their personal ambitions and shortcomings, and some are not. During my tenure on the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival board, it became apparent that Robbie Rosenberg was not able to do this. The fact that so many talented people came and went on the MGLFF board testifies to this sad reality.After such an auspicious start, it is a shame to see the festival unravel. Let's hope that the community can glean some confidence from the experience and reunite even stronger in some other forum. These are truly harrowing times. Anyone who doesn't see the clear and present danger to our rights and safety is sadly out of touch with the current state of affairs.

Karen Raben, M.D.


You Got a Free Drink, Now What Do I Get?

Let me tell you, big boy, you get nothing: I was appalled that Lee Williams, in his "Clubbed" column "Hip Clubs vs. Strip Clubs" (September 26), somehow believed that his sex-obsessed view of nightclubs passed as a legitimate journalistic topic. The term generalization doesn't do justice to what he wrote about women in Miami's social scene. He perpetuates the myth that all women are whores and that women owe him (and all men) something in return when they buy drinks for women. I have worked in nightclubs and am an educated woman who is currently writing and performing a theatrical production that traces women through time. I am also organizing a women's conference December 11 at Artemis, where people can come together to discuss the stereotyping of men and women. I invite Mr. Williams to attend and see what women really have to say.

Raquel Almazan


Girls Want a Good Time Too

Which doesn't mean you're going to get some: Lee Williams should know that just because we women go to clubs scantily clad and shaking our rumps in no way means we are out to dupe some poor sucker and leave him penniless. Can we not go out and meet other people looking for a good time with no strings attached? As for Mr. Williams's statement that "women tend to travel in packs these days," safety in numbers is the first thing that comes to mind. There are ample documented rapes, muggings, and other threats to lone women on South Beach. But I would have to say the motivating factor in going out in groups is that sometimes women want a safety net from all the men who are just looking to get some. Also there are times when women just want a night out without the expectation of putting out. Furthermore, what's the fun in listening to some bitter male go on and on about how materialistic women are in Miami?

Nobody should enter Miami's club scene with hopes of finding someone special. If you should meet someone special, that's great, but whatever happened to going to a club (hip or strip) for a good time? You men want something long-lasting? Well, I propose the following: Start by forming a friendship with women. Don't look at us like we are some kind of delicacy that can be bought at the nearest nightclub, and don't label us money-hungry. Respect the fact that, like men, we women own our sexuality and can go clubbing without promises of sex or love.

Mireya Alfonso


The Unbearable Rightness of Being in Miami

Right man, right place, right time -- wrong message: Brett Sokol's article "Kafka in a Guayabera" (September 19), concerning Vaclav Havel's visit to Miami, was comprehensive and incisive in many ways. But it is obvious Havel neither read Sokol's story nor did his exile homework prior to arrival. He danced around the Cuba embargo and omitted addressing one vital point of concern -- and it ain't "rampant consumerism."As a freedom-loving exile, I was hopeful about this visit. After all, the Czech president is the living embodiment of freedom's power. He remained within the communist satellite of his birth and in the best tradition of a real gusano, ate the Soviet monster from the inside out. This man knows firsthand that tyrannies -- of the left and the right -- are the ones that must construct walls, electric fences, and socio-political barriers to buffer themselves from democracy's onslaught.

But in Miami, Havel addressed a unique group of people, many of whom pine for freedom by the drop rather than the bucket, a group of people who will never reconcile themselves to the removal of the embargo but whose brothers in Little Havana send a billion dollars each year to aid starving relatives in Cuba.

Why support an embargo that has financially helped Castro endure an extra decade beyond the life of his Soviet patrons? Why insist on a fictitious sanction that has served Castro as a scapegoat for his Stalinist failures? What's the logic behind all this?

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