Letters from the Issue of June 20, 2002
They're here, they're queer, they're relatives: Well, I'm surprised to hear that Manny Diaz's brother is gay; like does everyone have a gay family member? ("They're Here, They're Queer, They Vote," Brett Sokol, June 13). Alex Penelas's brother is quite out and proud, which means the county and city mayors are both Cuban and both have gay brothers. Then there's Cristina (with more than one gay sibling), and Katy Sorenson, the county commissioner who has been out in the lead on the gay rights front and speaks openly and proudly of her gay brother. Either we truly are everywhere or there is a story here for New Times about why all these public figures have gay siblings. It's heartening and slightly, well, queer.
My Brother's Unwilling Keeper
I take the political personally: As a gay man living in Miami for the past twelve years, I should be thankful to Jorge Diaz for his interview with Brett Sokol. For the most part I am, but I take exception to one thing he said. Diaz states that he wishes his brother would have been "a bit more vocal about the fact that he does have a gay brother." Guess what, Mr. Diaz? So do we.
Diaz attempts to defend his brother's actions (or lack thereof) by stating "...that goes to the heart of the issue -- it's not personal." But that is where he could not be more wrong. It is personal. How could it not be? How could discrimination be impersonal? How could concealing or omitting the fact that the mayor's brother is gay not be personal? Especially to those who, due to society's intolerance and hatred, still feel as if they have to live "in the closet"? Indeed, how can it not be personal to the mayor himself, having a brother whose life is directly affected by this?
No, Mr. Diaz, it is personal and it should be to each and every one of us. I for one did not vote for Manny Diaz, and I'm not ashamed to say so. However if he had been "a bit more vocal" about his brother, I might have. This probably does not affect him since he is in office anyway, but I wonder how many more votes (and I know of a few) he would have won had he simply opened his mouth. Or is it better to be perceived as hiding the fact until he is safely in office and then saying something?
If that was the case -- and I'm not saying for a fact that it was -- that only condones the attitude, especially in the Latin community, of "if we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist." I'm glad to hear that our mayor doesn't agree with discrimination of any kind. But it would have been nice to know that before he got into office. It would have been nice to know from the beginning where he stood and not find out along the way. Then again, maybe he is doing the same.
Fight for your right not to have any: In regards to the human rights ordinance and referendum, it is all quite redundant. If a third option doesn't miraculously appear (akin to the Immaculate Conception) on the ballot, then I probably will not be piercing or impregnating any chads on that section of the ballot.
Humans come in all sorts of national origins, colors, sexual orientations, and gender. It is absurd to argue over which categories are important. In essence these additions to the ordinance are used to quantify or qualify one category of humanity or another and in effect grant "rights" status. What about people who are overweight (weight challenged), why shouldn't they have a category on the ordinance? Or what about just plain old ugly (aesthetically challenged) people, aren't they humans too? Suppose a 350-pound, aesthetically challenged, heterosexual female with Tourette's syndrome applied for a go-go dancing position at a local gay bar and was turned down? She would file a complaint, after which some inspector from the county or the federal government would find out that the bar had no heterosexual, aesthetically challenged, overweight, disabled females working as go-go dancers -- surprise, surprise, surprise! Never mind that this is a gay bar, the bureaucrats may decide that it's in violation and discriminating against overweight, aesthetically challenged, heterosexual, disabled females. Suits would surely follow.
What is that third option? Eliminate the ordinance altogether: all of it, every single category. Freedom of association and property rights are the most basic of human rights. What all these "human rights" laws fail to take into account is that entrepreneurs, employers, and property owners are humans too. They should not be subjected to the Kafka-esque nightmares these and other intrusive laws bring about. Besides, the biggest violators of human rights all throughout history have been governments. Slavery, segregation, the Holocaust, apartheid, Japanese-American internment camps are just a few things that come to mind. Asking governments and politicians to make and enforce human rights laws is like asking the wolves to guard the sheep.
Wait, one group at least has gone missing: I've noticed that the Christian Coalition has not been as prominent in the news of late. Dare we hope that these holy men have finally realized that discrimination in any form cannot be "Christ-like"? I remember well the last go-around with Anita Bryant and how the politicians caved. Today there is much support from the political arena so I am counting on our "leaders" to vote accordingly on the ballot.
But leave my purse alone! Thanks for that very serious yet hysterical article on the general plight of the homeless here on Miami Beach ("The Heart Goes For A Haircut," John Lombardi, June 13). It explained the missing personal items from my car when I valet parked it. It explained how my date's purse mysteriously vanished as we were making out one dark night near the water's edge; it was not more than three feet away, yet they got it. I guess many of them, in lieu of finding a new job once retired from our military's special ops units, stay busy in this new profession.
Finally it highlighted that our fine "men in blue" have got a complex and dangerous job rounding up these homeless criminals -- as opposed to the other crime-busting positions on the Beach like corralling dangerous and irresponsible residents going 38 in a 30-mile zone up on Alton Road. Whew. Good to know they are out bustin' their asses and crime for us. And too funny the part about the all-brawn no-brain Officer Steroid and his appearance: "the wrap sunglasses sutured to his buzzcut -- the one they call Rambo."
I wish I had a constructive suggestion regarding the homeless problem other than collecting and shipping them to an island in the Bahamas where they could enjoy the same warm lifestyle without harassing the rest of us. But with all of our insightful and compassionate public officials doing so much to alleviate this problem, I stand with the rest of us -- having to just tolerate it.
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