Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What do Las Vegas and Minneapolis have in common?

The Advocate has published the second annual list of cities where gay perople are living, voting, and creating communities. The top two cities represent the two areas we spend the most time - Minneapolis and Las Vegas.

According to The Advocate, "Over the past decade, Minneapolis has become the gay magnet city of the Midwest. It makes sense: People here are no-nonsense, practical, and don’t deal well with hypocrites. This is where the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America took a historic leap forward and voted to accept gay and lesbian pastors, including the Reverend Mary Albing, the denomination’s first openly lesbian pastor. And Minnesota senator Al Franken introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act to protect LGBT youth from school bullies." I might personally add that this is the home of Lavender Magazine, the largest gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender publication in the Upper Midwest.

Second on the list is Las Vegas. According to The Advocate and Thomas Roth, President of Community Marketing, Inc, "Las Vegas is the No. 2 most-visited gay and lesbian destination in the U.S, and the No. 1 destination among Gen-X and boomer lesbians.” They go on to say that according to a study conducted by the Travel Industry Association (TIA), Las Vegas ranks as one of the top gay-friendly destinations in the United States second only to New York for the most popular gay vacation destination.

In my previous blog I talked about a local radio announcer who says she isn't against gays but continues to make less than complimentary comments about them. Here's something for the city of Las Vegas republicans to consider - Vegas is a top vacation destination for gays and lesbians. That means money to support the economy. Hmmmm. Do you like them now?

Local Vegas talk show host willing to send DADT troops to Libya

The saying goes that you shouldn’t get in a pissing match with someone who buys the ink or owns the microphone. I think that is pretty close to the truth. They always get the last word and can twist and turn things around to their own liking. I temporarily forgot that small truth and called into a local Vegas radio station yesterday. This wasn’t the first time we called talk show host Heidi Harris at KDWN radio station in Las Vegas. Last time we talked she was on a kick about “tolerating gays” and felt that she was really doing her part because she tolerated them. This time she devoted most of her show to the US involvement in Libya. She was against doing anything in Libya except for a one-day “bomb them and get out of there.” Other talking points were around why we would want to put our troops in harm’s way, we should think about the wives of our military and their families worrying about the danger of doing anything more in another country, cost, etc. During that discussion she slid in a comment, “Let’s send over the DATD.” When I heard that, all I could do was wonder why she would pluck out that minority military group. Oh, let’s send them over because we don’t care if THEY get killed? It was a hateful and mean-spirited statement. Yes, I called her. She threw it back in my face with another question, “Do you think I hate gays?.” I told her that her past words were that she “tolerated them” and that we had that discussion before. Of course, she didn’t remember that Paul and I were on her show last year around this time. We didn’t make a difference then and I wasn’t making a difference now. She ranted at me – I think she called me an idiot – and said what they all (meaning gays) wanted is to be accepted. Well, she wasn’t going to have a gay wedding at her house. She continued to rave about how upset this phone call made her and that she would have to go have a glass of wine after the show to calm down. Hey, Heidi Harris, they were your words, not mine. I was just asking you what you meant by that statement and you went ballistic. I think I was the one who was supposed to be upset. She was very rude to me because I challenged a very cruel statement that she had made. She is deeply entrenched in the tea party and republican political ideology. She is a Catholic girl. She is very predictable and hard core in her beliefs. What did I expect?

If the truth be known, I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal so I don’t have a party in which I can associate with. I think that is true of a lot of people in the U.S. We seem to have only two voices – far right and far left. What about those of us in the middle? I cannot in good conscience say I am either party as they don't represent what I believe. We listen to the Heidi Harris show because we agree on some things she says. She, however, isn’t such a good listener when it doesn’t fit her ideology.

Heterosexism, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as "discrimination or prejudice against homosexuals on the assumption that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation," is how I define people like Heidi Harris and others who believe that they are doing their part by "tolerating" those gays. I don’t know how to educate people who do not have the motivation or desire to become educated. I also will NEVER understand how people can hide behind their religion. I am not a biblical expert but I figure if Jesus wasn’t concerned enough to speak about homosexuality, then it must not have been on top of his list. That’s good enough for me. As a former media specialist, I also know the danger of taking passages out of context. I once had a principal who had all kinds of pages marked for me to read because he felt we shouldn’t have a Judy Blume book in the library. Yes, Judy Blume was a naughty author. I told him when he had read the entire book, we would have a discussion about filling out the FORMS necessary for a reconsideration of this title. Yes, context – what a novel idea. Judy Blume remained on the shelf except for copies that were stolen and thrown away by a teacher who agreed with the principal that Blume books were not acceptable.

So, here I sit at 3:00 in the morning writing this blog. I am frustrated about a lot of things regarding education on gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. It is sometimes difficult to know how to be a good advocate. I shouldn’t have called the radio station. It wasn’t good judgment. She is not going to change her mind and the majority of her listeners agree with her or they probably wouldn’t have her station on at that time. I guess I feel better when I try to make a difference but sometimes I feel the impact just isn’t there. So, good night everyone. Hope you had a good sleep. Oh no, Paul just came out and he read the blog entry. His comments? “Heidi would probably have all the gays over to her house for a big party if they voted Republican.” There just might be some truth in that! One last thing, read the next blog entry and find out how gays are supporting Las Vegas – best not to be too hard on them, Heidi Harris, they are adding revenue.