Aug 10, 2007
V 35 Issue 32

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I enjoyed the overall summary in Liz Meyer's story about the Needle Exchange, but really need to correct one historical point.

ACT/UP's "request' to the Health Department to run an on-the-street needle exchange was turned down. So ACT/UP started it (in the little park with the columns overlooking the Freeway in the Pike/Pine area). As planned, our contacts in the Health Department were then able to make the argument to the reluctant top brass that the agency didn't want these crazies dealing in illegal paraphernalia, etc. and so the activists negotiated with the department for it to become a government function.

Seattle ACT/UP later produced a book on how to start a needle exchange which was used through out the country by groups fighting AIDS, and even in a few cities abroad.

This was one of the most significant achievements of the movement, since no other US city had such a street service at the time (except for Tacoma), and Seattle's experience led to other large cities (but not all of them) creating exchanges.

Phil Bereano
ACT/UP Seattle


I was excited to see a review of GYPSY CARAVAN in the Seattle Gay News. My enthusiasm diminished however as I read the review. Derich Mantonela made many broad statements without backing up a one. Mantonela immediately lost credibility by continually referring to the Roma as Roms. What is Roms ? It is a word that does not exist in the Gypsy/Roma language. Rom is one Romani person: Roma is the plural. Romani, the adjective can be substituted for either Rom or Roma.

The use of the wrong word in referring to us displayed such ignorance that arguing the accuracy of the rest of the statements seems futile.

Morgan Ahern
Lolo Diklo: Roma Against Racism

Dear Editor,

Thank your for the special section in the last issue of the SGN with photos and names of the couples to have domestically registered in Olympia since the landmark bill was passed in the last session. Thanks to all the brave pioneers who took this opportunity to nail down even this little bit of state recognition of our love and especially those who agreed to put photos and names in the paper for the rest of us to celebrate. Coming out has always been our greatest strength. First we came out as individuals. Then we organized and came out as a class of people. Now we are coming out as couples. We are presenting to the world our most intimate and personal selves.

These photos and names do more than anything else to undercut the demonizing and scapegoating by which we have been victimized by right wing fanatics. These photos show us so ordinary, so normal, so just like everybody else that the scapegoating backfires on the fanatics like a mirror and isolates them as a vicious, mean-spirited minority.

The Seattle Gay News has done a wonderful service to our community and our movement with its support and publication of this milestone.

Janice Van Cleve PCO 43/1858
43rd District Coordinator, Areas 21 & 22


Enjoyed your August 3 column, in SGN, however I found your understanding of Washington's age of consent laws inaccurate. My source is directly from the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), and is available at any branch of the Seattle Public Library system. RCW 9A.44.079, "Rape of a child in the third degree," states, in relevant part, any person who "has sexual intercourse with another who is at least fourteen years old but less than sixteen years old...and the perpetrator is at least forty-eight months [four years] older than the victim." It's a class C felony (five years/$10,000).

Possibly what you were referring to was RCW 9A.44.093, "Sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree." It states, in relevant part, any "person has, or knowingly causes another person under age eighteen to have, sexual intercourse with another person who is at least sixteen years old but less than eighteen years old...if the perpetrator is at least sixty months [five years] older than the victim, is in a significant relationship to the victim, and abuses a supervisory position within that relationship in order to engage in or cause another person under the age of eighteen to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim."

The latter statute protects 16 and 17 year olds from older persons of authority, including school employees, foster parent, police officer, judge, etc.

I concur that GLBT youth should know and make informed choices about physical boundaries. That requires factual information. Reasonable people can disagree about the appropriate minimum age of sexual consent, but we also have work with the hand that the Legislature has dealt to us.

Keep up the good work, Michael!

Sincerely yours,
Steven L. Kendall


As someone who has known Robert Sondheim for many years, I was shocked at the ratings SEAMEC gave this out-and-proud activist. Sondheim, who is running for Seattle City Council (Position 1), has marched the marches, been a vocal opponent against DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a contributor to LGBT Equal Rights causes and has supported the LBGT Community for over a decade. He has hosted numerous fund-raisers at his restaurant (Rosebud Restaurant & Bar) for Lifelong AIDS...Gay City...Three Dollar Bill...GSBA...Dunshee House (Seattle AIDS Support Group)...Verbena...Seattle Men's and Women's Chorus...Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence..and Lambert House. He was the inspiration behind Bailey-Boushay's volunteer program.

Anyone who read last week's SEAMEC report in the SGN would think that Sondheim was less progressive than his straight opponents--when nothing could be farther from the truth! Not only is Sondheim a strong supporter of our LGBT Community, his love for our city is well known. His desire for a safer, cleaner and more affordable Seattle is as strong as his desire for full and equal rights for every LGBT person, not only in the Emerald City, but on the planet. Vote Sondheim for Position 1. And, think twice about what you read in the news.

John Primeau

Dear Lisa Wardle:

I knew Mike for ten years, grieved him, went to his memorial. He was a big help to me when I got clean and sober. That being said, and meaning no disrespect to his memory or his family, I have to take exception to his sister's representation of his actions as "trying to help Scott White get clean".The reason I am writing this is that such representation tarnishes the image of the twelve-step programs, and it is misleading.

It is commonly accepted that we do not "help" struggling addicts by inviting them into our beds. A situation where sex is the quid pro quo for food and shelter is not "helping", it is prostitution, and it prolongs the low self-esteem of the addict rather than offering him or her a way out of it. Male or female, gay or straight, it is not acceptable in the recovery community to bed an addict, especially one thirty years your junior, in the guise of "helping" him. I received this kind of "help" early on from men in the program, and believe me, it was no help at all. It simply reinforces in the addicts mind the shameful idea that all they are good for is sex. Which facilitates relapse more than recovery. We help people by giving them a couch, not by putting them in our own bed.

I loved Mike, I will miss him dearly, and nothing excuses or expains that murder, but he was acting way outside of the bounds of acceptable "recovery" behavior, and he knew that.

Amy Elkins, LMP

Dear Mr. Bakan:

I am writing to express my outrage at the SEAMEC rating given to Robert Sondheim, candidate for Seattle City Council , Position #1.

Mr. Sondheim has been an integral part of the gay community for decades and has served on the Boards of numerous supporting organizations and has as firm a grasp of the issues confronting our community as anyone I have ever known. It is astonishing that he was given a mediocre straight B rating.

As an out gay Council Member for the City of Tumwater, I have been active in the Association of Washington Cities and know that Council Member Godden's support of the gay community has been tepid at best.

Robert Sondheim has been one of my closest friends for more than 30 years and I know that he will make a great Council Member for the City of Seattle and I urge all in the gay community to give him their vote in this month's primary.

Ed Stanley
Council Member
City of Tumwater

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