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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 10, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 37
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Letters

FORGIVE AND FORGET KEN MEHLMAN? NEVER AGAIN.

As an African American male who happens to be Gay, I am very disappointed with the remarks from Senator Murray and Representative Pedersen. I will agree that being out is a risk and draws a level of scrutiny that many will never appreciate in their lives - more so when being in the public eye is part of the outcome of coming out. Senator Murray and Representative Pedersen know this all to well. What is being missed here is that this is not about coming out. For years, LGBT Americans have had to endure some of the most relentless levels of hatred not seen since the days of Jim Crow. Gays and Lesbians have been labeled as pedophiles, sinners, abominations, and not suitable for civil or human rights. Some were dismissed or fired from jobs simply because they were Gay or thought to be.

When President Clinton used the word "Gay" in a speech he gave in a state of the union speech, LGBT Americans, so longing for any recognition that did not involve further castigation of the Gay community, thought that it could not get any better than that. As it turns out, there was still quite a bit of work to do. Perhaps Senator Murray and Representative Pedersen have forgotten what life was like during the "Bush years" for LGBT Americans; perhaps they have forgotten or do not know what it is like to live in the South as an openly Gay African American male; perhaps they have forgotten what it was like to live in a state that used their constitution to further curtail the rights of Gay residents in their state - we were very lucky with Ref. 71. Perhaps they have forgotten that Mr. Mehlman was right in the middle of it all.

For once, I would love to have leaders that would be able to step away from campaigning and being ideal and show that leadership that put them where they are today. I would like them to energize the people that believe in them and tell us that is okay to feel the anger and frustration that we have and are still feeling. I would like them to send a message to Mr. Mehlman that, while he may be Gay, what he has done is not okay and never will be. This notion to forgive and forget leaves me with a sour stomach and a belief that we are relegated to take what we have been given, but that it is not okay to shout "No." No, you cannot ask for room at the table after destroying lives and spreading hatred. No, you cannot ask that we turn the other cheek as if it was all a big misunderstanding. I need these leaders to make it clear that we are mad as hell and we are not going to take it any more. This goes beyond letting bygones be bygones, but remembering that we have to say "Never again." Never again for all the LGBT Americans whose lives where turned upside-down, lost their jobs and run out of town; never again to all the Gay teens that saw the anti-Gay laws come into being, felt the hatred and felt suicide was the only way out. Never again to all the LGBT Americans who had to listen to Gay slurs and Gay bashing in the workplace, but could not complain or speak up because there was no one there to listen. Never again, because we have to love ourselves more than the acceptance we are trying to find. Ultimately, Senator Murray and Representative Pedersen need to remember that all of this was possible and made a lot easier thanks to the handy work of Ken Melhman. Never again.

Chris Porter
LGBT American
Mad as hell
Seattle, WA

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