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1st September 2002 (# 1) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999
    1st September 2002 (# 1) News Clippings Digest 1. ARIZONA REPUBLIC Ten (count em!) gay men are running for seats in the Arizona legislature 2. NEW YORK
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2002
      1st September 2002 (# 1) News Clippings Digest

      1. ARIZONA REPUBLIC Ten (count 'em!) gay men are running for seats
      in the Arizona legislature
      2. NEW YORK TIMES In the Macho World of Jazz, Don't Ask, Don't Tell
      3. ASSOCIATED PRESS Florida: Gay-rights ordinance up for a vote;
      Eyes of
      nation on Miami-Dade County

      Arizona Republic, August 31, 2002
      Box 1950, Phoenix, AZ, 85001
      (Fax: 602-271-8933 ) (E-Mail: opinions@... )
      ( http://www.arizonarepublic.com )
      Gay candidates abound in primary race
      By Elvia Díaz, The Arizona Republic
      Sensing Arizona may be slowly becoming a more progressive
      state, a
      record number of gay men are seeking a legislative seat in the Sept.
      "People are finding out that being gay has nothing to do with
      performance," said Thom Von Hapsburg, a gay man who is competing
      five Republicans for a House seat in the central Phoenix District 7.
      Most of the 10 gay candidates say that homosexuality wasn't a
      deciding factor in their determination to run for public office and
      that it
      so far hasn't been a campaign issue.
      State Reps. Ken Cheuvront, Steve May and Ed Poelstra are the
      openly gay legislators. Some of the aspiring lawmakers say high-
      profile gay
      politicians such as Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano and U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe
      also smoothed the road for them.
      "They have really paved the way for us," said Jack Jackson
      Jr., who
      is vying for the House Democratic nomination in District 2.
      Like many of the other gay candidates, Jackson said Arizona
      are becoming more tolerant. But he believes there is still much work
      to be
      done before people can put homosexuality aside and vote on the merits
      each contender.
      "There is still a lot of homophobia in the state," said
      Jackson, 43.
      "Fortunately, my district is mostly Democrat and Native American."
      It might be even harder in other regions of the state to get
      Jackson said. A lawyer and member of the Navajo Nation, Jackson is
      on his experience as a lobbyist and a boost from his father, a former
      senator, to win.
      While many of the gay men running for office said that
      Arizonans are
      now more inclined to vote for them, some feared privately that they
      lose votes if their homosexuality came up.
      The candidates would rather focus on issues and not their
      preference, noting that their respective legislative agendas are as
      as their political ideology, from health care to education to job
      and tax reform.
      But gay and lesbian advocacy groups, such as the Arizona Human
      Fund, are pushing their candidates' campaigns, saying that more gay
      legislators would be able to promote specific legislative bills.
      Two proposals come to mind, said Dilia Loe, executive director
      Arizona Human Rights Fund. They are the creation of a state registry
      domestic partners and a plan to give more legal rights to those
      partners. The two bills failed this year at the Legislature.
      "We still are going to have a very conservative Legislature,"
      Jesse George, 61, a gay candidate running in District 27. "It's
      going to be
      tough to pass legislation on gay rights issues."
      Loe predicts at least half of the 10 gay candidates will get
      Sam Wercinski, a Democrat campaigning for a House seat in
      11, said the important thing is what each candidate will do for
      "Sexuality doesn't come into play when leaders are making
      said Wercinski, 40. "Arizona is more progressive than people
      elsewhere may
      The other gay candidates are:
      . Robert Meza, a Democrat seeking a House seat in District 14.
      . Peter Moraga, a Democrat vying for a House seat in District
      . Wally Straughn, a Democrat campaigning for a House seat in
      . May, Republican seeking to remain in the House representing
      District 11.
      . Cheuvront, Democrat seeking a Senate seat in District 15.
      . Poelstra, Republican seeking a House seat in District 28.

      New York Times, September 1, 2002
      229 W. 43rd Street, New York, NY, 10036
      (Fax: 212-556-3622 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.nytimes.com )
      In the Macho World of Jazz, Don't Ask, Don't Tell
      By Francis Davis
      I have been asked what it's like being white in a field of
      that's considered African-American," the vibraphonist Gary Burton
      says. "I
      think it would be equally valid to ask me what it's like being gay and
      playing a form of music that's seen as macho. It's interesting that
      subject never seems to come up."
      Although white jazz fans in particular like to think of
      themselves as
      color-blind, it often seems that race is all they ever talk about
      when the
      subject is music. There is even a kind of reverse racial profiling
      goes on in jazz: white players are pulled over and ticketed for
      introspection. But whereas race is visible, even if it is becoming
      less so
      all the time, sexual orientation usually is not. Within jazz, race is
      considered a fit topic for public discourse, while a gay sexual
      is regarded as private, a potential source of embarrassment for
      and audiences alike.
      It is practically gospel in jazz that a player taking an
      solo is coming clean, baring his soul, telling us who he is in no
      terms. But what if the player is gay? Isn't that as much a clue to
      identity as race?
      Mr. Burton's comments came during a panel discussion about
      homosexuality in jazz at the Village Vanguard in April, which I
      It was presented by the National Arts Journalism Program and Columbia
      University, and along with the writer Grover Sales, the other
      panelists were
      the pianist Fred Hersch, the saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase and the
      singer and
      pianist Andy Bey. There appears to be a growing acceptance of
      among the general public. Yet the panel was the first public
      that anyone could recall to address the topic of homosexuality in
      In jazz the rule remains "Don't ask, don't tell." This
      attitude is
      ironic because the jazz subculture has been notoriously free and
      easy, ahead
      of the beat on most social issues. Safety in numbers may have as
      much to do
      as sensibility with drawing gay men to certain professions, like
      hairdressing and floristry. In general, the performing arts are
      area in which the news that someone is gay hardly comes as a shock.
      there are ways in which jazz and all of popular music have more in
      with baseball than with theater or dance. (Jazz even has its own
      body of
      statistics, in the form of discographies, recording dates and musical
      lineups.) Despite a growing number of female instrumentalists, the
      for jazz remains overwhelmingly male, which perhaps explains why jazz
      remains an enclave of machismo.
      There was a time when all jazz musicians were straight, as far
      anyone knew. The composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn was a notable
      exception, but he was perfectly happy to spend his career in Duke
      Ellington's shadow, which was the same as being in the closet. It
      was only
      in 1996, with the publication of David Hajdu's Strayhorn
      biography, "Lush
      Life," that nonmusicians learned of Strayhorn's homosexuality. A
      objection to Mr. Hajdu's book was that Strayhorn's sexual orientation
      had no
      bearing on his music.
      Mr. Burton has been "out" to his friends and associates since
      late 1980's, when he took a male date to a party at the Berklee
      School of
      Music in Boston, where he has taught since 1971 and is now an
      executive vice
      president. "My decision to come out resulted from the end of my
      marriage," he said. "I was in my 40's and finally came to the
      that I was more gay than straight. The deciding factor was that I
      got a
      crush on someone who was very out, and in the course of dating him, I
      had to
      be out as well. It didn't last, but I was out by then."
      Even so, Mr. Burton didn't go public, as it were, until 1994,
      when he
      discussed being gay in an interview on National Public Radio.
      repercussions he feared, an apparent lack of notice on the part of
      the jazz
      press (and by extension, the jazz community) left him more puzzled
      relieved. Given his standing in jazz (he has been a consistent
      poll-winner on vibes since the late 60's), it was as if the guest of
      at a formal dinner had noisily slurped his soup or blurted out an off-
      remark - best to look the other way. Except for an article about Mr.
      and other gay musicians in JazzTimes magazine last year, which
      elicited an
      angry letter that accused gay musicians of not swinging (long a white
      stereotype), the jazz press has continued to shy away from the
      despite his willingness to speak frankly about being that supposedly
      of creatures, a gay jazz musician.
      In avoiding questioning Mr. Burton about his sexual
      orientation, jazz
      journalists may be guilty of nothing more than trying to guard his
      or they might feel it's a nonissue. But this reticence seems
      in light of the role that Miles Davis's reputed prowess with the
      sex played in defining his appeal to many of his male fans. (Never
      mind the
      persistent rumors that Davis was bisexual.)
      And discretion can be an unintended form of homophobia, said
      Hersch. "There are several phases to coming out, and I think most of
      went through one when we first told another human being that we were
      Mr. Hersch said. "We were nervous and looking for the perfect way to
      it. Then, over time, we get to where we assume everyone knows and
      really cares. But the third phase is that in the same way that
      else might talk about his wife or girlfriend, you want to be able to
      about your boyfriend or lack thereof."
      Jazz and gay culture may be antithetical. Although the
      musicians on
      the panel didn't feel that they had been ostracized since coming out,
      Mr. Bey has attracted a sizable gay following since declaring his
      "Once you've found out who you are, you can express your feminine
      side, your
      masculine side, you're not afraid to let it all out, and I think a
      lot of
      gay people want to hear that," Mr. Bey said.
      But he is a singer, and there have always been jazz singers
      Billie Holiday and Carmen McRae with a gay appeal, regardless of
      their own
      sexual orientation.
      Mr. Burton's experience seems more typical of those on the
      "One of the surprises for me in coming out was that nobody had ever
      heard of
      me and nobody had ever heard of the vibraphone," Mr. Burton said. "I
      finally connected with 'my people,' and they didn't care. The kinds
      music that are popular in gay culture have a high degree of glamour,
      jazz is the opposite."
      In a 1984 article for the magazine The Jazzletter, Mr. Sales
      the scarcity of gay jazz musicians relative to the overall gay
      and speculated that the reason for this might be traced to jazz's
      days, when it gave black men an outlet for expressing an assertive
      masculinity that they were otherwise forbidden to give voice to. Mr.
      said jazz offered a similar outlet for the first white jazz
      musicians, who
      were likewise discouraged from expressing their masculinity as
      offspring of
      a genteel society in which music and the arts in general had become
      overrefined and, in Mr. Sales's word, "feminized."
      This is a reasonable enough theory, but it hardly explains why
      jazz world - liberal on most issues - finds itself at this late date
      so far
      behind the rest of the population on issues relating to gender and
      sexuality. Except for a crack that if Mr. Hersch wanted to be asked
      his love life, he should call a tune on his next album "something
      like, 'For
      My Lover, Irving,'" there were no hostile comments from the floor
      during the
      question-and-answer period that followed the panel. But the Vanguard
      audience of 100 or so seemed far more comfortable participating in
      the two
      discussions that followed, which addressed the economic hardships of
      jazz and the proper roles of critics and scholars - the usual shop
      talk at
      jazz get-togethers.
      My lack of success in putting together a more racially
      balanced panel
      (Mr. Bey was the only black participant) raised for me the troubling
      question of whether gay black musicians face more difficulty in
      coming out
      than their white counterparts as a result of greater homophobia in
      culture. (Some black denominations have a spotty record on gay
      issues, and
      hip-hop's preoccupation with thuggery has set an impossibly high
      standard of
      masculinity for young black men.) Despite my best efforts, there
      were no
      lesbians on the panel, but women may have a greater disincentive in
      out, because they already have so much going against them as female
      intruders in a music ruled by men. (To some men, a female drummer or
      player is automatically butch, even if she happens to be straight.)
      "I know certain gay musicians who are not out who I feel
      overcompensate by trying to be even more macho than straight
      musicians," Mr.
      Hersch said. "And unfortunately, certain women players have also been
      pressured into higher and louder and faster, with more chops."
      Whether being gay makes a difference in playing jazz was a
      left hanging by Mr. Hersch and the other panelists, and none of the
      musicians I've spoken to in the months since have quite been able to
      it, either. But this doesn't mean that the question is irrelevant,
      that gay musicians are still trying to figure it out for themselves.
      "I usually leave the interviewing up to the interviewer," Mr.
      said, explaining that journalists typically ask him about his latest
      recording, his equipment and the trials of balancing teaching and
      performing. "But this undiscussed area of being a gay man, being
      part of
      the gay community - has that affected me creatively? That would be a
      interesting thing to explore. But interviewers, maybe because
      they're not
      sure how to write about it, stay away from it."
      Like the others on the panel, Mr. Bey feels the issue warrants
      discussion. "You have to deal with the issue of who you are, and it
      can be
      a difficult issue if you're living a so-called abnormal life," he
      said. "It
      needs to be talked about in order to liberate yourself."

      Associated Press, September 1, 2002
      Gay-rights ordinance up for a vote
      Eyes of nation on Miami-Dade County
      By Tal Abbady, The Associated Press
      MIAMI - Supporters and opponents of gay rights around the
      will keep a close watch on Miami-Dade County in coming days. On
      Sept. 10,
      voters in this county - considered both a gay sanctuary and the
      epicenter of
      the modern anti-gay movement - will decide whether to scrap a law that
      protects gays and lesbians from discrimination.
      Similar ballot initiatives face Michigan and Washington
      voters, and
      referendums are poised to challenge gay rights laws elsewhere. For
      efforts to repeal existing gay-rights laws are under way in Westbrook,
      Maine, and Cleveland Heights, Ohio, though they haven't yet reached
      "It's important that we beat back these repeal attempts," said
      Kilbourn of the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign. "All we're
      for is to be treated equally."
      "If we begin drawing lines about the degrees of discrimination
      are acceptable, then we've lost our fight for civil rights," said
      Anderson of Tacoma United for Fairness. The group opposes an effort
      repeal that Washington city's anti-gay discrimination law.
      But Matt Dupree, director of the Florida Christian Coalition,
      members of coalition chapters nationwide are behind efforts to defeat
      gay-rights ordinances, seeing them as an affront to their beliefs.
      Gay rights "is not something they can get behind," Dupree
      said. "But
      Christianity has always had its little stumbling blocks that we'll
      Friends and foes of gay rights have battled in Miami-Dade for
      In 1977, the county was among the first to amend its human
      ordinance to protect residents against discrimination based on sexual
      orientation in employment, housing and finance.
      That same year, former beauty queen and then-orange juice
      Anita Bryant led a campaign to quash the law, convincing voters to
      strike it
      from the books.
      It was reinstated in 1998 at the end of a decade that saw the
      of gay rights ordinances in cities across the country, but months of
      campaigning by Christian Coalition volunteers and others have landed
      issue on the ballot once again.
      Their campaign was marred but not derailed by the arrests of
      Verdugo, head of the county's Christian Coalition chapter, and other
      volunteers for allegedly turning in falsely certified signatures.
      Advocates of gay-rights laws say their opponents often use such
      tactics, but they predict Miami-Dade voters will uphold the
      anti-discrimination law.
      "When you put the question to American voters - 'Do you think
      it's OK
      to discriminate against gays?' - they say 'No,'" Kilbourn said.
      But Kilbourn said he does not take for granted the strides
      made by
      gay-rights groups, noting such discrimination is legal in much of
      and elsewhere. Gays are not protected by the U.S. Civil Rights Act,
      Florida is one of 38 states that does not have a statewide law banning
      anti-gay discrimination.
      Since the 1998 ordinance was adopted, Miami-Dade's Equal
      Board has received nearly 70 charges of anti-gay discrimination.
      Alexandra Rodil, of Miami, filed a complaint in 2000 when she
      fired from her job at a real estate firm two days after her employer
      she is a lesbian.
      Rodil said she'd told him about her planned appearance in a
      documentary featuring Miami's gay community and asked if she could be
      at work. Two days later she was fired.
      Rodil said verbal evaluations of her work had been favorable
      throughout her four months with the firm.
      Her employer, Clifford Rosen, told the board Rodil had been
      reprimanded for playing music on the job and having an "I don't care"
      attitude, but Rodil said neither Rosen nor her immediate supervisor
      approached her with such complaints.
      "The person they described I was would not have lasted a day
      at that
      firm," she said. "They're not the kind of people to let things
      The board sided with Rodil, who reached a financial settlement
      "This is not about special rights, this is about equality,"
      said. "Am I not the kind of person who deserves a job? I'm a law-
      citizen who cares about my community."
      Georg Ketelhohn, co-chair of the No to Discrimination/Save Dade
      campaign, said the effects of the ordinance vote will ripple through
      entire country.
      "This is not just about the gay community, it's about the whole
      community," Ketelhohn said. "We're a world-class city and we can't
      allow a
      small minority painting us as a community that favors discrimination."
      Eighteen of the county's 21 mayors, including Miami-Dade Mayor
      Penelas, have come out in support of the ordinance.
      In addition, the county's business community has pledged its
      BellSouth and Carnival Cruise Lines, among others, have donated tens
      thousands of dollars to support the ordinance.
      And officials from the Democratic National Committee have
      warned that
      ordinance's repeal could derail Miami's chances of being selected to
      the party's 2004 national convention.
      But opponents of the gay rights ordinance say homosexuals
      seeking equal rights, but special treatment. They say businesses and
      politicians backing the ordinance are interested only in money and
      not morals.
      Rosa Armesto de Gonzalez, a Miami attorney, said gays have not
      a need for special protection as have blacks and others protected by
      rights laws.
      "Everything they've asked for, they're given," de Gonzalez
      "I wouldn't want any group to get special treatment over
      else," said Dupree of the Florida Christian Coalition.
      Dupree further said coalition members believe gay lifestyles
      against Christianity.
      "In a perfect world, we'd like to see no homosexuality,"
      Dupree said.
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