Readers respond to "Homosexuals Who Hate?"
Gay doesn't equal accepting
Jamez, I lived in Minneapolis for nearly a decade with my boyfriend (who is black) and I have to echo your statement ("Homosexuals Who Hate?" 3/16/09). I did not like being there either; ultimately, I think the general attitude is what caused us to grow apart. I left Minneapolis very angry. It wasn't just that we seemed to be one of the only interracial gay couples (both seeking something long-term rather than the typical "try it out" sexual experience).
I now live in Duluth, which over the past decade has become much more diverse, and one thing I realized about being gay in Minneapolis that was causing even more trouble in the gay world: Unless you are affluent—have all these college degrees and a great job and expensive clothes—you're a nobody regardless of race. Most of these men live their entire lives based on image and illusion rather than truth—appearing to be rich and moving up in the gay social scene is more important than anything. Since hardly anyone comes to Duluth to get rich, that whole toxic attitude that just rots your self-esteem is a nonissue. You get to be you! When we were in Minneapolis we felt many of the things you mentioned and it sucked—you'd think that being around such a large gay community would yield some sense of support, but I never saw it.
Just wanted to commiserate with you! Drop me a note if you'd like.
Never seen gay racism here
Are the Pages feeling the difficult economic times? I know everybody needs more readers...but this reads ridiculous! It sounds to me that this gent has had issues everywhere he lived or visited. I have been going to the 19 for many years. From what I have experienced at the neighborhood hot spot, the 19 seems like it is one of the safest places for us to hang out. They look like they treat everyone like family. The staff at the 19 Bar has always been very nice and courteous to me and to all my friends. Trust me when I say we are a few of the many in the "diverse clientele" bracket that frequent the local bar
Racism by any other namez
Did Jamez ever consider that the discrimination was based on the fact that his name sucks? It looks like a tag a 16-year-old boy (real name James) would put on MySpace to impress girls who overdo it with their eye makeup.
Seriously, Jamez should consider the plus side of being a double minority (gay and black), which actually offsets the discrimination he gets from the lame single minorities. Colleges would flock like the Peoples Temple to let this guy in. If he ever wanted to work on the corporate board of a Fortune 500 company, he would have no problem getting a seat. Fuck, if he was blind in one eye he could probably be a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party.
Blame the messenger
First of all, I am disappointed with the article featuring my name as it was published in City Pages. I never really understood the term "hack job" before.
I don't believe the story was poorly written, but I do believe it was poorly edited. A writer for another local publication commented that the article read as though it were edited by a high school intern.
The published piece was somewhat different from what Bradley Campbell shared with me. I found the published article, as I told Bradley, "watered down even from what you shared with me on the phone. Not much punch to it and a bit...disjointed."
Bradley explained that "we [City Pages] had to cut it down to fit into our ever shrinking page count."
It is a pity that City Pages chose to edit out any substance, leaving disconnected accounts of "he said/he said". It was my story and even I wasn't terribly interested in reading it.
City Pages staff who had access to the story before publication told me that the gay.com portion was the most compelling aspect, yet the excerpt printed was completely pointless, adding nothing to the story (anyone interested in viewing the chat transcript or the letter the 19 Bar chose to ignore can visit: http://tinyurl.com/d9zrtm).
I'm no more surprised that people so easily dismiss my experiences than I am that the bartender in question (now manager of the 19) so easily lies about my activities in the bar on that day. I do take some satisfaction in his practical admission that he did indeed treat me as poorly as I described. Good strategy on his part justifying his heinous actions with an equally heinous lie that so many will accept on face: "He was a shifty black guy."
Racism may not be "newsworthy" to many of you, but I personally commend Bradley Campbell and City Pages for providing a forum for discussion of the issue. Yes, I wish they had presented the story differently, and obtained perspective from others besides me, but what's done is done.
I could spend hours replying to every comment. Some of them are quite supportive, some are laughable, some scream of white privilege, and some are truly insulting (Henryz, if you'd like to know the origin of my name, I'm happy to share that story, and show my birth certificate).
Overall, while not pleased with the article, I am proud to have stepped forward, and hope that others will feel encouraged in speaking out, and that we can discuss these and other issues with one another toward a goal of mutual growth and understanding.
Thank you for your time.
Jaméz L. Smith Minneapolis
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