Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013, March 02, 1984, Page 13, Image 13

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

The issues o f oppression, both internal
and external to the Lesbian/Gay community,
have been at the forefront of the community
dialogue for the last year. Concern over these
issues has been forcefully expressed from
the perspectives o f both individuals and
groups o f community members. The shar­
ing o f these perspectives is important to the
Lesbian/Gay community as it becom es
m ore aware o f the diversity o f lifestyles,
opinions and needs which exist within it.
However, the emotional expression seldom
gets to the examination o f solutions to
An important aspect to problem resolution
is an understanding of the causes as well as
the effects o f the problem. Examining a
socio-econom ic system which condones
and perpetuates oppression lends another
perspective when looking for solutions to the
problem o f oppression. This perspective
should prove educational to those who be­
lieve themselves to be "non-affected" m em ­
bers o f the community, i.e., those who do not
identify with the oppressions of people who
do not fit into any o f their defined categories
o f concern. To isolate any oppression, or seg­
ments thereof, is to fail to see the overall
scope o f effect that correlative oppressions
have on the community-at-large.
It is important for the Lesbian/Gay com ­
munity to recognize the effects that dominant
society has on it It is a disservice to pretend
an immunity to the overall system in which
people have been made to participate since
childhood. To ignore the issue o f the "ism s"
o f dominant socio-econom ics and claim
them to be personally non-affecting is at the
very least a passive participation in the op­
pressive system. To believe that the procla­
mation o f on e’s sexuality is the automatic
mechanism for unlearning the "ism s" is de­
ceptive. Denial o f one's participation in an
oppressive system makes it easy for one to
classify others as participants in self-victimi­
zation. It makes it acceptable to avoid exa­
mining oneself. In an extremely illustrative
quote, Tolstoy says [the pronouns are
expanded to include women], "I sit on a
person's back, choking them and making
them carry me, and yet assure myself and
others that I am very sorry for them and wish
to lighten their load by all possible means —
except by getting off their back.” This quote is
applicable today when many seem to find it
easier to disclaim responsibility for century
old acts than to address the issue o f oppres­
sion today.
How does one so adamantly use the con­
cept o f First Amendment Rights to justify and
support the perpetuation o f oppressive racial
stereotypes, then ignore this same concept
to campaign against performers who present
negative gay stereotypes? How does one pro­
test their own diminished status, yet ignore
the universally diminished status o f women?
Individuals who put aside “ principle" so read­
ily when they bear the brunt of the attack,
need to re-examine 1) the principle and, 2)
the degree of their participation in the o p ­
pression of others.
Finally, one of the premises o f traditionally
"non-affected” groups is “We must all learn
to laugh at ourselves." If this philosophy holds
true, then all existing reasons for protest by
the Lesbian/Gay community are invalid. If
there is truly a belief that promotes the "laugh
together” theory, then there are no issues that
will offend this community. If you chose to
work from this premise, the universality of
laughable items must be developed.
If the needed sensitivities that will develop a
congruent community are to exist, the co m ­
munity will have to realize that a threat to
justice anywhere is a threat to justice every­
Dear Advisor:
I just received a letter from my parents. It
seem s that they want to visit m e from out of
town next month. I have just m oved into a
lovely tw o-bedroom apartment with my lover.
W e use one bedroom as a bedroom and the
other as a combination study/library. It is o b ­
vious that only one bedroom is used as such.
I am in a quandary. Should we rent a bed
for the library and pretend that one o f us
sleeps there, or should we com e clean and
tell them everything.
Petrified in Portland
Dear Petrified:
Mo doubt you already have som e advice.
Advice, even go o d advice is generally avail­
able from every source on the planet. Min­
isters have it as do friends, teachers, shrinks,
people on the street and even parents, (al­
though you probably have not consulted
them on this one). What you want is advice
that com forts you when you scream, "What
am I gonna do?" to the heavens or your
bedroom ceiling. Since God works in
mysterious ways; ways many times too
mysterious for mortals to figure out, we may
not be able to give you that universal confi­
dence o f knowing that you are doing the right
thing. What we can offer are the experience of
sharing the same problems, the legwork of
research and the chance to give your con­
cerns a public forum. So please return next
issue for a reply to your question.
Dear Readers:
W e need questions. My partner and I are
expert solvers. We sit around and for hours
on end discuss problems you have not even
heard of. W e have a solution to the toothpaste
tube dilemma. We know what to say to the
cook o f a horrible meal. We know, we really
do know what to do when parents com e to
visit S o write us care of this paper. Please
keep yourselves anonymous for objectivity's
sake, (w e may know you, after all). We prom ­
ise smart, concise, literate advice full of au­
thority and concern. Until next issue you may
have to settle for the counsel of your landlord.
Just Out
a great
for people
ir is h d r in k s
120 NW 3rd 224-3285
Ju st O ut, March 2-March 16