Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013, March 02, 1984, Page 7, Image 7

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    she has every right to. By using the phrase
“ lesbian/gay," however, and implying that
lesbians are not gay, gender separatism is
furthered by additionally implying that
lesbians are different in some unique qualita­
tive way from gay men. This is sexism.
By which I mean just how elaborately one
classifies an individual when speaking of that
person: is the person referred to as “a
person," “ a Chicano person," or “ a bisexual
Chicano person”? I think we have a moral
obligation to specify no more than is relevant.
If one keeps referring to someone as “ my
Chinese friend" when the fact that the person
is Chinese has no relevance to the matter at
hand, the implication is either that the person
is a friend despite the fact that the person is
Chinese (he’s not like the others) or that
Chinese people are somehow different and
so the listener must be warned that the
person is Chinese. “ Lesbian/gay" empha­
sizes that "gay" is not quite enough to say of a
woman: we must be warned of her gender
constantly. We all know the history of "sepa­
rate but equal.” “ Unity" should be voiced un­
less there is a special reason to specify the
"diversity.” We don’t need to relabel organiza­
tions like the Republican party the “ Chicano/
Gringo Republican Party" or worse (and
parallel) the “ Chicano/Human Republican
Party” to keep ourselves aware of the special
plight of these people of color.
So what? I think labels should be kept un­
isex when they exist in that form or made
unisex when they imply masculinity. It would
not be constructive to coin new labels like
“ bakeress." “Actress" should be changed to
"actor,” which is at least potentially unisex.
“ Chairman” has been changed by many to
“ chairperson," and mercifully not to "chair­
woman” for women and “ chairmen" for
men. “ Her/his" should be changed to “ its."
"A person has its obligations" may be unsettl­
ing, but it is not as hideous as “A person has
her/his obligations." Another alternative is
"their.” “A person has their obligations."
Pardon my grammar.
An anecdote is related about Bertrand
Russell. When he was jailed for protesting
against the H-Bomb, the jailer (J) and he (BR)
had the following exchange while forms were
being filled o u t
J: “Your name?”
BR: "Bertrand Russell."
J: "Your occupation?”
BR: “ Philosopher.”
J: “ Your religion?”
BR: “Atheist.”
J: “ How do you spell that?”
BR: "A-t-h-e-i-s-t”
J: “That’s alright, Mr. Russell, we all believe
in the same God.”
The point, of course, is that we don’t all
believe in the same God. We don't all have the
same goals, priorities, or perspectives, but we
still can respect one another. Let there be
established a society in which each individual
can function without discrimination directed
at it because of its differences. Let us relish
the variety of the world com m unity instead of
reducing it down to the least common de­
nominator, which I fear we shall find is zero.
If I feel that these arguments are still valid,
why do I now think that the expression “ Les-
bian and Gay Pride Week is preferable? A
m inority has the right to self-determination,
including what it calls itself. If a faction arises
that wants to change that identity label, it
should be respected. This has happened re­
peatedly throughout history. It is appropriate
to know the generally accepted label of a
subgroup and if you meet a member of that
gorup who wants to be labelled differently
you should, without apologizing, call them
what they will.
The Cascade Voice survey that was pub­
lished January 13, 1984 showed that 28%* of
the respondents wanted the week that com ­
memorates the Stonewall Uprising to be cal­
led Lesbian and Gay Pride Week. This is a
significant faction. Those women who do not
wish to be singled out by the word “ lesbian"
can group themselves conceptually in the
"Gay" part of "Lesbian and Gay Pride Week,”
since it does not specify “ Gay Men." Analyz­
ing rhetoric can be uncomfortable because it
makes us think, but if doing this occasionally
results in a deeper understanding of our­
selves and others, so be it
*Editor's note: This statistic is somewhat
heartening. The respondents to the survey
were 81% male, 92% white and 60% full-time
employed with a median income of approxi­
mately $22,000; and 65% of the respondents
picked up the survey in a restaurant or bar
honor box. This segment of the community
(white, male, pleasure-oriented, relatively
affluent) has been the least likely to support
issues of social consciousness: so 28% of the
respondents preferring Lesbian and Gay
Pride may indicate enlightened thinking and
fairness are increasing in our community.
2 PM Sunday, March 11
in Eugene’s Hult Center for the Performing Arts
8 PM Saturday, March 17
in the Benson High School Auditorium
___ 546 NE_P2th Avenue, Portland
Tickets: Available at the door, o r in advance fro m Dugan’s,
Forward Gear, Roxy H eart’s, Sensorium, C.C. Slaughter’s,
Somebody’s Place, o r any Hult Center outlet.
Just Out, March 2-March 16