You wrote this two weeks ago: "Hello, straight people? . . . Most of you seem content to rubberneck while gay people have the shit kicked out of us, and while that's maddening, I suppose it's understandable: it's not your fight. But what explains your passivity when your own rights are being attacked?"
I think it's bullshit that the American Family Association is against the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. I agree with you 100 percent that something needs to be done for the rights of both homosexuals and heterosexuals, but as a straight guy I really have no clue what to do about either fight. Can you give us straight folks a good jumping-off point? How do we make our voices heard? --No Clever Anagram Here
To protect straight rights, NCAH, the first thing you need to do is vote--and make sure your friends and family vote too (unless they vote Republican, in which case you need to tear up their voter registration cards). But voting isn't enough.
"We live in a time when privacy is under attack, and sexual privacy is a prime target," Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union, told me to tell you. "Politicians use billions of taxpayer dollars to withhold vital sexual-health information from teens, the FDA keeps emergency contraception under lock and key, and lawmakers sanction pharmacies' refusal to fill birth control prescriptions. It's time to pull out all the stops and push back."
How? Well, you could become a card-carrying member of the ACLU (www.aclu.org), along with People for the American Way (www.pfaw.org) or Americans United for Separation of Church and State (www.au.org). To specifically protect your reproductive freedoms, you could join Planned Parenthood (www.plannedparenthood.org) and NARAL Pro-Choice America (www.naral.org).
But it's not enough to be a card-carrying member of these organizations, NCAH; you need to be an active member. When I called NARAL to ask what you could do, Nancy Keenan, the group's president, suggested that you get on the horn. "All Americans who value the constitutionally protected zone of privacy should call their senators and ask them to oppose Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor, judicial nominees who illustrate the threat to individual freedom and personal privacy," says Keenan. "Federal judges are on the bench for life, and President Bush is determined to flood the courts with far-right judicial activists."
Making phone calls and writing letters? Dull, maybe, but infinitely more effective than marching in circles around Washington, D.C.
If you sincerely want to get involved in the fight for gay rights, Yale Law School prof Jennifer Gerarda Brown, coauthor of Straightforward: How to Mobilize Heterosexual Support for Gay Rights, has a few suggestions. "You can tell your kids that it's fine for women to love women and for men to love men," Brown says. "You can ask your employer not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. You can work with your child's school to make sure that classes and course materials validate LGBT people. Engage people in your local churches, office, and government in this dialogue."
Now get busy.
I thought you would like to know that a group of Wisconsin state lawmakers is trying to ban the University of Wisconsin's student health centers from advertising, prescribing, or dispensing emergency contraception even in cases of rape. Representative Daniel LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), chief sponsor of the bill, says emergency birth control "encourages female promiscuity."
Just another battle in the religious right's war on sexuality. --Steve Z.
Here's a fun fact: Dan LeMahieu's bill wouldn't stop student health centers in Wisconsin from passing out condoms. This means that the gay boys at the UW would have all the condoms they need to remain promiscuous. LeMahieu's bill discriminates against heterosexual students exclusively--see, straight people? The American Taliban is after your asses too.
Does this assault on straight rights piss you off, my readers? Then pick up your damn phones, call Dan LeMahieu at 608-266-9175, and tell him to stick his bad bill, AB 343, right up his pasty white ass. If any angry straight people would prefer to send Dan a note, his mailing address is Room 17 North, State Capitol, PO Box 8952, Madison, WI, 53708. Dan's home address is also on his Web site, which I found by googling his name. I don't think it would be cricket (Britishism), kosher (Yiddishism), or K-Y (gayism) to send angry letters to Dan's home, so I'm not going to put that address in my column, even though it is right there on his Web site. Which I found by googling his name. Ahem.
I was listening to NPR this morning after dropping my son off at school. Very rarely can a single word make me laugh, but a mention of Santorum did. I hope Mr. Santorum knows that thousands and thousands of people giggle at just the mention of his name. --Wendy
Thanks for the nice note, Wendy, and speaking of Rick Santorum: The New York Times Magazine smeared Santorum all over its cover a few weeks ago. Michael Sokolove's profile explored absolutely everything about the junior senator from Pennsylvania--including another retelling of the time when Rick and his equally creepy wife, Karen, spent the night in bed with a dead fetus (after making their children cuddle and kiss their deceased near-sibling). There was one glaring omission, however: Sokolove's profile doesn't cover my wildly successful effort to link the senator with the substance. The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex was never mentioned!
The new meaning of the word santorum has successfully entered the English language, popping up all over the place without reference to my column or to www.spreadingsantorum.com. And like Vidkun Quisling, the Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis and whose name is now a synonym for traitor, Rick Santorum has achieved an infamous immortality. Forevermore, when someone looks down at his dick or her strap-on during anal sex and sees that unwelcome guest, that frothy mix, Rick Santorum shall be remembered, his name invoked--"Oh crap--santorum!" people will say. How could the New York Times, our national paper of record, overlook the success Savage Love readers have achieved in bestowing this singular honor on Senator Santorum?
I trust a correction is forthcoming.