I’m writing in response to Ellen Krug’s recent Skirting the Issues column, “A Different Opinion.” Ms. Krug’s comment, ”It’s not necessary to destroy something in order to change it,” resonated strongly for me. The easy way out is always to dismantle/blow up the existing situation. As we know, some of the more ardent activists are in favor of totally destroying the current oppressive “system.”
I’m certainly not denying that the “system” is flawed, corrupt, often unfair, and systemically racist/sexist/ageist/heterosexist. However, I would submit that fomenting revolution in the streets and throwing the baby out with the bathwater probably won’t solve all of our dilemmas or make mainstream society appreciate us more. Per Ms. Krug’s suggestion, I would also submit that a better pathway to lasting results will only emerge from responsible, thoughtful leadership that seeks out new ideas and embraces more accessible ways of making progress.
The wild-eyed revolutionary is a shopworn cliché that, for many of us, just doesn’t work. Today’s difficult times and tough, complex situations require smart, conscientious leaders who can articulate 1) a way to improve things for everyone and 2) speak to the human values that must necessarily undergird and strengthen any successful initiative toward inclusion, equality, and justice.
Blowing up the “system” may feel good for the moment, but in the long run, the only things that truly change a culture are education and training. We have to center our dialogue around values and commonalities. We must focus on building consensus and supporting leaders who can provide the vision, methodologies, and ethical worldview needed for the long haul. In the end, we WILL win—not because we’re better than our oppressors or more intrinsically valuable as human beings, but because the forces of equality and justice are inherently stronger than those of oppression and bigotry.
My partner and I had the good fortune of being able to visit your beautiful city this past weekend to attend the Pride festivities throughout your city.
On Saturday Morning we went to a local eatery for breakfast finding the only open seating was at the bar, which we happily accepted. Shortly after we ordered, a man and woman sat next to us and also ordered. When our breakfast arrived they gave it to the other couple by mistake; we laughed, said it was ours which the waiter didn’t hear and took it back to the kitchen. Well, it started an amusing conversation, one we were so happy about. Sitting next to us was your very own columnist Ellen Krug from “Skirting the Issues” and a longtime friend of hers.
What followed was a wonderful, unexpected breakfast with someone who more than represented your magazine wonderfully well but also Pride and the City of Minneapolis. She was informative, funny, sincere, and interested in our story. She gave us advice on several things we talked about and did so with much compassion and a newfound feeling of friendship. Her friend was also just as welcoming; the two made our breakfast so enjoyable—but that’s not the end of it. Later in the day in Loring Park, who came up to us out of thousands of people? Yes, you’ve got it: our new found friends. What a beautiful memory for us to take home to Green Bay with us.
I can see why Lavender is such a successful magazine when it’s written by such wonderful people!
Magic Mike Pride Cover
I write a letter of disappointment and missed opportunity today. When Lavender Magazine posted on Facebook that the Pride issue was out, I took you to task for a cover photo of Channing Tatum promoting Magic Mike. While my reaction may have been emotional at the moment, I am still overwhelmingly disappointed in your cover and the follow-up response. The response was along the lines of: an exclusive interview with Channing that fell through and at the eleventh hour, a decision was made to go with the cover that was prepped.
This explanation actually disappoints me more. Even if you had an exclusive with Channing, the Pride edition cover of your magazine still should have been relevant to Pride. This is our fortieth year of Pride. This is a big deal! We are in the middle of an Equality battle, and you chose to run a cover that plays to stereotypes: hot men, sexy bodies, and pop culture sell. This cover needed to reflect our history, our current movement, and our future.
Lavender is resource for our community! You have an obligation to our community to be a beacon of hope guiding our community. I hope your editorial staff reflects on this moment and asks themselves what is truly important to them.