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By Lavender August 13, 2010

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Brock Hasn’t Tried It

On Minnesota Public Radio August 4, Reverend Tom Brock said even though he has sexual desires for men, he isn’t gay, because he “hasn’t tried it.” Using that same logic, I’d say even though he has a desire to be a follower of Jesus, he isn’t, because he hasn’t tried it yet.

Mic Hunter
Licensed Psychologist
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Shame on Twin Cities Pride!

Shame on Twin Cities Pride for trying to ban Bible-thumpers from Loring Park! Everyone’s right of speech is protected by the Bill of Rights.

Every year, we celebrate the rebellion at the Stonewall Bar, which may have never happened without the Bill of Rights. Those of us in the emerging gay movement in Minneapolis in the 1970s were protected by those freedoms in the face of a hostile Minneapolis Police Department.

One misinformed letter writer to the Minneapolis Star Tribune said the federal court would have made a different decision if the celebration had been for blacks or Jews. In the 1980s, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) successfully defended the right of the American Nazi Party to march in Skokie, Illinois, a Jewish suburb of Chicago. The ACLU was the first ally of the emerging gay movement.

Thanks to the federal court decision, I picketed the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) tent at the Pride Festival with a sign “The HRC is a Fraud.” From my perspective, HRC has wasted millions of dollars on Democratic Party politicians, some of whom then voted for the Defense of Marriage Act and for the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy that has drummed thousands of gay service members out of the military.

We cannot pay for our rights, but like every other minority, we can fight for them. I should thank the federal court for defending my right to be critical of HRC.

Phil Willkie

Open Letter to Gregg W. Steinhafel, Chairman, President, and CEO of Target Corporation

Target Corporation has long been a strong ally of Minnesota’s GLBT community, and OutFront Minnesota and many other GLBT organizations have looked to Target as a model of the corporate support for diversity.

Because of this, OutFront Minnesota is disappointed and appalled to learn that Target’s political action committee recently contributed $150,000 to a right-wing political group called Minnesota Forward, which is working to elect as Governor current State Representative Tom Emmer—a candidate with a long history of attacks against GLBT Minnesotans and their families for his own political gain.

Target should recognize that its support of Emmer’s campaign supports his toxic social agenda, significant parts of which involve targeting GLBT people, immigrants, and low-income workers for discrimination and marginalization.

Target should be aware of the damage to the lives of GLBT Minnesotans that its spending in support of Emmer will have. Because of this, OutFront Minnesota calls on Target to do the right thing, and make amends for the damage it has done by taking back its donation to Minnesota Forward, or by donating an equal amount to a political committee or cause of its choice that works to combat the attacks, dehumanization, and marginalization of GLBT people, immigrants, and low-income workers represented by Emmer and Minnesota Forward.

Emmer stands alone among candidates for Governor in opposing equality for GLBT Minnesotans. Target should not stand with him.

Adam Robbins
OutFront Minnesota

The Target Emmer Drama: Time for a New Gay Agenda

When Target recently donated $150,000 to Minnesota Forward, a front for openly homophobic gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, it seemed that the GLBT community had been hoodwinked. Target, after all, is a model for corporate gay friendliness, a patron of Twin Cities Pride so enthusiastic that tens of thousands of visitors go home stamped with the company’s bulls-eye logo cut from a rainbow flag.

How, community members and activists are asking, could a company that has done so much to built a brand-loyal GLBT consumer and employee base fund a vitriolic opponent of gay rights?

The answer to this question should force us to think more critically about the connections between GLBT activism and issues of gender, immigration, and race.

Target, after all, made its donation not because of its position on gay rights, but because of its take on immigrant women’s labor. Minnesota Forward is a “pro-business” lobbying group dedicated not only to preventing employees from joining unions, but to blocking legislation that would mandate shorter hours, health insurance, vacation time, and retirement benefits for all employees.

The vast majority of people who work the registers and stock the shelves at Target are people of color, many of whom are women, and many of whom were born not in the Twin Cities, but in Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mexico, El Salvador, Laos, or many other countries poorer than the United States.

The challenges that these people’s gender, race, immigrant status, and income level provide on the job market make it harder for them to demand higher wages and better benefits. To keep its cost low, Target is invested in keeping these barriers in immigrant women’s lives. Hence, the $150,000 for Emmer.

But what, people might ask, does this have to do with the GLBT community?

The answer lies in whom companies have traditionally honored with full citizenship at work. Companies have long offered good wages to male breadwinners, paying handsome salaries to the Ward Clevers of the world who had to take care of June, the kids, and the home behind that white picket fence.

Historic patterns of discrimination have made it much less likely that families of color, immigrant families, and GLBT families live behind those white picket fences. Thus, these groups have been afforded less at work.

Remember, a lot of companies still give family benefits to married straight people, but deny them to gays with partners or kids.

It is time to take this inequitable history—and Target’s latest chapter in it—to rethink the goals of GLBT activism. We must make a fundamental commitment to the belief that everyone deserves dignity on the job.

Regardless of whether we live behind a white picket fence or not; whether we have kids or not; whether we have partners or not; whether we identify as GLBT or not; and whether our ancestors were born in England, Mexico, or Pakistan, we deserve a living wage, health insurance, and a secure retirement.

Without making this connection, and by continuing to tolerate companies that are “progay” and “antilabor,” we set ourselves up to be hoodwinked, and to be presented with a Governor like Emmer who will provide fairness and dignity to none of us.

Ryan Murphy

Twin Cities Pride’s Silence Is Deafening

Why is Twin Cities Pride so quiet?

They have taken on the task of representing the GLBT community in our area. I, along with tens of thousands of others, have supported Pride by attending every year.

Yet, they stand idly by, and say nothing about the very hypocritical Target Corporation’s $150,000 donation to MN Forward, a group supporting Tom Emmer for Governor.

I get it: Target has a very large presence at Pride. Clearly, TC Pride does not want to lose the money they receive from a large corporation like Target. But by not speaking up, they will lose their GLBT audience.

Twin Cities Pride, there are wolves in the kitchen. Speak up! Your silence is deafening.

Emmer has voted against gay rights every chance he has been given, including amending a bill that would prevent nonmarried couples from surrogate parenting. He cares nothing about the GLBT community. He has befriended a Christian ministry that advocates violence and discrimination against our GLBT community.

Emmer also voted to cut all funding to the very important Minnesota AIDS Project. Yet, Target is very strong sponsor, again with a grand presence, at the Minnesota AIDS Walk.

Target can’t have it both ways. This proves to the community that the GLBT support is all for good public image.

Gregg W. Steinhafel, CEO of Target, has stated, “Let me be very clear, Target’s support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company.”

If this is the case, then why have you donated the maximum personal contribution to Emmer and to Michele Bachmann, two figures so determined to strip Minnesota of equality?

I invite Steinhafel to contact me for a roundtable discussion to resolve this.

Tim Salyers

Letters are subject to editing for grammar, punctuation, space, and libel. They should be no more than 300 words. Letters must include name, address, and phone number. Unsigned letters will not be published. Priority will be given to letters that refer to material previously published in Lavender Magazine. Submit letters to Lavender Magazine, Letters to the Editor, 3715 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55407; or e-mail <editor@lavendermagazine.com>.

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