Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Co-heroes: Kenny Stokes and Elaine Wesnick

Once in a while you run across a thought so well expressed and so meaningful and so f*cking human, it makes you pause, reflect, and wonder why these ideas aren't the ones that make the headlines and protests and hubbub. Well today I found two in the letters of the Billings Gazette. First, Kenny Stokes:
Like it or not, cowboys are sometimes gay Vera-Beth Johnson's March 7 letter titled "Hollywood perverts heroic cowboy image" is the epitome of the homophobic and ignorant attitude many small-town and rural people have in our state. Johnson won't see the film "Brokeback Mountain" because, as she writes, "I don't have to lift the lid of a garbage can to know what's inside," but she should see the movie. It may awaken her to the reality that there are gay cowboys, most of whom must remain closeted for fear of professional as well as physical ramifications. Johnson needs to know that of the thousands of cowboys she and her husband have known, at least 3 percent of them are homosexual. The statistic applies to all races, religions, professions and cultures. She should know about the International Gay Rodeo Association, which has 32 regional associations throughout the United States and Canada with thousands of gay members who are also "real cowboys" (and cowgirls). She should visit any major city in the western United States to discover they all have gay bars that cater to cowboys and cowgirls. The Loft, a gay bar here in Billings, has patrons from all over Montana and Wyoming. As is the case with gay men and women having served in the military, many of those "real" cowboys, the "stalwarts who won the West," were homosexual.
Sort of a simple concept, really. People are gay. Not perverts or degenerates, but people. And people who are tired of being defined, judged and valued solely by the sex of their partner. Which brings us to Elaine Wesnick's letter:
Gay brother important part of large family I also read the "Hollywood pervert" letter. My reaction was the same as Teri Riehl's. I have had people tell me that they don't know a gay person. Amazingly, we know the same gay people. I have a brother, Steve, who is gay. He is one of six in a Catholic family. There was a time in my life when, though I loved him, I seriously wished he were not gay. A person who is gay is not only discriminated against, but is also in danger of physical harm. Why would anyone seriously think an anti-bullying law that protects our young people would promote a "gay agenda." Does a law forbidding bullying of religions cause people to change religions? I have now come to realize that my brother is perfect the way he is. Ten years ago he had my mother move in with him, to better care for her. Two of my nieces live with him and his partner while going to school in California. He is an intelligent, caring person. There is a saying in our family, "If we didn't have Steve, we would have had to invent him." He doesn't need to change at all, but there is room in our judgmental society for change.
Not only are people gay, but some of our best people are gay. These arguments are so simple because they're true. You can feel it through the core of your body and into your soul. True. Capital "t". T. Like I always say, if you don't like gays, don't f*ck 'em.
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