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April 11, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-11

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Page 4-Wednesday, April 11, 1979-The Michigan Daily

.

Gay commumty strives for acceptance in society

Awkwardly sprawled somewhere
bktween the gay-stereotype extremes
de Militant and the Miserable lies
something loosely called "the gay
community." This is probably a
misnomer for what may be a nonentity
- at least in the sense some, straights
feel compelled to think of it. Exanining
the distinction between the image and

and even singleness of puspose; coming
from less enlightened sources, it seems
to anticipate allusions to clubhouses,
secret passwords, and decoder rings.
Such expectations, at either level, leave
two segments of humanity ill-served.
FIRST, IS THE part of the straight
population that believes in an

By the Social Acceptance for Gays Organization

"Gays who feel this way have the same levels of
humanity, diversity, and individual complexity as
straights, and our need to feel part of-not
separate from-other things and other people is
just as strong as theirs. As a way of relating to
others, we don 't care nearly as much about our
gayness as about our humanity. "

film-star celebrity than for native
naivete, it is just such uninformed faith
and overgeneralization that invests the
"vision" some straights have about
gays. The solidarity that some strights
ascribe to what they think of as "the
gay community" is unrealistic at best,
and insistence on this image does
nothing but encourage misunderstan-.
ding and fear. Our being gay does not
justify assumptions about what we
mutually know or share or are. .
This issue of solidarity must be ad-
dressed by the second group being
poorly served by such a distorted view
of the gay community - those of us who
theoretically compose a large part of it
but are mostly irritated by the potential
for isolation that can accrue from such
a label.
STRAIGHTS NEED to hear-and to
understand-that many gays do not
consider their gayness to give them
enough in common to prompt grouping
together. And if we do not see our
gayness as central to our lives or our-
selves, we are unlikely to feel and more
"central" about our role in some
nebulous gay community conceived by

the Wholly Spiteful, borne of the
virulent Anita Bryant, and suffered un-
der pompous pilots. Straights who don't
believe that many gays fail to see
gayness as a binding force should take
note that very few of even the most die-
hard straights (whose hearts were
young and gay presumably only by way
of homosexual panic) view themselves
as central to any kind of straight com-
munity.
Gays who feel this way have the same
levels of humanity, diversity, and in-
dividual complexity as straights, and.
our need to feel part of-not separate
from-other things and other people is
just as strong as theirs. As a way of
relating to others, we don't care nearly
as much about our gayness as about our
humanity.
In fact, it is precisely this quality in
us-our humanity-that forms the basis
for a realistic and meaningful definition
of "the gay community"-and also un-
derlies the need for that type of com-
munity. This is the gay' community
associated with such functions as gay
counseling services, "coming out"
groups, and social gatherings for gay
men and women.

THESE SERVICES exist not because
we are sick; indeed, directly analogous
counterparts to such services are easily
found in the presumably healthy
straight world itself: straight coun-
seling, therapy groups, dances, ets.
These services exist because, quite
simply, we are human and have the
same human needs for acceptance and
caring as straights-but we face those
needs against a range of social op-
pression.
Straights who don't believe that one
might try noticing how strange the
term "straight counseling" probably
sounded a few lines earlier: It sounds
strange because it is never used, and it
is never used because the world at large
assumes heterosexuality implicitly of
its entire populace.
This, of course, is no problem if one is
straight; if not, it is authentically op-
pressive and, for those of us who don't
want to be segregated, deeply painful.
And hurt (though it sounds sophomoric
to mention it) hurts-a point which
straights must understand applies as
much to gays as to themselves. Those
treated as second-class citizens
sometimes need first-aid, or, at any
rate, help in finding themselves and
each other, in reaching out to eah other,

and in helping each other. In this sense,
there is, indeed, a gay community. And
its purpose, as states, is no less valid or
valuable for gays than it is for
straights; imanity will always tran-
scend sexual preference-even if it's a
while before everyone knows it.
IN THE LAST analysis, maybe both
straights and gays can relax a bit.
Straights can relax because many gays
simply do not find gayness a point of
commonality that makes us enough like
each other (or different from straights)
to be banding ominously together.
And the nonmembers of that-in one
sense-nonexistent "gay community"
can relax a little too, since we are con-
fident in our personal convictions and in
our inclination toward- integration in-
stead of separatism. And we are con-
fident, too, that the message will
become clearer in time, even to
straights still looking for clubhouses
and decoder rings. They're right about
one thing. We don't have a clubhouse,
but there is a password: understanding.
The Social Acceptance for Gays
Organization is a campus group
seeking to enhance understanding
about gays.

the reality may benefit straights and
says alike.
The straight image of the "gay com-
rtunity" is suggested by a question
spmetimes put to gays: "How does it
feel to be a member of the gay com-
munity?" Context makes a difference,
utt even coming from intelligent
alults, the question seems to carry un-
spon expectations for a sense of unity

organized, unified gay community and.
fears it. Such believers should,
perhaps, be told of the apocryphal but
appropriate story from the 1950s in
which an American hunter on African
safari tells a jungle native where he is
from, and the native responds,
"America-you must know Marilyn
Monroe."
Though the story clearly says less for

Perhaps the
term fallout of
Island nuclear
probability that
o the surface
topics of the
paign.
For Califor
Brown, the disa
Opportunity.
The nuclear
budget-balancir
could pit Br
Democratic ch
- in a direct ci
ter.
The stark
positions on nuc
portrayed last
arter donne
boots to perso
4sylvania p
americans of
power. At the
Brown was cc
Rpgulatory Co
an.exact duplic
niar his own st
the California p
operating norm
;Immy Cart
presidency on t
power would be
since become
remarked Ric'
three safety ex
Eectric's nuc
beause he w
dangers. On t
took a highly
stuck with it," h
Indeed, Brov

Brown's anti-I
most significant short- political figure to take a clear-cut stand
the recent Three Mile in opposition to nuclear power.
plant accident is the For a presidential candidate, the
t nuclear safety will boil position is not without risk. The
as one of the hottest national commitment to nuclear power
1980 presidential cam- is immense. Hundreds of billionsof
dollars are involved in operating and
nia Governor Jerry planning plants, and important
aster is thus tinged with segments of industry and labor firmly
0 support nuclear power.
issue, even more than But the clusters of opposition groups,
ng and tax reduction, multiplying in recent years, now have
own - the leading the public's attention as never before,
allenger of the moment thanks to Three Mile Island. And Brown
ash with President Car- can capitalize on the issue, as hetcan't
on many others, by pointing to an
differences in their unambiguous record of achievement in
clear power were vividly his own administration.
week when President Brown has never voiced all-out op-
d anti-contamination position to existing atomic power plan-
nally inspect the Pen- ts. Rather, he has emphasized concern
lant and reassure over the lack of disposal plans for
the safety of nuclear plutonium waste products or to ear-
same time, Governor thquake hazards, an especially sen-
alling on the Nuclear sitive factor in California. -
mmission to shut down But the California governor has gone
ate of the disabled plant further than any other political figure
ate capital, even though to stress solar, wind, geothermal or
plant, Rancho Seco, was biomass alternatives to nuclear power.
ally. This pursuit of other energy sources
er campaigned for the may be the rpost significant aspect of
he promise that nuclear his anti-nuclear stance.
a "last resort," but has "Without absolutely closing the door
an ardent advocate, on nuclear energy," he said in a recent
hard Hubbard, one of interview, "I don't think we should put
Kperts who left General all our energy eggs into the plutonium
clear division in 1976 basket while the federal government is
'as alarmed about its determining whether or not nuclear
he other hand, "Brown wastes can be stored."
unpopular position and Brown's first - and most significant
he said. - foray into the nuclear issue was in
vn is the first national 1976, shortly after his election, when he

Nuke stance key to 1980 contest

By Mary Ellen Leary

"I don't think we should
put all our energy eggs into
the plutonium basket while
the federal government is
determining whether or not
nuclear wastes can be
stored."

see the state through.
Beyond the legislative efforts, Brown
also assembled a State Energy Com-
mission that has strongly favored
alternate energy sources. It voted 4-1
againstthe proposed San Diego nuclear
plant last year.
Brown has also appointed a number
of State Public Utilities commissioners
who have raised grave doubts about the
financial feasibility of nuclear power as
the costs of such plants keep mounting.
They have initiated a far-reaching
policy to press for energy conservation
instead of new. plants.
In the financial arena, Brown has
sponsored a budget that currently runs
to $25 million for energy programs
other than nuclear power. The same
amount is scheduled for next year.
He also supported, earlier than
anyone else, the most generous tax
abatement schedule in the nation to en-
courage adoption of solar or wind
energy plans and strict structural con-
servation improvements. A small sur-
charge on all electric bills funds this
program and yields about $3 million for
solar development and consumer ad-
vice and another $6 million to conser-
vation programs.'
The governor's record has won him
high marks from environmentalists,
though some anti-nuclear activists feel
his intervention on the Rancho Seco
plant last week was mostly politically
motivated. Many felt he should have
shut down the plant on his own'
authority, rather than merely
requesting the NRC to do so. By calling
on Washington to act, Brown shifted the

burden of responsibility completely to
the Carter administration. The NRC, as
most observers expected, refused to,
order any shutdowns in the wake of
Three Mile Island.
But despite the suspicions in some
quarters, most environmental leaders
believe Brown's record on nuclear
energy is a "political plus."
"He has wrapped himself in the
mystique of an energy pursuit that
would be harmless to man," said Con-
niue Parrish, California representative
of Friends of the Earth. "He may not
have been with us at every turn of the
road, but he has a posture that will be
increasingly significant."
Roger Beers, a senior staff attorney
with the Natural Resources Defense
Council, said the, governor "has to be
credited as largely responsible for the
climate of public opinion that allowed
state agencies to deal so strictly with
nuclear problems.
"I suspect the nuclear issue will be
very hot in the presidential contest,"-he
added.
Some of Brown's advisors are coun-
ting on the same thing. They expect the
whole approach to energy, not just
nuclear, will provide grist for presiden-
tial debate.
(Mary Ellen Leary is a contribut-
ing editor of Pacific News Service
specializing in California political
trends. She is author of "Phantom
Politics" on the 1974 California
governor's race. Her work also ap-
pears in The Economist, Atlantic
and the Nation.)

Bro wn

played a key role in winning state
legislative passage of three nuclear
safety measures.
The " laws, requiring strict safety
standards and safe disppsal plansfor
radioactive wastes, have held the line
against any new nuclear expansion in
the state. When the legislature
threatened to push through a proposed
$1.5 billion nuclear plant in San Diego
by exempting it from the laws in
January, 1978, Brown threatened a veto
and the effort failed.
During Brown's term, California's
nuclear plants have actually dwindled
from four to two through shutdowns.

"The Diablo Canyon reactor, the only
new plant on the horizon, was
authorized before the safety standards
were passed and was all but completed
two years ago. But plant operation has
been delayed by a series of litigations
and still awaits a final go-ahead.
The nuclear issue inevitably arose as
a top concern in Brown's re-election
campaign last fall. His Republican op-
ponent, Atty. Gen. Evelle Younger,
argued the state could not survive into
the 21st century without at least 50
more nuclear plants. Brown stubbornly
harped on safety issues and argued that
conservation and alternate fuels could

.

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420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom

2

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 153

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and manciged by students at the University of Michigan.
CSJ ruling necessary

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LAST WEEK'S elections for the
Michigan Student Assembly
(MSA) were full of shabby and
unethical procedural practices. Three
dormitories-Couzens, Bursley, and
East Quad-were not open for voting
dn the last night of the election, and
most other polling sites were closed
early. Some polling sites were left un-
Manned with empty ballots, and some
candidates were even operating other
sites.
These fears of widespread corrup-
tion were not expected by some of last
week's winners to represent sufficient
wrongdoings for invalidating the elec-
tion. As some MSA representatives
have argued, these sloppy things occur
every year.
But, fortunately, the Central Student
Judiciary (CSJ) didn't follow unwise
advice nd unanimously invalidated
[he election, calling for a new one to be
held early next fall. CSJ's decision
Sunday night was an unfortunate and
painful step but was the only fair alter-
native available. If the results of this
election were permitted to stand, the

ter Representation (SABRE) party
president Brad Canale, think they have
found a loophole.
I Canale claims that certification
hearings must be held between five
and ten days after the last day of the
election; Sunday's CSJ hearing was
held four days after the election ended
on Wednesday. The next re-
certification hearing is tentatively
scheduled for Thursday night.
While the MSA constitution does in-
deed say that CSJ certification
meetings must occur at least five days
after the end of elections, this
technicality is a minor point with
which Canale and others should not
waste their time. Instead, this valuble
time and energy could be spent on
preparing a sound and responsible
elections procedure for the coming
fall.
CSJ's proposal that the Assembly
should hire an independent group from
outside the Unviersity to coordinate
the elections may be a costly but
necessary step to insure that fair elec-
tions are held in future years. As

I

k

Letters
Stude
To the Daily:
On April 5, the Moslem fanatics
of the Organization of Iranian
Moslem students (OIMS) attem-
pted to physically disrupt the
Spartacus Youth League (SYL)
forum: "No to the veil! Iranian
Women Face Islamic Reaction"
held in the Kuenzel Room of the
Union. The SYL protests this
vicious attack and insists on our
right to speak out in defense of
Iranian women as well as all
other groups-the workers,
national minorites, homosexuals,
and others threatened by the
"Islamic Republic" being setup
by the followers of Ayatollah
Khomeini in Iran.
The Khomeini-lovers of the
OIMS in attempting to disrupt

mits defoend,
opposed our right to speak but little band of (
even our very right to exist. First prevent such fc
they tried to disrupt the speaker, forward. And
calling her a "slut" and a people, these
"prostitute". Then when it was defenders o
made clear the disruption would Khomeini? The
not be allowed and that the SYL leftists or, prog
intended to continue the forum, bourgeois liber
the OIMS supporters complained sons and daugh
that we were "heavy-handed" upper-crust wh
like "SAVAK", for these fanatics from Khomeini
see every obstruction of their at- similar to the
tempts to silence all anti- students who i
Khomeini dissent as an attack meetings of wo
upon their "rights"! Despite the and who shot an
provocations, the forum con- taking part in
tinued, and due to the vigilant Women's Day
defense provided by supporters Khomeini's rul
of the SYL and other friends of similar to theJ
workers democracy, including students whoi
supnorters of the BLG. a local vangard of

f ree speech
OIMS fanatics to trade union movement. It will
orums from going condemn women to the bar-
who are these barism of Islamic custom, which
e self-appointed encourages polygamy and child
f Islam and marriage, bars women from par-
ey are in no sense ticipating in public life (already
gressives or even Khomeini has banned
als. They are the coeducation!) and enforces the
ters of the Iranian wearing of the chador, the head-
ho stand to gain to-foot veil which effectively cuts'
i's rule. They are women off from contact with the
fantical Moslem outside world. And it is trampling
n Teheran attack on the democratic right of the
irkers and leftists minorities of the Iranian prison
nd stabbed women house of peoples to national in-
the International dependence - 500 Kurds 'ave
protest against been killed by Khomeini's troops
e there. They are in the first few weeks of his rule.
fanatical Moslem The SYL does not intend to be
in 1965 were the intimidated by these fanatics
the reactionary from denouncing the crimes of

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