Where’s a girl to begin, darlings? I’ve had a frantic week watching the Vice Presidential debate, planning my fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, and most importantly, perving at the beefcakes who were installing a new horse shelter on my back field. I am exhausted!
But not to tired to talk about something important. Since Salt Lake Metro and then QSaltLake started publishing I have written about 115 biweekly columns covering all sorts of subjects from pop culture to politics. That is a hell of a lot of material, not to mention about 115 tap-dancing-through-the-minefield opportunities to possibly offend or even outrage people. Which, ummm … might have happened once or twice.
OK, OK. It’s happened about 10 really notable times that I can remember. But in my defense, I think one in 11 odds is pretty damn good, and technically that makes me a centrist Saint. The way I see it, my columns are like Rorschach ink blots: you see what you want to see in them and react accordingly.
A great example of this was my column in the last issue about the GLBT Public Safety Liaison Committee (If you missed it, its available on the QSaltLake Web site under columnists – Ruby Ridge). In it I made two main points. First, that the GLBT Public Safety Committee has offered no reassurance or guidance to the state’s gay community during the latest rash of violent attacks on gay men (and yes, there was another assault on a gay man since this particular column came out, making four that we know have been reported in the last three months). And second, that there are no crime prevention messages from the Public Safety Committee or local police agencies that discuss local gay men or the behaviors that place them at risk of becoming crime victims. Simple enough criticisms and completely true on all accounts, right?
Well clutch your pearls, darlings, because the responses I got were REALLY interesting!
The day the last issue hit the racks I had random people emailing me and telling me horror stories about burglaries and robberies, and how they would not or could not report them to the police for fear of embarrassment or persecution. They validated the points I made in my last column completely! The bulk of these responses fell into two main categories: people who were robbed buying marijuana, or robbed after hooking up with an anonymous stranger they met on the internet. There was even one creepy cyber stalking case that was straight out of a Jerry Bruckheimer film. Many of the emailers made jokes and laughed off their problems in a dark, gallows humor kind of way (or maybe they were still buzzed on marijuana, because now that I think about it, there were a lot of typos!). Just about all of them said things like, “I should have known better” or “I knew it was wrong” or “I was an idiot,” which tells me there was a lot of guilt and retroactive remorse involved.
Now, pumpkins, as the maternal caring soul that I am, I do appreciate your confessions. I wish I were a priest so I could absolve you of your sins. But sadly, I’m built more like a nun, so next time I see you I will probably just rap your knuckles with a ruler, you immoral, drug-addled, promiscuous sluts! Oh relax, I’m just kidding. It was very brave of you to confide in me, and as profoundly imperfect as I am, who the hell am I to judge?
Anyway, in stark contrast to the numerous emails from actual crime victims, there was only one cranky response on QSaltLake’s Web site from a member of the GLBT Public Safety Liaison Committee. Not only did he conveniently miss my column’s whole point about the need for targeted crime prevention in our community, he then fixated on the fact that for two hours a month (out of about 672 hours) I wear a dress and camp drag make up during our Third Friday Bingo charity fundraisers. Apparently, comic drag is a sin so egregious and such an affront to his delicate sensibilities, that he dismissed my opinions because of my—and I quote— “obviously skewed view of the world.”
Maybe he’s right, because all I could think of in response was A) Judging a person entirety on one superficial characteristic is called “profiling,” and it’s just tacky; and more importantly B) Your County Sheriff’s uniform has way more polyester in it than any one of my “ugly dresses.”
If his hostile response is typical of law enforcement or the Public Safety Liaison Committee’s attitudes towards the gay community and its idiosyncrasies, then it’s no wonder they are perennially missing in action when our community actually needs them.