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Letters to the editor – March 4, 2016

Posted: March 4th, 2016 | Featured, Letters to the editor, Opinions | 1 Comment

Honoring Truax

[Re: Guest Editorial: “Honoring the Legacy of Brad Truax,” Vol. 7, Issue 4 or at tinyurl.com/h55ftwe]

Mr. Gloria is basing his suggestions on faulty information. The city’s only goal is to sell this property to a developer who will put up condos. This is about money. Period.

—Yvette, via gay-sd.com


The action by the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee in approving the staff recommendation to sell four city-owned properties, even with the points outlined by Councilmember Todd Gloria for the Truax House property, are troubling for a number of reasons.

The city’s written policy outlines a process that includes a requirement for the mayor to provide a comprehensive Portfolio Management Plan that includes the status of all city-owned properties to the City Council on an annual basis. This required plan is seven years out of date. The City Council is being asked to make determinations about which properties should be declared surplus and sold without sufficient information on what other properties may be candidates and what the cumulative economic and environmental impact of piecemeal sales might be on affected communities other general plan goals.

The City Strategic Plan sets forth objectives for community engagement and participation, but the officially recognized, locally elected planning groups and other key stakeholders have not been notified or asked to provide a recommendation on the sale of these properties.

The “Environmental Statement” provided to the backup materials at the City Council committee meeting — in essence that the city will review potential environmental impacts after a property is sold and a new private owner applies for development permits — is specious at best.

Other alternatives for the disposition of the Truax House property, such as a lease to public benefit entities to provide community meeting space, offices, display and/or social service centers and an AIDS Memorial as a part of a building rehabilitation plan, have not been evaluated.

The building inspection report provided at the committee meeting was a cursory, from-the-street, drive-by “guesstimate” of repairs that might be necessary. I toured the house during a “qualified” real estate brokers open house last summer. This is a 1910 Victorian-style house that, in spite of the deferral of maintenance by the city, is from all appearances, built to last.

I sincerely hope that Councilmember Gloria will urge his colleagues to defer action on these property sales until proper reviews are completed, and community planning groups and other stakeholders have been provided the opportunity to make informed recommendations and the required Portfolio Management Plan is updated and deemed complete.

This is most important in this case of the certain demolition solution being proposed for the Truax house. There is no urgency. Please take the time and engage with those other community members who have advocated for an alternative use and disposition of the Truax House.

—HC Jay Powell, via email


Minor clarification

[Ref: “From turmoil to technology,” Vol. 7, Issue 3, or at tinyurl.com/jy7wwfb.]

Awesome article but sexuality and gender aren’t a “choice”! Just thought I’d point that out.

—Atlantis, via gay-sd.com


Attracting Love

[Re: Life Beyond Therapy: “Attracting Love, or pushing it away?,” Vol. 7, Issue 3, or at tinyurl.com/j54ackf.]

Excellent article, very well written. Love of a partner/boyfriend should be about what can I bring to the table or give vs. what can I get. When you do this, the universe will bring more to you. As you say, “Ironically, this is a sure way to get more!” is very true.

—Rick Dallin, via gay-sd.com


 ‘Gay bars are gone’

[Ref: “Guest Editorial: Survey – straight behavior in gay bars,” Vol. 7, Issue 3, or at tinyurl.com/z34sbe7.]

After 30-plus years of living in San Diego, during which time I’ve spent a lot of time in gay bars, it’s my opinion that gay bars per se do not exist any longer. The follow-up article by Morgan Hurley details her bad experience at The Eagle, a bar that still holds on to the idea that it wants to be exclusively for men, but that place is an exception.

Go into #1 Fifth Avenue and you find yourself in a neighborhood bar that has morphed from being a gay bar when it opened in about 1984 to what it has become.

Gay people wanted to be accepted by and assimilated into mainstream society and here in San Diego (don’t go too far east, however), that has happened. As it has happened, our men’s bars have also become places for everyone, whether the old guard mainliner gay men like it or not. I identify as one of these, and have had to adjust to straight women arriving, often with their gay boyfriends, to spend weekend evenings with us.

They seem to have no sense of being guests as your article suggests they might; rather, they often convene in loud and shrill herds, creating noisy pariahs, to say the least, all the way to be being downright obnoxious.

It’s this lack of consideration for everybody else present that galls a lot of gay patrons. But again, since gay bars do not exist any longer in the old sense of the term, straight women and couples feel entitled to make the place their own and act however they choose. Gay men may dislike what they have to put up with, but we cannot have it both ways. Either we are integrated into society or we aren’t.

There still exist gay resorts, principally in Palm Springs, where women are not admitted. If gay men in San Diego want to be free from straight “invasions,” shrill conversations, and “cock blocking,” they might have to travel two hours to have the old-time atmosphere of what they dream of as a men-only gay bar.

Bars here will undoubtedly continue to integrate straight people into formerly gay bars. 

—Robert Heylmun, via gay-sd.com


A lesbian and three gay guys walk into a bar …

[Ref: Editorial: “#WeAllMatter: continuing the conversation about bars,” Vol. 7, Issue 4, or at gay-sd.com/editorial-weallmatter.]

Ms. Morgan Hurley’s recent editorial was true journalism at its finest. In 1975 in my speech at out city’s first Pride Rally, I brought up the issue of discrimination in our bars when it came to lesbians and how unwelcome many men in our community made our sisters feel.

Sad to say sexism, ageism and racism are still alive and well in the GLBT community. Most of our leaders and business people prefer to sweep these issues under the rug and prefer not to discuss them, or even have any dialogue about them.

I commend and thank Gay San Diego and the courageous Ms. Morgan for speaking out and opening up the long overdue dialogue … indeed WE ALL MATTER!

—Nicole Murray Ramirez, via email


I liked your OP-ED on the hateful, very poor, non-participants of the human race’s behavior of The Eagle.

As a male member of our community, I wanted to extend my apologies for their deplorable behavior. It will have far-reaching consequences for them.

We owe lesbians a lifetime of indebtedness for the AIDS years. How quick we can forget the very backbone that supported getting things done when most of us men were overwhelmed. Thank you and I’m sorry you had this experience. Someone will be informing them of the year 2016 and not 1976.

Somehow, our community will right this wrong.

—Anthony Gioffree, via email


You, too, are a prominent member of the LGBT community and that kind of treatment of lesbians/women will go the way of the dinosaurs. The Eagle’s days are numbered. Thanks for writing this, Morgan!

—Sue Sneeringer, via Facebook


I am disgusted! I hope they go out of business. It’s so disappointing that we still have people like this in our own community. We are supposed to teach and show tolerance, not discrimination and hate. Just horrible!!

—Jamie Campbell, via Facebook


It’s not just the leather community … I hear people complaining all the time about straight girls and guys “infiltrating the gay bars” I work at. How hypocritical is it that we are asking those very same people to treat us as equals and accept us as a normal part of society (which we should) yet draw a line in the sand when it comes to them wanting to be a part of our world as well. Equality is a two-way street people … if you are going to demand it, you have to give it in return.

—DJ Taj, via gay-sd.com


Good article, thanks for sharing. I too hang out with the opposite sex, of all persuasions. In fact, my lesbian friends call me their “lesbro.” So if we were ever treated that way anywhere, we too, would be pissed.

Back in ’95 when I moved to San Diego, I went along with several neighbors into Shooters for a Sunday afternoon of pool at the front table right by the door. Five young guys walked in and kind of surrounded me, one of them asked, “Is this a gay bar?” and I said “Hell, yes.”

All of a sudden I got punched in the face and they swiped my pager off my belt (I was on Trauma call at the hospital and was not drinking) and they all ran out the door. Like an idiot, I ran after them into the street where two of them stopped to kick my ass, thank you very much, didn’t hurt, kind of made me laugh. One of my friends ran to the bartender and asked him to call 911 and he said, “You call 911.” As is always the case, these little dramas happen very quickly and there is not time to think, but I do remember that I never went into Shooters again.

You don’t have to put up with crap Morgan, you’re better than that.

—Luke Terpstra, via gay-sd.com


Great read and the point made very clear. The guy has a serious issue with women, period.

—Lori Lucas, via Facebook


Thank you for this well-written piece that brings to light the very types of animosity that inspired my recent Op-Ed.

I first want to apologize and say that as the founder of the San Diego LGBT Visitors Center, I am truly embarrassed for the actions of the owner at The Eagle. I am a friend of many people who frequent the bar and even friends with several staff members, who I know would never accept this type of behavior.

I’m embarrassed because my work through the LGBT Visitors Center is to send business to our LGBT friendly, welcoming and safe establishments, and over the course of the past year, and last six months especially, I have referred dozens and dozens of visitors to The Eagle.

Now I question, “Is this is a place I should be sending business to?”

Compounding my embarrassment is the fact that I spoke up and defended The Eagle and our LGBT bars and nightclubs when just last spring, media trucks and reporters swarmed The Eagle to report on the stabbing that took place there against another well-known community activist.

When the news media wanted to tear down and label the Eagle and other LGBT bars as “dangerous, seedy, drug-fueled, dirty” and/or a host of other obscenities, I jumped in my car, quickly threw on a pair of jeans, a sports coat and a shirt (that I purchased that night) with The Eagle logo printed on it —and I spoke up about The Eagle, Redwing, The Hole, Numbers and our other fabulous bars and clubs, describing them as welcoming, neighborly and having a friendly vibe towards everyone.

Mind you — I did this after my own experience at The Eagle when a disorderly guest became upset with the bartender and decided to take out his rage on me by throwing punches at my face.

Even after that experience — and thanks to Eagle bartender Rob Rod, patron Jay Heimbach, and others who stepped in on my defense — I still defended our community bars as safe and welcoming.

Sir Nicholas owes our community an apology.

And our community leaders, from Nicole Murray-Ramirez to patrons that frequent The Eagle, must all demand an apology from Sir Nicholas.

Yes, The Eagle is a men’s bar, but that does not give him the right to discriminate. We deserve better, our community deserves better and our visitors deserve better.

At the Visitors Center, I pride my company’s ability to form partnerships that highlight the best in San Diego — “We are your partners in business, in tourism, and in equality. Open for business, means open for all.”

So until that apology comes, sadly that is one less bar I’ll be referring visitors to.

—Eddie Rey, via gay-sd.com


Insightful piece, if not incite-ful. OK, here’s mine. I can’t remember if I was still writing news for the Lavender Lens and Bixi B. Craig, but one Pride Weekend, I was in Urban MO’s. You know how it gets then, with long lines for the restrooms. When I finally did make it into the women’s bathroom, much to my chagrin, there was a man in there with us. I said, “Don’t you know this the only place we have to ourselves?” He flippantly responded, “OH NO, honey, you’re in our house now!” Me: “Wow. Nice Pride unity attitude there.” I could’ve gone all Bipolar-Aries-Italian on him (since none of those are known for backing down). But I didn’t. I’ve met owner Chris Shaw and that is definitely not the philosophy in any of his establishments. They’re so diverse they even employ straight staff.

I think you’ll appreciate this West Hollywood tale, too. Decades ago, we used to go dancing at Studio 1. It wasn’t our favorite (Probe, a private club was.) But Studio had three large dance floors, all playing different kinds of music. The attitude at the door was brutal. Women had to present three!! forms of picture ID and get used to stowing matronly shoes in the car because no “open-toed shoes” were allowed. A “no hat” policy was designed to bar some ethnicities.

So we endured this discrimination just to dance. Well payback as they say, is a b*t*h. During the immense LA Pride Parade, or Christopher Street West in West Hollywood, I had an unparalleled opportunity. Nearly a million people watch this spectacle as it winds down Santa Monica Boulevard and I was in a prime spot near Robertson by the former Blue Parrot (now Revolver). I was right up front and when I saw the Studio 1 float, much to my surprise, I saw they had chosen a Greek theme and were all wearing togas, and, you guessed it, sandals!

Mustering my radio news voice, I pointed and shouted, “OPEN-TOED SHOES!”

Hundreds heard it and hundreds laughed a knowing laugh. Attendance at the [club] dropped off dramatically after the LA Times wrote a piece about their racist-sexist policies.

—Kimberley Monari, via email

One Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    Regarding the controversy over The Eagle:

    Hey, it’s a gay man’s leather bar. That’s the atmosphere the patrons want — leather and masculine.

    Everyone else seems to demand their “own space.” Why aren’t gay men allowed to have that as well?

    Aren’t there a thousand other bars women and straights can go to?

    Can’t lesbians have their own bars just for them?

    And if you want to mix it up, aren’t there plenty of coffee shops in this town that are open to everyone and maybe even serve beer and wine?

    As far as I am concerned, this is just another example of homophobia directed at gay men — “We’re going to take over your spaces — whether you like it or not.”

    What is the point of that?

    Just what do you hope to accomplish by spoiling the atmosphere that the patrons of one little bar want for themselves?

    And what do some gay men hope to accomplish by bringing their girlfriends into gay male bars?

    What next? Women demanding entry into gay bath houses?

    Do gay male bars now have to become private clubs?

    How strange.

    Back in the old days when we gays were rejected by society, we were at least allowed to have our own places.

    Now that we’re supposedly accepted, gay public space is disappearing along with gay neighborhoods.

    I do not consider that progress. I consider it a more subtle form of oppression and co-opting.

    Why is respect only a one way street? Sure, you have the legal right to do whatever — but what about common sense and consideration for others?

    I guess that doesn’t mean anything anymore.

    I haven’t been made welcome in the few lesbian bars I’ve gone into. And you don’t hear me complaining about it.

    I do go to straight bars, but I am well aware that they are straight and I don’t throw my weight around letting everyone know that I’m gay. I go for a drink, and if anyone wants to talk to me, fine. But that is all.

    C’mon, people. Stop making a federal case out of everything!

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