TO THE EDITOR: Theoretically, the pride/shame binarism is a construct as oppressive and illusory as any other binarism (including straight/gay), and it's fun to imagine a transcendent world. We don't live there, though, and dismantling Gay Pride won't bring us any closer to living there [The Queer Issue, "Pride," Dan Savage, June 17].
Gay Pride continues for the same reason it began: as an outcry against homophobia. Although cultural awareness and sensitivity have increased in the 30 years since Stonewall, homophobia remains an indisputable threat. Remember Matthew Shepard's death last October, and how even that brutal murder inspired anti-gay public reaction? Remember Greg Dell, the Chicago minister of a "reconciling" Methodist congregation, suspended for performing a same-sex union ceremony? Because of homophobia, gay and lesbian people still lose custody of their children and the support of their parents, families, and employers. Sodomy statutes linger on the books in at least 20 states, and last summer, the 13-year-old "ex-gay conversion ministry" Exodus International ran full-page anti-gay ads in national newspapers.
Corrina Wycoff, via e-mail


TO THE EDITOR: Madame Savage and the other post-gay queers you grow out here have some interesting thoughts. But as someone who is actually from the state of Ohio, I can tell you that shame is not something any queer person with a clue has a right to talk about in the past tense.
America is far more like Cleveland than it is like Seattle. When people are still being murdered for organizing queer events in their communities and for countering the stigma of shame with the "sin" of pride, it's a little hard for me to listen to some over-privileged white boy in one of the most liberal cities in the country, going on and on and ON about how he is SO over being gay! Hey, BE over it. Be my guest.
My friends in Akron need BACKUP, not lectures on how they need to evolve, and how they should transcend their queerness and mature into pure individuals — stripped of culture, community, and connection. They need a community that is powerful and organized enough to convince the state legislature not to shit all over them.
Wake up, Dan. It's 1960 all over the place.
Susan Kane, Seattle


DEAR EDITOR: I breathed a sigh of relief after reading Dan Savage's "Pride" essay. Residing in Capitol Hill for a year now, I've noticed many gay people marked by many symbols signifying pride, and wondered at their insanely prideful, seemingly blissful, lives. But lives are only blissful when you're living in some sort of contrived reality, and reality for these gays is characterized by exclusivity in friends (you're gay + I'm gay = friends), and an incredible amount of self-imposed markedness and distinction. Whether conscious or not, these gays are placing such a huge amount of unnatural energy toward marking a clear divide between "them" (straight) and the exclusionary "us." Shirts that read GAY in big letters are working directly against what gay, like straight, should be: Nothing. You're not that different — you're just gay. Heed Savage's wisdom.
Sharif Hussein, Seattle


"JENNIFER, hi, this is Vincent Garioso. I'm visiting from New York and I just picked up a copy of The Stranger, and I'm outraged. Envy, anger, greed, sloth, gluttony, lust, and pride. Hmm. I didn't know pride was one of the Seven Deadly Sins. I'm embarrassed for Urvashi Vaid, Andrew Sullivan, and Dan Savage — all dear friends of mine — who so lightly contributed to a paper that we thought was, um, well... I don't have words. My number in New York is 212-XXX-XXXX. I'd love to chat."
via rant line


To the Editor: Matthew Fox got it right ["The Great Debate," Josh Feit, June 17]. Why would someone choose to live west of 15th on Capitol Hill if they oppose nightlife? Why in the world would someone choose to live in Pioneer Square — which is the essence of nightlife — if they were hell-bent on having their peace and quiet?
Nobody is forcing these people to live in these neighborhoods. They are free to live where they want to, just as people should be free to go out at night! City Life 101: There are many different neighborhoods — find one that suits you. If [Pioneer Square residents opposed to nightlife] really feel they belong in the city, they could move to Green Lake, Wallingford, Madison Valley, Madrona, south... heck, even the east side of Capitol Hill, for more peace and quiet.
It is not the music lovers and club goers who are imposing on [others], it is the [nightlife opponents] who are trying so hard to impose on normal, healthy city life. Seattle may be small, but it is a city, dammit! These people have no idea what urban life is all about: vitality and dynamic culture in all its forms, not just millionaire-minded gentility.
Sidran and his constituents really ought to move to Bellevue. It seems to be exactly what they want. The scenery is just as nice, and there's a lot less life going on outside their doors.
Heather Karnes, via e-mail


Dear Editor: While I commonly enjoy The Stranger's biased reporting, sometimes the transparency works against your advocacy. In the article "Historical Materialism," [June 10] Samantha Shapiro's bias seems to be based on who has more money. If the neighborhood is wealthier and more influential, then they must be the wrongful antagonist.
Having at one time lived on that particular block of 13th Ave. E., I can definitely say that everyone living there [who was] involved in the campaign to save the Hitchman House would not fall into your category of "well-off, politically connected people."
Secondly, a developer who tears down a perfectly functional (as well as "cute") building in order to construct new condominiums is no "in sync" Growth Management savior. If Samantha is really concerned with the implementation of the Growth Management Act, there are better issues than defending "small developers" who are destroying housing to make cute "brownstone" condominiums in "sleepy" neighborhoods.
After reading The Stranger's consistent criticism of the Convention Center's destruction of four unlandmarked, inconsequential buildings downtown, defending a developer's efforts to demolish an "inconsequential" house seems groundless. Furthermore, criticism of some citizens' attempts to affect the future of their neighborhood is only valid in reference to the activism's tardiness. Instead, you should be promoting such activism.
Andrew Phillips, via e-mail


To the Editor: Neighborhoods First! has its priorities backward ["Fear of the Train," Ben Jacklet, June 17]. They want to stick transit riders underground and leave car drivers with free reign above ground on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Currently, this street is a death trap, with 300 accidents a year and miles between safe pedestrian crossings. Most drivers on MLK are commuting through the neighborhood — not shopping at local businesses or picking up their kids from nearby schools. Meanwhile, neighborhood residents rely on transit here more than anywhere else in Seattle. MLK is not exactly a neighborhood asset.
Yet in the name of safety and commerce, tunnel proponents won't hear of putting a train on the street. Do these people plan to ride it? I do, and I'd like to see the sun and the city when I do. I'd like to see MLK receive major improvements that change it from an auto thoroughfare to a pleasant street for people, businesses, bikes, and buses. I'd like the train to displace cars by creating a viable, attractive alternative to driving — one that actually goes somewhere.
What if we tunnel the cars and make space for bikes, buses, trains, and people on the surface?
Suzanne Carlson, Rainier Valley


To Whom It May Concern: Hi, I am a talented artist wondering how I can get my artwork on the cover of The Stranger. I need not necessarily get paid, I am content with being able to say "I did this week's Stranger cover." I assure you I'll pro'ly be in the bar that whole week, seeing if it'll "get me some." Please gimme a call at work or home, and lemme know how to get in on the action. I'll stop in if I don't hear from you, but a call would be cooler.
Dominic, via fax

Editor's Note: Cover art submissions should be directed to Hank Trotter, Art Director, The Stranger, 1535 11th Ave., 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA 98122.