What type of LGBT/Q representation do we want?

Posted: February 17, 2015 in Justice, Solidarity

This is an excellent letter that was posted over at the Gay Liberation of Chicago’s Network’s Facebook page and speaks a truth that we as LGBT/Q progressives must think about and think about again. Here in Hartford Ct. we have a gay mayor who is running again in the upcoming election. There will be a primary for the democratic nomination for mayor and in this city with no real opposition the democratic party always wins the election. Let’s take a hard look at his record.

This letter as we all know could have been written anywhere in americkkka today. We now have LGBT folks in all sorts of high places and must ask ourselves is it enough that they are LGBT? We must demand more. Read the letter and ask, are these the types of folks I want representing those of us who are LGBT/Q? Do we want our years of working for unity with other groups destroyed because of their policies?

From the Gay Liberation Network facebook page.
It isn’t just enough to get LGBT representation in city government; instead we must start asking “What kind of representation do we want?” When a gay alderman, James Cappleman, harasses the homeless sleeping in freezing bus terminals or opposes a Christmas toy drive for homeless children—is this how…
WINDYCITYMEDIAGROUP.COM|BY WINDY CITY TIMES
UPDATE: A copy of the letter is published here as the connection is not working sometimes.
Letter to the editor: 46th Ward race
2015-02-16
It isn’t just enough to get LGBT representation in city government; instead we must start asking “What kind of representation do we want?” When a gay alderman, James Cappleman, harasses the homeless sleeping in freezing bus terminals or opposes a Christmas toy drive for homeless children—is this how we want society to see us as the LGBT community?The days of Harvey Milk are long gone. We once had far-left progressive voices demanding justice in city governments. Labor rights, affordable housing, and racial justice: these used to be the crusades of early LGBT political trailblazers. If you’re looking for a Harvey Milk in today’s Chicago’s City Council, you sadly will find none. Instead in Uptown and Lakeview, we are stuck with a reactionary embarrassment: enemies to labor, affordable housing and racial justice.

I was disheartened to see the Windy City Times give Cappleman an A rating because, frankly, I see him deserving an F. His time in Uptown has been one of onslaught against anything remotely progressive and humane. Food trucks have been told not to feed people in his ward. Low-income seniors have been forcibly removed from their homes. Black and brown children have been profiled and stripped of basketball courts that they once played on. All thanks to James Cappleman. Not only has the man shattered any sense of solidarity with other oppressed communities, but he has failed the majority of LGBT people who are low- to moderate-income and who aren’t white themselves. Does this really deserve an A- rating Windy City Times?

Housing has become a prime issue to both LGBT youth as well as seniors. Yet in Uptown, we have an alderman who opposed the Wilson Yard senior housing and an alderman who harasses the shelters many of our youth sleep in. Cappleman has made our cities less affordable for LGBT youth to escape/flock to as well as closed most of the SROs [single-room occupancies] that housed LGBT seniors. The man fails to connect the LGBT struggle to other movements and to carry out our own economic interests.

This election, I dare to say that the straight woman represents us better in the 46th Ward. I will be supporting and canvassing for his opponent, Denice Davis. Many other LGBT activists, including Andy Thayer and myself, have rallied behind her calls for economic justice and racial fairness. She has a proven history of providing AIDS funding to city budgets, supporting LGBT health services and adding more housing options to the vulnerable segments of the LGBT community. She is an A+ and is a way for the LGBT community to move forward alongside others in pursuit of a more equitable just democratic society.

Ryne Poelker

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