Two final words: gratitude and unity
So I’m retiring this month, having edited The Empty Closet since July 1989.
When I became editor, John Strand, a professional journalist who was on the Alliance board, told me that editors should write an editorial each month to connect them with their readers.
Twenty-eight years and 312 editorials and deadlines later, this is my final letter to EC readers, and I have two topics to cover.
First is gratitude. The Alliance and its community-building publication could never have survived without our volunteers. Hundreds have volunteered in one way or another since the former Gay Alliance started as a grassroots political action group in 1973. I worked most closely with the Empty Closet volunteers.
I’d like to thank them, beginning with the layout volunteers from the pre-desktop publishing days. Then we had stiff 11×17 pieces of graph paper called the Boards, and we printed out the contents of the paper and cut that with X-acto knives into long column-sized strips, which we pasted onto the boards with hot wax – then the printer photographed that. If you wanted to remove a logo for next month’s issue, you used carcinogenic benzene. Thanks to all the survivors of the hot wax days!
Then I must thank the talented people who ushered us into the desktop publishing era – Ellen Mahaffy, Joan Boccino, Victor Cardoso, Brad Pease and our first paid graphic designer, Don Albrecht. I’d especially like to thank our current graphic designer, who puts the publication together every month – thank you Jim Anderson!
Thanks must also go to everyone who has written for the EC, as reporters, columnists, reviewers, etc., as well as our many amazing photographers over the years.
And I must thank the mailing volunteers, from the days before we hired delivery and direct mail companies. Thanks to everyone who struggled with P.O. regulations, stuffed envelopes and made deliveries!
I also want to thank the bi and pansexual people, the trans and non-binary people, the lesbians and gay men who have generously educated me about their experiences.
And finally, thanks to all of YOU, every EC reader. When I hear about closeted youth, isolated elders or anyone else who has found information and connection in the EC which have made a crucial difference in their lives – hearing those stories makes everything worthwhile!
Second topic: unity among LGBTQ+ people in our diverse communities. I believe it’s important to respectfully challenge each other on issues like racism, sexism, classism, ablism and agism. As Kwame Ture said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.” And we all have something to be eternally vigilant about!
But when legitimate challenges become endless divisive, “more-p.c.-than-thou” bickering and put-downs, our community and movement are weakened. Simply, we can’t afford that.
When we challenge another member of our own oppressed group(s), maybe we should then ask ourselves, “What have I done lately to challenge the fanatical bigots and neo-fascist ideologues who work obsessively to destroy our families and erase our civil and human rights?”
The more divided we become, the stronger the haters become. I’d like to leave you with a final tip for our survival of the Trump years: