The _Lambda Report_: It's not what it seems...
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 93 02:11:46 PDT
Subject: The _Lambda Report_: It's not what it seems...
From: vangogh.CS.Berkeley.EDU!bostic (Keith Bostic)
Dan Savage is a columnist at a weekly newspaper here in Seattle who writes
a column called "Savage Love." This column is ostensibly a romance advice
column with a twist, Savage is gay, and when he started it he solicited
letters from straight readers (breeder readers?) reasoning that who could
give better advice on breeder love than someone who was detached, by
reasons of orientation, from the whole process (or words to that effect).
Savage also answers questions from gays and lesbians, and even
occasionally ranges off topic to answer questions about such miscellany as
baseball cards and hanky codes. The column is funny and to the point, and
Savage also does a good job as a columnist writing about gay issues in the
Anyways, a few months back Savage wrote a column where he printed
the phone number of The Report, the fine people who brought you _The Gay
Agenda_ and other quality products for homophobes, this week Savage is
writing about a similar, yet more devious organization called The _Lambda
Report_. If you're confused the following article should explain all.
For Hot Tips Dial
by Dan Savage
(Ripped bleeding, no doubt in violation of several copyright laws, from
the August 9th issue of _The Stranger_. Mea Culpa, mea maxima culpa)
Got a hot tip on the homosexual lifestyle? Call 1-800-452-NEWS (6397)
operators are standing by.
Lambda is a greek letter adopted in the seventies as a symbol of
gay and lesbian liberation. The _Lambda Report_ is 16 or so pages of lies,
hate, distortion and bullshit about queers and our struggle for civil rights.
The _Lambda Report_ "monitors the homosexual agenda in American
politics and culture" and offers "practical advice on how to combat the
gay agenda, reporting on what works and what doesn't in the struggles of
citizens across the United States to fight pro-homosexual laws." What
appears to work, judging by the first two issues of _Lambda Report_ are
scare stories about S&M, child molesters and the threat AIDS poses to
mainstream society (one story implies that straights can contract AIDS by
sharing pillows on airplanes with gay men). In other words the same tired
old anti-queer bigotry. Same old lies, same old bullshit.
LR apparently adopted the name "Lambda Report" in order to
infiltrate gay and lesbian events. No queer organization would turn away a
reporter from something called the _Lambda Report_, nor would a gay man or
lesbian fear speaking to a reporter from an organization with Lambda in
the title. Issue two is full of interviews with and pictures of people at
the March on Washington last April. Doubtless the queers who opened up to
the LR reporters had no idea they were speaking with a magazine dedicated
to depriving them of their civil rights.
Imagine the Ku Klux Klan starting a paper called _African American
Today and sending reporters to rap shows and black churches to uncover the
"excesses" of black culture, or the Nazi Party starting a paper called
_The Star of David_ to deny the existence of the Holocaust and rant about
LR does have a couple of interesting features. There's a regular
column called "Good News: Gays Can Change!" featuring the stories of
serious twisted, self hating and self-identified ex-gay guys who after
being seduced into the gay "lifestyle" find Jesus and "a way out of
The idea that gays can "change", that we can turn into straight
people, has been completely discredited; every reputable psychiatric,
psychological and counseling organization has recognized sexual
orientation as an immutable characteristic. Every day, new evidence of
some sort of genetic or biological basis for homosexuality is reported.
But the Christian right rejects the evidence. Why? Because if
homosexuality is inborn, if it isn't a choice--not something we do for the
sake of being bad boys and girls--their efforts to deny us our rights have
no basis; for by law a person cannot be discriminated against on the basis
of an "immutable characteristic." The courts have yet to recognize
homosexuality as an immutable characteristic, but the tide is turning and
it's only a matter of time before they must. (Never mind that other
non-inborn characteristics are already protected by civil rights laws.
Religious beliefs are a choice; no one is born a right-wing,
bible-thumping, small-minded bigot. It's a choice.)
Even Wade, issue number two's ex-gay poster kid admits way down in
paragraph 14 that he "still struggles with temptations." Why? Because
Wade's sexual orientation hasn't changed, He may have stopped having sex,
stopped having brunch and stopped doing sit-ups, but he's still gay. It's
his willingness to accept himself that's been destroyed. In the eyes of
the _Lambda Report_, a gay person who stops having sex is no longer a gay
person. I haven't had sex since yesterday. At 9:30 p.m. today I will have,
by LR's standards, not been gay for a full 24 hours. Maybe they'll feature
me in next month's issue: "Gay columnist sometimes goes for days at a time
without being gay!"
No lesbians have been profiled in "Good News: Gays Can Change!"
which runs on the back page of every issue of LR. Perhaps Peter LaBarbera,
editor-in-chief, has deduced that lesbianism is immutable, perhaps
terminal. Or maybe no dykes have been featured because the _Lambda
Report_, and Peter aren't much interested in lesbians, except for the
threat bare-breasted dykes at the March on Washington pose for our
republic, lesbianism gets very little play in his newsletter.
There's also a column about mean nasty homos picking on straight
people called "Gay Hate Crimes." Lou Sheldon's unfortunate experience on a
plane coming back from Washington D.C after the March on Washington for
lesbian and gay rights is featured in issue two's "Gay Hate Crimes". Lou,
head of the anti-gay American Family Association, was heckled by queers
who didn't approve of his lifestyle choice--his choice to be a gay
bashing, right-wing homophobe who works hard to make this country a
dangerous place to be queer. "Gay Hate Crimes" didn't mention that Lou had
just spend the weekend in D.C attacking gays and lesbians. The queers on
the plane were defending themselves and speaking up for their rights,
confronting one of the people responsible for the increase in anti-lesbian
and anti-gay violence in this country. In schoolyard terminology: Lou
started it. When you attack people who are doing nothing to you, you may be
attacked in turn. That's what happened to Lou on his flight back to his
happy Christian home. Hardly a "hate crime." When Lou is beaten nearly to
death by teenagers with baseball bats, then he can come crying to us about
being the "victim" of a "hate crime."
Also in this month's "Gay Hate Crimes:" "The Report [the group
that puts out _The Gay Agenda_ videotape and other anti-queer hate
propaganda] has been the victim of an organized campaign of gay hatred in
the form of calls flooding and jamming the group's 800 number after it was
published by a gay columnist at a Seattle weekly newspaper." Hmm.
At the end of issue two, The _Lambda Report_ gives its 800 number
and asks readers to call in any tips or breaking news items they may have
on the "homosexual lifestyle." As only a select few of us subscribe to LR
I thought that I would do the neighborly thing and pass the number along
to all of you. right Christian of me, don't you think? _Stranger_ readers
are, I'm guessing, a bottomless source of news and tips on the homosexual
lifestyle and certain better informed about queer issues than the largely
rural, straight and right-wing folks who subscribe to LR. So let's help
out Peter and the gang at LR by calling in our hot tips on the homosexual
lifestyle. That number again--1-800-452-NEWS (6397). Give 'em a few hot
tips--what lube is best for oral sex, why gay men "brunch" and lesbians
"potluck", why we have better haircuts than straight people. Straight
people who don't have anything to say about the homosexual lifestyle can
play too: call and let LR know that not all breeders are small-minded,
homophobic, right-wing, flat-earth motherfuckers. 'Cuz you're not.
Remember what we learned last time about calling 800 numbers: call
from a pay phone, as all calls to 800 numbers are traced. If you don't
care if The _Lambda Report_ knows your number, call from home as often as
you feel like it. It's illegal to make harassing phone calls--hanging up,
swearing, programming your computer to dial the number over and over
again--but it's perfectly legal (Hello, First Amendment) to call 'em up
and give them a piece of your mind.
Clip the number from the top of this column and tape it to your
phone. Call when you want to share a hot tip on the homosexual lifestyle:
hanky codes, bar-etiquette, domestic partnership, where to find size 13
pumps. And dykes are especially encouraged to call: protest the scant
coverage of the Lesbian Agenda in LR. C'mon gyrls, strike a blow for
© 1993 Peter Langston