Gay Today

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anthony Woods, former U.S. Army Captain and Iraq war veteran, dismissed under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and Steven Thrasher, staff writer for the Village Voice and recipient of a 2010 New York Anti-Violence Project Courage Award, discuss being gay in 2010.

We Ask, You Tell: Is 2010 a good time, or a bad time, to be gay?


Steven Thrasher and Anthony Woods

Comments [64]

Jonathan Willner

On yesterday's show you discussed the Supreme Court case involving Fred Phelps's church picketing the funerals of servicemen. Many Americans, including Republican politicians are outraged by this. It's important to note that before they started picketing dead soldiers, they were picketing the funerals of gay men who had died of AIDS and no one in the government or media expressed much outrage or concern about this. Nobody cares about a bunch of dead fags or the pain inflicted on their families.
I find it hard to muster up much outrage about what Phelps is doing now in a country that doesn't value the lives of gay people.

Oct. 15 2010 12:39 PM
Oscar M. from nyy

i heard that every man and woman that has ever lived is gay..?????

Oct. 14 2010 11:10 PM

Richard: Sorry, buddy, I wasn't gonna tell you, but I just spoke to Jesus, and he told me, that actually, he loves everyone and he told me to tell you that you're not allowed to speak for him anymore...something to do with you missing his main message of love.

He's a little 'done' with being used as a tool of hatred by people like you.

He also mentioned wanting to return to earth and fix everything, but that the sad truth is, he doesn't have that much power afterall. He did say, on the bright side, that Humankind has the power, and just needs to unlock it.

Oct. 14 2010 11:35 AM
JP from NJ

Just about every species ever studied has shown homosexual behavior. Tell me, do box turtles choose to be gay? "Oh but we are far more advanced then box turtles" you might say. OK how about primates, do they choose to be gay? Grow up and get over it. Homosexuality is a part of nature and it’s not going away, ever. There is no “homosexual epidemic” Am I sure if that? Yes. How? Excepted or not, no matter what the penalty (even death), homosexuality has been observed in every society for as long as societies have existed. What is there to be afraid of? Get over your insecurities and get out of your Nazi fantasy world that everyone should be like you. Homosexuality is not a new idea and its as real as heterosexuality and its here to stay regardless of how bad you want it to go away.

Oct. 14 2010 11:27 AM

Clif: I don't see the relevance of your comment. Are you saying GLBT folks are racist?

Oct. 14 2010 11:24 AM

jgarbutz: now THAT is an intelligent question, framed in a way that is acceptable, and not caustic.

However, I think the answer is still currently yes, as evidenced by some comments on this page.

Why should any group of people accept that they are not afforded the same rights as anyone else?

Oct. 14 2010 11:19 AM
Sun N. from New York City

Life is much better now than when I was in high school in 70's definitely.

Any religion calls for love for one another.
Paladino's hate comments on Gays has no love for others!

Although I do agree with Paladino about Gay Parade but I do understand where and why is the parade is this way. I was born Gay and I questioned to my Mom why?

"If you can not accept me, why made me this way?"

"I got beat up in school because I was born this way!"

"I wish I was like you (straight) but I wasn't and I struggled for long time to keep it to myself!"

"Why! Why?"

I live in West Village. Every year, I leave my place to avoid the craziness after the parade. People are out, proud and loud! Unfortunately, it's not that pretty sight. I strongly believe it’s because most of us, we suppressed our sexual orientation over years and this is the time to express our suppressed feelings. We exaggerate our selves naturally at that day. If we were not harassed daily and have understood in society, this parade would be much different one. The parade will be more serious note on young gay suicide, HIV/AIDS, healthcare and so on. Of course there will be a great entertainers, dancers and skin is showing like any big parade.

How Gay Parade is now is the result of daily harassment and not been understood of where we are coming from. We are created by Mom and Dad. We came from straights (mostly). We didn't create ourselves this way. Take a responsibility and be a good person to love one another.

Oct. 14 2010 11:14 AM

all u religious people are crazy!
but why would u "decide" to become gay and stop having children?

Oct. 14 2010 11:02 AM
Richard from Brooklyn

There is no good time to be gay period. This gay epidemic is taking over the world and is indeed a big problem. I fear for our children who are being brainwashed into thinking that this lifestyle is normal. It is not normal. If everyone decides to become gay, what would become of our world? With no procreation, that would be the end of humanity...I love all people because God is love. I just hate the sin in them. I am reaching out to all homosexuals...Jesus loves you but He hates the sin of homosexuality and all other sins. Accept Jesus into your lives and He will help you overcome this problem.

Oct. 14 2010 10:57 AM
The Truth from Becky

Yep just what I thought

Oct. 14 2010 10:57 AM

ps becks
brian doesn't agree with u and your teabag friend from yesterday as he has read my "inane" comments on the air on more than one occasion.

Oct. 14 2010 10:56 AM

i'm with the minority that believes in human rights for all. like a teabagger, u can't respect other's view points.

Oct. 14 2010 10:51 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


The Gay movement has sadly morphed into all-victimhood-all an era when even the guests admit that there has been great progress. Enough already, it turns off even loyal supporters after awhile.

Gee, am I allowed to say this or will I be arrested?

Oct. 14 2010 10:46 AM
The Truth from Becky

HJS you say "write" the most ridiculous useless comments...question, which of the minority groups are you a member of? or are you one of the so called majority.

Oct. 14 2010 10:45 AM
Susanna Reich from

It won't be a "good" time to be gay until our society accepts that variations in sexual preference are normal. But it's a lot better to be gay today than in the past, because we have made progress. Just look at initiatives like, the photojournalism project that documents LGBT teens.

Oct. 14 2010 10:43 AM
Ben from NY

Unlike a caller that just was on your program a short while ago claimed, I happen to know that Rabbi Yehuda Levin does wield significant influence in the orthodox and Hassidic communities and beyond. He gets his message out via a variety of media.

While he is correct in that there is a population of very insular Hassidim who don't know about what is going in and therefore don't recognize the threat of moral pollution from the homosexual movement, among those who are more aware, Levin and his point of view are known and exert influence. Exactly how much is hard to tell, but there are idealistic people in those communities who resist the politicos who try to steer them to candidates who degrade our society morally. Levin is the voice of that population.

God bless Rabbi Levin.

Oct. 14 2010 10:41 AM

gays and black will always be a minority in this country. each will have to always fight for their rights.
not of us are free untill all of us are free.

Oct. 14 2010 10:40 AM
The Truth from Becky

Suzanne and Patrick B are spot on!

Oct. 14 2010 10:38 AM
The Truth from Becky

HJS - not sure where you see hate but whatever, look up the development of a fetus for clarification. Biology section of the library. and again, don't throw Black people into this comparison sweetie.

Oct. 14 2010 10:36 AM
gary from queens

We don't allow women in the service to shower and sleep in male quarters because they would feel threatened and the men would be aroused. There would be intimacy and that would affect unit cohesion.

Gays in the same situation would create a similar situation. Gay males should not be housed in the same quarters as straight men. That would allow gays to remain in the service and contribute their special talents, such as making the military a fabulous place to be. But seriously . . .

Oct. 14 2010 10:35 AM

In the current tea party climate, everyone feels free to express their most outrageous, racist, homophobic mysogenistic thoughts openly -- in the name of so-called free speech.

Oct. 14 2010 10:34 AM
Rachel Nova from New York

Peter is right. This is not an issue of choice, but of how safe being visible is. LGBTQ people are less likely to be targeted than fifty years ago, a hundred years ago, etc. and in this country, at least not to be arrested or executed now for one's sexual orientation--but remember missionaries from this country are going to Uganda and supporting the draconian philosophies toward gay persons there. When leaders here cannot take a stand on simple decency and treating people like human beings instead of marginalization, that gives the message that it's okay for other countries to do so.

Paladino and the Rabbi are wrong and hateful. They can believe what they want, but have not right to infringe upon basic human rights--that's what they and other haters don't understand. And I see several people here do not understand human rights nor the idea of second-class citizenship based on sexual orientation, and should be federally protected as any other immutable characteristic. Regardless of what people who don't like/don't "approve" of LGBTQ persons and supporters, human rights will still progress and someday discriminatory remarks and images will be archaic and completely unacceptable, as such should be now.

Gabriel's World

Oct. 14 2010 10:33 AM

religion is always about hate for the other

Oct. 14 2010 10:33 AM

well they are male. not sure what u mean there. but u are showing that ignorance u claim white people have. funny when people can't see their own hate, but think they are special.

Oct. 14 2010 10:32 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I appreciated Shmuly's call saying that gay rights aren't a major issue in his Orthodox community. I'd like to hear what *are* the major issues in such communities on another segment leading up to the elections.

Oct. 14 2010 10:30 AM
Mark from Washington Heights

It's upsetting that it's not acceptable to criticize religion in public. I feel that this Hasidic rabbi, like many other religious figures, is homophobic and bigoted, and not spreading the love, inclusion, and peace that his religion claims to support.

Oct. 14 2010 10:29 AM
The Truth from Becky

Not born that way HJS, unless you are considering that every fetus starts out female and some times the alloted amount of testosterone never kicks in to make a male.

Oct. 14 2010 10:28 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

sidenote: Mr. Thrasher - That Village Voice article "White People Have Gone Crazy" is great. As a white person I've totally noticed this shift in sentiment as part of "fear of the unknown" and "fear of the other."

Plus, the comments on the V V website were crazy with all the rightwing and/or outraged white people.


Oct. 14 2010 10:27 AM
Sally from LES

How did this get co-opted by another Jewish topic? It's no wonder gays feel ignored, there are many more of us than them.

Oct. 14 2010 10:26 AM
Romall from NYC

Here is Union Theological Seminary of NYC's response to the rash of LGBT youth suicides and violence. It's different from the "It Get's Better" view.


Oct. 14 2010 10:24 AM
Elliott from CT

Brian I too think your title for today is a bit frivilous. It will be a good time when homosexuality is no longer demonized by right wing politcal/religious zealots. We have certainly made great strides (I am 55 and out since I was 17) but there is still a long way to go to improve the environment.

BTW I think we (the gay community) have done ourselves a diservice by allowing ourselves and others to define our lives as a "lifestyle" that implies choice. It is just how we live.

Oct. 14 2010 10:24 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

It seems there is a disconnect between popular culture and political culture in terms of social issue like homosexuality. I see gays on dramatic TV shows, but not on CNN. Could your guests comment on how this disconnect inflames conservative extremes?

Oct. 14 2010 10:24 AM
Brian from office

Brian, you are part of the brainwashing. How many showes have you done on this subject???

Oct. 14 2010 10:23 AM

they are born that way. just like some are left handed.

Oct. 14 2010 10:22 AM

this from a rabbi who doesn't think his wife is his equal. he's an american taliban

Oct. 14 2010 10:21 AM
TJ from NY

Why are people gay?

Oct. 14 2010 10:21 AM
jgarbuz from Queens, NY

Being gay is tough. I'm not gay, but I have plenty of problems of my own.
Being a "midget" is tough. Being a clubfoot is tough. Being a Black or a Jew is tough. Being old and sick is tough. It's tough enough just being a human, but being a human who is physically or mentally statistically at the margins of the norm is tougher yet.

But do we need "midget" pride parades? Or clubfoot pride parades? Or Black pride or Jewish pride parades? Or Gay pride parades? Every human being is considered a child of God in the tradition of the Abrahamic faiths. But does parading our differences around, or carrying it on our sleeves help create acceptance or merely create antagonisms and backlashes?

Just asking.

Oct. 14 2010 10:20 AM
Patrick Batchelder from Ironbound/Newark

Brian - The question you should be asking is about "situational sex." That is, we men are driven to orgasm one way or another. I saw soldiers in Iraq with families back in the US having "sex" with other men. Like in prison. Men will find a way and it doesn't mean they are "gay." We need a discussion on male sexuality in general, the bell-curve of our sexuality. The "gay discussion" is so worn out.

Oct. 14 2010 10:20 AM
Ann from Inwood

Paladino Catch-22:
Children will be "more successful if they get married and raise a family," he says. But his "only problem" with gays is the desire to get married and raise a family - hence dooming gay people to permanent 2nd-class citizenship. Cute, hm?

Oct. 14 2010 10:20 AM
Michelle from NYC

Why is there no discussion on what the root causes are that have created such hatred of gays? In other words address the causes, not the symptoms.

Oct. 14 2010 10:19 AM
Ann from Inwood

Paladino Catch-22:
Children will be "more successful if they get married and raise a family," he says. But his "only problem" with gays is the desire to get married and raise a family - hence dooming gay people to permanent 2nd-class citizenship. Cute, hm?

Oct. 14 2010 10:18 AM
Shawn from brooklyn

I'm happy to see that the story is finally starting to turn toward the Rabbi, the role of intolerance within communities represented by such leaders, it's expansion to our community as a whole. - The media could do a better job at exposing the logistics between the authoring of the Paladino speech and the logistics of how candidates like Paladino become a story at all.

Oct. 14 2010 10:18 AM

thanks for doing this, brian! just a shame that we have to express our desire for freedom and justice only in the service of the military or marriage.

Oct. 14 2010 10:18 AM
Ann from Inwood

Paladino Catch-22:
Children will be "more successful if they get married and raise a family," he says. But his "only problem" with gays is their desire to get married and raise a family - hence dooming them to permanent 2nd-class citizenship. Cute, hm?

Oct. 14 2010 10:17 AM
Steve from NYC

In all of human history, has it EVER been a "good time to be gay"? Gay people will always be a minority and, I fear, will always be targets of discrimination and ridicule in this country. Unfortunately we have most religions to thank for that. Is there any organized religion that does not demonize gay people?

Oct. 14 2010 10:17 AM
Ally from Harlem

I'm a lesbian and a friend an I were attacked by a group of teenagers a few months ago in the West Village after they asked if we like girls. Nonetheless, I feel grateful to have grown up when I did. I think it's getting better and better. But I wish I felt safer, and I wish the government would grant the LGBT community equal rights.

Oct. 14 2010 10:16 AM
John Hamilton from Yonkers

It is a BETTER time to be gay, but it still is not a good time to be gay. Many lgbt people have internalized a lot of shame. It is still wounding and hurtful to grow up in a society which has ALMOST decided you can exist. It is so wonderful however to see younger people having courage to speak the truth about who they are. Yet the recent suicide of a kind young talented young man, Tyler Clementi, shows that there is still painful internal conflict and suffering.

Oct. 14 2010 10:16 AM
John from office

Gays to me are naked men dancing infront of St. Patricks. How lovely, good public relations.!

Oct. 14 2010 10:16 AM
The Truth from Becky

You are out of line 57 year old caller, Marsha to compare being gay with using the "N" word. There is always it is YOU.

Oct. 14 2010 10:15 AM
Clif from Mid-town

Boo hoo. Jerks come in every size, shape, and sexual orientation. I worked for a gay man (I'm black/mixed & straight) and he was a total jerk-off! He made questionable & racially oriented comments to me and I felt VERY uncomfortable working in that office and I'm glad I don't work there anymore.

Oct. 14 2010 10:15 AM
SteveH from Bklyn

Let's see about Right wing Politics.
How quickly people forget!

Remember Hitler, Mussolini, they was a Right Wing Politician who would share the opinion of some on the issue.

So Think Hard and Long!

Oct. 14 2010 10:15 AM

The current political climate seems to allow for all kinds of blatant bigotry. There is a strange "I'm mad as hell" epidemic that has overflown from politics into social arenas.

Oct. 14 2010 10:15 AM
The Truth from Becky

Always a bad time to be gay. Good if you are in the US of A however, because in most countries you would be executed.

Oct. 14 2010 10:14 AM
john from office

Brian, this program is part of the brainwashing. Paladino expresses the frustration of the VAST majority of Americans, to the constant drumbeat, that you are a part of. Gay marriage is an un natural act, there is no way to argue it is.

Gays have every right to exist and be Americans, but this constant drive to drill it in to our heads is the problem/

Oct. 14 2010 10:14 AM
Robert from NYC

Who cares what the Rabbi has to say other than his own congregation. It's time he and the leaders of all other religious groups worry about what they do not what we do. Of course this guy came out against homosexuals what would you have expected. I'm sure he would have told the soldiers who liberated the concentration camps to leave the homos there... which BTW the germans did did (not because any rabbi told them to) just that they did because of the laws in Germany at the time making homosexuality illegal.

Oct. 14 2010 10:13 AM

Whether or not it's a good time or a bad time, it is the best time. Two hundred years ago, there was no visible homophobia because there was almost nothing visible to be afraid of. Haters will always hate, but now there is the opportunity to be loved.

Oct. 14 2010 10:13 AM
Chantal from NYC

If you are wealthy and white, it's a good time to be white. If you are a Latino man trying to join a gang, you will probably find that the gang is not receptive to your membership.

Oct. 14 2010 10:13 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

Who was that speaker who just said "you folded like a cheap camera"? Clearly one of the philosophical giants of our day. I'm nail-bitingly eager to hear more from the glittering intellect that birthed those comments.

Oct. 14 2010 10:12 AM
Wayne from Ridgewood

Hi Brian,

My husband and I were married in CT this past summer after 8 years together. We are a binational couple meaning I am from the US and he is from Guyana. Because of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) I am unable to sponsor him for a green card and he is faced with returning to a very homophobic and dangerous homeland. We are trapped.

A good time? I wish I could say yes, there has been progress but not the equality someone my age (32) expected growing up celebrating Martin Luther King's birthday every year and civil rights. We have been together 8 years, and because of the law we are denied the same freedoms my own brother can enjoy.

We really need leaders to be on the right side of history here and put politics aside.

Oct. 14 2010 10:12 AM
Orangej from Norwalk

If you listen to Paladino's 'apology' you'll notice he was actually apologizing for his choice of words and not his views. Either way, he was pandering to the conservative vote who does not care about gays.

Oct. 14 2010 10:12 AM
JP from NJ

A good time or bad time compared to when and where? Compared to most places at most times, America is probably one of the most tolerant places ever toward gays.

But we should definitely keep working for gay rights and educating people -- being gay should be so accepted that it is barely even worth noting.

Oct. 14 2010 10:11 AM
Baba from Brooklyn

If you are living in 21st Century America you would think being gay would be ok.
The reality is no it is not.
In this country if you are a parent who is African American or Gay and you have a child and say through the miracle of science and genetic engineering you have to option to change the color or the sexual orientation of your baby, I am doubtful many african american or Gay parents would choose for their child to be born African American or Gay.
Why? We have not gotten past these social stigmas as much as we claim to have and sure there is progress but it is not what it should be.
It will take a lot more longer for us to have truly a society that is equal and fair to all.
Until then being Gay is still outrageous and being African american means you are going to deal with bias.
Hope is humans will evolve...

Oct. 14 2010 10:09 AM
Robert from NYC

As far as Bob Gates goes it's not for him to decide if a judge has the right or not to throw out DADT. First of all he's wrong that a judge does not have the right to throw out DADT. Judges have every right to throw out a law that is unconstitutional, that's what the Judicial branch does. Laws are constantly brought to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not a law is constitutional and if it's not the court throws out the law.

Oct. 14 2010 10:07 AM
Peter from Manhattan


I'm surprised at you. You began your show today by asking "is it a good time or a bad time to be gay?" What choice to GLBT people have? We live in the times we live in. But your question presupposes that being gay is a "choice" when it obviously is not. Phrase the question differently, please.

Oct. 14 2010 10:07 AM

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