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17 February 2011, 9:00 am One Comment

Mailbag: Inaugural Edition

This post was submitted by Michael

We get quite a bit of feedback here at TNG HQ. Often, individual posts receive comments and we appreciate (nearly) all of them. Occasionally, we receive personal email messages from readers expressing thanks for or frustrations with our efforts. Never before have we received actual, physical fan mail until today. The above image is the front side of an anonymous postcard we received (on St. Valentine’s Day of all days) that expressed a very heartwarming message:

Guys.

I’m queer & fat &  turning 25 tomorrow. I wanted to say that, better than any other news site/magazine site I’ve seen, TNG works for me. It’s something I can look at & go “yes, that’s me,” & not have to say “But, they’re not talking about fat/qeer/activist/nerdy/romantics (delete as appropriate).” So, well played for that one. You’re doing a good job. (& I think you should include more illustrations & art work!) <3 PS: The New Pornos —- one of my favourite bands! Such good taste!

So, to Anonymous, I have the following to say: Thank you so much! TNG is a labor of love for us.  Often it feels like a thankless job. Anyone can throw together a glib response to one of our posts and hit submit in the comments field. It is so great to receive a hand-drawn postcard filled with complements and thanks. As a thank you, we are obliging your request to include more illustrations by featuring yours. And honestly, receiving this postcard today nearly moved me to tears. Feel free to email us at Submit@Thenewgay.net if you are interested in having more of your art featured on the site.

Zack’s recent post on the Advocate (and subsequent explosion on Jezebel) elicited this email reply from a reader:

I tried to read your article on defense of the gay white male and couldn’t because you used excluding language. I am not queer. I am an older gay male for whom the word queer holds great pain. You generally won’t be told this by older gay males because the community is so excessively ageist; the term queer is not only insensitive, it is self-loathing. In my day that was a word screamed at me while I was getting punched and then kicked in the face. It has the same status as the word nigger. Some in the black community use that word, and they are censored for it because it is a racial slur. Queer is a homophobic slur, and just because some misguided youths think they are cute using it on themselves does not make it OK. If you don’t wish to be so exclusive, perhaps you should stay away from the term. Please. -s.g., via the internet

My reply to this message was the following:

Dear Sir:

Thanks for your email. We appreciate all perspectives, and yours is very powerful. However, I’ll let you know that the word “gay” was used against me as I was getting kicked and punched, by my brother, in the house where I struggled to find any sort of peace. No word is safe from negative connotations.

I wrote a post a few years ago that wasn’t about this topic exactly, but the subsequent conversation in the comments exposes a wide variety of opinions on the topic:

http://thenewgay.net/2008/09/gay-adjectives-vs-lesbian-nouns.html

The site uses the word “queer” because it is the only word that embraces the entire sexual minority community in a succinct five-letter word. Trust me, there is no word we could use that would make everyone happy, so we’ve chosen to use one that at least is easy to spell, pronounce and understand.

Thanks again for your message. I hope we both can learn something from this exchange.

If we continue to get interesting feedback off-blog, we’ll continue to share it with you here. Feel free to send us an email at info@thenewgay.net, or if you’d like to send in some non-digital artwork, please email us at the address above for our mailing address.


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One Comment »

  • Levi said:

    “Misguided youths”? Lovely…And in the same letter he had just talking about the community being ageist.
    If William S. Burroughs can use the word “queer” (he even titled a book as that), then I can use it too.