Letters to the Editor
Last days for busy bench
The concrete bench sprinkled with fairy glass in front of Starbucks in the Castro will soon be history. This great place to hang out is being removed as part of the store's remodeling that will take place this month. The store's front will now come to the sidewalk with a front door in the middle and seating inside all on one level. My understanding is they are doing this to expand the store's ability to offer its complete food line.
Gay butts have been sitting on that bench for a long time. I have met some great people there, had some wonderful conversations, and made some intimate connections.
A lot in the Castro is changing these days, it goes without saying that change is inevitable, it seems like the end of an era.
Long live the Castro.
WOOF is a great idea
Regarding Steve Kehrli's letter, "WOOF is a bad idea" [Mailstrom, July 26], I respectfully disagree. Perceptions of homeless people are too often based on stereotypes. Not all of us are drug-addicted, violent crazies.
The Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos program requires an extensive interview and training process, which will eliminate unacceptable candidates. Further, prospective candidates must have stable housing for themselves as well as the animal.
I am a disabled, unemployed homeless person, however, I do have permanent housing and am a caring, intelligent, loving person. I've always been an animal lover and caregiver. Don't write me off with a biased perception.
A San Francisco raised (straight) boy is home from college for the summer and read the following sentence from the New York Times about the Olympics: "(So and so) is the third straight American athlete to win this competition." He honestly asked, "Does that mean all the rest were gay?" Even if slowly, the world does change.
Charles Spiegel, Esq.
About the gay rodeo
The International Gay Rodeo Association uses stock animals responsibly and ethically in the American sport of rodeo. Our high standards of animal care are clearly articulated in our animal welfare statement. Every IGRA member loves and protects domestic pets and stock farm animals. We completely agree with organizations like LGBT Compassion that animal abuse, neglect, torture, confinement, abandonment and inhumane slaughter are abhorrent.
["Protester works against gay rodeo events," ebar.com blog post, July 5]. Our record on this issue is impeccable. IGRA does not abuse animals nor condone animal abuse at any time, by anyone.
There is a large gay and lesbian cowboy and cowgirl community who have grown up on farms or ranches. These real life experiences provide a balanced perspective on ranching, farming, animal care, and use. There are also many disenfranchised gay youth in rural areas of the USA and Canada that benefit from knowing there are others of similar background that are solid members of society giving back through gay rodeo involvement.
Our stock animals are skillfully used, fed, watered, rested, vaccinated, protected from elements, and watched over by our animal issues committee and large animal veterinarian at every rodeo. This responsible use does not now, never has, and never will, rise to the level of "abuse." Our horses are part of our families; some of the best loved and cared for animals anywhere.
We do not agree in the over-projecting of human emotions onto stock animals. We do not agree that slipping a pair of underwear over the hind legs of a goat is remotely similar to starvation, beating, and neglecting. Our goats are well fed, sturdy, healthy, and not stressed. In a 24-hour day, they are engaged for approximately 30 minutes and go back to feeding, watering and resting. We do not use "tight straps" on our riding stock and nothing touches their genitalia. A fleece, flat rear cinch is used to signal the bucking animals to buck.
IGRA members represent both the non-vegetarian and vegetarian philosophies and believe in the humane care, transport, and slaughter of stock animals raised solely for the purpose food and nutrition. While we will never agree with LGBT Compassion on the sport of rodeo; we will always agree that animal abuse is wrong. IGRA members will never abandon the inherent passion for rodeo and will not tolerate being vilified and lied about. We strongly encourage LGBT Compassion, with our support if necessary, to seek out and assist the real abused, starved, neglected, confined and tortured animals in the world.
IGRA invites our community, friends, sponsors, and critics to come see how well cared for the animals are at our rodeos and make your own judgment. We ask you to acknowledge our contributions to the diverse LGBT community through charity driven rodeos. IGRA – and the cowboys and cowgirls we represent – is a valuable, responsible and ethical member of this diverse community.
Bruce L. Roby, President
Golden State Gay Rodeo Association
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