When I got the first e-mail--from a friend who was in a show we had both been involved in--I couldn't believe what I was reading: that you, an artist who has drawn inspiration from the gay community with your paintings of drag queens, you who have been shown in galleries owned by gay dealers, you who have reviewed exhibitions by gay and lesbian artists (myself included) could have donated $1000 in support of California's Prop 8, the vote that would take away the hard-won right of gays to marry in the state of California.
But the story was all too true. In that friend's e-mail there was a link to a story in the Daily News, which was based on public information. When a reporter called you on the facts, you responded with a cavalier "So?"
Then in LoHud.com , a journal of the lower Hudson Valley, you defended your actions saying, ". . . regard for individual gay persons does not require assent to a politicized assault on bedrock social reality and the common good." You know, that sounds suspiciously like that pre-Civil Rights Era excuse, I like my black maid but I don't think black people should vote, or I have Jewish friends but, really, they shouldn't expect to have the same rights as Christians. It would be an assault on the common good.
Oh, Maureen. Wouldn't you be horrified if someone you know said those things--and then they sent $1000 to the KKK? Or a neo-nazi group? .
You certainly have the right to feel as you do. You even have the right to act as you did. But having done so publicly, you have opened yourself to public opprobrium. The grave ungood you have done is not only to us, lesbians and gays who expect no less than full civil rights in our own country, but ironically to your own art career. Unless you don't mind showing at Reverend Rick's or perhaps at Brigham Young University. (Edward Winkleman has called it Biting the Hand That Feeds You.) Other comments are here and here .)
I'm not sure how you redress this situation. Perhaps you don't wish to redress it at all. But there are some good lesbian and gay organizations that would benefit from $1000 donations. Here are a few:
. Astraea Foundation: This organization funds political and cultural projects for lesbians. Two cultural projects are the Astraea Visual Arts Fund , which recognizes the work of contemporary lesbian visual artists within the U.S.; and the Lesbian Writers Fund, Lesbian Writers Fund, which supports lesbian poets and fiction writers within the U.S.
. The Leslie Lohman Gay Art Foundation, based in New York City, which has been supporting gay male art for over five decades
. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York City, an organization that supports the political, legal, arts, health and family needs of New York City's LGBT community
. NYC Pride, the organization that supports the gay pride parades from which you have found countless subjects to paint
I'm writing this letter to you here on my blog because I know you'll see it. Besides, in one of those links I noted above, I saw that someone had given out your e-address. I'm guessing you've got quite a lot of e-mail to deal with right now.
Your lesbian friend,