March 10th, 2004


Queer Night on 20/20; Kitty Genovese

Last night ABC's 20/20 had three stories: interview with Kelli Carpenter O'Donnell, who recently married Rosie; interview with Elton John; commentary by John Stossel. Overall I suppose the folks at ABC might think they were pretty good to us queers, but I'm not so sure.

For one thing, the implication that Rosie is a strong dyke who's been out there courageously fighting for us irritates me almost as much as does the making of closety Ellen DeGeneres into some sort of political hero. BOTH benefitted from being closeted early in their careers, and neither is what I'd call a life-long dedicated activist. Lately, at least, Rosie has been moving in that direction; Ellen, it seems to me, has been knocking politely on the closet door for years now, asking if there isn't some way she could be let back in.

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The Kitty Genovese news, via NPR this morning, is that she was a lesbian. She was the woman stabbed to death, slowly, within sight and earshot of over 35 neighbors in Queens in the mid-60's; that none of them called the police became an archetypical story of the times, shorthand for our self-centered isolation from our fellows and self-protective fear of getting involved. That she turns out to have been a lesbian, to me, begs for at least some musing about whether that fact influenced her neighbors' silence. Collapse )