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Week of 6-27-2007

Public Trust-Busting

Cleats and cheats: Cheers to Matt Smith for yet another excellent article ["Fore Play," June 20]. The depth of the piece and the historical perspective that it provides puts it head and shoulders above anything I've seen in the other so-called local newspapers.

The enormity of this proposed public land giveaway and the speed, stealth, and deceit being used in perpetrating it should alarm every San Franciscan, as well as anyone who has heretofore held confidence in the sanctity of the public trust. I am personally very grateful that there are journalists like Smith letting the public know what they stand to lose when the forces of corruption and mediocrity are allowed to go unchecked. Thank you again for a first-class report.

Zac Salem
San Francisco

Frameline Frameup

Bi-furious: I'm sure you probably know this, but I'm writing anyway to let you know that Gary Morris' piece, "The Gendercator," [June 20] is full of errors. Here are the most egregious:

First, the film was not opposed "by transsexuals" and the petition was not signed by "150 transsexuals." I started the protest against the film (though not the petition). I am not transsexual, and neither were many of the people offended by the film (which I have, indeed, seen, contrary to the impression you give in your piece — that'd be error No. 2).

Morris took Susan Stryker's quotation out of context, and I'm sure he knows it. Susan believed that the film should be allowed to screen and to be discussed, as the quotation clearly indicates. But she also very clearly indicated that she felt Frameline — and any film festival with a "T" along with the L, the G, and the B in its title — was not the proper venue. She was very fair in her assessment of the film and her judgment that the film should not screen at any festival designed to support and celebrate trans as well as other queer people. So in taking her quotation out of context to support your own views, you misrepresent her. Why do journalists do this? It's not necessary — you can make your own (perfectly valid) argument without doing so.

In making it seem as if it's only "the trannies" who were pissed off and vocal about this film, you do the entire queer community an injustice, and you skip over that community's best asset — its ability to work together against attacks against its members, whether or not we are ourselves being individually attacked. I am not trans, but I am angry that Crouch made this film, refused to engage in conversation about the film when asked, and simply kept on (and keeps on) repeating that she is trying to "dialogue" when she is not. Your article is, while sometimes thoughtful, skewed, and it's clear you haven't seen the film, either (there is no way of knowing that the film has anything to do with Billie Jean King, for instance; that's on Crouch's Web site, but is not a part of the film's plot in any way). Be careful who you accuse of being misinformed.

Do better next time!

Rae Greiner
San Francisco

Gary Morris responds: No doubt there were non-trans people who agreed with the protest and signed the petition. But Greiner's implication that the queer community was united on the issue is simply not correct. A quick check of online sites like or the letters column of the Bay Area Reporter (see particularly Martha Shelley's letter) shows a much wider range of reactions. Contrary to Greiner's statement, I have indeed seen The Gendercator (courtesy of the filmmaker); the Billie Jean King reference was simply a background detail that Greiner misreads as proof that I hadn't seen it. And based on the wealth of online commentary, Greiner's opinion of the film is the exception. Finally, the idea that I took Susan Stryker's statement out of context is belied by the statement itself: "While I support Frameline's decision to pull the film as inappropriate for their mission, I truly regret that the film will not be shown. I hope it finds another venue where it will be subjected to the rigorous critique it so richly deserves." "I hope it finds another venue" and "I truly regret" trump "While I support," I'm afraid. Unlike San Francisco, those other venues — major ones like New York and Los Angeles — are willing to play the piece and see what happens.


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