An Apology (to Joe Wessels)

4 02 2009

I have an apology to make, perhaps not the one that is expected, but one that was brought to my attention.

In my “CityBeat’s Best of the City 2009,” I unfairly accused Joe Wessels of being “mostly on our side.” My correction: Joe Wessels is an advocate for LGBT equality, and I’m sorry that I said otherwise.

This was my original comment:

“I should be saying Joe Wessels because of his work with the Driehaus campaign,
but I’m salty bitch. But, he’s still mostly on our side.”

Two things:

1) The salty bitch comment is a failed attempt at a mildly mean-spirited joke. Joe had attempted to get Steve Driehaus to answer some questions for QueerCincinnati.com about his position on LGBT rights, which were never answered. Completely not Joe’s fault, and I actually got the opportunity to speak directly to Driehaus about the questionnaire who (appropriately) explained that the campaign was heating up and he had other things he had to focus on. (After all, he did have an election to win. Details, details.) By saying “salty bitch,” I was trying to be snarky and was simply implying the Joe had not prioritized me at the top of the list– which, as anyone who actually knows me, is pretty much my MO in life. I come first everyone else second :-). Again, it was a lame attempt at humor, and I apologize to Mr. Wessels for the statement.

2) I unfairly conflated Mr. Wessels’ position with Mr. Driehaus’s view point who, for the most part, is on our side, but there are some votes in the past — ahem, Ohio DOMA, for one example — that I think gay people still have some questions about. Having never actually met Mr. Wessels, I artificially construed a similarity between their viewpoints; in fact, I am still not sure of Mr. Driehaus’s viewpoints (see salty bitchy comment before — LOL) or what his response is on future actions towards equal marriage. I assumed, incorrectly, a correlation. Mr. Wessels has since corrected me, and I apologize for the mistake.

So, over all, I am sorry, Joe Wessels, I did not mean the slight. It was a poor attempt at humor, and, you are completely right, it was neither well-executed nor deserved. It was mean spirited and wrong of me. I’m sorry.

I’ve changed that blog post, btw.

That said…

I want to put this out there for now because it’s something I’m struggling with at this point, and one in which I think that kind of defines the role transition here at QueerCincinnati.com.

Despite my ravenous self-promotion, I am honestly, every day, amazed that people read my blog. Yes, yes, I know, I do enough writing and PR work to explain the growth in involvement and response. But, seriously, it’s still amazing to me, and I am glad to welcome you all back every day. I really, really am.

But the blog has moved on from what it began — a little tiny website where no one cared what I had to say except for my mom — to one where, apparently, I have some credibility in the world. Enough so to piss people off. That’s at least three people angry at me in the last month, and that’s a trend I am taking well under advisement.

In short: I have to accept that QueerCincinnati.com is growing, and, with the coming election season, I believe QueerCincinnati.com may get even larger. In fact, I hope it does. I very much hope to look very clearly at our nominees and find out exactly where they are with us — L, G, B, and T — and I hope that information is useful to the “community.” And so, I expect it to grow more.

My point is this: I have to be more careful, I suppose.

In the past, when I said outrageous things, no one cared because no one read. Now, when I start taking on controversy or bringing up issues or just posting random shit… I have to start realizing that I am responsible for the words I am putting out there and that some of those words have consequences. I know, big “duh” moment, but it’s one of those lessons, you know.

In my head, though, fighting on the internet is like yelling at a special needs kid… even if you win, you’re still an idiot. To start having consequences IRL is such a bizarre twist for me, as it is for everyone I’m sure (how many of your Facebook profiles are private for this very reason???).

On the flip side, my dear readers, you have to be more understanding. I thought, perhaps incorrectly, that my humor came through on the written screen, so that when I posted bizarre things or made outlandish statements, you understood that it only comes from a place of love. That, when I make seemingly hateful comments, that my intent is more provoking and ironic, rather than genuine hate.

Which is why it surprised me when even my internet BFF (JereKeys) took offense to a random comment on Twitter… well, it was all too much.

My point is this: QueerCincinnati.com is in a place of growth, and I think it’s fantastic and terrifying. On the one hand, I apologize for offenses or seeming offenses because I get the words wrong. That wasn’t my intent, I promise. I’ll try to be more indicative — more so than just an occasional LOL — of when I’m just being funny and when I’m actually being hateful, or in the most recent Question for Friday, when I’m genuinely looking for information because I don’t understand. On the other hand, I ask that you have a significantly larger amount of patience with me, and more understanding that there is only love here. And only happiness. And only joy.

And I also ask you never, ever call me a journalist. None of us bloggers are journalists (with a few exceptions). This is just me, and my take on the world. I never claimed to speak for the gay people of the city; in fact, I’ve outright said that no one can.

QueerCincinnati.com — my world, my views, unedited (with guest stars filling in the blanks :-)).

That said…

The two other people I offended. Well, one I’m trying to deal with despite the copious hate mail I’m getting at the moment, and I’m hoping to close that issue this Friday, but I’m sure it will just blow up again. Blah. That one I accept as ongoing, and it’s getting almost… well, funny.

The second, specifically in regards to the Gay & Lesbian Community Center… sorry. [meanspirited]He’s still a moron.[/meanspirited]

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5 responses

4 02 2009
Jere Keys

Oh, no, I didn’t take offense. I was more concerned that you were heading in the direction of a train wreck. It takes A LOT more than that to offend me. Something involving giraffes and my mother, at least.

4 02 2009
QueerCincinnati.com

Darling, I have been a trainwreck, and I’m awfully good at it.

Now, it’s just amusing.

Per your comment on my Twitter (which was “Does anyone else get the feeling that tranny porn is just gay porn with boobs?”) — it was a joke, and nothing more. I don’t find it interesting, but I was LOL’ing at some of it the other day because I was like “wait, I’m confused.”

Just — and only — an off handed comment.

Working in HIV/AIDS, you start to see some funny lines blur when it comes to identity versus behavior… no doubt, none of those “straight” men having sex with “trannies” (industry word, btw, hence its use in that context) would never admit to having sex with a man, even though, in terms of HIV sexual risk, their behavior is equitable to a gay man.

Hence the commentary…

4 02 2009
Michael Chanak

Oh my, must be cabin fever. I declare a snow day.

My humor has always gotten me into trouble.

Michael

4 02 2009
Joe Wessels

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Not completely necessary, but thank you!

Equal rights for anyone has been a passion of mine ever since I was a young man. If your comments were meant as sarcasm (something I mostly find amusing, but doesn’t easily translate on the screen), I missed it completely. So, my bad, too.

Rep. Driehaus’s views are not always in line with my own, but when you work for a politician they are at that moment.

I’m glad you got to talk to Steve personally about the questionnaire. I did push for it, and he’s right: We just were so swamped.

Steve Driehaus did vote in favor of Ohio’s DOMA law, but his reasoning is a little less apparent than what is on the face of it. I’d suggest talking to him about it. He has a great heart and, I might add, a gay brother. I think you might feel a bit better about his stance once you guys speak about the issue.

But, that said, a vote for DOMA is a vote for DOMA. Ain’t no two ways about it. It’s one of those unfortunate pickles in politics.

I guarantee you this: You’re far better off with Driehaus in there as far as equal rights are concerned than his predecessor, opponent and again his likely opponent (if I were a bettin’ man) in 2010. Just keep that in mind.

Oh, and thanks again!

4 02 2009
Michael Chanak

All this political talk…alas. Seems the Vulture’s Mom (age 97) got that stardom voting in the special election in Mt. Healthy yesterday:

Coletta Young stardom!

Cheers!

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