THE ARTICLE BY MATT Labash about GLAAD’s protest of the Mel Gibson movie Braveheart was, incredibly enough, one of the most homophobic and downright mean pieces I have ever seen (“Brave Words,” The District Line, 6/2). While the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s mission is combating homophobia in mainstream media and advocating fair, accurate, and diverse coverage of gay, lesbian, and bisexual and transgender issues, it is rare that we see such obvious personal attacks and prejudice on the part of a “journalist” in an “alternative” publication that caters to those outside the mainstream community, including gays and lesbians.
Labash’s comments toward Jessica Xavier, referring snidely to the fact that she is a transsexual, were completely out of line, insulting, and merit a full apology. Xavier is one of the most courageous and outspoken advocates in our community, and Labash’s insulting comments point to one of the reasons that GLAAD exists—to combat that kind of ignorance and prejudice. It is infuriating that open hostility toward transgender people is considered acceptable—in both the gay and lesbian community as well as the general population—and Labash is no exception. He comes off as just another typical man who is threatened by anybody different from himself.
On a factual level, Labash’s piece was also lacking. As I stated in at least three phone calls prior to the protest, I had personally read the script, spoken at length with representatives from the national GLAAD offices, and was very comfortable with our position on this movie. I was also informed that Labash spoke with the person responsible for organizing this national protest, who outlined the issues clearly and sent him a great deal of source material on Gibson’s homophobic rantings. So what if some members of the community come to a protest without the benefit of seeing the film? It points not to ignorance, but faith in our organization.
It makes me sorry we wasted so much of our time with Labash on the serious side or our work, and he chose to write a mocking, sarcastic article. Maybe it’s time for him to change his name to “Labasher”?
Co-Chair, GLAAD, National Capital Area, Dupont Circle