Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dear Jay Leno ...

Original article and active links at: www.americablog.com


The letter heard literally 'round the world
by John in DC - 4/26/2006 10:46:00 AM


My friend Jeffy Whitty wrote an open letter to Jay Leno recently. It was about Leno's penchant for making girly-man fag jokes on the air. Jeff wrote the letter because Leno ticked him off. Little did he know that the letter would make its way around the Internet so many times that he nows doing CNN interviews about it.

Pretty cool stuff. And an amazing example of what one person can do.

Even more interesting, Jeff didn't have to speak out. In fact, it was in his interes NOT to speak out. Jeff is a playwright. He wrote the book, as it's called, to the hit Broadway musical "Avenue Q," and he even won a Tony for it. Jay Leno, like Oprah, is someone you really want to tick off.

Didn't stop Jeff. Very cool.

Here are a few snippets from Jeff's letter - please do read the entire thing, and email it to some friends.

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April 20th, 2006



Dear Mr. Leno,



My name is Jeff Whitty. I live in New York City. I'm a playwright and the author of "Avenue Q", which is a musical currently running on Broadway.



I've been watching your show a bit, and I'd like to make an observation:



When you think of gay people, it's funny. They're funny folks. They wear leather. They like Judy Garland. They like disco music. They're sort of like Stepin Fetchit as channeled by Richard Simmons.



Gay people, to you, are great material.



Mr. Leno, let me share with you my view of gay people:



When I think of gay people, I think of the gay news anchor who took a tire iron to the head several times when he was vacationing in St. Maarten's. I think of my friend who was visiting Hamburger Mary's, a gay restaurant in Las Vegas, when a bigot threw a smoke bomb filled with toxic chemicals into the restaurant, leaving the staff and gay clientele coughing, puking, and running in terror. I think of visiting my gay friends at their house in the country, sitting outside for dinner, and hearing, within hundreds of feet of where we sat, taunting voices yelling "Faggots." I think of hugging my boyfriend goodbye for the day on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, and being mocked and taunted by passing high school students.



When I think of gay people, I think of suicide. I think of a countless list of people who took their own lives because the world was so toxically hostile to them. Because of the deathly climate of the closet, we will never be able to count them. You think gay people are great material. I think of a silent holocaust that continues to this day. I think of a silent holocaust that is perpetuated by people like you, who seek to minimize us and make fun of us and who I suspect really, fundamentally wish we would just go away.



When I think of gay people, I think of a brave group that has made tremendous contributions to society, in arts, letters, science, philosophy, and politics. I think of some of the most hilarious people I know. I think of a group that has served as a cultural guardian for an ungrateful and ignorant America.



I think of a group of people who have undergone a brave act of inventing themselves. Every single out-of-the-closet gay person has had to say, "I am not part of mainstream society." Mr. Leno, that takes bigger balls than stepping out in front of TV-watching America every night. I daresay I suspect it takes bigger balls to come out of the closet than any thing you have ever done in your life.



I know you know gay people, Mr. Leno. Are they just jokes to you, to be snickered at behind their backs? Despite the angry tenor of my letter, I suspect you're a better man than that. I don't bother writing letters to the "God Hates Fags" people, or Donald Wildmon, or the Pope. But I think you can do better. I know it's "The Tonight Show," not a White House press conference, but you reach a lot of people.



I caught your show when you had a tired mockery of "Brokeback Mountain," involving something about a horse done up in what you consider a "gay" way. Man, that's dated. I turned the television off and felt pretty fucking depressed. And now I understand your gay-baiting jokes have continued.



Mr. Leno, I have a sense of humor. It's my livelihood. And being gay has many hilarious aspects to it -- none of which, I suspect, you understand. I'm tired of people like you. When I think of gay people, I think of centuries of suffering. I think of really, really good people who've been gravely mistreated for a long time now.



You've got to cut it out, Jay.



Sincerely,



Jeff Whitty

New York, NY

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