Continuing with my recent politically incorrect theme, yesterday my letter to the editor was published in our local paper, the Cape Gazette.
My letter was in response to a letter to the editor by a gay man named Lee Whitman who felt the Rehoboth Beach police were unfairly enforcing the noise ordinance against gays and their pool parties.
I'll reproduce Mr. Whitman's letter first then my letter in response.
Mr. Whitman's letter:
Example letter of lash out against Rehoboth
Editor’s Note: The following is an example of the 30 or more similar letters received on the subject this week. An article on the issue appeared in the Friday, May 29 edition.
Dear Mayor Cooper, City Commissioners, City Manager Lynn: While I agree with the sentiments in the group letter which follows below, I would like to point out the financial benefit our presence has in your city. Gay DINK households have an extraordinary amount of spending power. That spending power can be redirected easily, and there is already talk of doing so.
Yes, the letter below has been submitted by many individuals. But those individuals are well-connected individuals. Among them are doctors, lawyers, a CNN producer, staff members of the Washington Post, members of the current presidential administration, and a three-time Emmy Award winner.
We are skilled. We are talented. And if we continue to feel persecuted we could easily pull every gay dollar from your city. Not just the money from those that were there this weekend, but all gay dollars. Every. Last. One. Social media is a powerful tool, and we know how to utilize it. See: the “It Gets Better” project, the “No Hate” photography experience, and gay marriage.
This is not meant to be a threat but rather a blunt wake-up call. While I love your city and consider it a second home, there is no excuse for the tactics that were utilized by your police force this weekend. None.
I hope you will seriously reconsider the new laws that have been enacted and the select enforcement of other ordinances. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Whitman doesn't speak for every gay man
After I read Lee Whitman’s letter that was printed in the May 29 issue of the Cape Gazette I was outraged, shocked, offended and even angry at the arrogance and stupidity of the letter writer. Rarely have I seen such hubris nakedly displayed in a publication by an individual who at least had the courage to sign his own name to his threatening letter (and yes, it was a threat), unlike other letter writers who requested that their names not be printed because “of their jobs,” which, by the way fellas, you can come out now; it is 2015, time to stop hiding in the closet.
Mr. Whitman states that “gay DINK (dual income, no kids) households have an extraordinary spending power.” For the record, I am gay and have lived in a DINK household for the past 50 years. But we don’t have an “extraordinary amount of spending power.” But then, we’re not “Washington, D.C. gays” (we’re Philadelphia - another whole class of “the gays.”)
I have to be careful that I don’t stray too far off the subject in this letter, but I do want to make the point that in the so-called “gay community” there are different gradients, as well as in other cities. In some ways we have an “Upstairs, Downstairs” demographic. “Washington, D.C.” gays are a whole component by themselves. I know some Washington, D.C. gays (retired) and they are perfectly fine, and some are even friends of mine, but then I know of others who are so full of themselves that it’s almost like a joke because of their snobbery and cliquish behavior toward other members of the community, both gay and straight, who don’t travel in the same rarefied social circles as they imagine they do.
Mr. Whitman proves that when he says: “Those individuals [referring to those who wrote letters to the Cape Gazette claiming selective enforcement - against the LGBT community - of the noise ordinance] are well-connected individuals [of the “Do you know who I am?” variety obviously] … among them are doctors, lawyers, a CNN producer, staff members of the Washington Post, members of the current presidential administration and . . . (are you sitting down for this?) a three-time Emmy Award winner.” Well, la de dah!
Then Mr. Whitman compounds his hubris by writing: “We are skilled. We are talented. And if we continue to feel persecuted we could easily pull every gay dollar from your city. Not just money from those that were there this weekend, but all gay dollars. [Then Mr. Whitman really gets full of himself here and says] “Every. Last. One.” Now Mr. Whitman’s next statement is the whole that takes the cake - and dare I say is worth an Emmy award for absolute pure arrogance: “This is not meant to be a threat, but a wake-up call.” What a breathtakingly stupid and asinine remark to make.
Mr. Whitman absolutely did make a threat. . . to pull every gay dollar out of the city.
Well, I want to make it clear that my gay dollars will continue to be spent in Rehoboth Beach and its environs (Lewes, and Milton and yes, even Millsboro - B.J.’s).
Mr. Whitman Does. Not. Speak. For. This. Gay. Man. nor my DINK household. While my DINK household doesn’t have the “extraordinary” amount of spending power (two Social Security checks and a modest pension payment), we see no reason to boycott Rehoboth Beach just because a group of self-important, full of themselves (Three-time Emmy Award winner!) phonies (who just happen to be gay) from Washington, D.C. were hampered from letting their hair down (those who have hair) screaming and hollering at their pool parties in Rehoboth Beach Memorial Day weekend.
This past week a friend from Toronto, Canada (also gay, but also not an “extraordinary spending power” gay) visited me for a week. On Memorial Day Sunday we happened to be walking down one of the neighborhood streets (I forget which one) and we witnessed firsthand (or heard firsthand) one of these pool parties. While I don’t know if the participants were gay or straight (or care), the party was loud. And I mean loud.
And this was about six o’clock in the evening in an otherwise quiet neighborhood. I have to admit that if I was living in one of the adjoining houses I would probably have called the police to enforce the noise level. Of course I knew I would run the risk that my gay card would be called, but hey, how about some respect for your neighbors, Mr. Whitman?
My Canadian friend and I managed to have a perfectly good time while visiting Rehoboth Beach, and not once did we feel the need to loudly yell and scream to show others what a fabulous time we were having. We also had a fabulous time but didn’t disturb anyone while spending our money in Rehoboth (restaurants, parking and Old Time Photo; we walked by Aqua but decided not to go in - too loud).
We spent money while we were in Rehoboth (ate out every night) and will do the same thing next year regardless of Mr. Whitman’s threat to pull Every. Gay. Dollar. out of Rehoboth unless he and his friends can scream their heads off at their pool parties, trying to impress those passing by with what an absolutely fabulous time they were having.
You don’t speak for this gay man, Mr. Whitman. You need to get over yourself and your self-important la de dah attitude and have some respect for your fellow citizens, both gay and straight.
Now of course I fully realize I am in danger of losing my gay card but I just could not let Mr. Whitman's arrogance go without comment. I couldn't help myself, I just had to puncture his brazen display of pomposity. How dare he speak for me. I'll spend my gay dollars wherever I damn well please. Granted, I probably don't have as many gay dollars to spend as Mr. Whitman and his "do you know who I am" gay friends do. Pinch me, but some of these Washington D.C. gays would be right at home with those Hollywood phonies who issue command that common folk like us are not to make eye contact with them. As Mr. Whitman states he has a "three-time Emmy award winner" among their group of weekend pool frolickers.
I also come at this subject from another angle other than puncturing the balloon of pomposity that Mr. Whitman so nakedly sets himself up to be a fool. When Bill and I lived in Pennsylvania, we had neighbors who had a pool. We lived in the country in the middle of the woods. We choose that location for the peace and tranquility.
About five years later our neighbor and his land was sold and sub-divided. The new owners of the lot next to us built a mini-mansion and a pool. And yes, they had pool parties . . . . LOTS of them. Bill and I endured the pool parties for a while then we finally had to call the police when one particular pool Toga party went on into the early morning hours. Oh sure, the party goers were having a grand time but we couldn't get any sleep.
And the pool parties at night weren't the only problem. During the day our new neighbor's kids would be in the pool with their friends. Their little boy wasn't bad but their little girl was a SCREAMER. Remember the song "Marianne"? Their little girl's name was Stephanie.
All day, all night Stephanie
Screaming at the pool, Stephanie
For about five years Bill and I endured the agony of her ear piercing screams . . . . All.Day.Long. And you know how I feel about screaming kids, especially girls.
So folks, I can empathize with those neighborhood folks in Rehoboth Beach who want to enjoy the peace and tranquility of their neighborhood and not the screams of a bunch of self-absorbed Washington D.C. queens (oh yes, I AM being politically incorrect . . . again). And I don't care how many Emmys they won.