(Community Matters) I asked one of our best friends (probably the most well read – certainly the most accomplished editor) what he thought of Brandon Ambrosino and his appointment to a fellowship for Ezra Klein’s Vox.com. Kip Keller’s response here and in the immediately below blog post.
My follow up response:
We read “I Wasn’t Born This Way,” differently. I read his point as being we shouldn’t rest our calls for equality on whether or not being gay is a choice, that we have the right to choose to be gay.
I agree he’s sloppy in his argument about the conflating of civil rights for sexuality and race. I like his statement, “Maybe I wasn’t born this way. Now tell me why you think that matters.” I’ve long felt uncomfortable relying on an innateness to justify my right for constitutional equality. If I just want to be queer, even if I could be straight, I expect equality from my governments.
Of Brandon’s other writings, I’m most disappointed in the sloppiness of his writing on transgender activism.
As to Ezra Klein, I admit I don’t read him every day, but I have spoken directly with him and have listened to him enough to be impressed and to like him. In a Facebook posting yesterday, he notes, “Contrary to some garbled reports, before hiring Brandon I read a lot of his previous work. Brandon’s past writing was often quite pointed and personal, and not a fit for Vox — and I told him so. The writing fellowship requires a very different approach.”
I think Brandon shows promise. I remember conversations nearly 25 years ago when I was Austin’s only HRC board member (after Bettie Naylor) and while chairing the Austin-Travis County HIV Commission. A professor from (then) SW Texas State University sought me out to air his concerns about when we did achieve equality – how we’d become a less cohesive community, how we’d have less identifiable enemies. I’ve always looked forward to this time, knowing it’d be a nice problem to have. We’re not there yet but closer than any of us imagined those 25 years ago.