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EDITOR'S NOTE:

Rob Lightner's bio on page 31 of issue #19 (and online) contained a reference to a Johnny Cash song, Folsom Prison Blues: "He shot a man in Reno just to watch him die". This was intended as humor, and we found it amusing; however, some of our readers missed the reference. Thus, we would like to clarify that Rob Lightner has never actually shot a man anywhere, for any reason, and that ATM does not endorse murder, killing, Reno, or even Johnny Cash.




ATM Needs Boundaries

Greetings. I have been reading your magazine lately. Finding bi-friendly media is difficult at best. Your magazine leans heavily toward the kinky and ultra-sensational aspects of the bi experience, but you sometimes present insights that are worth wading through the waist-high hype for. However, in your most recent issue you have a bio credit on page 31 that is not just sensational, it is an offense, to say the least. You calmly state: "Rob Lightner is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He has been a scientist, a librarian, and a sex educator. He shot a man in Reno just to watch him die."

So, in your view, is murder now chic, or are you too wimpy to draw boundaries of any kind? You do state that you "will write or print or say 'Anything That Moves' us beyond the limiting stereotypes that are displaced onto us." Do you consider refusal to tolerate murder and a reverence for life "limiting stereotypes"? If so, I can only conclude you and your staff are as sociopathic as your touted writer. If you cannot draw boundaries where common sense dictates, you have no business being in the media where you can influence all and sundry.

I wonder if you would find this man's behavior as chic or acceptable if it were your friend, family member, or lover he murdered "just to watch them die?" Someone lost their family member, friend, lover because of this psychopath. Perhaps you are so distanced from your own emotions and the emotions of others that you would enjoy watching such a scene and never miss the dead guy, who knows. I do know I will spend no more of my hard-earned bucks supporting this kind of brutal sensationalism. You have just lost bucks, and I assure you I will do whatever I can to talk anyone I know out of supporting you with their bucks too, including Borders, the bookstore where this sad excuse for journalism was purchased.

May you wake up soon.

Teresa Hawkes
Editor, The Oracular Tree




Murder is Not Consensual

I like your magazine. You cover some things that push my boundaries, but that's fine as long as you're talking about activities that are safe and consensual.

So what on earth is your quote about Rob Lightner in issue #19 about? "He shot a man in Reno just to watch him die."

Sorry, that's stepping way over the line into the unacceptable, especially since I'm staring at it a few days after the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

Spring Cascade
Boulder, CO
via cyberspace




Where are the FtMs?

After you told me to check out your latest issue, I was excited to see an article on trans youth. After glancing at the photos, I felt something lacking in your coverage. I noted that there were only photos of female-identified youth.

Okay, I thought to myself, read the article... but still I found nothing on FtMs. There is not a single FtM or male-identified person. Does trans youth equal MtF only? Absolutely not! We here at FTM International are a resource just around the corner from your office!

I'm not trying to take away from our MtF sisters, whose visibilty is just as important. I simply want visibility for FtMs as well. We are in many ways a very different group with separate issues. The same day we saw this article at the office of FTM International, we received a media advisory about a 15-year-old "girl" who identified and presented as a boy -- and who committed suicide due to constant harassment and ridicule at school. I wonder if this kid and many others knew about male-identified people out there with similar feelings and experiences. This may have offered some hope.

Too many people equate transsexualism with femaleness. Transsexual does not equal MtF!

Thanks for the work you do. In the future, I ask you to please include FtMs and male-identified transpeople when you write articles intending to cover trans issues.

Díon Manley
Berkeley, CA




Lonely In Houston

Love your magazine -- our magazine. For years, I tried to get a handle on my culture. We "inner loopers" in Houston are an endangered species. I wish I could find journalism work in San Francisco. You guys are so cool.

Life in Houston is oppressive. There are about six bisexuals or boring alcoholic crossdressers at meetings -- no good clubs, coffee bars, or activities for "the rest of us." If you don't fit as stereotypical straight, gay, or lesbian, there's not much. We "girly boys" are essentially loners or in the closet.

I especially loved #18 and especially kudos to Ganapati Shivananda Durgadas. Hir story seems so much like my own, I should like to meet such a person -- a tantric androgyne.

Keep up the good work, gang!

Vicky
Houston, TX




Bi Flag?

A few months back, I received my copy of The BiNet News (Winter 1998). I always enjoy getting this publication, as it keeps me in touch with some of the things happening in the bi community. On page 6 of this issue is an article by Fritz Klein entitled "The Importance of Bisexual Symbols." As I read it, I remembered some of the thoughts I had when I began my coming out process about four years ago. One of the most difficult parts about being bi, then and now, was that there didn't seem to be anyone else who felt the same.

The invisibility factor was very strong. I never knew if there were any bi people out there because there didn't seem to be anything, any symbol, which was truly ours. Yes, I have a rainbow sticker on my car, but that didn't describe "me." I've often felt that the pride flag was the most noticeable symbol in the gay and lesbian movement -- it was well accepted, and well-known. Why didn't bisexuals have their own flag?

Now, I find, we do...

In his article, Fritz describes the flag as having "three horizontal stripes: magenta, turquoise and royal blue."

He goes on to say that this item, as well as stickers, mugs, t-shirts, and so forth, are available for sale the BiCafe, at www.bicafe.com/BiMart. I was interested, took a look at what was there, and ordered a flag, two fridge magnets, and eight stickers. I have the stickers on my car, my motorcycle helmet, and all my guitar cases. I feel now, when I'm out... I'm out!

I'm hoping more people will identify with this flag. I think it's very important to be seen, to be recognized not just as queer, but as our own very special kind of queer. In the next few months, I hope to see other cars with BiPride flag stickers on them. I hope to go down to my favorite coffee shop and see other people with BiPride lapel pins on their shirts.

One constant agony of being bi is that we're invisible. This doesn't have to be the case any longer. Please join me in showing our true colors.

Thanks very much.

Bruce Antink
Palo Alto, CA


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