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MediAlert! - June 21-28

 INDEX:  MediAlert! for 27 June 96
 -Item 1: "Heart of the Matter" [Have A Heart; America's Talking; Salt Lake
 City School Board; Gay/Straight Student Alliance; National Education
 Association - Human & Civil Rights Unit].
 -Item 2: "Demonizing Dykes" [National Enquirer; Pointer Sisters].
 -Item 3: "(Re)Viewing Lorde" [A Litany for Survival-The Life and Work of
 Audre Lorde; P.O.V.; PBS; USA Today].
 -Item 4: "MediAlert!/BRIEFS" [Ann Landers; PFLAG; KQED-TV; USA Network;
 Breaking the Surface-The Greg Louganis Story; QWorld; Gay American
 Composers; CRI; Hollywood Pictures; The Rock].
 Item-5: "Sound & (Un)Sound Bites" [Stephen Whitty/San Jose Mercury News;
 Eugene Narrett/AFA Journal].
 -General Information [about MediAlerts; author notes].
   M   e   d   i   A   l    e   r   t   !
   June 21-27, 1996      Al Kielwasser
 H  E  A  R  T    O  F    T  H  E     M  A  T  T  E  R
 "Have A Heart" is a breezy talk show that airs each weekday on the
 "America's Talking" (AT) cable network.  The program is built around
 viewer calls, taken in response to a "Question-of-the-Day.  The June 19
 broadcast included a segment on Salt Lake City's School Board, which
 recently voted to ban a "Gay/Straight Student Alliance."
 The Gay/Straight Alliance had been formed to combat homophobic ignorance,
 and was one of dozens of "non-academic" student clubs.  Prohibiting ONLY
 this club -- which the school board wanted to do -- would have violated
 equal access protections.  So, rather than allow the Gay/Straight Alliance
 to meet, the board opted to ban ALL student clubs.  "Have A Heart's"
 Question-of-the-Day asked:  "Did the Salt Lake City Board of Education go
 too far?"
 To help discuss this issue, the show featured Lee Berg, a representative
 of the National Education Association's (NEA) Human and Civil Rights Unit.
  The choice in guests was a smart one.  The NEA is the largest teacher's
 union in the United States, and has been a significant voice of reason --
 advocating for educational equity and lesbian/gay inclusion in textbooks
 and other curricula.
 Unfortunately, however, Berg's well-intentioned comments also revealed a
 heterosexist slant.  Framed and echoed by the show's daily question, this
 bias is worth a closer look.  It repeats a persistent, debilitating
 rhetoric found throughout the mainstream media.
 According to Berg, the Salt Lake City School Board's decision is "a
 tragedy for all the other non-academic groups."  It's tragic, he further
 explained, because "you cut out the chess clubs, the Bible clubs, the
 computer club...."  He added:  "I would encourage the students in all the
 clubs....  to continue to meet on an informal basis."
 The point NOT made by Berg is that prohibiting the Gay/Straight Alliance
 would have been reprehensible even if it were the ONLY club banned.  The
 real tragedy is homophobia, which is actively promoted by the school
 board's ban.  THAT situation -- of rampant, institutionalized bigotry --
 is hardly comparable to the "tragedy" experienced by chess club members.
 Of course, homophobia DOES affect everyone, queer and non-queer alike. 
 However, denying what is fair and factual -- and promoting what is hateful
 and bigoted -- is, IN ITSELF, an immoral and tragic act of stupidity. 
 This point was further obscured by the host of "Have A Heart," Bob Raser,
 as he asked callers:  "Did the board go to far in banning EVERYTHING?"
 Raser's question assumes a heterosexist metric; the weight of homophobic

with word 'help' in message body