Gay by any other word: To begin with, this story was quite interesting ("Gay Caballeros," by Claiborne Smith, January 13). Immediately looking at the cover, it caught my attention--because under the main title "Gay Caballeros" it said, "Inside the secret world of Dallas' mayates." "Mayates" en Español, to me and to most Spanish-speaking people, has always been known as a slang word for an African-American or a person of dark skin. It's like using the "N" word but in Spanish. I don't think either word should ever be used in any way toward any person and especially in a publication like a newspaper. I understand how you are using the word in reference to this story, but I just don't think it should have been used on the cover of the paper. And if it was used, why wasn't it explained or stated that it was being used in this "new" way? It just doesn't seem appropriate.
On the other hand, what I found interesting was how these men have sex with other men, may it be anal or oral, and don't think they are gay. Doesn't the word homosexual mean "of, relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex"? I think that includes any type of sex any way you look at it. I mean, what are they thinking? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with people who are gay--I have nothing against it--but it just sounded ridiculous when I read those statements from them. Anyway, interesting story, just research the use of slang words in other languages before publication.
Editor's note: We regret using the word "mayate" on the cover and not explaining the varied meanings of the word in our story. See this week's "Buzz" column by Patrick Williams.
Don't "pretty up the whore": I was born and raised a gay white boy in El Paso. My gay sensibilities were formed in that tortured city. Sparing detail, let me just say that my gay predilection for Mexican men was also nurtured in El Paso.
I know that you are getting a deluge of letters objecting to the "Gay Caballeros" article. I tend to see things without the lens of PC, sans prettying up the whore, so to speak. The article was right on the money as far as my experience bears out. Sounds just like what I experience at the more blue-collar baths here in Dallas and with the online hookups.
The Dallas Observer should stand firm on this article--maybe it isn't PC and pretty and glorifying of the underside of the Hispanic sexual culture, but it is gritty and real and truthful.
Mark K. Bentley
Hateful: I haven't been this appalled since the murder of Matthew Shepard. As an advocate for human rights, I feel this article perpetuates the ongoing demoralization and hate toward the Latino gay community. Furthermore, the descriptions of this particular community and the strong misuse of the word "mayates" participates in the larger realm of the worldly view of hate. You should be ASHAMED! NOTHING HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED!
Lie Down With Dogs
No conservative plot: "Tell me who your friends are, and I'll know who you are." This old adage pretty well sums up Robert Wilonsky's piece about the supporters of the strong-mayor initiative ("Bubble Brains," January 13).
It's a simple analysis. The thrust seems to be that because most of the initiative's financial backing has come from wealthy Republicans who have donated to various conservative causes, they must be out to...what, exactly?
I am a Democrat, but on this issue--whether the elected municipal executive has the authority necessary to carry out the duties of the office and can be held accountable for performance--I agree fully with the Republicans mentioned in the article. Somehow, I suspect I am not alone.
Vance Miller is absolutely right that this is a non-partisan debate about what is best for the city of Dallas. I would urge my fellow Democrats--and all Dallas voters--to avoid making assumptions and to cast their votes based on the proposal's merits, which are considerable.
Daniel J. Healy
Homeless Holocaust: I want to thank Jim Schutze for his article ("Garbage to You," January 13). I found it touching. Mementos these people held so dear now taken from them reminds us they had/have a family, too, and a life before their current circumstances. Dallas has done irreparable mental/emotional damage to these folks, stripping them of what little hope and possessions they had. While I don't agree with Al Lipscomb's comparing the strong-mayor campaign to the Holocaust, I can't help but see some similarities in how Dallas treats the homeless. I'm afraid to think of what they will come up with next.
A great showman: I just read the "review" of Ricki Derek's Ring-A-Ding New Year's in your Letters section (January 13), and I strongly disagree with that person. Not only was the show exciting, slick and tons of fun, but it was a welcome change from the average Dallas night out. I mean, I love seeing terrible rock bands or drunk frat boys on Lower Greenville just as much as the next guy, but give me a little variety and I'll take it every time. Ricki is a great showman who never disappoints. I travel to Vegas a lot, and I'm not sure what show that person was talking about being "classy," but all the old-school shows I've seen there are contrived and boring. I was more than happy to pay the price of admission (after doing research for that night, this show was the least expensive and delivered more bang for my buck), and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. My date had never heard of Ricki before, and she was blown away. If you are bored with a great six-piece band, funny comedy acts, women hanging 50 feet in the air on scarves, a dancing poodle and a packed dance floor, then yes, you should've avoided this show.