Thursday, August 03, 2006

Stand By Our Man

Recently news broke in the gay community that Bill Conley, a lobbyist for Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, was arrested for allegedly soliciting sexual favors through the Internet. The anti-gay group, MassResistance, has been attacking Bill since the news broke. When I first heard this news I did not feel that it was my place to comment on it. However, when I saw that it was on the front page of Bay Windows this week, I knew that I could not stay silent.
TakeMassAction fully supports Bill Conley during this tough time.

Bill has been a tirelessly advocate for our community. He has worked for LGBT rights for over twenty years. Because of his work we are free to be open and honest about who we are without the fear of being fired from our jobs or evicted from our homes. We are able to adopt children. It is illegal to discriminate against us in Massachusetts. Thanks in part to Bill's work, even with a huge campaign and millions of dollars against us, we are able to legally marry.
Most importantly to me is the work Bill has done in protecting gay youth. He has saved countless young lives. As a member of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, Bill has made schools safer for all students.
I was able to come out in my high school when I was 14 years old. My school had a gay/straight alliance that made me feel safe enough to be honest about who I am. As in most high schools, there was a lot of homophobia in my school. However, because we had a gay/straight alliance, we had a way to deal with that homophobia. We were able educate to students and faculty. We were able to make life better for everyone.
That is exactly what Bill Conley has been doing for over twenty years; making life better for those who will come after him. That is what he has done for me, and all of us.
We have all made mistakes. Let's look at what really counts. Bill is a hero in our community. Let's do what is right. Let's stand by our man.


At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel like humans are humans and we all have our weaknesses, and for an organization to try and explot one man for his downfall is absurd. Look at the Catholic community, or the thousands of cases of child abuse by straight men.

Mistakes are always going to happen, but that shouldn't discount the numerous other positive things a person has done in his life.

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Blue-Xela said...

I think the real issue at stake here is the high cost of attending college. Governor Romney has done nothing but raise college fees since he took office in Massachusetts. Money for sex is the only way these poor college kids can support themselves!

Beyond that, I feel like "who f*%$ing cares!" that two adults want to have their own personal business deal. If no one is getting hurt and everyone is happy, I say more power to Mr. Conley ... that is if he is found "guilty."

I've never met the gentleman but I know he has a history of advocacy for the GLBT community and I fully support him.

We should do away with these antiquated prostitution laws, especially if interactions take place on the privacy of one's own computer.

At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Fumi (work link) said...

Sexual solicitation. A bad behavior? Yes. Did anybody get killed, or severely injured physically and psychologically by Mr. Conley’s alleged action? Hell, no. Entrapment? I _so_ do not care. I’m glad (even if convicted) Mr. Conley’s this behavior produced much less victims than a lot of DUIs in our culture everyday.

I do not consider sexual compulsion as a moral issue, but a public health issue as much as DUI is. Everybody knows legal consequences, but the urge to act out the compulsion is so grave, they break laws knowingly (and treatment is available). Did the news discount Mr. Conley’s contribution to the community? I say ‘Opposite’! I 100% support MGLPC’s response giving him a leave of absence, despite of the fact hate groups have had a filed-day exploiting and spinning the report in their relentless pursuit of character assassination and punishment for his being our leader.

My life is dedicated to people’s rehabilitation, providing behavioral changes and community infrastructures. Mr. Conley has selflessly displayed to us so much progress in the modern history of Massachusetts. Now it’s his time to take some time off to take care of personal need. I see Boston (thank god because of him) mature enough and equipped to support him throughout this difficult time, unconditionally.

Meanwhile his legacy remains an inspiration for American civil rights for anybody. Yet the privacy is most important, we try to stay vigilant reminding ourselves how the equality was won on the Beacon Hill 70s, 80s and 90s by him, and not letting it taken away.

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Mark D. Snyder said...

Wow, these comments are just full of shame aren't they? A mistake. A weakness. Bad behavior. NO NO NO!

What if someone is in a committed non-monogomous relationship and pays another conscenting adult 50 bux for head? SO WHAT!!

Fumi, there are no victims in this case except for the gay men who are tricked into offering cops 50 bux.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Sandouri Dean Bey said...

if only gay bars in america had more dark rooms (or gay bath houses) like in europe, perhaps this whole thing could have been avoided. sigh

i wasn't aware of this story until i saw it here. i guess i should read bay windows more often.

a couple of questions: is prostitution inherently exploitative (of both parties)? i'm torn on that one. it's not a moral issue for me, but rather an ethical one.

the other question is whether or not someone like mr. conley who has a high-profile job lobbying for glbt equality has an obligation to be above reproach. grant it, it's not exactly fair if that's the case, but given his susceptibility to attack from the right, doesn't he have a responsibility to make wiser choices? isn't that what he signed up for when he took such a high-profile position?

privacy issues aside, in the real world of glbt politics, don't our advocates relinquish a little bit of their privacy and freedom when they go up against an enemy like the right? if their personal choices jeopardize the larger movement, what is their ethical responsibility? doesn't the dividing line between private and public dissolve here? aren't all their private choices essentially public ones?

i don't know the answers to these. i'm asking, not to make a judgment, but to get some feedback from the larger glbt community.


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