Open Letter from SF to Arizona: Stop the Crazy
I know I'm probably the last person you want to hear from right now. New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts have probably already sent you letters, surely brimming with righteous rage. You're sick of hearing it. Doing your own thing is kind of your thing— after all, you operate in a separate time zone from most of the country. You forge your own path. I get it.
But let me tell you something with as much West Coast equanimity as I can muster. You're about to make a huge mistake with this whole gay discrimination thing. You're going to look like a complete asshole in front of everybody. And if you think Kansas or Idaho are making this homophobic look work, trust me, they're not.
Of the myriad reasons why allowing business owners to discriminate against gay people is a supremely bad idea, let's start with one that I'll know you'll understand most clearly: money. You got messed up by the recession. It sucked. Luckily, you'll always have the Grand Canyon so your tourism sector can go gangbusters — except when you act like a massive jerk off and the rest of the country takes note.
You're going to look like a complete asshole in front of everybody. And if you think Kansas or Idaho are making this homophobic look work, trust me, they're not.
Remember that time when you passed S.B. 1070, one of the broadest and strictest anti-immigration bill in history? Everybody was all like, “We're going to boycott you.” And, you were like, “Whatever, I'm Arizona, I'm going to treat immigrants coming to this country for better economic opportunity however the hell I want.” And then everybody else was like, “NOPE!”
Some studies said you lost around $141 million in direct spending. See what happens when you act like a big dick? Nobody wants to come to your party. And, while immigrants surely like to party, nobody parties harder than the gays. Believe me, I know. Your children Phoenix and Tuscon host massive pride parties, attracting roughly 25,000 and 10,000 queers. If you pass this ignorant, archaic bill, expect the tourism dollars of countless homos and friends of homos to say sayonara Sedona, too-da-loo Tuscon, and phuck off Phoenix.
Keep in mind Arizona, nobody needs you. We still have Palm Springs to mingle with conservative retirees and get crispy under the desert sun.
Obviously, this is about way, way more than just dollars. This is about people. You are going to be doing very real harm to very real people. Not just big, gay San Francisco-type people, but Arizona people. Among the more obvious points that this New York Times article makes: gay people are everywhere. Try as I do to attract all the queers to my hilly, foggy peninsula and create a perfect queertopia, there still are plenty in Arizona. Believe it or not, they're in your golf courses swinging your nine-irons, in your craft shops buying turquoise stones, eating lots of pizza at this place.
Obviously, this is about way, way more than just dollars. This is about people. You are going to be doing very real harm to very real people. Not just big, gay San Francisco-type people, but Arizona people.
Some will say that this bill is just about protecting the religious rights of small business owners. But let's cut the bullshit, shall we? You and I both know this bill is coming from a reactionary, homophobic, downright hateful place. It's ugly. It's crusty gym socks with Birkenstocks ugly. It's saggy culottes ugly. It's Miley's tongue-face ugly. How does it disturb anyone's religious freedom if my cool, butch, gender-queer friend Oakland and I come in and order tacos and a margarita, or six?
Laws like this hurt people. I know for a fact that there's some lonely queer kid trying desperately to get through the week at a terrible, close-minded high school hell somewhere on your turf. Teens like this exist everywhere, but having to face this cruel law only makes this kid's life worse. This teenager is going to be filled with such a deep well of sorrow and fear, that they may hide so deep they cease to exist in any real way. They may not make it to end of their high school hell. They may not make it through the end of the week.
Doesn't this young person's freedom to live a healthy life trump some whacko's freedom to discriminate, Arizona? This law, S.B. 1062, is so completely bonkers, nuts. Like Jim Crow laws, it's beyond last season, it's so last century.
I haven't always been your biggest fan, Arizona – you're too hot for my taste and I find your style of urban planning a little tacky (how many Applebees does one city need?!), but you could do better. Just try to be cool. You're the birthplace of Cesar Chavez and Stevie Nicks, I know you have it in you.
Your westward cousin, with (begrudging) love,
P.S. After you get over whatever heat stroke you're currently suffering from and move past this current bout of nonsense, maybe we should talk about you reinstating funding for ethnic studies classes? Just sayin'.
Editor's note: Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoed the anti-gay rights bill. Guess she loved our letter.