Letters to the editor
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B.A.R. falls on its face with tobacco ad
The Bay Area Reporter has such excellent coverage of local health issues, so attuned to the interests of its readers. So how could you fall so squarely on your face by running a full-page, full-color ad for cigarettes [September 2]? Tobacco advertising has negative health impacts — which is why countries worldwide with more robust tobacco control legislation than U.S. law affords ban cigarette ads. And this particular ad is especially devious, using marketing buzzwords like "earth-friendly" and "organic" to gloss over the fact that these cigarettes are just as bad for a smoker's health as any others.
A newspaper like yours, that holds its community's best interests at heart, should not be hosting cigarette ads. I suggest you make amends by pulling that ad and following up with a full-page, full-color look into the tobacco industry's sophisticated marketing strategies targeting the LGBTQ community and how this hampers efforts to keep young people from taking up smoking.
Lezak Shallat, Former Coordinator
Chile Libre de Tabaco/Tobacco Free Chile Alliance
Check your privilege on flag
Once again, in the op-ed ["Two issues observed in Castro flag fight," Guest Opinion, August 26] by Jeff Sheehy, I see the point raised that Gilbert Baker took no money for his creation. I find it a position of privilege to insist that artists not make money from their creation for our community to embrace it. Trans and nonbinary people face greater financial challenges than we cis people face; and artists face greater challenges than those in technical occupations. Art has value and is not devalued by being paid for. Do you also insist manufacturers sell their rainbow flags at cost?
I acknowledge there are a number of reasons to consider retaining the traditional flag. That said, I would love it if that flag's supporters were to stop raising the "it was free" argument as one of them. Check your privilege.
Support for Alameda Dems' new policy
I am writing to express my full support of the recent Alameda County Democratic Party's bylaws change codifying a pro-LGBT endorsement policy ["Alameda Dems adopt pro-LGBTQ endorsement policy," online September 1].
As the first Asian woman mayor of Fremont, California, and a mother of two wonderful AAPI children, I am no stranger to discrimination in public life.
I was proud to vote to create a day honoring local gay rights icon Supervisor Harvey Milk while serving as a school board member in Fremont; have been committed to upholding and honoring diversity, equity, and inclusion as mayor of Fremont; and will continue my support of the LGBT community if elected in 2022 to the state Senate.
For a sample of initiatives that promote fair treatment and equal opportunity during my tenure as mayor, please click here.
Lily Mei, Mayor
City of Fremont
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