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AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LOFT CINEMA

In the spirit of celebrating American chutzpah on July 4, 2013, the Loft Cinema showed Team America: World Police, a film parody about American international relations and the political climate of its time (City Week, July 4). I enjoy the movie, and I somehow have even acquired a copy of the DVD. I'm also a big fan of satire. I've also been a long-time customer of the Loft Cinema because I can enjoy meaningful, independent films while I have a few beers. The Loft is a part of what makes Tucson a great place to live.

 This letter is not a complaint. I'm just asking you to think about something.

 Yesterday, two close friends and I came to The Loft to celebrate, as with other fellow Americans, our complicated relationship with our country. We thought the Loft's choice of Team America: World Police was befitting for the 4th of July. After paying for our tickets, we found out the crowd would be yelling "FAG!" each time Hollywood's iconic, liberal actors appeared, as their puppet parodies, on screen. All right. We figured we would just deal yet again with hearing the abusive word, especially considering how often we have to endure it from straights in our daily lives since we're lesbian and gay.

 Once the "FAG!" shouting had started, we sat there in our movie seats looking around at everyone. Being in a crowded theater full of straight people unabashedly screaming "FAG!" is not at all fun. It doesn't feel fun. It's assaultive. There were people in that movie theater, in every movie theater we've ever stepped in to, who hate us. You know it, and I know it, and we had to sit there next to such people as they yelled "FAG!" Some of them continued talking about what they think of those "faggots" on screen. We were sitting right in the middle of self-righteous hate and hang-ups being humored and justified by the film, their fellow yelling moviegoers, and, sadly, The Loft.

 We then had to get up and leave. Out of a sense of self-respect and worth, we just couldn't sit there anymore and be humiliated. We left feeling once again threatened, angry, disappointed, and even more isolated from our country and Tucson community. We went to my friend's house, stayed safely indoors, and decided not to go out and watch the fireworks since we were angry and not up for straight people possibly yelling at us, yet again. Instead, we looked at pictures of Chihuahuas and queer rap videos.

 I really want you all to understand what occurred at your place of business yesterday. No one at The Loft would encourage the audience to yell THE N-WORD every time Huck Finn says it; the parallel I'm drawing is obvious. You all allowed your queer customers to be verbally assaulted in your theater. In fact, it was encouraged.

It would have been nice, even if for the moment, to have suspended the reality of our lives and take part in a space that was intended for all to celebrate being American.

W. Welch

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