Tuesday, December 05, 2006

MN: Fire department foreshadowed military issue


Bob Von Sternberg, “No simple solution in fire chief case” Minneapolis Star Tribune, Dec 2, 2006, link here relates the story of openly lesbian Minneapolis fire department chief Bonnie Bleskachek, who has generated at least four lawsuits because of allegedly favoristic personnel practices, bringing back old stereotypes of gays from McCarthy days. Kari Lydersen has a story in The Washington Post Dec 5, 2006, here. Females started to appear in uniformed fire department services in the 1980s.

But walk back in time. In the mid 1970s gay firemen was a controversial topic in New York City (Daily News or Post editorials), with arguments made about the intimacy of firehouses (ironically, GAA was in the "Firehouse" at 99 Wooster St.), ideas that would foreshadow the debates about lifting the ban on gays in the military in the 1990s.

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