By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
A beacon of light: I've been an avid reader of New Times for years, and I've never been disappointed with the journalistic integrity of its writers. This was especially true when I read "The Crying Game" article (Joe Watson, December 22).
I've known one of the principal subjects of your story, Trudie Jackson, since her days working the streets, and have seen a metamorphosis in this woman. She has such a good heart that she wants to share happiness with everybody.
I was also a personal friend of Amy, or Raymond Soos, who was murdered in 2002. It's sad that no real developments have been made in the investigation of Amy's death.
Again, I want to applaud your work and thank you for bringing light to the struggles of Native American transgenders.
John Giff, Laveen
Struggling for acceptance: Trudie Jackson walked into my office dressed very professionally. She wore a black business dress an inch below her knee and a pleated, button-up, collared, light-blue shirt with black dress shoes. Her hair was up and her face was glowing.
"Guess what?" she said. I didn't know because I'd been busy working that cold night. She then told me that New Times was out and that she was pictured on the cover.
Trudie autographed a copy of the paper.
As I was reading the story Joe Watson wrote, I felt all the loneliness, disgust and turmoil any individual feels when he/she is neglected, abandoned and ostracized from home and culture.
I read on about the voyage that transgenders take to complete themselves, and how, like the rest of the world, we are finding and completing ourselves.
Native transgenders on the reservation and off are unique and rare, like Trudie Jackson and Angel Manuel. There are many other transgenders on reservations who are struggling to find acceptance.
So ahe'hee ("thank you" in Navajo) to Joe Watson for his rare understanding of what transgenders go through and for a job well done in producing this article for the world to see.
Michael Paul Redhouse, Phoenix
Probing a sensitive area: Finally, somebody had the guts to write about Native American transgenders. It's very interesting how they were once held in such high esteem among their people, and now they are treated worse than any homosexual in Anglo culture.
This was a chicks-with-dicks story that went beyond just shock value. It told of the poignant struggles of transgenders on the reservation and in the world. I never thought any news medium in Arizona would broach such a sensitive subject, much less do so in anything near an intelligent manner. Good job!
Tomi Martinez, Phoenix
Your sarcasm kills: Outstanding article! I can hardly wait for the article on African-American pedophiles, Asian cross-dressers, Hispanic gays. After all, these are not universal conditions, they are unique to certain ethnic groups.
John Lozano, Dallas, Texas
Fairy stories: Now that New Times has written about Native transgenders, I think the newspaper has covered all manner of homo issues over the past year. What's the matter, do you have a new editor or publisher who's a fairy?!
Let me give you guys a clue: Most people in Phoenix don't give a damn about the struggles of queers, Indian or otherwise. So why do you continually write about the gay culture? Maybe you're trying to sell ads to clubs like Amsterdam, I don't know.
Anyway, please make your New Year's resolution to go a year without writing about fags and fag culture. You will be doing your community a distinct service.
Lawrence Hines, via the Internet
The Last Word on Meth
Make it legal: Regarding your series on meth ("The Perfect Drug"), I have a simple solution that I believe would eliminate 99 percent of the illegal methamphetamine labs.
The solution is Desoxyn, the pharmaceutical form of methamphetamine legally available in local pharmacies for less than $2 per dose with a doctor's prescription. Start selling it at local pharmacies without a prescription, with no questions asked to any adult. That is, sell it just like tobacco products are sold.
Would we still have people addicted to methamphetamine? Yes. Would methamphetamine addicts need to rob or commit acts of prostitution to obtain money to buy their methamphetamine? No. Would the methamphetamine addicts prefer to purchase a pure pharmaceutical grade of methamphetamine instead of methamphetamine manufactured with batteries and fertilizer? Yes.
When the sale of alcohol was re-legalized in 1933, it was not because anybody decided that alcohol was not so harmful after all, but rather because of the crime and corruption that the prohibition of alcohol caused. When alcohol was re-legalized, the illegal bathtub gin producers went out of business overnight for economic reasons, and they have stayed out of business for economic reasons.
When they re-legalized alcohol, our overall crime rate declined substantially, and our murder rate declined for 10 consecutive years. Have we learned any lessons from this? Not yet.
Kirk Muse, Mesa
Take responsibility for your actions: I wasn't actually gonna write a letter, but with another article, and a couple of crybabies in your Letters section, how could I resist?
First of all, let me say I have been clean from meth for 17 years. If anyone wants to quit an addiction to any form of drugs, it's easy. Without detoxing, without withdrawal, without 12 freaking steps. If you don't buy it, you won't use it. If you don't hang out with those who have it, you won't use it. If you use it and cannot afford it, you have a much bigger problem than addiction.
If you have to steal or connive to support a habit, then you are a thief and should go to prison. To steal for a habit is not only wrong, it's lame. Everyone has "free will." If most "addicts" go back to their first time, um, no one stuck a gun to their head and made them try it.
My first time, a boyfriend brought it home, but I alone chose to try it, and then I chose to continue using it. I can't blame society, my peers. You must take responsibility for what you do.
Treatment is a farce, if you aren't sincere about quitting. God has nothing to do with it, either. I'm not religious, but do you really think He condones drug abuse? Not.
Your articles made it sound like all meth users are bad news, when in fact some (very few, but still) are quite productive. When I was using meth, I held down two jobs, had my own apartment and took care of all the responsibilities that come with work and home.
And when I quit, I just quit.
No backlash, no bullshit, no cravings, no D.T.'s, no withdrawal, no 12 steps. Just will power!
Addicts, most of them, are hopeless -- but only because to get clean, they have to really want it, and most of 'em cop out or are not really serious. I say, don't blame the drugs, blame yourself.
And by the way, not all meth addicts crave sex ("Meth and Sex," Joe Watson, November 24). As for the people I ran with back then, sex was the furthest thing from our minds. Tweakers like to do other stuff while they are high -- like clean, tinker with their cars, drink beer.
To me, your articles were not only rambling, but not as thorough as they could've been. But through the years of reading your publication, I'll say such reporting is par for the course for New Times.
Judy Guin, Phoenix