Susan Ryan-Vollmar, Chief Editor of Boston's BayWindows (an LGBT newspaper) rocked the boat two weeks ago when she published an advertisement for Catholic Charities of Boston's Laboure Center's 16th Annual Christmas House Tour. On the surface, accepting an ad from an organization which has taken such aggressive stands against the LGBT Community might seem inappropriate. And in the case of Catholic Charities especially, with its ending of one hundred years of adoptive services because it, could not reconcile its "religious" beliefs with its very "public/legal responsibilities" when it came to adoptions by gays and lesbians, it seemed to most that Susan Ryan-Vollmar, should have shown Catholic Charities "the proverbial door."
One BW reader even wrote a letter to the editor in BayWindows (link to follow) the following week criticizing Vollmar's decision to place this ad which elicited her response, "Unlike Catholic Charities, BayWindows doesn't discriminate." But here is where this story gets really sweet and juicy. The Archdiocese laid into Vollmar's decision to place their ad in BayWindows also which recently gained national media attention. Evidently, by Archdiocese decry, Vollmar should have said, "No," to Catholic Charities' request to be treated equally as an advertiser.
I certainly understand this letter writer's reaction. I had the same one when I first heard of the ad in BayWindows. But think about this ad... We as concerned LGBT and activists need to weigh out the positives and negatives here as to what attendance of this Christmas House Tour means from a political point of view. Firstly, all proceeds of the Christmas House Tour "benefits the programs and services of The Catholic Charities Laboure Center" in South Boston. (for a list of these programs and services see this link) But secondly, and for some very importantly, we need to remember that this is A CHRISTMAS HOUSE TOUR in a newly refurbished and remodeled historic building (The Gate of Heaven Church in South Boston) and SIX, hear me, SIX other historic homes in South Boston. One can't get anymore LGBT than that.
So just imagine, instead of a boycott, wouldn't it be better to actually attend this house tour? And what a better way to celebrate this festive season than to bring your LGBT friends, family and children dressed in their best and MOST colorful Holiday apparel! Let the Archdiocese know that it is 100 % correct in its assessment of LGBT and our compulsive affinity toward temptation. And what could be more tempting than a refurbished and seasonally decorated room?
I believe it was Susan Ryan-Vollmar's boss, Sue O'Connell who once said to me, "In the news world, somethings that are good ideas on Monday may not be on Friday, but also, some bad ideas on Monday become great ideas on Friday." But in Susan Ryan-Vollmar's case, knowing what I do about her dedication to LGBT issues, I am pretty sure that she knew EXACTLY what she was doing when she placed this ad.
The Laboure Center's 16th Annual Christmas Tour begins on Saturday, Dec. 2nd at 4 PM and concludes with a cocktail reception a the Winter Garden located at the World Trade Center East. Trolley Transportation will be available to tour-goers from house to house. Saturday's tickets are $ 75. On Sunday, December 3rd, the tour runs from Noon-4PM and begins at the Laboure Center at 275 West Broadway and Castle Island. Tickets for Sunday's tour are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets call the Laboure Center at 617-268-9670 or visit www.ccab.org/laboure
Tom Lang, Director