When the SCOTUS struck down all but one paragraph of DOMA last year, everyone thought that was the last battle in our equality struggle because of the emphasis placed on it by the HRC, but now they know it was merely the wrong battle in a long war.Stephanie Donald—Publisher, LGBT-Today
When the LGBT community gnashes its teeth over all the idiocy that usually follows some breakthroughs we experience in our culture, we still have to contend with Neanderthal’s expressing misspelled and ridiculously puerile comments on Twitter. Of course, Twitter has become the realm of worldwide village idiots and was it not necessary to the dissemination of stories of LGBT-Today, I would avoid it altogether. I never read Twitters because the forced abbreviations make me winch and realize that true communication between human beings is slowly deteriorating into a redux of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dawn of Man” segment in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
One might understand some of this uncultivated and unlettered behavior if this weren’t the 21st century and nearly 45 years since the Stonewall Uprising.
Jason Collins has just begun his transparent career as the first out gay man in the NBA with the New York Nets, and the much hyped bid of Michael Sam, Southeast Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year, with C. J. Mosley of the University of Alabama as he enters the NFL draft. Most people have the attitude that its past time for out professional athletes—even the heterosexual officials, such as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, welcome the addition of Sam to the draft and look forward to his contributions to the game.
Now we deal with the “Doh!” factor in all this.
The flood of negative comments by…shall we say less than cultivated, scared heterosexual men, shall go down in history with all the scared rabbit comments about gay men diving at them with an erection in the shower, as the dumbest moments in the history of mankind.
I remember an instance in college where I had a straight friend and a gay friend. They were both on the soccer team but the gay friend wasn’t out until about halfway through the season. When my straight friend found out, he had a royal hissy-fit! He told my gay friend, “You’ll wait until I drop the soap in the shower and come at me!” The fact that they had played together on the team, showered together and been best friends for months didn’t seem to matter. My gay friend smiled and looked at him and said, “Don’t worry. You’re not my type!”
My straight friend sat on my couch for a moment and contemplated the revelation that his gay friend had no interest in him.
“What’s the matter? I’m not good enough for you?”
Long before the Simpsons, I took my hand, slapped my forehead and loudly exclaimed, “DOH!”
The main point of my rant is that we could end straight homophobia in the 21st century but our community won’t like my observations about how to dispose of this once and for all.
For starters; we spend far too much time making a big deal about idiots like Pat Robertson and Bryan Fischer, who make absolutely no logical or lucid arguments against our community. Trying to argue with the village idiot will never get us anywhere and if people are really stupid enough to believe what snake-oil salesmen like these two have to sell, then we can never have even a normal and civil conversation with them so there’s no point in even trying.
This next observance is one I’m sure will draw more than a few negative comments, but as the old saying goes: The truth hurts!
Inner homophobia is far from dead in our community. Try talking to a teen that has parents who don’t understand him/her being gay, and even then, try talking to them years later when they live on their own. Sure they party their brains out and get laid on a regular basis but if they fall in love while they’re in college do they bring their lover home for the holidays? Not likely! Are they “out” enough that when they graduate college and get a job, will they proudly announce to their colleagues that they have a gay or lesbian lover? In about 50% of the cases, according to an NPR poll of college educated LGBT people, they choose not to be out of the closet, regardless of company protections. Most say it’s because they believe it will hinder future job promotions by homophobic supervisors.
I have had countless arguments through the years with gays and lesbians who maintain they have no inner homophobia, yet keep the fact of their lover or their life secret from their parents, grandparents, job, landlord or other authority figure in their life. Arguing with them that this demonstrates inner homophobia constitutes the same sort of logic argument that our community has with Pat Robertson and Bryan Fisher, and the worst part is that these people are very aware of this schism in our community and they play on it like a fox plays on the fears of the hens in the chicken coop.
Would I regard the inner homophobia issue as having improved since the Stonewall Rebellion? Absolutely, however, it is far from gone. As long as we keep listening to religious fanatics and in turn, reacting to irrational attacks caused by religious lies and male egotistical threats to their sexual security, when the real question is: Why would any of us really care about the man-made morality of human mysticism and the insecurities of the male infrastructure influenced by centuries of false Judeo-Christian ethic, war mongering (breed, my son so your children can die for King and country), and the military-industrial complex established in the 20th century and best said by Shakespeare’s Macbeth:
"Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Macbeth Quote (Act V, Scene V).
If anything, with the declared “War on Terrorism,” the pressure to conform has increased even more since 2001 than it was during the Vietnam conflict, the population has quadrupled since 1969 and by playing on the principles of nationalism, a conservative government has managed, up until the past few years, to force us to think we’re either with them or against them. This single factor forced thousands of young gays and lesbians back into the closet in the military until a few years ago when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was finally eradicated.
Of course the United States, unlike our European counterparts, has always been made up of more puritanical and rigid Christian backgrounds. The Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock were actually religious outcasts of the British kingdom of King James himself; the same King who so many Christian fundamentalists praise for translating the Bible into English (with no fewer than 4,700 literal translation errors—I can read Hebrew and have compared the original texts to the King James version and tabulated the mistakes in translation). Although the Plymouth Pilgrims weren’t the first European colony set up in North America (Jamestown, Virginia was the first, however, the fate of those colonists has been the source of conjecture for 400 years), they were the first settlers in North America that had been driven out of Britain over puritanical religious differences with King James.
King James I of England, who ordered the Bible translated into English over the objections of the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. The man who gave in to the political pressure exerted by the Puritans, onlu to ban them a few short years after to North America.Imagine a group of people who were such religious fanatics that they disagreed with the King whom their ancestors would hold on high for having the Bible translated, albeit riddled with errors, into English!
Today’s Christian fundamentalists are basically people who are either so ruthlessly evil they would turn on their own icons or twist the stories to suit their own purposes, or they’re too stupid as a large group to realize that several leaders are manipulating those facts and lying to them. A cursory amount of research on their part would uncover the deceit being dished out to them, but some people wish to feel nothing but hatred and angst, so they question—believing that questioning would be a “tool of the devil.”
These are the people you’re giving media time to. You’re helping them to deliver their message because every time we post a video with them saying their stupid shit or quote the idiotic babbling they write about or preach to churches, we’re doing exactly what they want us to do: Giving them more media to get their word out!
Bryan Fischer, head of the American Family Association and the most bat-shit crazy spokesperson for the Christian fundamentalists, once remarked that he loves the left-wing, conservative watch organization, Right Wing Watch (a subsidiary of People for the American Way) because they choose the exact sound-bites to highlight that he would personally want all the non-believer devil-worshippers should see. Fischer is renowned for making outrageous biblical eisegesis that has resulted in his being expelled from interviews on mainstream news due to his outrageous behavior.
While our community reacts with a wide range of negative emotions toward people like Robertson, Fischer, Scott Lively and a host of others, it’s undeniable that Judeo-Christian ethics has a powerful impact on the culture of America. That impact on young gays and lesbians is implacable, regardless of whether they claim to be Jewish, Christian, Catholic or atheist. It’s the social impact of religious mores that matter to our community and result in inner homophobia.
While there are other nations or communities in Europe that may have strict social conscience based on religious principles, it’s more of an exception than a rule in most continental cultures.
The logical conclusion to wiping out homophobia in North America would be to either pass a law similar to the one now in effect in Canada and most of the other civilized nations of the world, including the European Union, in the form of their hate propaganda law which reads simply as follows:
Section 718.2 of the Criminal Code provides, in part, that "evidence that [an] offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor" is an aggravating circumstance in sentencing considerations.—The Canadian Encyclopedia
Freedom of speech should have limits mostly because the right to advocate violations of protections provided by other laws has no place in a civilized society. If we provide heavy protections for the Jewish community then why would we give equal protections to those who advocate anti-Semitic behavior such as that practiced by Nazi Germany? Free speech should end where it endangers the lives of those it vilifies and no one in the LGBT community can deny that anti-gay hate speech and the lies that have been spawned from this movement have caused serious injuries and countless deaths that were the direct result of hate propaganda.
The second solution is to ignore them. It’s a dangerous position because just leaving them alone is the same as giving them license to lie about our community, cheat their “faithful flock” out of donations, and get their ultimate power thrill out of controlling the minds and actions of millions of people who are hurting from the current economic depression, don’t possess the highest of intellectual minds and just want to find someplace to park their blame for everything. Without our community doing anything to rebuke these self-serving snake oil salesmen, it will be interpreted as guilt by silence.
The current situations in Russia, Uganda, and Nigeria were designed to first and foremost silence the gay and lesbian community by making the dissemination of “gay propaganda” a criminal offense. These new laws and those who passed them, highlight that heterosexuals in those nation are afraid of us more than they hate us, but history has always demonstrated that unenlightened members of the human race fear what they don’t understand.
We can certainly get rid of homophobia, but the first change has to come from within the LGBT community. Until we ourselves reach a state of enlightenment regarding who we are, who we love and what our spiritual beliefs are, or whether or not you choose to even have any spiritual beliefs, we aren’t going to be ready to face the immense task of bullet-proofing ourselves against these petty minds by simply not falling into their traps. We also seem to have forgotten to create a true culture just for the LGBT community. Without it, once we do achieve full equality and we encounter the backlash, much as the African-American community faced after the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964, we will feel even more cut-off than we did prior to the repeal of DADT and DOMA. If they just hand us equality, we really wouldn't know what to do with it.
I know the negative feedback on this essay will probably be high, but sometimes you need to walk up to bee hive very slowly and extract the honey slowly. You might have to take a bee sting or two but that doesn’t make the honey any less sweet.
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