Monday, March 31, 2008

Tutorial: Do You Have a "Homosexual" Spouse?

To any married members in the audience today, I'd like to bring your attention to a very, um, "helpful" piece put out by Focus on the Family. It's an article about recognizing and dealing with having a "homosexual" spouse.

Is it just me or are Focus on the Family's "telltale signs" that you have a "homosexual" spouse really just "telltale signs" that your spouse of any orientation is fucking around on you?


"[t]here are a number of telltale signs that your partner might be struggling with same-sex attraction or having a homosexual affair:

1. Growing emotional distance between you and your spouse
2. Decreased sexual interest in you over time
3. Behavior that does not add up; inconsistencies in details
4. Withdrawn, depressed, moody, outbursts of anger
5. Spend late nights or great amounts of time on the internet
6. Internet web browser history lists unusual sites
7. Preoccupation with physical appearance that has nothing to do with you
8. Eyes meet with those of strangers in public
9. Claims of working long hours at work or periods of unaccounted time
10. Secretive with the cell phone. Looks for incoming calls at odd hours.
11. Becomes defensive when you ask questions about time or whereabouts
12. Unexplained payments on bank statements.
13. Asks about your schedule more than usual
14. Phone records disappear, bank and credit card statements redirected to work address"

I particularly appreciate #8, as it applies to pretty much everyone with working eyeballs.

Christ. How is that actually helpful?

Focus on the Family should really use a gay consultant to write these tutorials. For instance, I'd start by just outright asking my spouse why he was so fucking gay. But then again, that would all be assuming I had a man-spouse. I don't, of course, because I'm a little bit dykey. And therefore, I have a finely attuned sense of gaydar. Some straight people completely lack this 6th sense. And this is where having a gay friend or two would come in handy. If these Focus on the Family types weren't so busy demonizing gay people, we'd be more than happy to let you know that the wifey-poo is a big ol' carpetmuncher. But alas. We are probably too busy buying her drinks at the local watering hole to let you know such things.

Karma's a bitch, ain't it?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Stuff Lesbians Like

I have to share this blog I happened to stumble across. I'm actually pretty jealous that I didn't think of doing this first. Dammit!

It's similar to the Stuff White People Like blog.

Fannie's L Word Season 5 Awards!

Well, another season of The L Word has come and gone. I'd like to commemorate the occasion with some awards. If some of you out there don't watch this show, sorry. Just nod and laugh like you know what's going on.

Best Character


Among other memorable quotes, this woman told a fuckwad guy "I will not continue this conversation with you until you remove the piece of snot that is dangling from your nose." About creepy Adele, she said "Don't listen to her, she wears mom jeans with camel toe."


And yes, Mia Kirshner is foxy.

Best Non-Jenny Quote Award

Runner-Up goes to newbian Molly in the midst of her first lesbian encounter: "Weird. Boobs."

Worst Hair Award

Ironically, this goes to "top hair stylist" Shane. Okay, I know I'm a Midwestern gal, but I don't really find making your hair a perpetual bird's nest to be in any way "cool" or attractive. That Shane, with her Fraggly hair, continued to be a chick magnet was a little out of the range of believable.

The Learning By Osmosis Award

Apparently, just hanging out with a deaf person enables one to learn sign language at a remarkably rapid rate. I'm all for language immersion, and I know Bette is brilliant, but... the L Word gals had an inexplicably stellar command of sign language by the end of the show.

The Who Knew They Were BFFs? Award

Shane and Jodi.

At Jodi's show in the season finale, Shane said to Jodi something along the lines of "I really miss you." A-what? Did I miss the episode where Shane and Jodi even spoke to each other?

The Snob Award

My previously-favorite character Alice turned out to be quite the snob this year. From her judgmental attitude about girlfriend Tasha's military service and security guard job to her implication that trans man Max doesn't belong "in the community," I was highly disappointed in previously-open-minded (Hello, remember when she dated - and mis-gendered - the "male lesbian" Lisa?!) Alice's uppity transformation.

Second Place goes to Bette for being such a stick-in-the-mud at girlfriend Jodi's friends' cabin.

Most Improved Development

Probably the biggest improvement is that the show finally had hints of taking itself less seriously. It was campy at times. It was sometimes funny. And most importantly, it stopped trying to be all things to all people. No show can perfectly cater to all of the diverse members of our community and people are pretty much going to complain no matter what you do. So yeah, give us less breast cancer deaths and more Bette's Angels' vignettes.

The Storyline I Cared Least About

Adele's sinister motives.

Yes, we all saw it coming. Adele was a sneak. The clues were everywhere. Maybe if everyone paid more attention to virtually-ignored-all-season Max you wouldn't have gotten burned. Too bad so sad.

Worst Villain

What's-her-face Dembo. I didn't really care about the fate of "The Planet" or "She-Bar," but this lady was realistic as a jerky, domineering bully. In fact, I think she may be based on someone I used to know.

The Best "Lesson" Award

Kit was angry at someone. Kit bought a gun. Kit was careless with the gun and, as a result, little Angelica almost shot her face off with the gun. Guns are bad.

The Lesson That Never Happened Award

Kit found Angelica holding a gun getting ready to shoot her face off with it. Kit takes the gun from little Angelica and throws it in the dumpster. Tomorrow, some random person could take the gun out of the dumpster, sell the gun, and/or use the gun in a crime and the gun will still be registered in Kit's name. Guns are bad.

The Shut Up and Just Have Sex Award

Bette and Tina.

Get back together, don't get back together. I don't really care. Like many people, you don't realize what you have until it's gone but paradoxically you always seem to want what you don't have, and so you've been doing this dance for 5 years now. I, for one, am bored with that storyline.

In the future, your screen time should be devoted to building up sexual tension where the audience thinks "maybe they will, maybe they won't" and ends with you engaging in some sort of emotionally-laden taboo sex scenario that ends with simultaneous orgasms. Is that too much to ask?

Did I miss any awards?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

In the "Just Keep Telling Yourself That" Category

In the words of "ex-gay" John Smid:

"I'm sorry, but my wife's vagina is enough. I'm going to be honest. It's enough. It is enough for me. If it is not enough for me, then that's my problem. You know, I really have to be honest about that. God created her for my fit, he created that and I need to honor and respect my wife. I need to respect that."

Apparently, he's recently stepped down from his position at "ex-gay" group "Love in Action."

Shocking. I know.

Shoutout to John, for bringing this to my attention, and for affirming that straight men don't usually need to convince themselves of the, erm,... adequacy of their wive's vaginas.

A "Concerned" Man Tutorial

Anti-feminists today are up in arms about the advances women have made in society. Because for so long men controlled the public sphere, these anti-feminists decry how women's entry into the public sphere is "ruining everything." Recently, a couple of men have voiced strong concerns about the dangers of feminism. (Yes, there are a few more than two men who are "Concerned" about feminism, but I'm taking two extreme cases). One of them argued that women entering a certain profession would destroy society. The other man was "concerned" that women entering any profession causes depression in women.

I know. These positions aren't popular in our nation today. Even those who preface their arguments with "I'm not a feminist or anything, but [insert feminist argument]" are able to recognize valid feminist points like "women are people too." In fact, it's probably pretty tough being a regressive hater of equality these days.

Where in the world could one look for inspiration, for a guide on how to keep women in their place? Where could we possibly look for a shining model on how to integrate fundamentalist religion with government while using the correct gender-conservative ideals declaring that each gender has a proscribed place in society?

Why, Iraq, of course! Although women in Iraq have more rights than women in some neighboring countries, conservatism, religious fundamentalism, and anti-feminism are still largely responsible for the oppression of women. And then, of course, you add the occupation of our military there and you get a ginormous clusterfuck of female oppression.

Grab your slates and chalk fellas, and let's take a look at how "real men" oppress women.

1. "Education harms women."

In Iraq, the government passed laws in 1979 to eradicate illiteracy. Women were allowed to go "literacy centers." Some conservative sectors, however, did not allow "their" women to go to these centers. Nonetheless, "the literacy gap between males and females narrowed" and women achieved literacy rates of 75% in 1987.

Due to a combination of conservative religious ideals being incorporated into policy and limited family resources that resulted in families only being able to send their boys to school, the number of women in 2000 who were literate dropped to 25%.
In other words, gender equality with regard to literacy regressed over time. In addition, since the US invasion of Iraq, Iraqi women report that there is less respect for women than previously as women are thought of as "possessions" who aren't able to attend school. Real men, it seems, invade other countries under the guise of protecting women from oppressive regimes only to foster an environment where women are further oppressed.

Close your eyes and think real hard to your own fundamentalist God, anti-feminists, these "gains" could someday be achieved in the US too! All we have to do is marry your own unique brand of fundamentalist religion and anti-equality principles with our laws. (Although I suppose that would be some sort of polygamy, but as long as two of those three concepts are female you're okay with that right?)

Anyway, like a wise man once said: Give me theocracy or give me death!

Oh, but I bet if someone did a study, these Iraqi women might be depressed too. So let me know, are you at all "concerned" that anti-feminism harms women?

2. "Women don't really want to work."

In Iraq, where women don't have the same education and career options as we do in the US, women whose husbands have died because of the imperial war that "our" men have waged have turned to prostitution in order to feed themselves and their children.

Thanks to the "women belong in the home" argument that doesn't take into account the fact that maybe just maybe a man will die without leaving his wife enough money to support the family, sex is the only thing women can bring to the market when they no longer have husbands.

Just think, anti-feminists, in a world where women "aren't willing to work outside the home," maybe we can have even more women forced into prostitution by their unfortunate economic circumstances than we currently have.

And while we're talking about sex, maybe anti-feminists would be in favor of rape during times of war. Since women are useful as male possessions only as far as they are sexually and reproductively available to men, the rape of a women can be used as weapons of war like in Iraq where the rape of a woman harms the honor of the woman's owner. (Poor guy.) Think of the possibilities for world domination!

Oh, but I bet if someone did a study, these women might be depressed too. But the burning question I have is this: Are you still "concerned"?

3. "Title IX ruins everything for men."

In Iraq, "as the economy constricted, in an effort to ensure employment for men the government pushed women out of the labor force and into more traditional roles in the home." From 1998 to 2000, the government dismissed most females working in governmental agencies and put restrictions on women working outside the home. Women's were no longer free to travel and schools were required to provide single-sex education only, reflecting tribal and religious tradition.

Title IX is the supposed bane of male sports' existence in colleges all across America because sometimes mens' programs are cut "because of women." Some men are now scared that some people will use Title IX to promote equality in male-dominated professions. This too, of course, will lead to the destruction of society.

All men who want to play sports should be guaranteed to be able to play sports, just like every man who wants to be a scientist should get to be one. Such an outcome could easily be produced once our government passes restrictions similar to Iraq's relegating women to the home. With these restrictions in place, women will no longer "want" to go to college, play sports, or have careers.

Just consider it an affirmative-action program for men. And with men completely in charge of everything in the public sphere that matters, what could possibly go wrong? Even though gender integration is vital to marriage because the sexes supposedly "complement each other," gender segregation is completely necessary in the public sphere for... um... some reason.

Oh... but if someone conducted a study, women with only one life option may find that they, too, are depressed. So, one last time, anti-feminists, are you still "concerned" about depression in women? Or is all your "concerned man" blustering really about trying to get your place back at the head of all that matters in the world?

As you can see, I don't think it's quite accurate to say, as some anti-feminists do, that women aren't willing to work, that education harms women, and that the advances women have made in education and career due to feminism has resulted in female depression. Nor do I think that these advances are harming society or will lead to its destruction. The only thing it is harming is (dare I say this word that will, in the eyes of anti-feminists, automatically discredit everything else I say) the patriarchy. (Dun-dun-dun!)

Men have been taking responsibility for society as a whole essentially forever. Doing so means that they have also been restricting women's access to education and work throughout history and culture. In essence, this restriction forces women to cede power to men and then trust men to always do the right thing with this power. It asks women to trust men to not abuse them, to not be controlling with money, to not rape them, to make enough money on his own to support the family (something that is sometimes beyond his control), and to make all the right personal, familial, and occupational decisions.

The "women belong in the home" argument is another way of saying that all women should surrender their power and let men "protect" them. In theory, male protection sounds benign. How noble, some think. In reality, though, we know that not all men are worthy of being entrusted with this power and some (most?) women want more than one life choice. (Blogger BetaCandy articulately discusses the protection myth here.)

In a perfect world, men would be perfect. But that will never happen. And that's why anti-feminists need to stop advocating for policies that treat the world as though all men live up to this noble ideal of manhood and perfection. "Patriarchy does not work as advertised," and anti-feminists should realize that most thinking people see them for the used-car salesmen they are.

Why do some people still think that out of all the billions of human beings that exist in this world, we all need to live exactly the same way- with men holding power over women? In fact, I'd say it's pretty selfish to insist that everyone in the entire universe must live the same way you desire to live.

It is unbelievable to me, in fact, that people in our country are still suggesting otherwise. Okay, it's not. I suppose there will always be people in every society seeking to maintain categorical privileges and telling us that we better regress back to some mythical Golden Era where everything was how it should be or we will face the Total Destruction of Society (tm).

And to them, I can only say this: How dare you (a) seek to limit my life options under the guise of protection and (b) wage an imperial war in the name of "freedom" and under the guise of "freeing women from oppressive regimes." By doing all of those things, you are actually harming women far more than you are helping them.

Are you at all "concerned" about that?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Play Me a Tiny Violin, Part II

So, I was reading through some of the friend of the court briefs in the California marriage equality case and I came across the following argument put forth by the group "Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH)," "Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (P-FOX)," and "Evergreen International:"

"Ruling that gays and lesbians are an immutable oppressed class unnecessarily stigmatizes the small minority of Californians who have changed their self-understanding of their orientation."

[...Pause while I'm mulling that over...]

To me, that sorta just looks like a fancy-shmancy way of saying that if the California court holds that being gay is an unchangeable characteristic, ex-gays might think that maybe deep down they are still a little bit gay. Or that maybe, just maybe, the court would arrive at a conclusion that ex-gayness does not really exist.

Such an outcome, of course, would be disastrous to the ex-gay industry.

How does "JONAH" and company "prove" their argument? By providing a single testimonial of one man who writes about how his religion helped him not be gay anymore.


I'm sorry, but I have trouble feeling sympathy for those who voluntarily participate in a movement whose fundamental thesis is that being gay is something "wrong" that needs to be changed. So, if JONAH wants to talk about "stigma," let's talk about how the ex-gay industry stigmatizes all gay people because they use testimonies of some "ex-gays" to make implications about all gay people. If some people "can change," the arguments goes, then all gay people can change. And further, it's some sort of "moral failure" if those of us who do not want to or cannot change do not change. Right? In other words, the ex-gay industry's premises are that gay people are unnatural, diseased, and immoral. Now that is stigma. Forgive me for failing to conjure up sympathy for ex-gays who are part of a movement to stigmatize me.

Weapon of Mass Projection much?

And let's also talk about how the entire ex-gay movement is nothing but quackery that has been discredited and disavowed by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and 10 other mainstream medical, health, and mental health organizations because homosexuality is not a disorder, "reparative therapy" often does more harm than good, and because such "therapy" is unproven and unscientific.

And from a strategical standpoint, in the context of an environment that (wrongly, I believe) makes the immutability of gayness a necessary condition for the receipt of equal rights, to make the argument that "the immutability of sexual orientation oppresses ex-gays" sort of prevents gay people from advocating for equal rights.

What a convenient Catch-22. Gay people only deserve equal rights if gayness is immutable. If gay people argue that gayness is immutable and advocate for equal rights on that basis, they are oppressing ex-gays. If they don't advocate for equal rights, they won't get equal rights.

It is for that reason that I think the ex-gay industry won't be satisfied until we're all living in a cookie-cutter world where gay people no longer exist, or if they do we shut up about it and live quietly in sin.

Oh yeah... one more thing. Disregarding for a moment what the professional organizations say about ex-gay "therapy," my own personal thought is this: If you have to try so fuckin' hard not to be gay that you need workshops, treatment, and counseling to get over it, girl, you're probably always going to be a little bit gay.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I am a Concerned Man for America

Recently, I read an articulate blog post explaining how sexism and misogyny harms men as well as women. It is worth a read and, I agree with most, perhaps all, of what Portly says.

In a nutshell, she argues that "one of the tragedies of sexism for men in our culture" is "the abrogation of their right to 'have a heart' -- a full-range emotional body" while also acknowledging that men generally have privilege over women. In a world with strict gender roles, roles that anti-feminists are desperately trying to maintain, women and men may only act and feel in certain prescribed ways. That's why, even though men- as human beings- experience the entire range of humanly emotions (including so-called "female" ones):

"They can't express [their emotions] without looking like a woman. Which, in a sexist, misogynist society, would be a bad thing. A thing that loses you jobs, and gets you called 'pussy', and 'mangina', and subjects you to suggestions that you 'sit to pee' -- which would all be BAD, because being anything like a woman/female human is BAD."

Let's sit back and observe this in play:

Recently, legendary quarterback Brett Favre announced his retirement from the NFL. During his speech, he cried. Of Favre's crying, right-wing commentator Laura Ingraham said this:

"All these years and I didn't know there was a woman quarterback in the NFL.... [H]e gets up there and he does this press conference that was frankly one of the most embarrassing things I have ever seen."

Implicit in Ingraham's statement are several ideas:

1. Real men don't cry.

2. It's an insult to a man to possess "womanly" qualities.

3. When even one of the macho-est men playing the macho-est sport in the world crosses the line into womanly emotion, someone will step up and immediately emasculate him.

And thus, it's people like Ingraham who constantly remind us that just as men can be feminists, women can be anti-feminists. But more to the point, she shows us how anti-feminism harms men as well as women. For, let's now reflect back on conservative Dennis Prager's recent article touting the high rates of depression among women. In a society where men are ridiculed for showing any strong emotion other than rage, would it be reasonable to expect men to regularly seek treatment for depression? No. Real men, of course, do not acknowledge the sad "womanly" thoughts they are having But because men are reluctant to express emotion or to seek counseling, it is thought that male depression is severely under-diagnosed. And, what strikes me as profoundly sad, men who are depressed often channel their depression into domestic violence, anger, and/or substance abuse. I wonder if Mr. Prager took all this into account when he declared that women were more depressed than men and that he knew what was causing it all.

I don't claim to know what causes depression in men (or women for that matter). But what I do know, from looking at the statistics, is that when men are depressed they are less likely to report it, talk about it, or seek treatment for it. And that situation is a result of constricting gender roles that call men who cry "pussies" and "women" (with the implication that being "woman-like" is a bad thing).

Anti-feminists don't talk about this because their ideology depends on their need to maintain gender roles. If men and women are inherently and substantially different, anti-feminists may continue asserting arguments like: Women belong in the home, Men are naturally suited for leadership, and marriage requires a man and a woman because the "sexes" are "complementary." They look at the human race and make sweeping generalizations about all of us ("Women don't like to work," "Men are unemotional," "Women are passive") instead of recognizing the reality that not all men are x and now all women are y.

After all, if we are all just humans rather than Very Important Men with Breadwinning Husbandly and Fatherly Roles and Very Important Women with Compassionate Wifely and Motherly Roles, there would be little basis for denying gay couples the right to marry or for denying gay couples the right to raise children. There would be little basis in denying women the right to work outside the home. And, people like Laura Ingraham would have no basis for calling men who cry "women."

It's too bad that gender role identity politics too often prevents so many men from being able to live as full human beings in the world. I say that in all sincerity.

So that's why I propose we start a group for men called Concerned Men for America. (Hey, if a bunch of guys can run the Concerned Women for America, why can't I start a similar group for men?)

Step 1?

All men in the group must dress in drag (preferably in a passable way) for one week and report back.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Anti-Feminism: Affirmative Action for Men

Look here, another WorldNetDaily man telling us all how bad feminism has been for women! To make a long illogical rant short, columnist Dennis Prager is claiming that feminism has caused women to have higher rates of depression than men because it has raised their expectations but because they're women, they can never meet these higher expectations.

His authority in making such a claim?

"As one who regularly talks to women, and about men and women, on my radio show and who has informally counseled women of all ages, I would like to offer some explanations that may run counter to currently acceptable ones, but which should shed light on the subject."

Who doesn't "regularly" talk to women? Using that standard, pretty much everyone is qualified to come up with an "explanation" as to why women are depressed.

And, oh, so he talks about men and women on his radio show? So, in other words, he does more talking to men and women than talking with them? You know, I regularly talk about men and women on my blog, but I think it would be pretty delusional of me to diagnosis the cause of depression in an entire population based on my bloggings.

But wait, he does ("informally") counsel women too! So, he pretty much admits that he's not a professional and is no more qualified to be speaking about the topic of "depression in women" than the average person on the street.

Using his lax standards of authority and "expertise" why should any of us accept his explanation over anyone else's? Because he has a column on WorldNutDaily?


Now that that's all clear, when I hear claims by "concerned" men such as Prager that feminism harms women, I can only laugh. For, while Prager is busy trying with all his might to convince us that it's in the best interest of women to go back to being barefoot and in the kitchen, if he really truly cared about us he would be pushing for policies that supported working families. But instead he's telling us that feminism was a lie: women can't have it all.

Unfortunately for Prager, he reveals what it is about feminism that makes his nuts shrivel a little bit: Many women today have life aspirations that go beyond nabbing a good man.

As he explains,

"It was hard enough for women in the past to realize their far fewer expectations of marrying a good man and making a happy family."

You see, women could barely manage finding a man. What made them get the preposterous notion in their heads that they could do more than that? Teh Feminism. Women, you see, are just not cut out to work outside the home (People still think this?! Raise the roof, 1800s in the house!!). And besides, work is just way more important to men then it is to women:

"The greater importance of work to men is also manifested in their willingness to work many more hours than women."

Or, maybe women are better at time management than men are. Or, perhaps, women can't afford babysitters while they work long overtime hours. Or, maybe just maybe, when women get home from work they are busy doing more housework than their male partners, something that certainly constitutes "work." Anti-feminist men like Prager, men whose life mission is to put women in their place, only perpetuate the so-called "gender wars" by insisting that they know what's best for women contrary to our own inclinations.

But wait, Prager acknowledges this:

"To make things even worse for many women, not only are most women not finding their careers nearly as fulfilling as they had been led to expect, they rarely find the demands of home life lessened much. Now, many women experience double the pressure – having to succeed in jobs outside of the home and, as much as ever, inside the home."

Let's see if anywhere in his article Prager says "Gee, that's too bad, men should pitch in more around the house so women won't have to juggle housework and career work and, therefore, won't be depressed." Nope. The fact that (some) men don't help with housework is also the fault of feminism:

"The feminist promise that everything in their marriage will be 50-50 – each partner will do half the outside work, half the housework, and half the child rearing – has rarely panned out. Most men will work their tails off outside the home, but won't inside the home."

Now, is the fact that "men won't work inside the home" the fault of men or the fault of feminists? If Prager was as concerned for the plight of women as he claims to be, he would encourage his male readers to pitch in around the house. But in his mind, it's just a given that women would continue doing the housework (in addition to their career work) while men bring home the real bacon. But he solves that little problem by implying that women should just stop having careers. See, problem solved (for him anyway).

Less women in the public sphere, after all, means less competition for ignorant, small-minded, simple-minded men like Prager. Anti-feminist advocacy is sort of like advocating for affirmative action for dumb men. Why do you think there are so many men opposed to equality over at Concerned Women for America and WorldNutDaily?

Anyway, as a career-woman, I must say that I feel pretty fulfilled with life and not depressed at all. In fact, had my only life option been to marry a man and raise "his" children, I'm pretty sure I would have ended up suffering from the same type of affliction ambitious women without options (like Jane Addams) suffered from. But I have had many options in life, and whether true or not, I did grow up believing I could be anything I wanted to be. And I did.

In reality, as opposed to Prager's small mind, one study "found that having a feminist partner was linked to healthier heterosexual relationships for women. Men with feminist partners also reported both more stable relationships and greater sexual satisfaction. According to these results, feminism does not predict poor romantic relationships, in fact quite the opposite." Interesting. I, for one, certainly put more stock in a study than in Prager's unsubstantiated railing against feminism.

Yeah, I know, I'm a dyke. But don't the voices of those of us who are extremely grateful for feminism matter, Dennis? Aren't we woman too? Cuz you sure as hell aren't.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Deep" Thought #6: Feminists Are Ugly

Following anti-feminist Fitz's article lambasting Title IX, one of his fellow bloggers named "Marty" chimed in with the brilliant "feminists are ugly" retort: "Heh, I hate to sound so sexist but google [the feminist in question's] picture. It pretty much explains everything." [Insert high five to Fitz].

At this juncture, I must quickly note that whenever anyone precedes their sentence with "I hate to sound sexist/racist/offensive but" you should pretty much just brace yourself for them being exactly that. It's as though some people think that qualifying their sentence beforehand erases the sexist/racist/offensive quality to whatever they're about to say.

It doesn't.

Now that that's settled, let's examine Marty's sexist statement and the Opine responses to it.

Does anyone else find it odd (and creepy) that Marty immediately ran a Google image search on this feminist? How, exactly, is a woman's appearance in any way relevant to her argument? How does her appearance "explain everything" about her arguments? Oh, right, feminists are ugly. In the minds of anti-feminists, women can only seek to be the equal of men if they are ugly, hairy, and can't get men, or are sort of "tranny"-looking. More on that to come. Right Marty?

But more to the point of the Opine blog, which claims to "defend marriage on the firm ground of reason and respect for human dignity," how can Marty's comment even be considered a substantive or respectful counter-argument?

In fact, when my "special friend" Hammerpants asked the important question as to whether "it's a valid retort to a woman's argument to imply that she's ugly," the Opine apologists came out in full force.

For, not a one of these "family values" men saw anything wrong with denigrating the appearance of a woman with whom they disagree. All's fair in hate and bigotry, I suppose.

The "Chairm" character did show a willingness to delete comments in this thread. Unfortunately, he only deleted one of Jane Know's. Wow, she certainly must've said something way worse than denigrating the appearance of a woman, right fellas? It's interesting that Chairm, who is so very concerned with deleting comments that lack "substantive content" and that include "petty insults," said nothing about Marty's comment.

If I wasn't so amused by this hypocrisy I would almost be angry. But wait, it gets better!

Woman-Against-Feminism and Expert on Gender Relations and "Coitus" Renee, in fact, said that Marty's comment was okay because, you see, what men and women do is judge each other's appearance. Debate coaches everywhere take note: Because straight people have a complex mating dance based on physical appearance, it is now valid to dismiss an argument of the opposite sex on the basis of said appearance! Of course, this was all after Marty chimed in to clarify his earlier comment by delving into whether "the chick" is a "transexual" or just a "butch lesbian" 'cuz seriously dude just look at her *har har har*.

If these are the "family values" of those who claim to "defend marriage," it's no surprise that they're a dying breed. If mocking the appearance of women constitutes "respect for human dignity" I want none of it.

Not to mention the fact that it's superficial, hypocritical men like these who make all women just a little bit lezbo. (Except, I suppose, certain women who are opposed to feminism because they crave those pats on the head from the men in their lives).

Respect for human dignity my dyke ass.

You Get Down With Your Bad Self, GOP!

Well folks, it looks like it's gonna be rich, white, heterosexual man John McCain in an historic bid for the presidency versus either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. You know those Republicans, always on the cutting edge of progress!

But... are we ready for this?

Pressing questions we all must be asking at this juncture include:

Will McCain's core base of rich white men and Nascar dads be enough to ensure victory?

How will white and male identity politics play into the race?

Will men be able to separate the issues from their gender? How many men will vote for McCain just because he's a man?

Will white people be able to separate the issues from their race? How many white people will vote for McCain just because he's white?

How will McCain play the gender and/or race card to his advantage?

Is John McCain too unemotional to be president?

Does John McCain have too much testosterone-fueled rage to be president?

How will John McCain handle the moments he is president and has an erection?

What will John McCain wear, and will he ever cry during the race and/or the presidency?

How will male pundits react to the novelty of a male presidential candidate? How will they characterize his voice?

Will they critique McCain's appearance and outfits?

How will McCain handle the assumption that, by virtue of his gender alone, he is fit to be Commander-in-Chief?

Only time will tell.

Let's make history, USA!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sally Kern: Hate Speech Apologist

A few days ago, Sally Kern issued a press release regarding her recent less-than-stellar comments about gay people

Kern has not and probably will not apologize for her accidentally-leaked anti-gay tirade. Rather, she justified her words and accused the LGBT community of censorship (for leaking the tirade? LOL). All this demonstrates that we still have a long way to go with regard to LGBT discrimination.

But we sorta knew that already didn't we?

And now, may I present Sally Kern's recent hate speech apology justification:

"To put this simply, as a Christian I believe homosexuality is not moral. Obviously, you have the right as an American to choose that lifestyle, but I also have the right to express my views and my fellow Oklahomans have the right to debate these issues."

On the issue of right of expression, we agree. We all have that right. That being said, if one says asinine things like "not all religions are equal" and "gay people are worse than terrorists," one can expect to get called out on it. It's my right to express outrage at your asinine comments. See how that works? You can keep saying it, in fact, all you want Sally Kern. But don't expect me to silently absorb the abuse.

"In recent years homosexual activists have begun to aggressively promote their agenda through the political process, often providing substantial financing to candidates who agree with their views, including many running for state legislative races."

This is an odd statement. Here we have a politician acting outraged at the fact that gay people are "using the political process," as is our right as Americans to do, to promote equality. Would she rather we advocate for overthrowing the government? Does she want us to act out in violence? That would hardly be appropriate.

Along those lines, don't people on all sides of any issue seek to finance candidates who share their views and run for state legislative races? Isn't that the agenda of pretty much every interest group, including Christian groups? Isn't that our right as Americans? Or do those on the "other side" of Sally Kern no longer have that right? Or, maybe it's like the claim that black people are playing identity politics when they vote for a candidate based on his or her position on affirmative action, but when white fundamentalist Christians turn out en mass for Mike Huckabee it's just politics as usual.

"National publications such as Time, The Atlantic and USA Today have noted that trend."
Let me re-iterate: So what? Everyone does that. It's our right as Americans to be part of the political process. To suggest anything otherwise, in fact, would be blatantly un-American, Congresswoman. You aren't advocating for intentionally disenfranchising people from the political process are you?

"That is their right,"
Is it? Do you really think that? If so, why have just spent the last few minutes lambasting us for using that "right."

"Just as it is my right to voice opposition to their agenda, which I have been asked to do at several public forums in recent months. That's what democracy is all about. It appears some homosexual activists believe only one group is allowed a voice in this debate. I disagree."

So, let me get this straight. Sally Kern wants to promote hateful lies and stereotypes about gay people. At the same time, Sally Kern doesn't think it's right for gay people to promote their "agenda" using the political process. She acknowledges that they have the right to do so, but she has the right to say they shouldn't do so even though they do have the right to do so. Whew! She almost had me convinced for a minute that I had a right to be part of the political process!

And then, when gay people respond in outrage, Sally Kern characterizes such a response as "the homos don't want me to speak" and accuses us of disenfranchising her. She claims that we are censoring her even though her central claim is that we should shut up about our abominable lifestyles and quest for equality. Wow. Weapon of Mass Projection much?

"A vigorous debate on an issue is not 'hate speech' – it's free speech."

True, but what you said about gay people were lies. Lies about an entire group of people are hate speech and it is reprehensible that you are characterizing such lies as "debate" under the banner of "free speech." You are free to lie, but please don't seek to dishonestly take away my rights in the name of "freedom." And, until you change your "debate" strategy from dishonesty to honesty, it is clear that you are not seeking a vigorous debate.

"I have made clear my opposition to the agenda of homosexual activists, but I have never endorsed or supported any hateful action targeting individuals on the other side of this debate and never will."

You personally haven't. But at the same time, your words, cloaked as they are with your position of authority and "leadership," in the mind of someone itching to commit physical or spiritual violence against a gay person justifies their actions. And for that you will be responsible. See, Sally, how it works is you can say whatever you want in this free country. But just realize that even though we have free speech, we all eventually pay external costs for that speech in the form of hate crimes, violence, and inequality. So yes, say what you want with all the hate in your heart that you can muster. But when you do so, we will call you out for having the blood of the next Lawrence King on your hands.

"The fact that many gay rights activists claim anyone opposing their agenda is engaging in 'hate speech' says more about them than me."

Oppose gay people without lying about us and saying that there is something inherently wrong with us and you will not be charged with hate speech. Simple really. The fact that you continue to lie and make generalizations about all gay people in the history of the universe and show no absolutely no remorse over doing so, says more about you than it does about anyone else. Unfortunately for you, you are going to be remembered for being on the wrong side of history. Stick that in your Bible belt.

"Most Oklahomans are socially conservative and believe marriage is a sacred institution, the union of one man and one woman, and that the traditional family is worth protecting and preserving. When I campaigned for office, I promised my constituents to stand up for those values, and I do not apologize for keeping my word."

So now we went from verbally bashing gay people to talking about how Oklahomans are conservative and opposed to marriage equality? If I were an Okie conservative, I would be profoundly embarrassed and ashamed that you purported to speak for me and, worse, that you justified your hate speech by the opposition to marriage equality.

If lying, lack of remorse for committing spiritual violence, and perpetuating stereotypes about an entire group of people are "traditional values," those are not values with which I want to be associated. And, I gather, nor do most Americans.

Shame on you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

California Marriage Case Summary

For those of you interested in the marriage equality debate, I would encourage you to read former City of Berkeley Attorney Manuela Albuquerque's article summarizing the arguments made in the California Supreme Court's pending decision in the state's marriage equality case. (The truly ambitious can listen to the oral arguments here.) As a brief recap, the Court is currently deciding the constitutionality of an amendment to California's civil code restricting marriage to a man and woman. California does allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. A decision is expected in the next 90 days or so.

Maybe I've just been reading too many bigots lately, but what I found refreshing is that the California justices appear willing to recognize illogical thinking when it is presented to them by opponents of marriage equality.

I have heard pretty much every argument against allowing gay people to get married. And ultimately, stripped down to their core, all of the arguments rely on easily-identifiable logical fallacies. Unfortunately, laypeople, the masses, and those who are bigots are often not able to recognize this thinking for what it is. Blinded by their bigotry, they accept this faulty thinking as legitimate.

Unless judges and justices are also blinded by bigotry, legal scholars (and heck, those with even an elementary understanding of logic) are easily able to see an argument (or lack thereof) for what it is. Unfortunately, when judges recognize the illogical thought processes that form discriminatory marriage laws, the right-wing propaganda machine derides them as "activist judges" subverting the "will of the people."

Now, I know I'm not the only one who has issues with constitutional issues being decided by bigoted and misinformed masses. And really, all the "will of the people" argument is at its core is the fallacy of an appeal to the masses, or "might makes right." Just because many people believe in something, it doesn't make it right or true.

Elementary, right?

Unfortunately not, for some people.

As noted in Albuquerque's article, the justices pointed out the oft-used appeal to tradition fallacy in the following argument that the state advanced: "Marriage has always been between a man and a woman. Therefore, marriage between two people of the same sex is wrong."

Ms. Albuquerque reports:

"'But we’ve always done it this way' is, of course, not a constitutional defense and the Attorney General seemed almost embarrassed to be making this argument, especially when various justices pointed out that many illegal discriminatory practices including treating women as property in marriage, saying women were not qualified to do most jobs, permitting marital rape and prohibiting interracial marriages also had a long tradition."

Tellingly, as law professor Douglas NeJaime notes:

"The state entities were not willing to argue that the marriage restriction is reasonable to further responsible procreation, to provide an optimum environment for rearing children, or to protect or promote marriage between different-sex couples."

Arguments of the "responsible procreation" ilk would have damaged the state's case against marriage equality for at least two reasons: (1) Most people can recognize that these arguments are nothing but less lazy ways of circularly stating that two people of the same sex cannot get married because marriage isn't for people of the same sex; and (2) These arguments directly contradict the argument that "gay people already have domestic partnerships so they don't need marriage."

That the "responsible procreation" arguments would hurt the state's case didn't, of course, stop private social conservative groups from submitting their own such arguments to the court. And, it will be a humorous note of irony if these groups end up damning the state's case! NeJaime continues:

"The private entities presented arguments that even the most conservative justices found specious, including, for instance, the notion that the marriage restriction is necessary to ensure integration of the sexes. The private entities also presented a view of marriage as a universal, invaluable status and as vital to families and children. This stood in stark contrast to the state’s attempt to minimize the symbolic differences between marriage and domestic partnership. Indeed, after the Campaign for California Families’ presentation on the significance of marriage, Justice Chin, half in jest, asked the San Francisco Deputy City Attorney, 'Did he just make your argument for you?'"

On the one hand, the state essentially argued that current California laws allowing same-sex domestic partnerships are, for most intents and purposes, the same as laws that allow opposite-sex couples to marry. (That's not true, but that's another blog topic). And therefore, same-sex couples do not require marriage. And yet, private groups opposed to marriage equality went and argued the contradictory stance that marriage is a sacred status above other forms of partnerships (and it is one that only opposite-sex couples should be able to enjoy). The state's argument depended on the notion that marriage is not any more special than domestic partnerships while the private groups' arguments depended on the notion that marriage is more special.

Of course, the first part of that argument "that marriage is special" is exactly what marriage equality activists have been basing their discrimination complaints on for years. So yeah, the private groups did sort of make the marriage equality advocates' argument for them.

So, um, thanks.

To end, Ms. Albuquerque predicts that the California justices will find the marriage restriction to violate the California Constitution. At the same time, she notes:

"It is quite possible that the opinion will be unanimous because the three remaining justices are having analytical difficulty finding a conceptual rationale to uphold the opposite-sex restriction even though, from their questions, it appears that they are troubled at the prospect of striking it down." [emphasis mine]

The trouble, I suspect, will come from the inevitable anti-gay backlash and "activist judge" labeling that will occur when this law is overturned even though there is no good legal or analytical argument for upholding the discriminatory law under California precedent. As Ms. Albuquerque notes, it is a fundamental right in California for a person to be able to marry the person of his or her choice. I emphasized that last part because that qualifier does not allow for this argument: "Gay people already have an equal right to get married. They just have to marry someone of the opposite sex." To deny a gay person the right to marry the person of his or her choice is, without question, a denial of this fundamental right.

I'm looking forward to this decision and the justices' reasoning process whatever way this case turns out. It will be a case study, I think, in appeasing ignorant masses versus doing what is right, fair, and constitutional.

Many will agree that these marriage cases continue to define the role of the judiciary in our political system. Do you believe that the role of the judiciary is to merely rubber stamp the will of the masses (who may be misinformed and/or bigoted?) If so, how is that a check on tyranny of the majority? And accordingly, would it be proper to put every constitutional right up for popular vote? Why have a judiciary in such a system?

In light of constitutional principles, separation of powers, the judicial oaths of office, and equal rights, the judiciary should never exist merely to sanction the popular biases of the day. And if the masses don't like that, they can always change the rules in the middle of the game by passing constitutional amendments, thereby telling the world that Americans don't believe in equality quite as much as they say they do.

Friday, March 14, 2008

This Just In: Men Lack Free Will!

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, on New York governor Eliot Spitzer:

"When the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings, sexually, personally, to make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success, to make him feel like her hero, he's very susceptible to the charm of some other woman making him feel what he needs."

Basically, apologists like for poor male behavior blame everyone but the man for his dishonest behavior. When women don't pay enough attention to their men, they push their men away into the arms of another women who lures him in. He just can't help it. He's like a pinball being battered around in a machine of women's wants. All this, of course, begs the question: If men are so utterly not responsible for their actions, why are they fit for world domination?

But anyway...

Does "Dr" Laura's conception of men offend any guys out there. She's sort of basically saying that men are overgrown man-boys who are ruled by their self-absorbed need for attention and ever-present desire to fuck? And that, the man has no free will to do the honorable thing and, oh, maybe talk to his wife about marital problems?

It's like a perpetrator of domestic violence telling his battered spouse "you made me do it!"

Thanks for today's "lesson," Doc.

PS- Is anyone else wondering what's taking David Vitter so long to resign?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

1. I love Ellen DeGeneres.

After hearing about Sally Kern's anti-gay tirade, Ellen attempted to call her on her television show. Leaving Kern a message, Ellen said this:

"Hi! It's Ellen DeGeneres.... The gay one. I just want to talk to you because I feel like I could clear some things up. So give me a call. I'm here usually [points to studio] and soon I'll be at the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament [audience laughs]. That's if it doesn't conflict with the women's basketball games that I go to. [more laughing]"

I love her foray into standing up to bigotry!

2. The comparison that Sally Kern made between homosexuality and terrorism was an act of spiritual violence to all gay people. But more than that, it is profoundly disrespectful to real victims of terror. Of all places in our country, comparisons to terrorism should not be made lightly or carelessly in Oklahoma.

When I was in Oklahoma City last spring for the Women's College World Series [insert laughter], I visited the memorial for these victims of real terrorism. Seeing the rows of chairs representing each victim, including the little ones for children, I was moved to tears.

Reading the following letter from one teenager, I was again moved to tears because of the tragedy. This teenager has a firmer grasp on reality than a much older (but not wiser) politician.
Via Pam's House Blend, I am re-posting the following letter written by high school student Tucker who lost his mother in the Oklahoma City bombing.

"Rep Kern:

On April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City a terrorist detonated a bomb that killed my mother and 167 others. 19 children died that day. Had I not had the chicken pox that day, the body count would've likely have included one more. Over 800 other Oklahomans were injured that day and many of those still suffer through their permanent wounds.

That terrorist was neither a homosexual or was he involved in Islam. He was an extremist Christian forcing his views through a body count. He held his beliefs and made those who didn't live up to them pay with their lives.

As you were not a resident of Oklahoma on that day, it could be explained why you so carelessly chose words saying that the homosexual agenda is worst than terrorism. I can most certainly tell you through my own experience that is not true. I am sure there are many people in your voting district that laid a loved one to death after the terrorist attack on Oklahoma City. I kind of doubt you'll find one of them that will agree with you.

I was five years old when my mother died. I remember what a beautiful, wise, and remarkable woman she was. I miss her. Your harsh words and misguided beliefs brought me to tears, because you told me that my mother's killer was a better person than a group of people that are seeking safety and tolerance for themselves.

As someone left motherless and victimized by terrorists, I say to you very clearly you are absolutely wrong.

You represent a district in Oklahoma City and you very coldly express a lack of love, sympathy or understanding for what they've been through. Can I ask if you might have chosen wiser words were you a real Oklahoman that was here to share the suffering with Oklahoma City? Might your heart be a bit less cold had you been around to see the small bodies of children being pulled out of rubble and carried away by weeping firemen?

I've spent 12 years in Oklahoma public schools and never once have I had anyone try to force a gay agenda on me. I have seen, however, many gay students beat up and there's never a day in school that has went by when I haven't heard the word **** slung at someone. I've been called gay slurs many times and they hurt and I am not even gay so I can just imagine how a real gay person feels. You were a school teacher and you have seen those things too. How could you care so little about the suffering of some of your students?

Let me tell you the result of your words in my school. Every openly gay and suspected gay in the school were having to walk together Monday for protection. They looked scared. They've already experienced enough hate and now your words gave other students even more motivation to sneer at them and call them names. Afterall, you are a teacher and a lawmaker, many young people have taken your words to heart. That happens when you assume a role of responsibility in your community. I seriously think before this week ends that some kids here will be going home bruised and bloody because of what you said.

I wish you could've met my mom. Maybe she could've guided you in how a real Christian should be acting and speaking.

I have not had a mother for nearly 13 years now and wonder if there were fewer people like you around, people with more love and tolerance in their hearts instead of strife, if my mom would be here to watch me graduate from high school this spring. Now she won't be there. So I'll be packing my things and leaving Oklahoma to go to college elsewhere and one day be a writer and I have no intentions to ever return here. I have no doubt that people like you will incite crazy people to build more bombs and kill more people again. I don't want to be here for that. I just can't go through that again.

You may just see me as a kid, but let me try to teach you something. The old saying is sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Well, your words hurt me. Your words disrespected the memory of my mom. Your words can cause others to pick up sticks and stones and hurt others.



LifeSite News: A Study in Bias and Propaganda

On any given day, a reader with any semblance of critical reading skills can take a day's sample of LifeSiteNews' headlines and find error, lies, and distortions of the truth. (I have blogged about several egregious example previously). As my friend Jane Know said one time, when a person cites LifeSiteNews believing that it's honest, accurate, or unbiased journalism, it sort of automatically discredits that person as an arbiter of competence or journalistic integrity.

My case? Read below.

1. Misleading Headlines and Non-Arguments

An oft-used LifeSite trick is to offer misleading, hyperbolic, and/or erroneous headlines linking to Lifesite-written articles, articles at other sites, or editorials.

For instance, the other day, LifeSite listed the following headline:

"Legal Expert Claims that Unborn Babies are Really Chimpanzees"

This headline is erroneous because the "legal expert" actually said this:

"For the topic of abortion, there are very important scientific advances that prove that the DNA of chimpanzees is 99 percent identical to that of a human being. The difference between ourselves and chimpanzees is one percent, this quantity that makes the difference is the central nervous system.

Before twelve weeks of gestation, there is no cerebral cortex, that is to say, there is no human being, the cortex is formed around the 25th week. This is a very important piece of information because those who attack abortion say that a human being is being killed and it isn't true."

Disregarding for a moment whether this statement is true, it is apparent that nowhere did this expert say that unborn babies are chimpanzees. In fact, it is a poor analysis and summary of what was actually said and completely misses the point. Human beings are similar to chimps, but not exactly alike. Therefore, human babies are not chimps. Simple really.

Nice try, LifeSite.

Now, on to whether the expert's statement is true. A principle of Journalism 101 is that when presenting a "controversial" issue, the journalist should present at least two sides to the issue. Here is the "other" side to the chimp statement that Lifesite presents:

"That's ridiculous," said Dr. John Shea, medical advisor to Canada's Campaign Life Coalition. "This is the most ignorant remark I think the man could possibly make. He must be totally ignorant of science. That's so ignorant that I don't know where to begin."

Okay, so the remark is "ignorant." But how so? If Dr. Shea doesn't know where to begin, may I suggest that he begin at the beginning of his argument. Which, as we all know, is a very good place to start. But alas, he only continues stating his conclusions as fact:

"The organism is different in every single way. A person is different in a trillion different biochemical ways. It's ludicrous, ludicrous. It's on it's face, ridiculous."

So that's all settled then.

This case, actually, is great example of the typical propaganda that Lifesite uses. In just a few short paragraphs, they have lied about what a pro-choicer actually said, and they have presented a biased expert from a pro-life organization distractingly blustering his conclusions as fact- an expert who appears so enraged, in fact, that we all sort of forget what the original argument was or was not and because the expert is so passionate in his response we are led to believe that pro-choicers are ignorant, ludicrous, and preposterous.(!!) Now, what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, something about how pro-choicers think babies are just chimps.

2. LifeSite's Agenda

Generally speaking, there probably is no completely neutral source of news. Every company and every group of people who come together to report the news have an interest in keeping the company and group in a positive light. Upon reading any news source, I automatically ask myself if there is a possible conflict of interest between the story I am reading and the source of the news.

Let's explore. As its website explains, Lifesite was originally started by a pro-life organization in Canada. It claims to emphasize "the social worth of traditional Judeo-Christian principles" while also being "respectful of all authentic religions and cultures that esteem life, family and universal norms of morality." (Emphasis added. More on that in a minute).

Right off, the worldview of LifeSiteNews and the assumptions it makes about the world are apparent: abortion is wrong, it values Judeo-Christian principles, it has an... interesting....idea of tolerance, and it believes there are universal norms of morality- namely, their norms of morality. For instance, note how LifeSiteNews only thinks it is necessary to respect those religions and cultures that are "authentic." That is an important qualifier as we can all guess which religions and cultures are in-authentic, according to ultimate-arbiter-of-all-that-is-authentic LifeSiteNews.

But moving on, and breaking out the tinfoil hats, LifeSiteNews believes there is an "international conflict" between those with opposing views of the world. This conflict is between Christians and non-Christians, with the non-Christians seeking to impose a (dun-dun-dun) "new world order" where abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, and cloning are rampant. Rampant I tell you!!

Clearly, LifeSiteNews is a completely unbiased source for news.

Read, for instance, how:

A Catholic hospital offers breast implants to a "transsexual" patient. (Those crazy-not-the-right-kind-of-Christian Catholics, you know!)

Read of the dangers that the "fundamentalist expansion of Islam" into North America poses! (A fundamentalist Christian website would never be biased about such a story!)

Read about why Muslims are so dang violent! (Hint: Jesus was way better than Muhammad).

Or maybe you'd like to read about how a Catholic priest recently opposed LifeSite's founders in Parliament. (I can't imagine why!)

Extra extra, read all about it. LifeSiteNews: Continuing to bring new meaning to "education" and "accuracy"!

If by "education" and "accuracy" we really mean a collection of misleading headlines attached to any bit of news that can be spun into propaganda to please its hateful, intolerant, anti-gay, anti-liberal, anti-Democrat, anti-feminist, fundamentalist Christian crowd of readers.

Fair and accurate my ass.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What's More Rude Than Being Gay?

Surprise, surprise, another anti-gay bigot is misusing research data about gay men and lesbians to support his already-held and unsubstantiated conclusions about gay people.

This latest example of propaganda comes from "On Lawn," a member of the Opine Editorials' cast of anti-gay characters.

In his recent article entitled "Chastity, selfishness, and other thoughts from the week," "On Lawn" provides the following quotation:

"Lesbians report 'physically or mentally coercive sex' more often than do gay men. One study found that thirty-one percent of lesbians reported forced sexual encounters versus twelve percent of gay men."

My curiosity got the best of me and I immediately wondered a few things about this study "On Lawn" quoted.

One, did he know.... anything... about this study prior to eagerly quoting it? Or did he see that it has some anti-gay connotations and immediately post it in hopes that it would bolster his already-held opinions about gay people and the world?

Which leads me to two, what is this study, anyway?

After doing about 2 minutes of research, I found that "On Lawn's" quotation comes from another person's blog article that was quoting another person's blog article that was quoting a book by Pepper Schwartz that was quoting a study from 1989 (Waterman, C. K., Dawson, L. J., & Bologna, M. J. (1989). Sexual coercion in gay male and lesbian
relationships: Predictors and implications for support services. The Journal of Sex Research, 26 (1), 118-124.)

After reading the abstract alone, we see that this almost 20-year old study had a so very representative sample size of a "whopping" 36 female and 34 male college students who were in gay or lesbian relationships at the time. Let's reiterate: 36 females. 34 males. College students. 1989. Can someone scurry on over to the public library and dig this up on microfiche?

That "On Lawn" has no qualms with citing hearsay to the 3rd degree in the form of a 20-year-old non-representative study is not really surprising. Perhaps believing that internet hearsay is part of the scientific method, I doubt he even bothered to look up this study.

The only thing worth wondering here is what "On Lawn's" purpose was in providing this quotation.

It is difficult to ascertain the answer to that as all we have to go on is his meandering article inarticulately discussing "chastity," something about "Algebra," and how this all relates to his fave topics of "abuse" and the homosexualists. Or something. It's hard to say, really. I'm sure, per usual, the fellow will chalk up everyone's lack of comprehension to their lack of ability to read, but I do invite ya'll to try to make sense of his article and report back.

We sort of get our answer as to "On Lawn's" point here, however, when he says:

"That is why lesbianism, homosexualism, pornography, etc... are simply selfish -- and a misunderstood attempt at marriage can be too. They are taking something you want at the expense of the other.... [blah blah blah]... Demanding the government and others call your arrangement marriage is selfish and rude, at the expense of society."

I see. His posting is a long-winded, incomprehensible way of using a 20-year-old non-representative study to say that gay men and lesbians are selfish and rude. Got it.

Yet, that sloppy message isn't even the most disturbing part of this man's article.

Let's just assume here that the claims that this study makes about lesbians are true: Lesbians coerce their female partners into sex at really high rates. Note that nowhere in his article do we see "On Lawn" say something along the lines of "That's too bad, maybe lesbians should have some sort of domestic violence program that they feel safe attending and are free to talk about sexual coercion they have experienced at the hands of their female partners. Maybe they should have programs where people won't tell them that if they don't want to be abused they shouldn't be gay. Or, maybe they should have a program that will not make them change the pronouns of their perpetrator."

Do we hear that? Do we sense any sort of compassion or kindness towards LGBT people from "On Lawn"? Nope. Instead "On Lawn" uses this study to further his own anti-gay agenda. Citing this study he knows nothing about he makes sweeping generalizations about the character of all gay people in the history of the universe.

You know, it is partly because of people like him why our community is sometimes hesitant to create needed culturally-competent programs for LGBT survivors of violence. We know that our community is not perfect, just as no community is. But small-minded men like "On Lawn" demand perfection from us by pouncing on and misusing any study with an iota of the anti-gay in it to justify their bigoted claims about gay people. Any evidence that any LGBT person has been less than perfect is collected by people like "On Lawn" and used as evidence that LGBT people are inherently pathological.

While "On Lawn" of Opine Editorials is just one man ignorantly blogging about something he knows nothing about, others with more influence use the same tactics. In short, they put us in a no-win situation. If we acknowledge the violence that does exist in our community, the bigots exaggerate it, misuse research findings, and use it against us. And yet if we don't acknowledge violence in our community, those who need help do not get it because programs for LGBT persons are not created out of fear that they will be used against us. In the heads of bigots, any mention of violence in our community implicates all gay people. By making that quantum leap of a generalization, "On Lawn" and his ilk help render LGBT victims of domestic violence invisible while simultaneously exaggerating the "Lesbian Abuser" myth.

Well done, "On Lawn." Mis-using research data? Failing to show lack of empathy or compassion for victims of abuse? I believe most would call such behavior "rude" and "selfish."

Unfortunately, I predict that if "On Lawn" reads this critique of his article he will respond that it somehow constitutes some sort of personal attack, lie, or misrepresentation of him. That's sort of what he does better than anything else, after all. Create personal dramas that detract from the substantive issue at hand. In that likely event, I can only say this: In the face of an egregious and offensive misuse of a research study, I will not remain quiet and not defend the community that "On Lawn" so often seeks to denigrate. "On Lawn's" article is available for all to read and draw their own conclusions.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sally Kern Really Has to Ask "What's Wrong" With Hate Speech?

Shoutout to Vieve for passing along news of Oklahoma state rep Sally Kern's recent YouTube-sensational anti-gay monologue. Some of Kern's ignorant gems include:

"The homosexual agenda is destroying this nation.... Not everybody's lifestyle is equal, just like not everybody's religion is equal and according to God's word, it is not the right lifestyle. The very fact that I'm talking to you here today puts me in jeopardy. I'm not anti, I'm not gay-bashing... It's not a lifestyle that's good for this nation. In fact, studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades. It's the death knell to this country. I honestly think it's the biggest threat, even more so than terrorism or Islam. Because what's happening now is that they're going into schools, after two-year-olds. ... They're going after young children as young as two years old to try to teach them that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.... They are winning elections.... This stuff is deadly and it's spreading and it will destroy this nation." [emphasis added]

For starters, let's be fair. She did say she wasn't gay-bashing. So that's all settled then.

But back to reality, how could her misinformed and dishonest words be construed as anything other than hate speech? In short, while she is one of many who proclaim with no evidence whatsoever that gay people are grave threats/enemies to our country, this public servant has just drawled some very un-American, hateful, and threatening words herself.

1. Let's first quickly note her argument here: "Not everybody's lifestyle is equal, just like not everybody's religion is equal and according to God's word, it is not the right lifestyle." [emphasis added]. Ah. And here we have the root of her bigotry: she believes in a hateful, intolerant religion. When she declares that not all people's religion is "equal," I can take a gander as to which religion she believes is "more equal" than everyone else's.

Note the certainty, the utter certainty, with which this Baptist preacher's wife declares that not all religion's are equal, that she happens to know what God's ultimate word is on the matter of "lifestyles," and that He (God is a "He" after all) says that homosexuality is wrong. There is no room in Sally Kern's world for other religions, other interpretations of God's word, other forms of families, or religious tolerance.

Those dangerously intolerant ideas are everything America does not stand for but is beginning to look more and more like thanks to people like Sally Kern. Her thinking embodies the very traits that those of us in a democratic, pluralistic society should be leery of in our leaders.

2. Sally Kern is an un-American threat to the nation because, during a time of war, while holding a position of leadership and power she is yet one more example of a politician who seeks to divide Americans, rather than unite us. We, gay men and lesbians, are Americans too. We serve our country too. We are law-abiding too. We have families too. Yet, in her speech, she has created a good camp and and an evil camp. Heterosexuals are American and good, regardless of the content of their character. Gays and lesbians are evil and threats to America (ie- un-American), regardless of the content of their character.

And yes, before someone comes here saying that by calling Ms. Kern un-American I am doing the same thing to Sally Kern that she is doing to gay people, let me say this: Sally Kern's argument that gays are a more serious threat to the nation than are "terrorism" and "Islam" is hyperbole based solely in ignorant stereotypes and lies about gay people. My claim is that Kern's words are a threat to the unity of our nation and to the ideals of religious tolerance, individual freedom, and equal rights on which our country was founded. In short, my claims are substantiated and based directly on what she said. Her claims are unsubstantiated and based in bigotry. For one example, I would really like to read all of these studies she references regarding how homosexuality has caused the downfall of civilization after civilization. Perhaps someone can direct me to them?

3. I don't know if she's intentionally ignorant of homosexuality, if she doesn't know any real life gay people, or if she's actively dishonest about us, but she basically just re-iterated all the old hat, outdated arguments against gay people that bigots have been using forever. Oh, except she's doing so with a much larger bullhorn than most bigots are lucky enough to have.

"It's against Christianity" *Yawn*. That's not a valid argument in a society that allows other religions to flourish in addition to her narrow-minded fundamentalism. "Shortened life spans, suicides, and disease?" *Snooze* Mis-used data much? Oh, and what's her "disease" beef with lesbians? "The gay agenda" *Yawn* Since when is the quest for equal rights an agenda to be ashamed of?

In other words, she's relying on erroneous biblical thinking and stereotypes to justify her bigotry. That's nothing new. What is threatening about her words is that they breed violence and hatred towards gay people, even if she does not want to personally commit a violent act against a gay person.

Put those words in the head of a violent person or mentally unstable person and you get someone who thinks it's acceptable to kill gay people because they heard from someone important that gay is wrong.

Here, in response to the outrage her words have sparked, Kern asks, "What is wrong with me exercising my right to free speech?"

Variations on that "this is a free country" theme are popular in this country. No one wants to be the person who tells someone they shouldn't say something.

But at the same time, Ellen DeGeneres recently articulately spoke out against hateful speech saying that when a kid is killed for being gay by someone who learned from someone that being gay is an awful thing, "it's time to change the message."

What's wrong with Kern's speech is that it is exactly her type of speech, sanctioned by her position of leadership and bolstered by un-Christian thinking in the name of Christ, that fosters hatred and ultimately violence against a group of people. Why else do people kill on the basis of personal characteristics other than if they think those characteristics are evil, awful, or bad?

Yeah, this is America. We can say a lot of things here, and for that I am grateful.

But just because we can, it doesn't mean we should.

Congratulations, Ms. Kern. In honor of hatemonger Fred Phelps, you are hereby granted a Freddy Award.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

"Deep" Thought #4: Dead Fathers are Better than Step-Fathers!

Oh. My god. The "Deep" Thoughts category really doesn't get any "deeper" than this next one, dear readers. What follows may, in fact, be the single most-est best-est deepest thought ever in the history of ever!

Anti-gay "intellectual" Fitz has just announced that the empty space left behind from a deceased father is better at raising children than are living non-biological dads.

It is in hopes of catching tidbits of "fact" like that why I continue to peruse the blog Fitz is a part of.

Just.... read:

"Interestingly enough there are several studies that find a Father who passed away to [sic] of greater support than multiple other types of step-families.

This is because natural forces took the Father away rather than abandonment striking the child as the neglect it is/ or divorce that sets a tone about the reliability of relationships.

Augmenting this is [sic] fact that the deceased father figure is held up as an iconic reference to live up to. Especially in the case of a son this can be a powerful message of strength & duty.

I could search for those studies; IMAPP has made several references through the years."

Yes, Fitz. Please do. Please dig up those IMAPP studies that are certainly totally objective and without agenda. But most importantly, this new thesis of Fitz's means that his argument regarding marriage and parenting is essentially this:

All children should be raised by their biological mothers and fathers because biological mothers and fathers are important.

Biological fathers are so important, in fact, that children will turn out just fine if their biological father dies during the child's youth.

Therefore, two people of the same-sex should not raise children together and gay people should not be able to get married.

Oh yeah, and mothers are important too.

In the normal world of logic, Fitz's statement that children with deceased fathers turn out fine would seemingly contradict his persistent argument that all children need fathers to turn out okay. But Fitz is living in Opine-land, that strange universe where logic knows no rules.

And, please excuse me if this next bit is crass, but before I end can I just say that I'm envisioning Fitz desperately trying to prove his thesis in a humorous Weekend at Bernies scenario.

Yes, I can see it now...

Fitz: [propping up dead father] Fathers are SO important. Even when there [sic] dead the Father's spirit lives on.

Child: [Eyeing Fitz with father in horror] I'm scared.

Fitz: The Father is important in teaching honor, strength, and duty. [Fitz, attaches strings to arms and legs of Father like a puppet and makes him flex.]

Child: [Recoiling, the child screams and runs away.]

Fitz: Noooo. Get back here! You must have a father! No other type of parental figure will do! [Chases child while carrying father. Trips over feet of father, they both fall to the ground.] Noooooooo.

You see, when it comes down to it, alternative families pose a threat to Fitz and "the father's" place in the world as head of household, head of society, and head of the universe. Under the guise of protecting families and children, scared men like Fitz are ultimately only seeking to protect their supreme place in the world. (As an interesting aside, read Fitz's argument again and note how he always capitalizes "the Father" when speaking of this very important figure.)

Yeah, Fitz. We all get it. You want biological dads to be The Most Important Parental Figure in the History of the Universe.

"Deep" thoughts.

Finally, a Holy Man I Can Agree With

Anglican Bishop Gene Robinson, whose open gayness so troubles some of the men in charge of the church that they are causing a potential schism, is a man of courage that I admire.

Recently, Robinson gave an inspiring speech to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force where articulated what all the fuss is about regarding the acceptance of homosexuality. In his speech, Robinson acknowledged that the LGBT community is "about the end of patriarchy. For a very very long time white, straight, educated, Western men have been making most of the decisions for the world, and you know what, the jig is up."

That this white, educated man can acknowledge the privileges that come with being white, male, and educated is a testament to his sincerity in wanting to change the world for the better. As we see all too often, it is easy for those entrenched in privilege- for male leaders of a church, for instance- to appeal to tradition as a justification for keeping the status quo unequal. To reinforce the central thesis that humans are subservient to a male god, and women are subservient to men.

Speaking to the pain that I, and many others in the LGBT community, have experienced as a result of homophobic religions, Robinson continues:

"You have been badly treated. I am not sure a few years ago any leader of a church would have been invited to address [the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force]. Asking you to come back to us is like asking an abused spouse to return home. Ninety percent of the oppression we face comes from the Abrahamic religions... There is no reason the LBGT community should trust us."

To reflect on this a moment, it is validating for a religious leader to acknowledge that many in the community have left Christianity for good cause. For, returning to many of the churches of our youth would be akin to returning to an abuser. These churches, of course, do not see themselves as abusive because the abuse is the status quo- it is accepted, it is normalized, and it is encouraged.

I think back now to the time one anti-gay blogger called me abusive for standing up to his anti-gay rants- a man who seemed obsessed and desperate to discredit my character in any possible way. As many noted, it is a common tactic for abusive persons to accuse their victims of being abusive. And accordingly, I found it to be in my best interest to stop interacting with this man. In his mind, his words and the hateful words of his cohorts are not abusive because they are so firmly convinced that they are on the right side of morality. Lacking complete compassion for other human beings, especially those different from them, they tell us to "just stop" being in relationships with the people we love, to just marry people of the opposite sex, and to not raise children because doing so constitutes child abuse. In their quest to label everything we do as abusive, they are blind to their lack of empathy, compassion, and tolerance for other human beings. All characteristics, of course, that embody abuse.

What I am learning the more I learn about anti-gay churches and bigots is that they have to turn us into the bad guys and themselves into victims. If we're not the bad guys- if we're not "enemies"- we're just humans. Like them. Just as some churches find it necessary to have a perpetual enemy around which the troops can rally, moralists and bigots also need their enemies. It is vital to the ultimate, and often covert, goal: maintaining the patriarchy that Robinson speaks of. Because, really, the "enemy" is usually that which is most threatening to the patriarchy. What is more threatening to the male who demands to be head-of-household than a gay man who sees his male partner as his equal, than a straight man who does not expect his wife to be subservient, than a "feminist" woman who demands equality from her male partner, or than a lesbian who refuses to submit to the authority of a man?

The jig is up, fellas.

Gene Robinson continues to the gay activists,

"You are all people of uncommon courage. There is a risk to have a vision of the world as it should be, then living as if that vision were a reality. God wants us to push the line so far there is no them, only us. It's not going to be easy. That means, gay men out there, what you say about women matters. What those of us who are white say about race matters. We know where this is going to end - with the full inclusion of all of God's people. The reason we sing 'We Shall Overcome,' is not to beg, it is a fact. It is a proclamation. Whether you and I live to see it, we shall overcome."

Finally, a man using religion to break down the walls that divide us rather than creating new ones.