Friday, August 7, 2009

A Long Way to Go, Part II

This post is a continuation of yesterday's post examining how some of those with very strong negative opinions about LGBT people demonstrate an ignorance of the other side's arguments, an inability to concede that the other side has good reasons of its own for believing what it believes, and how so few anti-gay individuals condemn the overt anti-gay animus of those on their own side.

Blogger Euripides, who has already made clear he is not interested in dialogue at his "Self-Evident Truths" [sic] site, has seemed to have attracted a virulent element to his anti-gay, conservative blog. Whereas some anti-gay bloggers at least refrain from and prohibit calling gay people "faggots" and other slurs at their sites, a commenter at Euripides' blog by the name of "LL" recently took a stab at explaining why the homosexualists lost Proposition 8:

"Two men sucking face in front of a Mormon temple is an example of the decorum demonstrated by faggots throughout California - which is one reason they lost Prop 8."

Another commenter expressed his visceral disgust at the thought of two men kissing.

I first want to apologize for re-posting this abusive commentary here. As people who live within a heterosexist society, we have all heard hateful words such as these countless times. All LGBT people have some degree of internalized homophobia within us and we all already know that many people are disgusted by "faggots." Furthermore, it is certainly not my intent for the hateful words of these men to feed into the justified anger that many in the LGBT community feel in response to such hatred. I think it can be helpful to remember that people who hold so much hatred in their hearts only say what they say because they are suffering in a serious way. Those who are consumed by hatred and disgust of gay people are perhaps living in a hell of their own making. While we stand up to their abuse, they deserve to be on the receiving end of our compassion, rather than our anger.

Standing up to homophobic abuse in a non-hateful way is important because, while I do not believe everyone who opposes LGBT rights is a hater, I do think that many people are private haters who just don't have the courage to come out and publicly call gay men "faggots." Those who do so, and do so without condemnation from those on their own side, demonstrate that anti-gay hatred is still an acceptable "argument" in the debate about LGBT rights. You will notice, after all, that neither Euripides himself, nor any other anti-gay commenter at his site, called the men out for their blatant anti-gay animus nor even made note of the slur.

Many people within the anti-gay movement are very good at disguising their more visceral reactions and hatred of LGBT people. While the words of these men are undoubtedly hurtful to many people, I at least have to give them props for having the courage to say what they really think about gay people.

It reminds me that often times we really are dealing with hatred, despite all of the protestations to the contrary.

Furthermore, when acts of anti-gay terrorism and violence occur, it is rare to see anti-gay individuals, bloggers, or organizations condemn or even acknowledge such acts. Recently, for instance, a masked gunman stormed into the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association building killing two people and wounding 15 others in a room where gay youth were holding a support group meeting.

The Box Turtle Bulletin, which has been providing ample coverage of this incident, has noted that while Israel's President, Prime Minister, and many Israelis have condemned the attack, the anti-gay industry has mostly either remained silent or has issued qualified statements that the violence has "saddened" them while simultaneously blustering about the "deviance of homosexuality." Why can't these people ever just issue a blanket statement that murder is wrong and leave it at that? Why the insensitive need to also add in those hurtful jabs about homosexuality and those hyper-defensive protestations about their own lack of any wrongdoing?

I certainly notice a contrast to events in which anti-gay individuals or organizations are on the receiving end of real or imagined anger or violence. For instance, whereas many LGBT bloggers (myself included) blasted Perez Hilton's sexist, asinine treatment of Carrie Prejean, "marriage defenders" have grossly exaggerated the incident as further proof of how the Powerful Gay Agenda Has Gone Too Far and, trapped in their insularity, spread the message that All Gay People Stand Together With Perez Hilton. Despite the fact that Prejean now has a lucrative career as Professional Victim, "marriage defenders" view the Poor Beauty Queen as a martyr for the cause.

Then, of course, when the LGBT community had the gall to protest the outcome of Proposition 8, many "marriage defenders" hyped up and exaggerated all real, imagined, and speculative threats and attacks against themselves and used them to justify their continued heterosexism. That, despite the fact that many LGBT individuals, bloggers, and organizations condemned real acts of violence. The message comes through from "marriage defenders" very clearly and it is not a message of "love." When psychopaths and bigots kill LGBT people, it's No Big Deal. When white powder is sent to a Mormon Church and the FBI calls any link between the powder and Proposition 8 "a stretch," the Angry Gay Mobs are acting like terrorists again and all advancement toward equality must be stopped!

Anti-gay advocates, so convinced that it is they who are victims and LGBT people who are victimizers, fail to hold themselves and those on their own side accountable for the many acts of aggression, both small and large, that they perpetuate against the LGBT community.

It is my hope, not that they come to agree with us about everything, but only that they begin to hold each other as accountable to basic standards of decency, honesty, and civility as they hold LGBT people to. It would be a very good first step towards acting like the Christ so many of them claim to revere.

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