The Cartoon Gallery
A Coming Out Story
New and Improved!
The Story So Far archives
My Myspace Profile
Bruce Garrett's Profile
A Tenable Belief
A Brooklyn Bridge
Box Turtle Bulletin
Cherry Blossom Special (E.J)
Mike Daisy's Blog
The Disney Blog
Dispatches From The Culture Wars
Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia
Envisioning The American Dream
Joe. My. God
Made In Brazil
Pam's House Blend
Progress City USA
Some Guys Are Normal
Straight, Not Narrow
Truth Wins Out Blog
The Rittenhouse Review
Steve Gilliard's News Blog
Steve Gilliard's Blogspot Site
Page One Q
Talking Points Memo
Truth Wins Out
The Raw Story
NIS News Bulletin (Dutch)
The Local (Sweden)
Pleasant Family Shopping
Discount Stores of the 60s
Photos of the Forgotten
Comics With Problems
HMK Mystery Streams
Mercedes-Benz Owners Club of America
MBCA - Greater Washington Section
October 29th, 2014
Come, Let Us Reason Together. No…Not You…
by Bruce |
The Southern Baptists are still trying to figure out what to do about The Homosexual Menace…
The Christian Post is reporting that there has been plenty of healthy and outspoken debate on the issue of “the homosexual lifestyle” at a conference hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Commission in Nashville. Much of the debate has taken place on Twitter (#ERLC2014).
The conference is live streaming.
The Christian Post describes it as a conference to address “…how Christians should react to the ongoing battle between those framing the homosexual lifestyle debate as a civil rights issue and those supporting what they believe to be biblical moral values, including traditional marriage…” Oh…is that what it’s all about is it? Guess who was invited…
And guess who wasn’t…
As the Christian Post would have you see it, the conference attracted “plenty of fireworks” mostly on “social media”. But Theocrat In Chief and Baptist Pope in Waiting Richard Land stood firm…
“The gay community is never going to find the Evangelical response satisfactory because we’re not going to accept their behavior.”
Their behavior. Their behavior. Their behavior. Still can’t see the people for the homosexuals can you Richard. And you never will. But is that “the Evangelical response” or is it simply the knee jerk dance of the irredeemable bigot? You lost this fight decades ago Richard. Those voices outside the doors Richard…do you hear the people sing…?
Back before there was a commercially open Internet…back in the stone knives and bear skins days of DOS PCs, 800 baud Modems and dial up BBS systems, I saw the world change right before my eyes. Before home computers had powerful multi-tasking operating systems, back when 640k of system ram was considered more than most people would ever need or use, little computer bulletin board systems sprang up everywhere. At first, they just connected the people in their local dialing area. Then in the mid 1980s some of them banded together into an amateur computer network called FidoNet. Back in those days I was on a local BBS system that had a gay Fidonet echomail board called Gaylink. It had participating BBS systems on it all over the world. I had an uncle back then who was a HAM radio operator. He kept trying to interest me in taking up the hobby, telling me about all the people all over the world he was able to communicate with via shortwave radio. And I kept trying to tell him about all the people all over the world I was communicating with via FidoNet. The world was changing before my eyes. Still, as a young gay man, I knew there were things that would never change. And then they did.
Gaylink was mostly a social forum. We chatted about this and that…a little politics, a little dishing. It never really got very serious. One day a message from a BBS in the Netherlands appeared. It was short and to the point:
I’m 14 years old. I think I might be gay but I’m not sure. How did you know about yourself? What was it like?
And from literally all over the world this kid began getting coming out stories. Not the one where you come out to family and friends. The one where you come out to yourself.
Some of them were painful to read. Some were hopeful. Some were amazingly nonchalant. There were folks whose parents disowned them. There were others whose parents completely accepted them. Some people struggled for years with it. Others seemed to have always known and accepted it. There was romance. There was heartbreak. I sat down and for the first time ever, really thought about my own experience coming to terms with my sexual orientation and wrote it down for this kid and the whole world to see. And I could sense that something…wonderful…was happening.
It went on for two weeks. We never heard a peep from the kid throughout that entire time. And the stories, from all over the world, from people in all walks of life, just kept coming and coming. We all began talking to each other, seeing common threads in our lives that we all had, which set us apart from the heterosexual majority. Seeing those things that made each of us unique and at the same time those things we all seemed to share, no matter where we lived, no matter what culture we were raised in. Then the kid spoke up one last time:
Thank you. You’ve all given me a lot to think about.
That was it. We never heard another word from him. Maybe we gave him what he needed to accept himself. Maybe he was just confused about his own awakening sexuality, and what it meant to be homosexual. At that age, who knows? Maybe he wasn’t what he represented himself to be. That was as easy then as it is now. But as I watched that event unfold I realized that there had to also be hundreds of others, maybe even thousands, all over the world, generation upon generation, watching that conversation, hungry for those same answers to that kid’s question. And I saw it then, what this new technology could do for us as a people. We no longer had to see ourselves through heterosexual eyes.
Now look at this again…
But they have their voices now. And they will use them. We will speak our truths to the world, and we will be heard. Weep for the old days Richard Land, when you could tell us lies about ourselves from the pulpit you were thumping and we believed them because yours was the only voice we could hear. They are gone. You kept gay voices out of your conference, but you couldn’t silence them outside of it. And that is the reality bigots like you have had to deal with for decades now, since all there was for an online social space were the first primitive personal computers and some modems. Your song and dance took place, fittingly, at the Opryland Hotel. An actual conference was held in the virtual street outside. You can keep gay voices out of your church. You can keep them out of your theology. But you can’t keep them in the closet. Not anymore.
July 21st, 2014
by Bruce |
This came across my Facebook stream just now…
We all face a deficit for growing up LGBT in a straight world. Admitting it is the first step in making sure the next generation gets a better deal.
Like the writer, Neal Broverman, it surprises me that this is controversial. It shouldn’t be.
It sometimes takes a harsh circumstance to remind us how different our lives are. In The Case Against 8, HBO’s powerful documentary on the defeat of California’s antigay ballot initiative, lead plaintiff Kristin Perry had an “a-ha moment” while testifying in front of a federal judge. Defense attorney Ted Olson asked Perry if she thought granting marriage equality to gays and lesbians would have an effect on other forms of LGBT discrimination. Perry said her whole life would have been different, and better, if the biggest choice she made in it — marriage — was given the same weight and respect as everyone else’s: “So, if Prop. 8 were undone and kids like me, growing up in Bakersfield right now, can never know what this felt like, then I assume their entire lives would be on a higher arc, they would live with a higher sense of themselves that would improve the quality of their entire life.”
Reflecting on that moment later, she said, “It was powerful to connect the dots spontaneously on the stand and realize you’ve been living under this blanket of hate everywhere you turn…
Every crush I’ve ever had, every gay guy I’ve ever tried to date, every perfect match I thought I’d found, they were all wounded. And I have to suppose they looked at me and saw the same, good as I had it compared to a lot of other gay guys. I didn’t get sent to a camp, I didn’t get thrown out of the house, I wasn’t told by my own parents that I wasn’t loved. But you don’t grow up in a world that tells you from every direction that you are despised without taking it to heart.
Mad #145, Sept ‘71, from “Greeting Cards For The
Sexual Revolution” – “To A Gay Liberationist”
“The thought of turning…of turning involuntarily into one of them frightened me…and made me sick with anger.”
Jake shows the kids how to deal with a limp wrist faggot in Larry Weltz’ “Gearjammer”, Bakersfield Kountry Komics, 1973
And the worst of it is you grow up accustomed to it all, and you forget the wounds are there, always defeating you and you don’t even know it anymore, because you’ve accepted that as your lot in life. But it is rust on the soul.
It is a constant struggle to live the life you should have had all along. But it is a noble one…
Later in the documentary when Perry is discussing the discrimination she experiences, she says, while tearing up, “The sad parts [of being an LGBT person], I feel like I’m OK with because I’d rather be who I am today than somebody who never felt challenged and never had to find out who they really were. And I know who I am.”
Oscar Wilde, who suffered his own terrible wounds, once said that we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. I’d put it differently. We are all damaged, but we have survived and we are not cowed.
April 11th, 2014
This Has Been Another Episode Of “White Charles Murray’s Man Burden”…
by Bruce |
This has been bouncing around the Internet Tubes today…
Murray you may recall, is the guy who wrote “The Bell Curve” which among other things argues that black people are genetically inferior to white people intellectually. The thing about bigotry is it may look tightly focused on one particular object of contempt and loathing but it isn’t. It’s a superiority complex, and usually they’re fine with the inferior beings provided they know their place. It’s when the inferior beings assert their equal humanity the snarls and rage come blasting out. So Murray, the white man, knows that black people are inferior to white people. So Murray, the man, knows women are inferior to men.
I’ll just bet he knows a lot more too. At some point you have to figure The American Enterprise Institute will eventually end up with a collection of Charles Murray books and papers, each individually making its case that one particular branch of the human family just doesn’t cut it, which when taken together prove conclusively that only white Aryan males are civilization builders.
March 16th, 2014
The Closet Is The New Tolerance
by Bruce |
The story, as passed down to me, is that several generations back on mom’s side of the family, an Irish man fell in love with an English woman who also loved him very much. And against the wishes of both their families they married. And were promptly disowned by both their families. So they came to America, and that is why mom’s side of the family tree became Americans.
I could see it…the lovers wanting to come to the New World instead of settling down somewhere in England or Ireland away from their respective families. Even at a young age I understood that the English and Irish didn’t get along very well. It wasn’t until I scratched below the surface of the history the books like to call the Great Potato Famine that I began to grasp why it was such a hard history to put to rest, why the old hatreds kept boiling over. What I never got was why the Irish kept facing ignorant discrimination here in America too. Wasn’t this the Great Melting Pot? Wasn’t this the land of the Golden Door? Some years back, while perusing the stands at the big Labor Day Flea Market in the little Virginia town mom had retired to, I saw a No Irish sign for sale along with other signs from ugly days gone by. White Only. Colored Entrance. No Indians Served. They made my skin crawl, yet I hoped someone was preserving all that. I’d been out of the closet for about two decades by then, and had experienced over and over how bigots could be alternatively proud of their cheapshit prejudices, righteous even, and then suddenly turn on a dime and deny they had a prejudiced bone in their bodies.
We don’t discriminate against homosexuals…we are moral people who believe that open sexuality has no place in public… The double standard being of course that an opposite sex couple holding hands in public is but a simple little display of their mutual love and affection that should put a smile on everyone’s faces, whereas when a same-sex couple does exactly the same thing they’re flaunting their sexuality in everyone’s faces. We don’t care what you do in the bedroom…just keep it there…
I don’t think in my entire life I ever saw a No Gays sign, or a want ad that said Gays Need Not Apply. But you always knew what would happen to you, the moment you stepped out of the closet. Our struggle was about the closet. It was always about the closet. As long as we had to stay in the closet the only things people would know about us was were the lies. I grew up with those lies. I knew how they were killing us, how they would always keep killing us, until we could live our lives openly, without fear, and people could see us for the human beings we were, not the monsters they were constantly being told we were.
This came across my news stream this morning…
Foster and his friends and neighbors are not marching Sunday as part of a gay organization. They are marching as South Boston residents who have coalesced around building a park in a corner of the neighborhood known as the Lower End. Many of the people working on the float just happen to be gay. And they have been embraced by the Allied War Veterans Council, the parade’s longtime sponsor.
That would be the longtime sponsor that took their right to discriminate against their gay Irish neighbors all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won a pyrrhic victory. Every year now the breadth and depth of notable people, politicians and companies boycotting these No Homo parades grows. But Boston Globe reporter Andrew Ryan would like us to know that diversity is afoot this year in South Boston. Yes…a Tolerance Float built by gay south Bostonites has been accepted into the parade. No..embraced. And I can see exactly why they were embraced too…
“They know us as their neighbors first and as gay second,” said Foster, an Air Force veteran who served in Desert Storm and who has lived with his husband in South Boston for seven years. Of outside gay groups coming in and hoping to march, he said: “How in the world do you ever get compromise if the first statement out of your mouth is, ‘I’m different than you?’ ”
Compromise. Yes, quite. And the compromise between staying in the closet and being out is you pretend you aren’t being pushed in and they pretend they didn’t push you. Such a deal.
“The only way for this to work was to keep quiet. We had to wait it out and prove what we said when we first started, that we’re not here to make a big statement,” Foster said last Saturday, taking a break from float construction. “We all thought, if we just show up on parade day and we march and have a cool float, people will understand.”
There was a time I thought I was working toward this “understanding” myself. I kept it low key among certain friends…I figured by giving their sensibilities breathing room I was giving them time to work out for themselves how everything they thought they knew about homosexuals was wrong. I could be the living example that taught them to see past their assumptions and prejudices. But prejudice is by definition irrational, and in the end I discovered all that was happening was they thought they were teaching me to keep it quiet.
Never doubt, that this is what the Allied War Veterans Council thinks they’re teaching the gays. The compromise from their point of view is they’re willing to let people they know to be homosexual into the parade. As long as they…you know…keep it quiet…
Lead parade organizer Philip J. Wuschke Jr. acknowledged that the inclusion this year of two groups with gay marchers represented “a little bit of a step,” but he pushed back against the assertion that the parade is intolerant.
“Gay people march in this all the time. Every year. This isn’t the first time,” Wuschke said. “We don’t ban gay people. We ban groups that are trying to make a statement.”
This is the sort of convenient circumlocution people use to prevent themselves from looking in the bathroom mirror and seeing a bigot staring back at them. It’s also pathetic. Does this man truly know nothing of the history of Irish people in the United States that he can honestly believe the St. Patrick’s Day parades do not now and never did have a political overtone to them?
Celebrating a people and their history is making a statement. So is excluding a people. Being proud of who you are is making a statement. So is telling someone to hide what they are in exchange for acceptance.
And when gay people willingly closet themselves in exchange for acceptance they are also making a statement. They may think it’s a statement about building bridges, but in reality it’s a statement of self worth. That is what Allied War Veterans Council is happy to have finally taught them. The Irish have a long and hard history they can be proud to have endured and overcome. Gays…well…they just have sex. And Irish gays are best not spoken of in public.
January 17th, 2014
I’m A Reasonable Man…
by Bruce |
After all…I only want to keep the kids safe…from your kind…
Putin met with a group of volunteers in the Olympic mountain venue at Krasnaya Polyana on Friday to wish them success at the Games. During a question-and-answer session, one volunteer asked him about Russia’s attitudes toward gays, a subject that has provoked worldwide controversy, and Putin offered what was apparently meant to be a reassuring answer for visitors to the Olympics.
How the homophobe, in trying to sound reasonable, keeps showing only their knuckle dragging prejudices. If “alone” means “not sexually molest” then why of course gays should leave kids alone. Heterosexuals should also leave kids alone. Everybody should leave kids alone. And the law should punish people who don’t. So why are you singling out gay people?
Because the homophobe thinks (or just wants everyone else to think) that to be gay is to be a sexual predator, and especially to be a molester of children. But it’s more than that. “Alone” means “Don’t Try To Turn Kids Gay”, because homosexuals don’t reproduce, they recruit. Viewed that way, when gay people simply their lives openly and proudly that is recruitment. When teachers and scientists refute the myths, lies and superstitions about homosexuality and teach science based facts about sex and sexual orientation, that is recruitment. When artists create works that speak honestly to the lives of gay people, to the sanctity of their love, to the beauty of their desire, that is recruitment.
The way you leave kids alone is you silence the teachers, burn the books, burn the works of art, imprison the scientists and the artists if they won’t shut up and force homosexuals into the closet by acts of law, or by acts of terror in the streets. And the homophobe will do all of this with a clear conscience telling them they had to in order to protect the kids, not their mindless blood thirsty prejudices.
June 26th, 2013
Excuses Are Not Mistakes
by Bruce |
This from Slate…
In a speech last week titled “Mullahs of the West: Judges as Moral Arbiters,” Justice Antonin Scalia told the North Carolina Bar Association that the court has no place acting as a “judge moralist” in issues better left to the people. Since judges aren’t qualified—or constitutionally authorized—to set moral standards, he argued, the people should decide what’s morally acceptable.
…and so on. Nathanial Frank pegs it at the end of this piece, thusly:
Morality is not just whatever views a majority has long held, and it’s not simply what you learned on your mother’s knee or whatever it says in your faith’s scripture. Moral belief is a grounded judgment about what harms or helps living things.
(emphasis mine) That. Which leads to this: Scalia, like a lot of homophobes, does not have a misunderstanding about morality; he has an assortment of smokescreens he hides his prejudices behind, that he calls morality.
They do that in the kook pews and that is why their moral judgements seem so haphazard and contradictory: They’re not making moral judgements, they’re jerking their knees, dancing from one thing to another to whatever tune their prejudices call.
March 21st, 2013
Seeing Your Gay Neighbor Through Prejudiced Colored Glasses
by Bruce |
The struggle for gay civil rights is merely homosexuals seeking approval of their lifestyle…
“The primary challenge that our side faces right now is the intense social pressure,” said Joseph Backholm, 34, the executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington. “To the extent that the other side is able to frame this as a vote for gay people to be happy, it will be challenging for us.”
The more things change the more they stay the same. As far back as Anita Bryant’s rampage on Dade County’s anti-discrimination law, the rhetoric has been that all the fuss about gay rights is merely the homosexuals demanding societal approval of their lifestyle. No matter how you phrase that, (a vote for gay people to be happy) it is ignorant. All you’re telling us there Joseph, is you can’t see the people for the homosexuals.
Anyone who thinks this struggle is only about approval or some frivolous desire for “happiness” has ether never loved or does not think gay people are capable of love. Happiness is in your lover’s smile, and the touch of their hand in yours. All the approval you could ever need is in their eyes when they look into yours. You would know this if you ever loved Joseph. You would know why we fight for the honor and the dignity of it if you could see the people for the homosexuals. We are not asking for approval from the likes of you Joseph, let alone happiness. What we need from you is to take the damn knife out of our backs.
November 28th, 2012
Feelings. Hungry, Hungry Feelings…
by Bruce |
“Here’s what we know about life. I have all kinds of natural feelings in my life and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I should act on every feeling. Sometimes I get angry and I feel like punching a guy in the nose. It doesn’t mean I act on it. Sometimes I feel attracted to women who are not my wife. I don’t act on it. Just because I have a feeling doesn’t make it right. Not everything natural is good for me. Arsenic is natural.” -Rick Warren
Hate is natural. Prejudice is natural. Who to hate is learned, but the capacity to hate is there, deep in the ancient pit within the human consciousness. We all carry the history of millions of years of life on earth within us every moment of our day. Tribalism is natural to us. To be afraid of the alien other, and to hate them, is natural to us. Blind obedience to the alpha leader is natural to us. The unthinking, bloodthirsty mob is in our blood. But so is love, so is kindness to the stranger, so is curiosity, and the yearning for truth and meaning. We are, by nature, civilization destroyers, but also civilization builders. The mindless beast is within us all. The good person is the one who will not unleash it within themselves, or in others. Do you want to be that good person Rick, or do you want to feed the beast? Every moment of your day Rick, it’s one or the other.
You’re right Rick. Just because you have feelings that does not make them right. What makes them right, or makes them profoundly evil, is how your feelings translate into acts. Do you help your neighbor in this life, or do you let the beast eat them? Who is your neighbor Rick?
June 19th, 2012
“Man to man, I did it because I’ve never had a girlfriend.”
by Bruce |
This came across the Fark wire the other day, to much hilarity…
Miami Beach police: Man filmed Hooters contestants undressing in Fontainebleau
A woman participating in a Hooters Swimsuit Pageant notices a video camera recording her in the dressing room. That was the excuse the owner of the camera gave to the cop who arrested him. I suspect the reason he’s never had a girlfriend is he hasn’t figured out yet how to treat women like people. Hey guy…there’s this perfectly legal thing called Pornography you can buy with lotsa lovely women willing to take their clothes off for your onanistic pleasures…
I read about this on Fark, read the comment hilarity that followed, and cringed inside.
There’s a flashback scene at the end of The Detective, where the William Windom character (Colin MacIver), a closeted self hating homosexual (who turns out (naturally) to be the real killer the Frank Sinatra character was looking for all through the movie), confesses the killing to his shrink in a sickening display of the kind of acid self hatred Hollywood was only too happy to tell everyone was the natural state of homosexuals.
It begins with MacIver walking back to his car with his girlfriend. They’re assaulted by robbers who call MacIver a faggot. Somehow this causes him to go looking for sex with another guy. You have to remember this is 1960s Hollywood being all edgy and gritty now that they can take on taboo subject for mass entertainment and ticket sales. Even though he has a girlfriend, MacIver is really a sick and pathetic queer and the encounter with the thieves triggers his perversion and now he has to go get him some cock even though the very thought disgusts him. MacIver tells his shrink: “The thought of turning…of turning involuntarily into one of them frightened me…and made me sick with anger.” Nonetheless he promptly drives down to the docks for a quickie. Because queers can’t help themselves.
“I went down there. I had heard about the waterfront. People giggle and make jokes about it. I had had only two experiences before…once in college, once in the army. I thought I’d gotten it out of my life…but I hadn’t.”
Experiences. Experiences. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. Anyway, it all builds up to MacIver going to the docks, then to a gay bar, walking slowly past every homosexual stereotype in the Twentieth Century Fox prop department, all leering back at him archly. Because homosexuals always look back at you archly.
“I looked at them. Was this what I was like? Oh my god…”
He stares in horror at the “twisted faces”…but he can’t help himself. He’s just gotta have some cock tonight…
“And here I was and I couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t stop. I thought if I could have just one night, I could get it out of my system. Just one more time…”
Just one more…experience…
Oh that poor pathetic faggot…pass the popcorn… It’s bullshit…yes, sane people these days understand that. But that was the accepted view of homosexuals back then, back when I was growing up, and what angers me about this film and that sequence in it is thinking about all my generational gay peers who accepted that this was what it was to be a homosexual; that they could either try as desperately hard as they could to overcome their “condition”, become straight or live their lives as pathetic faggots or psychotic killers, either way spending the rest of their lives loathing the person they were. Because a man having sex with another man was the most disgusting thing you could imagine, and to desire such a thing even if you never acted on it meant that you were the most loathsome thing there ever was. This is what Hollywood taught them about themselves, it’s what Hollywood taught their parents, their siblings and all their friends…and mine: to look at us with the same disgust and contempt with which MacIver looked upon himself.
This is what I grew up on. This was pretty much the constant barrage from the culture around me about homosexuality. And it’s a big reason why, when I finally came out to myself, I swore I wasn’t going to live my life in the closet. Never mind the “Twisted faces” MacIver stared at with equal parts horror and desire that sickened him. At least they knew what they were about hanging out there. I’d fallen in love…I knew what I was and what I wasn’t. The ugly stereotypes of homosexuals didn’t frighten me because I knew I wasn’t that and for the honor and dignity of the one I loved I would never become that…nor would I allow myself to become a self hating basket case, horrified by my own sexuality. The twisted face I was afraid of becoming, resolved never to become, was MacIver’s.
So I dug in my heels and lived an honest life. And for that I can take some pride. And yet…and yet… I never found my other half. And in the background of my life was another twisted face, another pathetic stereotype that I am still, deep in my heart, afraid of.
“Man to man, I did it because I’ve never had a girlfriend.”
It’s illogical, it’s irrational, I am simply not the sort of person who would ever do what this guy did. I dallied with gay pornography back when I was younger and found I didn’t even really like that all that much. Yeah, there were lots of very attractive hot bodies in it. But there was no romance. I am just not voyeur material. Sometimes I sit down to my drafting table and I draw myself a fantasy boyfriend and dream on him. That’s about my speed. I could never do what that guy did. Certainly not to someone I thought was beautiful. Desire should awaken something more noble in a person then that or it’s just empty greed.
But I have been single for so very very long and I read these things and get depressed. Is this what the rest of my life is going to look like? Is this how others see people like me? Alone. Single. Old. Creepy. How do you get to be fifty-eight years old and you’ve never had a boyfriend? There must be something wrong with you. Sometimes I wonder now, if maybe there is after all. And I read stories like this about creepy single guys and I cringe inside.
“I looked at them. Was this what I was like? Oh my god…”
November 14th, 2011
Choice: Six Of One, Half Dozen Of The Other
by Bruce |
On Towleroad today I see that James Hormel has a new book out about his time as ambassador, and he’s apparently making the TV rounds promoting it. I also see that he’s making the same mistake a lot of very well meaning people make when it comes to the nature of bigotry…
James Hormel, who was appointed United States Ambassador to Luxembourg by President Bill Clinton in 1999, and was the first openly gay ambassador ever to serve, spoke with ABC News about his new book Fit to Serve, as well as DOMA, and what he sees as the #1 problem for LGBT rights today.
Says Hormel: “The number one problem today as I see it is that people think that being gay is a matter of choice, and they somehow distinguish gay people as having made a choice to be tormented by their society.”
Hormel calls DOMA “the most heinous piece of civil rights legislation in a century.”
Yes about DOMA, no about whether people think being gay is a choice. Look…nobody questions the fact that race isn’t a choice and that has never made racists question their racism as far as I can tell. Hell…they have their own junk science industry proving that blacks are genetically inferior so prejudice against them is morally justified…
When the New Republic devoted almost an entire issue (10/31/94) to a debate with the authors of The Bell Curve, editor Andrew Sullivan justified the decision by writing, “The notion that there might be resilient ethnic differences in intelligence is not, we believe, an inherently racist belief.”
In fact, the idea that some races are inherently inferior to others is the definition of racism. What the New Republic was saying–along with other media outlets that prominently and respectfully considered the thesis of Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein’s book–is that racism is a respectable intellectual position, and has a legitimate place in the national debate on race.
-FAIR, Racism Resurgent, January/February 1995
When the day comes that sexual orientation is generally seen as biologically innate, the homophobes will simply shift gears and start babbling about how homosexuality is a genetic deficiency that makes us unfit for…well…everything. The nature verses nurture argument is a distraction. The reason some people are homosexual does not matter to bigots. They just hate us. That hate is what comes first. The justification for it comes later, and takes whatever shape the bigot needs it to have to justify that preexisting hate.
All everyone else needs to see about our lives is that we are as human as they. That we love, we cherish, we long and we need, just as they do. Once they see that, once they can look at a same-sex couple and see in that couple’s happiness their own, it won’t matter to them why we mate to our own instead of the opposite sex. That’s the problem. Not the Nature verses Nurture debate, but the lie that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. That is what we have to kill. And we do it by living our lives openly, by resisting the pressure hate brings to bear upon our lives to stay hidden. Bigots we will never change. But every moment we live our lives openly so that we can be seen as neighbors and not some strange alien other, we defeat hate.
September 9th, 2011
Something Rotten In The State Of NOM…
by Bruce |
Via Good As You. Orson Scott Card retells Hamlet. Yes. Seriously.
Anyone who thinks they’ve witnessed the heights of bigotry, look…if you haven’t read any of Orson Scott Card’s rants about homosexuality you absolutely Have Not seen the pure unadulterated thing…
A small American press has been swamped with complaints after publishing a version of Hamlet by the science fiction author Orson Scott Card in which King Hamlet is a gay paedophile.
Hymned by the publisher Subterranean Press as a “revelatory” retelling which shows “what’s really going on” in Shakespeare’s play, the story suggests Hamlet’s father wasn’t murdered by his brother Claudius, but Horatio, in revenge for being molested by him as a child.
The book is not a new release, having been published twice before, for the first time in 2008, but an explosive review at the Rain Taxi Review of Books has unleashed a wave of criticism.
“Here’s the punch line: Old King Hamlet was an inadequate king because he was gay, an evil person because he was gay, and, ultimately, a demonic and ghostly father of lies who convinces young Hamlet to exact imaginary revenge on innocent people,” writes William Alexander. “The old king was actually murdered by Horatio, in revenge for molesting him as a young boy – along with Laertes, and Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, thereby turning all of them gay … Hamlet is damned for all the needless death he inflicts, and Dead Gay Dad will now do gay things to him for the rest of eternity: ‘Welcome to Hell, my beautiful son. At last we’ll be together as I always longed for us to be.’”
For anyone who has read Orson Scott Card’s The Hypocrites Of Homosexuality and Homosexual “Marriage” and Civilization (the scare quotes are his), this is as unsurprising as the sight of the sun rising in the east. But bear in mind as you are reading all this, the National Organization for Marriage finds him fit enough for its board of directors…a man who once said that if same-sex couples are universally allowed to marry, every pledge of allegiance he ever uttered since he was a child becomes null and void…
“If America becomes a place where the laws of the nation declare that marriage no longer exists — which is what the Massachusetts decision actually does — then our allegiance to America will become zero. We will transfer our allegiance to a society that does protect marriage.” -Orson Scott Card, Homosexual “Marriage” and Civilization.
Perhaps someone should ask Brian Brown if he feels the same way about his allegiance to the United States of America. Oh…and civil war.
I honestly don’t think Card hates homosexuals. Bigotry isn’t always hate. The gutter has no bottom and there is a step down even from hate, where the complete dehumanization within oneself of the hated other is achieved. Did the architects who designed the gas chambers of Auschwitz hate the Jews, or were they simply doing their best to rid Europe of what they regarded as a pestilence? Hate is not the bottom. If your entire concept of “bigot” is such as Fred Phelps who wave their signs screaming that Matthew Shepard is burning in hell and Thank God For Dead Soldiers, it can come as a shock to see a human heart even more depraved, and worse, to see it so matter of fact about it, as if discussing the weather or last night’s baseball game. But the further down in the gutter you go, the more peaceful it seems.
Card doesn’t scream and shout. He doesn’t stand on a street corner and wave the bible and preach hell fire and damnation. If you sit him down to discuss it (ask people who have interviewed him) he will tell you calmly and matter-of-factly that gay rights is a collective delusion… that granting rights for deviant behavior is ridiculous… that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex… that when two homosexuals start telling people they’re a couple they are just “playing house” (his words)…that they might think that they have deep feelings towards one another but that’s all that it is…just wishful thinking, just pitiful trying to convince themselves that their deviant sexual urges are something higher and nobler then empty lust. He will tell you calmly and matter-of-factly that a homosexual’s highest allegiance is to the community that gives them access to sex… that homosexuals recruit children into homosexuality by molesting them and that is how everyone or nearly everyone who ever was a homosexual became one.
He will tell you all of this simply, calmly, and matter-of-factly. So matter-of-factly that you do not, simply cannot doubt this man will never be moved from his prejudices, no matter how much evidence to the contrary moves past his eyes. He does not deny the evidence, he simply does not see it. He can’t. He’s a bigot.
Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. Homosexuals are a threat to children. Homosexuality must be actively suppressed by force of law, preferably in a discrete, non-confrontational way, brutally if necessary, or the homosexuals will eventually recruit so many others into homosexuality that civilization will collapse.
Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society. -Orson Scott Card, The Hypocrites of Homosexuality.
Orson Scott Card will tell you this, as if he is telling you the time of day.
Some prejudice is simply misinformed. Some prejudice is cultural…like the song says, you have to be carefully taught. Even in the most vehement of haters of that kind, there is humanity buried somewhere within. It can be reached. Maybe. Then there is the prejudice that is an abyss. You cannot move an abyss, you can only stare into it, while it stares back into you.
July 23rd, 2011
Now You Know The Reason They Seemed So Vulnerable To You
by Bruce |
Details of the horrific events in Norway will continue to unfold no doubt for weeks, if not months to come. So it is well that we all just take a deep breath and wait for solid information to come out. I understand the impulse to think it was radical Islamic terrorism when the news first hit; it was my first reaction too. But I remembered Oklahoma City and held my peace and waited. And now it seems from the facts coming to light, that this was indeed more Oklahoma City then 9/11…
UPDATE 2, Saturday, July 23, 11:06 a.m. EDT: Oddmy Estenstad, an employee of agricultural retailer Felleskjøpet, tells CNN that Utoya shooting suspect Anders Behring Breivik bought six tons of fertilizer from the company in May:
She did not think the order was strange at the time because the suspect has a farm, but after Friday’s explosion in Norway’s capital, Oslo, she called police because she knew the material can be used to make bombs.
“We are very shocked that this man was connected to our company,” said Estenstad. “We are very sad about what happened.”
That sounds vaguely familiar. But bear in mind there is still an investigation going on and we really still don’t know much. This passage from the suspect’s postings to an anti-Muslim website struck me though…
I dare not even think of how many Norwegian children who have been suicide because of these experiences (assault, robbery, rape, psychological terror committed by Muslim youths). There are probably several hundred in the last 15 years.
….Non-Muslim youth in Oslo aged 12-18 are in a particularly vulnerable situation in terms of harassment [from] Muslim youth.
This from a man who (it is said) methodically killed 80 kids at a youth camp, some while they were swimming away for their lives. Always, the monster the bigot sees in others is themselves. And they are right to fear that monster.
July 12th, 2011
Yes, We Exist. And So Does Our Past.
by Bruce |
“History is who we are and why we are the way we are.”
In California bill, SB48, hopefully to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown, seeks to help correct a longstanding and bitter historical wrong. No…not the absence of gay history in the classroom…
School textbooks evolve, just like the society the pages describe. The contributions of African Americans, Latinos, Asians and women – all missing or minimized in decades past – are now more fully and accurately portrayed in textbooks and other instructional materials. The role of gays and lesbians also deserves fair treatment in lessons about the development of this state and nation.
That’s the simple and forceful premise behind a bill, SB48, now on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. But the idea of highlighting gay people’s contributions still draws controversy in a state where same-sex marriage remains illegal and a political wedge issue. In this case, the opposition is misguided about what’s at stake.
Ostensibly the bill is intended to improve awareness of the contributions of gay people to history. That’s a worthwhile goal in and of itself and as the second paragraph above notes, the usual suspects are raising a ruckus about it. But positive images of gay people are not what the opposition is afraid of. Here, in the Catholic Reporter, the real problem is daintily addressed…
Bishops oppose bill on gays in textbooks
William May, chairman of a California-based group called Catholics for the Common Good, said in a June 16 letter to the head of the state Assembly’s Education Committee, that problems around bullying are not going to be solved by “cosmetically sexualizing social studies” in the state’s public schools.
He said unjust discrimination against gays and lesbians “is an important fact that must be taught and not forgotten, but this bill will not affect that.” He also said the bill’s language was “so vague, and subject to such broad interpretation, that it can only lead to confusion, conflict and the potential for complaints and litigation.”
Note the formulation “unjust discrimination”. There’s the problem. Here’s the naked fear of this bill:
U.S. shifts policy on same-sex bankruptcies
The U.S. Justice Department has dropped its opposition to joint bankruptcy petitions filed by same-sex married couples in a victory for supporters of gay marriage.
The policy change is the latest setback for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which has come under increasing pressure since the Obama administration said in February that it would no longer defend its constitutionality.
The filing by the Obama Department of Justice goes beyond simply bowing out of the case…it makes a dazzlingly clear cut case that DOMA is an unconstitutional attack on a suspect minority that has suffered a long history of legal and social persecution:
Justice Dept. brief against DOMA lauded as ‘watershed moment’
LGBT rights supporters are heralding a recently filed legal brief against the Defense of Marriage Act – the first of its kind against the anti-gay law from the Obama administration – as a landmark document that will aid in bringing about the end of DOMA.
Notably, the brief recalls the U.S. government’s role in discriminating against LGBT people in its description of the ways in which LGBT people have received different treatment over the course of history. The Justice Department recalls that former President Eisenhower signed an executive order adding “sexual perversion” as grounds for dismissal for federal employees.
“The federal government enforced Executive Order 10450 zealously, engaging various agencies in intrusive investigatory techniques to purge gays and lesbians from the civilian workforce,” the brief states. “The State Department, for example, charged ‘”skilled” investigators’ with ‘interrogating every potential male applicant to discover if they had any effeminate tendencies or mannerisms,’ used polygraphs on individuals accused of homosexuality who denied it, and sent inspectors to ‘every embassy, consulate and mission’ to uncover homosexuality.’”
The full text of the brief is Here (PDF). It also reads in part:
In order to identify gays and lesbians in the civil service, the FBI “sought out state and local police officers to supply arrest records on morals charges, regardless of whether there were convictions; data on gay bars; lists of other places frequented by homosexuals; and press articles on the largely subterranean gay world”
The United States Postal Service (“USPS”), for its part, aided the FBI by establishing “a watch list on the recipients of physique magazines, subscrib[ing] to pen pal clubs, and initiat[ing] correspondence with men whom [it] believed might be homosexual.” The mail of individuals concluded to be homosexual would then be traced “in order to locate other homosexuals.”
Now consider this, and ask yourself how many times you have heard comparisons of the struggles of gay Americans and black Americans denounced because gays never were sold into slavery, never had to ride the back of the bus, never were denied the right to vote. Or comparisons with antisemitism denounced because gays were never herded into extermination camps. How many times have you heard the struggle for gay equality dismissed as the pastime of privileged rich white men. How often have we heard, and still hear, that laws protecting gay people from discrimination are unnecessary, are really just about seeking social approval.
Below is how Mad Magazine looked at our struggle back in 1971. I include this to show what the popular view of our struggle was so shortly after Stonewall, not to be pointing a finger specifically at Mad. This was how our struggle was commonly viewed back then and Mad like a lot of publications is way, way nicer to their gay readers nowadays.
Mad #145, Sept ‘71, from “Greeting Cards For The
Sexual Revolution” – “To A Gay Liberationist”
Forgive us if we’re more concerned with Indians and Blacks… So easy to say, when the shear brutality of anti-gay persecution was so completely unknown to most Americans. But of course to know that history they would have only had to look…
The Last Police Raid on Gays of Fire Island
…my mind went back to starting as a reporter at the daily Long Island Press in the 1960s covering police and courts when a Suffolk County custom was the annual police raid on the gay communities of Fire Island, a barrier beach on the Atlantic and a diverse summertime haven for New Yorkers.
Boatloads of Suffolk police would make a night-time assault on Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines. Prisoners were dragged off in manacles and charged with morals violations. All would plead guilty, most being from the city and frightened about casting their lot with Long Island locals. And, no question, this was a variant of a witch hunt. Police stressed, in notifying the press about the arrestees, where they worked and what they did. They wanted to get these guys in trouble.
But looking at what was happening to us was exactly the problem. There was no news footage back then of gays being dragged off in manacles because we were considered too disgusting to even talk about in family newspapers, let alone on TV. And when we were talked about, it always had to be in the most reassuringly scary and disgusted terms…
We had to fight just to be seen, before we could fight to have our stories told.
Some years ago I watched a documentary on Logo about the gay history of Fire Island. During a time when same-sex couples risked arrest for dancing together the police would patrol the streets around a club called the Botel and arrest random young men as they left. On those nights the bartenders would get the word somehow and warn people not to leave the club alone, but go out in large groups. Typically the police would arrest at least twenty gays. There was a large telephone pole near the Botel, that had a chain fastened to it, and as the police would randomly arrest gay men as they left the Botel they would cuff them to the chain…one by one…until they had their twenty for that night.
No, we never rode the back of the bus. We rode the boat back to the mainland and to jail. We sat in the cells of all the 50 states where sodomy laws put us. As Neil Miller documented in his book, Sex-Crime Panic in sentences of indefinite length in special wings in mental hospitals created specifically for homosexuals. As David Carter documented in his book Stonewall, bars and restaurants could have their licenses revoked if they served us. And as David K. Johnson documented in his book The Lavender Scare, we were relentlessly witch hunted in the 1950s because even more then the communist threat we were viewed by the republican party as a useful tool to play wedge politics against the democrats with. And as the Obama Justice Department brief states…
State and local law also has been used to prevent gay and lesbian people from associating freely. Liquor licensing laws, both on their face and through discriminatory enforcement, were long used to harass and shut down establishments patronized by gays and lesbians…State and local police also relied on laws prohibiting lewdness, vagrancy, and disorderly conduct to harass gays and lesbians, often when gay and lesbian people congregated in public… Similar practices persist to this day…
Yes…as a matter of fact…
Police disciplined over Eagle bar raid
Ten Atlanta police officers lied about events surrounding a controversial 2009 raid at a Midtown gay bar, according to an investigative report released this week, and the department on Thursday demoted a commander and placed seven others on administrative duty. Two officers previously were fired.
The 343-page report confirmed complaints raised in the lawsuit that officers had deleted call logs, photographs and cell phone text messages, which a federal judge had ordered turned over to the lawyers for men who had filed suit. The report said the officers lied when asked about people being shoved to the floor, city ordinance violations that were witnessed and phone use that night.
Decades since Stonewall and it’s still going on. But at least now there can’t be an expectation that we will endure it quietly. And that has consequences. Bigotry no longer has the free reign it use to have over us. Sometimes we win a few. The closet as it turned out, not only kept us hidden, it kept the crimes against us hidden.
It is the prospect of that history of anti-gay persecution becoming commonly known and understood that terrifies the anti-gay industrial complex. Because then the need for laws protecting us from discrimination becomes crystal clear. Because then the hatred at the root of groups like NOM and the Family Research Council becomes sickeningly obvious. Because then it becomes hard, obscene even, to argue as Maryland Delegate Jay Walker did that,
“I cannot fathom a day in which I will be told which water fountain I can use but at the same time the gay and lesbian community had so many more things that they could participate in that African Americans and immigrants couldn’t.”
We sure did…
Across the country there was an alarming vagueness in legal definitions as to who might be classified as a sexual psychopath. State laws defined a sexual psychopath as someone who had a “propensity” to commit sex offenses (Michigan and Missouri) or who “lacked the power to control his sexual impulses” (Massachusetts and Nebraska). In most states, however, authorities couldn’t just pluck such a person off the street and label him a sexual psychopath. In Alabama, for instance, the suspect had to be convicted of a sex crime first. Under the proposed Iowa legislation, such a person had to be charged with – but not necessarily convicted of – a “public offense.” In Nebraska, on the other hand, a suspect didn’t have to be charged; all that was needed were certain facts showing “good cause” and the process of classification as a sexual psychopath could begin. And in Minnesota, the only requirements were a petition by a county attorney and an examination by “two duly licensed doctors of medicine.”
Whatever their individual wordings, such laws were intended to bring about the indefinite detention of dangerous or socially undesirable people. In all these states, a sexual psychopath could not be released from detention until psychiatrists ruled that he was “cured” or at the very least no longer posed a threat to society.
Despite their good intentions, sexual psychopath laws invariably took a catch-all approach to sexual offenses. The intended targets may have been rapists and murderers, but in almost every state with a sexual psychopath law, little or no distinction was made between violent and non-violent offenses, between consensual and nonconsensual behavior, or between harmless “sexual deviates” and dangerous sex criminals. An adult homosexual man who had sex with his lover in the privacy of his bedroom was as deviant as a child murderer. A person who had a pornographic book or photograph hidden in a night table faced the same punishment as a rapist. All these people were lumped into one category – that of the sexual psychopath – and could be incarcerated in a state hospital indefinitely.
New York lawyer and judge Morris Ploscowe, one of the most prominent critics of sexual psychopath laws at the time, found that these were most often used to punish and isolate minor offenders rather then dangerous predators. In Minnesota, which enacted its sexual psychopath law in the ’30s, some 200 people were committed to state hospitals in the first ten years of the law’s existence, according to Ploscowe. Most were detained for homosexual activity, not for being hard-core sex criminals.
-Neal Miller: Sex-Crime Panic
So many more things we could participate in…
Like the federal government, state and local governments have long discriminated against gays and lesbians in public employment. By the 1950s, may state and local governments had banned gay and lesbian employees, as well as gay and lesbian “employees of state funded schools and colleges, and private individuals in professions requiring state licenses.” … Many states and localities began aggressive campaigns to purge gay and lesbian employees from government services as early as the 1940s.
This employment discrimination was interrelated with longstanding state law prohibitions on sodomy; the discrimination was frequently justified by the assumption that gays and lesbians had engaged in criminalized and immoral sexual conduct…
-Defendant’s Brief In Opposition To Motions To Dismiss, Golinski v. Office Of Personnel Management.
At one time all fifty states had sodomy laws but never mind that, homosexuals were never really a persecuted minority. At one time bars and restaurants were forbidden from serving known homosexuals but never mind that, homosexuals were never really a persecuted minority. At one time the Post Office with help from the FBI tracked down suspected homosexuals for government witch hunters but never mind that, homosexuals were never really a persecuted minority. At one time homosexuals were rounded up and held indefinitely in mental hospitals, could have their children taken away from them, could loose their jobs, their homes, their professional licenses, their freedom, but never mind that, homosexuals were never really a persecuted minority.
1777 – A committee works on a revised set of criminal law for Virginia. Thomas Jefferson and other liberals attempt to have the death penalty for sodomy replaced by castration for men and boring a hole through the nose of a woman. The committee rejects their suggestion and retains the death penalty.
Nothing to see here…move along…
That is why our history must never be taught. As long as this history, which is still being uncovered and documented, remains hidden the haters can keep right on posturing as the aggrieved parties whenever we compare our struggle to that of other hated minorities, and their bar stool prejudices toward us to their bar stool prejudices toward others. They can keep insisting that we do not need the protection of the courts because we are not a suspect class and were never really persecuted to begin with. That we are merely a small group of privileged mostly rich white men who are seeking special rights at everyone else’s expense. That they are not bigots whose concern was never about anything more then that their hatreds always have free reign over the lives of those they hate. Forgive us if we’re more concerned with Indians and Blacks. That is why our history must never be taught.
November 23rd, 2009
Hated By Religious Fanatics? You’re Not Alone…
by Bruce |
Ed Brayton has a post over at Dispatches From The Culture Wars today that relates how the closet is often enforced on atheists too…
Our Mere Existence is Offensive
It has been fascinating watching the response, city by city, where the advertisement that says "Not religious? You’re not alone" has gone up. We’ve seen bus drivers refuse to drive buses with that ad on them (and get fired for it). In Cincinnati, death threats forced the removal of a billboard with that message.
And now in Nashville, the local yokels are up in arms about an identical billboard. And offering the usual brilliant reasoning to support their position:
"It just absolutely wrong place, wrong town, wrong timing," said Green Hills resident Donnie Cude.
Something about the phrase "Not Religious, You’re not alone", doesn’t sit well with Cude.
"It’s a slap in the face to the Nashvillians and the people who have a strong foundation and do so much good for this town," said Cude.
It has become quite clear that the mere existence of people who don’t accept their religious views is considered a terrible offense to the most reason-impaired of the righteous. I just can’t imagine why anyone else should really care what offends them.
Brayton, let it be said, is also a principled advocate for gay equality pretty regularly on his blog. So it’s a safe bet he knows perfectly well how a story like this would resonate with his gay readers. But I have to say that my hunch is that atheists probably get it worse nowadays.
I can think of a lot of cities where those bus ads would…yeah…draw some notice, but not a whole lot of bellyaching had they read "Gay? You’re Not Alone."
I remember a passage from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Catch Trap where one gay character tells another ruefully about the unspoken rule in Hollywood, that there are two things you can’t be and keep working in this town and one of them is a communist. But back in the day communism and atheism were tightly joined together in the political rhetoric of the cold war, and more often then not what you got was the sense that the problem with Communism wasn’t it’s totalitarian nature but that it was godless. "Godless communism" was what they called it. Now it’s just godlessness. Probably in the hierarchy of evilness, Atheists are worse then homosexuals…homosexuals being merely the interior decorators of Satan’s evil one world empire, atheists being its sinister architects.
Penn Jillette wrote a simple, lovely piece about being an atheist for an NPR series titled, This I Believe. It reads in part…
Believing there’s no God means I can’t really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That’s good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.
The problem, as a lot of gay folk already know painfully well is that the more you come out of the closet, the more people can see you for the human being that you are, the more the bigots will hate you for the human being that you are.
August 16th, 2009
At The Center Of It All: The Right To Kiss The One You Love
by Bruce |
I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating again and again because it really says it all. An old high school friend of mine told me once about taking a college course on human sexuality. The course, he said, included a number of films which you might easily expect to find in an Adult Entertainment store then in a university classroom. Most of the kids who signed up for that course did so, according to my friend who probably did also, just to see those films.
What they didn’t bargain for was also having to watch a bunch of sex they didn’t much like. In addition to the hot young babes there was also footage of folks old enough to be their own parents having sex. This was after all, a course on human sexuality, not pornography. My friend said the sections on geriatric sex generally grossed out the audience. But not as much as the section on gay male sex. But it wasn’t just watching two guys having sex specifically, that bothered the audience. Some of them.
Which was what my friend was telling me about, in wide eyed wonder, since he was one of the few heterosexuals I knew back then who were really and truly unfazed by my sexual orientation. We were all in college then and I was in the process of slowly coming out to my friends, one at a time. He was one of the first I’d come out to and that afternoon he was telling me in wonder about his human sexuality class and the gay sex film they’d seen. I remember it well, because in retrospect it was one of those rare moments where I could actually see someone getting it. He said when the gay male sex scenes came on screen, the ignorant jock types in the class burst out laughing and mocked the couple. But then images of them being affectionate with each other came on screen and the atmosphere changed. Those scenes completely offended the jocks he said…far more, far, Far more, then watching them have sex did.
That was 1973 or ’74 as I remember it. Back in those days if you wanted to watch pornography you either got some grainy 8mm stag films from some shady character or you went to an X-rated movie somewhere in the really bad part of town (or Viers Mill Road across from the Zayres if you lived in Rockville, Maryland…). Nowadays you download it off the Internet and teens as young as 13 are way more sexually confidant and secure then my generation ever was. The cultural scolds are bellyaching that the nation is swimming in sexually charged images and that it’s dragging our morals into the gutter. But notice that one of their biggest bugaboos, their deepest fear, their prime target in the culture war isn’t the proliferation of pornography…it’s same-sex marriage. This, this above all else, is their evidence that the culture is sinking into a bottomless pit: homosexuals couples are getting married.
Try this experiment. Open a gay bath house somewhere in the Bible Belt, and nearby, open a same-sex wedding chapel, and see which one gets the most protests. Trust me it won’t even be close. It will be as though the bath house isn’t even there, as long as the chapel is.
The lightning rod, the flash point in homophobic bigotry has always been same-sex love, not same-sex sex. It isn’t that we have sex that bothers the bigots. If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that "I don’t care what you people do in the privacy of your bedrooms…" bullshit I’d be rich. It’s when we Flaunt It that they start screaming about militant homosexuals. And what, exactly, is flaunting it? Well I can tell you what it isn’t: having sex.
The tectonics of attitude are shifting in subtle ways that are geographic, psychic and also generational, suggested Katherine M. Franke, a lesbian who teaches law and is a director of the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia University. “I’ve been attacked on the street and called all sorts of names” for kissing a female partner in public, Professor Franke said. “The reception our affection used to generate was violence and hatred,” she added. “What I’ve found in the last five years is that my girlfriend and I get smiles from straight couples, especially younger people. Now there’s almost this aggressive sense of ‘Let me tell you how terrific we think that is.’ ”
Yet gay-bashing still occurs routinely, Mr. Patton of the Anti-Violence Project said, even in neighborhoods like Chelsea in Manhattan, where the sight of two men kissing on the street can hardly be considered a frighten-the-horses proposition. “In January some men were leaving a bar in Chelsea,” saying goodbye with a kiss, Mr. Patton said. “One friend got into a taxi and then a car behind the taxi stopped and some guys jumped out and beat up the other two.” One victim of the attack, which is under investigation by the police department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, was bruised and shaken. The second had a broken jaw.
-The New York Times, February 18, 2007 – A Kiss Too Far
That Times article begins with a story about how a candy commercial featuring an accidental same-sex kiss generated enough controversy that it had to be withdrawn. The article noted that the incident, "had the inadvertent effect of revealing how a simple display of affection grows in complexity as soon as one considers who gets to demonstrate it in public, and who, very often, does not."
And so it goes. A same-sex couple is brutally beaten in front of a restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona simply for holding hands inside. So security guards at a fast food joint throw a same-sex couple out for sharing a kiss and then call the police on them. So a same-sex couple, strolling too close to the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City, get handcuffed and arrested for kissing. That arrest for kissing in front of the Mormon Temple, so soon after it became apparent that Proposition 8 was funded by massive amounts of Mormon money and labor, made headlines all over the world. The response of the Mormon hierarchy was to smear the kissers with accusations that they were groping each other in public. Not a shred of evidence exists, apart from Mormon propaganda to support that charge, but look at it for what it says about the thinking here. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex…
When they talk about their "deeply held religious beliefs", this is what they mean. Not the belief in God Almighty. Not the belief in Christ the redeemer. Not the belief in the literal truth of the Bible. This is the deeply held religious belief that they will not suffer doubt in. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. A kiss in public between a same-sex couple isn’t a gesture of affection, it’s a sex act.
In USA Today, the Faith and Reason section recently ran a column titled, When is a kiss not just a kiss? When it’s a gay protest…
One denomination after another is stressed — possibly to a breaking point for some believers — by furious battles over the roles of openly gay people in church life and ministry. Can they be clergy or bishops? Can their relationships be blessed?
And the newest protest symbol by gay activists is a kiss…
But this has always been the battle. Not to have sex, but to be allowed to love. The difference between the thugs who beat up Jean Rolland and Andrew Frost in front of the Frasher’s Steak House in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the Mormon church, isn’t so much one of degree as clarity of purpose. It came to this: When Mormon security guards saw a same-sex couple share a kiss, they had to detain them and call the police. When that arrest became a headline all over the world, the Mormon church immediately sought to replace the image of a kiss in the public mind with an image of two men groping each other. You hear the anti-gay warriors say time and again that there is no such thing as a homosexual, there is only homosexual behavior. But look at their attitudes toward marriage generally. Men are the God ordained head of the household. Women must submit gracefully to their husbands. Their union isn’t validated by their joy in one another, but by the blessing of the church. It isn’t something that exists for its own sake, but to further God’s plan for humanity. It is not simply that there can be no homosexuals. There is no such thing as love. There is only authority. There is only power. And a kiss embodies everything that power hates and wants to exterminate from the human spirit.
Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com