This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the other authors at this site.
April 22nd, 2008
If one were to write, say, an article about gay Republicans, one might think it smart to interview a living breathing gay Republican. With about a quarter of self-identified gay voters pulling the Republican lever, and with Log Cabin Republicans operating a full time office, these are hardly elusive folks hiding in the shadows.
Yet Charles Kaiser managed to write a piece for Out Magazine without input from a single gay Republican. An excerpt from Washington’s Gay War:
Welcome to gay Washington in the 21st century, where the gay Democrats are proud and out on the Hill and in the lobbying firms on K Street, while many gay Republicans still cower in the closet until they trip themselves up with off-color instant messages to teenage pages, or conduct unbecoming to a United States senator in an airport bathroom.
It really doesn’t improve much as it goes along. Kaiser’s imaginary Washington doesn’t contain Jim Kolbe or any of the many openly gay Republican staffers. Nor does it have any of the many Democrats who are closeted. Riddled with ancient anecdotes and wild assumptions, it has about as much resemblance to “gay Washington in the 21st century” as it does to Narnia. Washington Blade’s Chris Crane perhaps said it best:
The result was a 2,800-word, one-sided hack job that failed to report even one single new fact.
I doubt that Kaiser set out with the intent of maligning a huge chunk of the community. I suspect he is simply a victim of his own limited experiences. Not knowing gay Republicans, he cannot fathom why such a creature would exist. So his article included the opinions of “people like us”, not those oddities.
And in the process he embarrassed himself and his magazine.
But Kaiser’s article can provide a lesson to us all. I have been guilty of writing from the perspective of ignorance and misunderstanding. We have all made assumptions about the motivations and intentions of others, especially those who we perceive as anti-gay, and in the process painted wide swathes of people with the same brush.
I like to believe that at Box Turtle Bulletin we try to avoid presumptions and stereotypes to the best of our abilities. But this incident has served for me as a reminder that care should be taken to avoid making broad declarations about those with whom I am not familiar.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.