June 23rd, 2008
I hesitate to write a new posting about David Benkof. I’m of the impression that much of his effort in writing anti-gay rants is based in a desire to see his name in print. However, I also recognize that he has been fairly successful in getting his views heard and I believe it is necessary to provide clear documentation of the lies and deceptions that he employs.
I’ll not argue with his views, because to do so is pointless. Absent my ability to persuade him that G-d did not write the Torah, there are no convincing or compelling arguments that would sway his opinions. But I will challenge his “facts”.
If this posting seems a bit dry, that’s because its intent is to provide an update to the examples of dishonesty illustrated in our report, David Benkof: Behind the Mask
Misrepresentation and Deceit
In an opinion piece which ran in the Providence Journal on June 18 in which Benkof argues that “our society should keep its highest place of honor for families that represent the best configuration for the raising of children — families with both a mother and a father”, Benkof said the following:
Now, many gays and lesbians would like more, if not all, young people to investigate the dress and behavior of both sexes. They would favor social change that leads more children to be attracted to and to experiment sexually with members of the same sex. And certainly, they think anything that reduces sexually stereotyped career goals and social interactions is a good thing.
A few gays and lesbians have been open about this attitude. For example, Kate Kendall, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told the Associated Press she felt “elation” when she heard about a study showing that children of same-sex parents “may be somewhat more likely to reject notions of rigid sexual orientation.”
I was curious whether Kate Kendall had “this attitude” about sexual experimentation and dress and behavior investigation. So I asked.
I’m sure it will surprise no one that Benkof was mischaracterizing Kendall’s position.
Wow, I have not seen this. We certainly support eliminating sexism and discrimination based on gender non-conformity but the rest of this is utter distortion and clearly intended to inflame.
False Claims of Columnist and Column
In a June 23 posting on his site, Benkof said the following:
It’s not about marriage per se, but my column for Pride month that questions what was so great about the Stonewall rebellion is up at the Web site of the Macon, Georgia Telegraph. The column is consistent with my complaint that gays and lesbians are so focused on being “equal” that they have no compassion for who they hurt, whether it’s orphans, Boy Scouts, or in this case, New York City cops.
Benkof provided a link to the “column” that he was discussing which “was up at” the Georgia Telegraph. The link did not lead to a column in the paper. It led to a letter to the editor.
Although Benkof had indicated on June 16th on this site that he would change his deceptive language about being a columnist to “writer whose columns have been seen in”, in this letter to the editor, Benkof again used the following self identification
David Benkof is a columnist for several gay newspapers around the country. He blogs at GaysDefendMarriage.com and can be reached at DavidBenkof@aol.com
In his letter to the editor, Benkof presents a description of the Stonewall Riots that seems inconsistent with other reports. In his rush to criticize gay people (this time for having no compassion), Benkof said the following
But the circumstances of gay life in the late 1960s, while certainly pain-filled and oppressive, did not justify spilling blood.
Spilling blood? What blood?
The term “spilling blood” generally refers to loss of life. But no one died at Stonewall.
Could Benkof be unaware of that fact? Perhaps he’s just not well versed in the facts?
As it turns out, there is an article on PlanetOut.com about the Stonewall Riots written by none other than David Bianco, which was Benkof’s name prior to his anti-gay rebirth.
Eyewitnesses recalled that the scene outside the bar was at first campy and festive. Patrons were joined by tourists and passers-by, and everyone cheered when a gay person emerged from the bar, dismissed by the police. But when a paddy wagon arrived and the police loaded the bar’s staff and the three drag queens inside, the crowd on the street grew surly. One person threw a rock through a window, and eventually garbage cans, bottles, and even a parking meter were used to assault the building. Someone set a fire with lighter fluid. By newspaper accounts, 13 people were arrested and three police officers sustained minor injuries in the confrontation.
Let’s see how that compares with Benkof’s current description.
Benkof: The demonstrations were sparked by a legitimate police raid on an unlicensed, Mafia-run bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village the night of June 27, 1969.
Bianco: The charge was illegal sale of alcohol. It was the second time that week the bar had been targeted by the police, and other gay bars had also been raided in prior weeks.
Incidentally, the police involved in the raid tell a different story, it was a raid by out-of-precint officers using a fraudulent “tip” about a police officer being stabbed.
Benkof: At least four cops were injured in the unrest, suffering maladies like broken bones and a bloody facial wound. One cop told a reporter he was “almost decapitated” by a thick slab of sharp glass a rioter threw “like a discus” at his throat.
Bianco: By newspaper accounts, 13 people were arrested and three police officers sustained minor injuries in the confrontation.
The “reporter” was Jerry Lisker writing a purple prose piece for the New York Daily News entitled “Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad“. Even the slightest glance at this piece reveals that accuracy was the last thing on Lisker’s agenda (“Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.”)
Benkof: Protesters doused the bar’s facade and some of its interior with lighter fluid, which they ignited with matches. Had this unconscionable arson engulfed the building, we’d be commemorating the Stonewall Massacre.
Bianco: Someone set a fire with lighter fluid.
The claims about the lighter fluid appear to be from an account by Dick Leitch, a leader in Mattachine. However, the officers who were in the bar that night – dispute that version.
Neither of them saw anyone – drag queens or otherwise – trying to burn down Stonewall with cops inside.
Benkof: Even so, surely we’ve chosen the wrong memory through which to unify a diverse community that includes many segments – like lesbian Quakers and gay Republicans – unsympathetic to rioting as a political technique.
Bianco: Estimates suggest that, at the time of the riots, there were a few dozen gay organizations in the United States. Within a few years, the number had risen to more than 400.
There is no question that the Stonewall Riots were instrumental in changing the gay community. They became a rallying point around which the community gained a new perspective, not as weak victims begging for less-harsh treatment but as citizens demanding fair and equal treatment.
David Bianco knew this. So does David Benkof, however much he may wish it were not so.
Given the inconsistencies between the stories, I’d have to state that either David Bianco or David Benkof shows contempt for factual accuracy. I’m inclined to think both.
UPDATE:I completely forgot to include the following:
As I’ve said before, Benkof identifies in whatever manner he thinks will give his statements the most credibility. And, yet again, he provides an example in his letter to the editor:
I call on my fellow gays and lesbians to create holidays and events that honor them…
Benkof is quite clear that he isn’t gay when he wishes to trash gays on conservative websites. But if he wants to stake claim to the right to criticize from within he magically becomes part of his “fellow gays and lesbians”.
Talk about chutzpah (and I do mean that in a pejorative way).
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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"
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And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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