Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

McCain’s Washington Blade Talking Points

Jim Burroway

October 1st, 2008

As for the rest of McCain’s Interview with the Washington Blade, he touched on quite a few topics:

On LGBT Role Models: “I had the humbling experience of speaking at Mark Bingham’s funeral after the attacks on Sept. 11. Mark had supported me during the 2000 campaign. Unfortunately, I barely knew him, but our country learned about him after 9-11. He was one of the heroes on 9-11 who tried to retake control of United Flight 93. His efforts along with the other brave patriots could have saved hundreds of lives. I honor and respect Mark.  Memories of his sacrifice and the other victims from 9-11 motivate me everyday to make sure we keep our nation safe from the terrorists who want to attack our way of life because freedom is a threat to their message of hate.”

On HIV/AIDS: “I’m proud to have supported President Bush’s efforts to address the international AIDS crisis. History will remember him for the PEPFAR program, which has saved millions of lives. We’ve made progress on the domestic front too, but not enough. I am committed to supporting the development of a National AIDS Strategy. Countries receiving PEPFAR aid are required to develop a national plan; but we don’t have one in our country. … Recent CDC statistics show that gay men continue to be strongly impacted by the disease, and the disease is disproportionately affecting people of color. Our prevention and treatment efforts must be improved to address these challenges.”

On adoption by gay couples: “I hope my comments are not misinterpreted. I respect the hundreds of thousands of gay and lesbian people who are doing their best to raise the children they have adopted. As someone who adopted a child, Cindy and I know better than most couples the amazing satisfaction that comes from providing love to an unwanted child. I believe a child is best raised by a mother and father because of the unique contributions that they make together to the development of a child.”

On gays in the military: “On ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ I’m going to defer to our military commanders. So far they have told me it’s working. I’m willing to have the policy reviewed to make sure that’s the case, but at the end of the day, I’m going to rely on the commanders who will be impacted by a change in the law.”

On the Defense of Marriage Act: “As a Republican, I am a strong advocate for federalism. States should be able to decide as many issues as possible. That’s certainly the case on the definition of marriage. My home state of Arizona shouldn’t be compelled to recognize a marriage from California or Massachusetts. Those states can decide that issue by themselves.”

On so-called “marriage amendments”: “My own view is that marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman. That’s what I supported in Arizona. I realize this is a controversial issue and we must conduct this debate in a way that respects the dignity of every person. … As I did in my home state of Arizona, I support the effort in California to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. However, the people of California will ultimately decide this issue, and I’ll of course respect the decision of the voters.”

On non-descrimination in the workplace: “Gay and lesbian people should not face discrimination in the workplace. I’ve always practiced that in my hiring. I select the best people, regardless of their sexual orientation. I support the concept of non-discrimination in hiring for gay and lesbian people. However, we need to make sure legislation doesn’t lead to a flood of frivolous lawsuits or infringe on religious institutions. What I can say now is I will give careful consideration to any legislation that reaches my desk, and confer with Congress before making decisions.”

On Hate Crimes Legislation: “I have voted against the proposal several times. Let me make it clear that no one should face violence because of who they are. It’s un-American and morally repugnant. People who commit any violent crime should face tough penalties. However, I am not convinced that this is properly a federal issue, or that criminal sentences for terrible crimes should be longer because of the views of the perpetrator or the identity of the victim.”

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0 | TRACKBACK URL

Stefano A
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

As a Republican, I am a strong advocate for federalism.

Heh! I’ve been under the misguided notion that in “states rights versus federalism” that federalism was the attitude for more federal not less control over states rights. I always thought that’s why it was a debate over “states rights versus federalism”.

Anyway, my misguided notions aside… One of the many things that concerns me about McCain is how he’s for states rights in deciding these matters

John McCain: I voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006. I continue to oppose such an amendment today, because as I’ve explained this should be a state matter, and not one for the federal government — as long as no state is forced to adopt some other state’s standard.

… in other words until (if) the SCOTUS would rule anti-gay amendments are unconstition, then he’d be all for federal constitutional amendments.

Bottom line, I’ve not heard him saying anything that isn’t simply blatant pathetic pandering platitudes.

As with Palin, I could care less if he has gay “friends” if at every turn he is against rights and/or protections for our community. Such pathetic attempts to indicate “inclusion” are, to me, the equivalent of the racists who claim they can’t be racist “because I have friends”.

Phoeey!

Stefano A
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

Whoops. The way I wrote this it caused something not to post.

This should read … “because I have (insert ethinic group here) friends”.

Stefano A
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

typos… and of course I meant “could NOT care less”.

Timothy Kincaid
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

Stefano,

I think you are mistaken about federalism. While technically it is a system in which there is shared power, when US politicians use the phrase they refer to a system in which states hold greater autonomy and way-of-life decisions are determined locally.

For example, a politician who supports a federalist viewpoint would be opposed to efforts to dictate drinking age or speed limit on the states. They work under the premise that each state should be able to experiment and other states can follow or shun a social direction.

In McCain’s perspective, states should each decide their own marriage and adoption laws and the federal government should keep out of it. While he might not much prefer CA and MA marriage laws, as long as other states are not forced to agree, he would not see a role for federal interference.

Stefano A
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

I think you are mistaken about federalism.

Indeed, I stated that I had a “misguided notion” about federalism.

In McCain’s perspective, states should each decide their own marriage and adoption laws and the federal government should keep out of it.

Yes. I’m familiar with what his states positions have been and are, not the least of those having been posted above.

However, my “take” on what he says can still be summed up as “I’ll let others do the ‘dirty’ anti-gay work until they don’t or fail at the state level. Then I’ll be for federal intervention as I’ve done already in voting against everything such as the Matthew Shephard Act.”

While he might not much prefer CA and MA marriage laws, as long as other states are not forced to agree, he would not see a role for federal interference.

The bolded above and in his posted comments are the key words to look out for. They’re the equivalent of how the country worked during the inter-racial marriage debates. Those states who upheld denial of inter-racial marriage were somewhat fine with state by state until the SCOTUS ruled those states marriage laws unconstitutional. I do not see McCain’s comments being convincingly otherwise.

He’s walking a fine verbal line in his comments to the Blade and the LRC in order to try to obtain the gay vote. But I am unconvinced that he would not do exactly what I predict he would do when push comes to shove regarding SCOTUS.

John
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

“As someone who adopted a child, Cindy and I know better than most couples the amazing satisfaction that comes from providing love to an unwanted child.”

As a gay man who is raising an adopted child with my partner, I am very careful whenever I say anything about my kid related to adoption. There is no way the word “unwanted” would ever pass my lips when talking about my kid or any other child.

I am still stunned that he said that.

Stefano A
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

John, that choice of wording really jumped out at me as well.

AJD
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

On hate crime laws: “However, I am not convinced that this is properly a federal issue, or that criminal sentences for terrible crimes should be longer because of the views of the perpetrator or the identity of the victim.”

What I find interesting is that people who claim to oppose hate-crime protections for GLBT people based on such “libertarian” principles aren’t going out and campaigning for the abolition of hate-crime laws in general, or even saying they shouldn’t protect other groups.

Priya Lynn
October 1st, 2008 | LINK

Exactly AJD. Lots of people claim to be opposed to hate crimes laws in general, but you never heard them complaining about them until it was proposed to add gays to the list of protected groups.

Emily K
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

In response, I think i’ll go vote for Obama.

Jason D
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Obama is still miles ahead in my book.

While McCain will tolerate the existence of gays, and gladly employee them to further his agenda…he still. doesn’t. get. it.

“My home state of Arizona shouldn’t be compelled to recognize a marriage from California or Massachusetts.”

What about Full Faith and Credit, Mr. Senator? Or is the constitution just an annoying piece of paper to you, too?

So, Under McCain/Palin Administration we can look forward to:

It being okay to respect gay people, so long as they are dead and patriotic.

Maybe more HIV/AIDS funding, but you know, it affects everyone.

It being “okay” for kids to settle for a second class family. IE, gay adoption.

Maybe, possibly a repeal of DADTDP, if, ya know the military agrees.

No Marriage Amendment unless DOMA or something gets challenged and loses at SCOTUS. Pesky constitution!

A patchwork of inconsistent state laws recognizing marriage, civil unions domestic partnerships, or nothing at all. Will we need papers to cross state lines a la Soviet Russia?

Employment Non-discrimination, so long as nobody is offended, and so long as congress agrees.

Continued Hate Crimes Protection for race, religion, disability, and all the other categories except sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Cause, you know, that might offend someone.

Tangent – Does anyone else find it bigoted and racist when people say that being gay is different from race because “you can’t change skin color” as if to say “if you could, you certainly should, but if you can’t, we’ll just try not to hold it against you.”

Anyway, wow McCain, you’re such a leader, such a maverick.

AJD
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

“Tangent – Does anyone else find it bigoted and racist when people say that being gay is different from race because “you can’t change skin color” as if to say “if you could, you certainly should, but if you can’t, we’ll just try not to hold it against you.””

Yeah, I do. Tying this with the argument over anti-discrimination and hate-crime laws, it’s worth pointing out that people can, and regularly do, change their religions. Nobody is born a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Wiccan. And yet, religion is protected under those laws, while sexual orientation isn’t, even though no serious member of the social science, health or mental health community considers sexual orientation a choice.

Alex
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

If the comparison is made with the implication that gay people should change, then yeah of course it’s offensive. But outside of that context, I personally don’t see anything wrong in saying that being gay is different from being a racial minority. I didn’t choose to be a white gay man any more than a black person chose to be black, but unlike a black person, you can’t discern my “otherness” just by looking at me.

Also, Emily K, do you mean to say that you’re voting for Obama just because he’s more pro-gay than McCain?

rusty
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Alex, Is Tiger Woods BLACK or multiracial? Is Obama Black or White?

What about Folk who entered Ellis Island and took on ‘White Anglo’ names just to fit in? Displaced their religious views and practices just to fit in.

I am a gay man who grew up in Montana so I can ‘pass’ as a straight man. But put me in some khaki capri pants, a silk shirt and apply a golden bronze, do I pass as a straight guy?

People are harassed, often by how they are perceived. Women continue to be paid less than their male counterparts. There are many folk in the GLBT community that are gender-variant. . .and very proud of it. No one needs to tell anyone who they should be, what they can or can’t do, or dismiss any aspirations.

Kith
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

“I personally don’t see anything wrong in saying that being gay is different from being a racial minority. I didn’t choose to be a white gay man any more than a black person chose to be black, but unlike a black person, you can’t discern my “otherness” just by looking at me.
Alex

My roommate is African American and has a brother and a sister. My roommate is the color of midnight and has black hair the texture of an lamb. The sister has a cafe au lait skin tone and soft silky auburn hair, the bother has pail skin and very curly hair.

The sister can take on an Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish accent and suddenly her African heritage disappears. Meanwhile the bother used to pretend to be Jewish. My roommate has neither option. So what does this say about being able to hide your race? Sounds to me like it depends on cards you draw when you where born.

The same thing happens with homosexuals and gender divergent people. If you are big for guys, stacked for girls, athletically fit or prone twords gender normative features, and smooth/comfortable around people, not bothered with being dishonest to your coworkers and colleagues, you can fake the straight without thinking. Should you be a little rough or soft around the wrong edges or not feel comfortable telling everyone around you half truths, it becomes far more difficult. Should you be gender divergent, you might as well give up, because it will leak no matter how hard you try to act “Normal.”

Of course the second you start dating, all bets are off, unless you want to treat your lover like a mushroom (kept in the dark and fed manure) you are outed. It is impossible to have a healthy hidden relationship, straight or gay. Likewise it is preposterous to ask someone to do it so they can appear straight for their neighbors. It would be just like asking a cafe au lait skin toned African American to pretend to be something else just because she can.

Alex
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Rusty, thanks for supporting my point. As a gay man who by his own admission can pass for straight, you can choose whether or not you want to hide the characteristic that makes you different. Regardless of which label accurately describes Tiger Woods or Barack Obama, no amount of changing their last name or discarding their religious practices or wearing different clothes will change the fact that they look different from you. That’s the difference between race and sexual orientation, and that’s why race shouldn’t even be mentioned in the gay rights debate.

Now, as for whether wearing capri pants and a silk shirt would let you pass for straight, should I make myself look prejudiced by saying “no” or should I call YOU prejudiced for thinking that only a gay man would wear something like that? :-P

Alex
October 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Kith,

If an African American can pass for white, and if a gay man can pass for straight, it would make their lives easier to do so. I’m not saying that it’s right or that they should (although I sense that you would readily accuse me of implying as much), but objectively and realistically speaking, it’s the truth. Society – especially American society – does not favor minorities. That’s why people who can choose their public perceptions have an advantage over those who cannot, like your “midnight” skinned roommate. The characteristic that sets him apart is not based on behavior or choice, but the characteristic that sets gay people apart as a minority is.

Comparing sexual orientation to race denies this fact, and insults the immeasurably greater injustices that people of color have faced, which make the plight of homosexuals seem almost tame by comparison. Saying that the two are similar when they obviously are not is what I find offensive.

Timothy Kincaid
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

I think the racial comparison is valid. There are many many shared experiences between gay persons and racial minorities. Others may not see them but when California legalized marriage, I found myself reading many (many) letters to the editor from mixed race couples and every one of them empathized and saw the situation as parallel.

Personally, I think a better comparison than African Americans to the gay community is Jewish Americans. Like gays, many (though certainly not all) can “pass” for non-Jewish. And as a minority percentage the population is relatively similar.

Jews also have experienced great discrimination and often for “religious reasons”. And often in a casual “non intentional” way – less overt, in a manner similar to heterosexism (“So what did you get for Christmas?”).

Nonetheless, whichever comparison is more accurate is not my point. The targeting of persons for discrimination and inequal treatment based on an inherent trait is the commonality, be it race, ethnicity, religion, or sexuality. And to claim (or even pretend) that there are no comparisons are what if find offensive. Bigotry is always comparable to bigotry.

And to not see this is, to me, astonishly blind.

Duncan
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Regarding Jason D’s comment, I think that maintaining DOMA and not obliging states to recognize each other’s marriages is the best chance for gay marriage in any of them. It is the prospect of marriage leaking across state lines that gave the impetus behind the constitutional amendment. With different definitions of marriage, it will be messy, but that is the price of federalism. (And yes, Stefano, it’s odd that a federalist in Europe is on who wants more power to the center…)
DOMA is a real help to gay rights, just as Roe vs Wade has been a boost to the pro-life camp (without it, the conservative coalition would be rent asunder on the issue and abortion would have democratic legitimacy).

Timothy Kincaid
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Duncan,

I think that your federalist approach is pragmatic. I tend to agree.

Jim Burroway
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

I think comparisons of two unrelated things are always fraught with difficulty. Race and sexuality are clearly different things.

They obviously share some common experiences (discrimination, hate crimes), but the differences mean that comparisons between the two can only go so far. Gays were never enslaved, for example, while African-Americans, arguably, were never forced to live the double life of a closet. Such a thing would have been impossible for most of them. (Although, I think it can be argued that a different sort of closet may serve as a metaphor for some African-Americans’ experience of the pressures of assimilation vs. cultural expression.)

rusty
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Alex

I would like to talk about passing and gender variance. Gender variance is a term that refers to those expressions of gender (masculinity and femininity) that do not conform to the dominant gender norms of Western culture. (wikipedia). My hope is to explore the issue of racial discrimination under the same arguement that racism is based that a sub-group of any population can express bigotry toward another group, with claims of superiority, and to disenfranchise folk outside of their group, enacting systematic oppression. In the case of people of color, racism allowed the dominant power folk and privileged folk to denigrade folk based on their skin color.

In regards to those who are gender variant, oppression, discrimination and violence are often enacted toward those who fall outside of the gender box. Yes I can pass, but many GLBT folk can’t and shouldn’t have to.

In the gay community, one of the High Holiday’s is Halloween. It is a chance to put on a costume to fit in. . .or to express oneself. (Although I am always curious as to why so many ‘straight men’ revel in the fact that they are given permission to dress up in drag. In high schools, at least back in the day, during Spirit weeks athletic boys don cheerleading outfits and girls wear football pads and other masculine costumes.) But there are many folk in the GLBT community that bend the gender rules. Some do it all the time, some do it occassionally and others do it in the privacy of their homes.

With the privilege of having lived in large metro areas, Seattle Portland & DC, and have also circulated in small rural areas, I find it interesting in the GLBT communities ability to don regalia for special functions, social outings or even on a basic day to day basis. For those in the Leather community, The Bear Community, The GymBOTS, it is amazing to run into some of these folk in street drag. Yet they are hyper extending their gender variance. It is the same for some of my lesbian sisters, whose entire wardrobe consists of carhart jeans and overalls and workshirts. These wonderful sisters find comfort in wearing these clothes and diss the skirt.

But for many, falling outside of gender norms is just a part of who they are. It is not a choice. It is sometimes an expression of pride and personal acceptance.

Victims of racial discrimination are more than likely able to turn to their families, their churches and pastor, and the neighbors for support if they experience an act of indifference, threats or even violence. On the other hand, many GLBT folk targeted for their gender variance may have been rejected by their family, may not report issues for fear of increased publicity or even loss of job and home.

America is still brewing racism, ageism, ableism, heterosexixm, anti-semitism and on and on and on. Although the bright spot on the horizon comes about with announcements from people like Sarah Palin and even Catholic Joe Biden on their support of GLBT folk. What is disheartening is that within the GLBT community their is the ugly fact that internalized homophobia coupled with the conditioning of heterosexism, people of the GLBT community continue to subject others to same injustices. Take a look at The Color Purple again, when Oprah Winfrey confronts Whoopie in the cornfield asking ‘did you tell harpo to hit me?

Sofia continues: ‘All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy, I had to fight my uncles, I had to fight my brothers. Girl child ain’t safe in a family of mens. But I ain’t never thought I had to fight in my own HOUSE!’

Priya Lynn
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Alex said “Comparing sexual orientation to race denies this fact, and insults the immeasurably greater injustices that people of color have faced, which make the plight of homosexuals seem almost tame by comparison. Saying that the two are similar when they obviously are not is what I find offensive.”.

I find your wrongheaded conclusion offensive myself. Its not always true that people of colour have faced “immeasruably greater injustices”.
Gays are often rejected by family, relatives, and friends, they can find no haven in the storm. Black people are never rejected by their family, relatives, and friends for being black, they can always find safe respite from the bigotry of the outside world, not true for many gays. In some ways its immeasurably worse to be gay than to be black.

Swampfox
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Pyria Lynn writes, “I find your wrongheaded conclusion offensive myself. Its not always true that people of colour have faced “immeasruably greater injustices”. Gays are often rejected by family, relatives, and friends, they can find no haven in the storm. Black people are never rejected by their family, relatives, and friends for being black, they can always find safe respite from the bigotry of the outside world, not true for many gays. In some ways its immeasurably worse to be gay than to be black.” I agree with what you have posted. I would add that even today gays are considered to be mentally ill by some people and sinners in some religions.

Jim Burroway
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

I’d like to repeat what I just posted, because I think it just got lost:

I think comparisons of two unrelated things are always fraught with difficulty. Race and sexuality are clearly different things.

They obviously share some common experiences (discrimination, hate crimes), but the differences mean that comparisons between the two can only go so far. Gays were never enslaved, for example, while African-Americans, arguably, were never forced to live the double life of a closet. Such a thing would have been impossible for most of them. (Although, I think it can be argued that a different sort of closet may serve as a metaphor for some African-Americans’ experience of the pressures of assimilation vs. cultural expression.)

I’d also like to add that trying to claim a greater victimhood over another victimized group’s victimhood seems more than unseemly. It strikes me as bordering on pathetic when someone appears to jealously guard one’s claim to a victimhood that somehow trumps another’s.

There really are limits to how far these comparisons can be made. I think we should step back and recognize those limits, and remember that both groups have suffered and continue to suffer immensely through no fault of their own.

Alex
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Rusty,

Could you please explain how gender variance is not a choice? Who or what is forcing these people to “bend the gender rules”?

Kith
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

“Comparing sexual orientation to race denies this fact, and insults the immeasurably greater injustices that people of color have faced, which make the plight of homosexuals seem almost tame by comparison. Saying that the two are similar when they obviously are not is what I find offensive.
Alex”

Oh?

Gays have been burned, hunted, shot, hanged, impaled, ridiculed, enslaved, had everything they’ve owned taken and sold, put on ships and sold to foreign nations as chattel, lived in fear of discovery, all because of a happenstance of birth. Sounds a lot like what many races have gone through throughout history. The only substantive difference is there where never “villages” of only gays for the majority race to round up or burn down. Though the Cannites(sp) might have some interesting stories in that regard.

“The characteristic that sets him apart is not based on behavior or choice, but the characteristic that sets gay people apart as a minority is.
Alex”

But what of the sister or the brother?

Many of the characteristics that sets race apart are 100% choice and behavior. Clothing, traditions, language, foods, even flavors of religions. Look at the Basque, they suffered years of racial discrimination, still do, enslavement, loss of property, yet without a genetic test you’d be hard pressed to differentiate them from the general population. Dose that make it okay to discriminate against the Basque for choosing to embrace their birth right? Heck if they’d just act like their majority brethren they’d fit in perfectly.

I don’t even know why I have to dig out little know group in Europe, my grandmother had to erase her German accent for fear of going to jail and having her house and children taken away. If she “chose” to keep that German accent, a part of her race, and the only thing that set her race apart, she would have lost everything to racism, WWI America was not friendly to Germans, my grandmother had to live in the closet in regards to her race. Losing your home, kids and freedom for an incidental act that tells people “what” you really are. Sounds pretty similar to what can happen if you are caught holding your lovers hands in Alabama.

The similarities to racism, especially racism in a pluralist society, and what LBGTQ face are far greater then their differences.

Kith
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

“Could you please explain how gender variance is not a choice? Who or what is forcing these people to “bend the gender rules”?
Alex”

Well I’m not Rusty, but my beard, boobs, female hip development and malformed Genitals tends to force me “to bend the gender roles.”

General depression, malaise and misplaced anger, forces my roommate to “bend the gender roles.”

Basically it is a persons mental and as a direct result physical well being that is forcing them to “bend the gender roles.”

Of course you could say it is societies insistence on ridged yet poorly defined gender “roles” that is forcing people to “bend the gender rules.” If society accepted gender variance, then no one would be “bending any gender rules.” Because everyone would realize how preposterous it is to talk about there being a set of “gender rules” in a society that doesn’t even know how to define a gender “role”.

Priya Lynn
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Alex said “Could you please explain how gender variance is not a choice? Who or what is forcing these people to “bend the gender rules”?”.

Just as one does not choose to be same sex attracted one does not choose to feel like a female when their birth genitalia is male or vice versa. Your suggestion that people can simply “choose” to deny their innermost desires and feelings and pretend to be something they are not is also pretty offensive. No one should be forced to deny who they are for the trivial pleasure of bigots.

rusty
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

ALEX ‘But outside of that context, I personally don’t see anything wrong in saying that being gay is different from being a racial minority. I didn’t choose to be a white gay man any more than a black person chose to be black, but unlike a black person, you can’t discern my “otherness” just by looking at me.’

My point in looking at gender variance is based on my ongoing reflection of Alex’s comment of discerning ‘otherness’. In the LGBT community, folk who dance outside the dominant gender box are often targets of office jokes, discrimination, harrassment, overlooked for high-profile positions within companies, increased scrutiny, public shout outs. etc.

After relocating to Seattle and even before that, during the process of securing a rental home, my partner and I had to become competent in filling out rental applications to even be considered and had to even look at two bedroom (more expensive) housing to distract potential landlords from scrutinizing us. When we sought out one bedroom units, we literally had hang ups, conversations turn cold and polite ‘sorry it was just taken.’ We quickly changed our tune by stating up front that we ‘were a gay couple’ to eliminate the weak or leary.

The injustices suffered by those subjected to racism: Native Americans, Africans/Blacks, Chinese, Japanese, Hispanics, PWP, cannot be compared. They happened at different times and the injustices varied from group to group, area, etc.

What is the tie here is the fact that GLBT folk are often subjected to intolerance and hate, harrassment and discrimination based on the outward ‘otherness’ be it gender variance, proximity to a gay establishment or enclave, or by the company they keep.

Take a look at hate crimes reporting, discrimination suits, and personal anecdotes. On the other side of things, from the top of this story Mark Bingham is considered a role model, because he was a big guy who played rugby. Would have been a different story if he would have been a star-studded performer like RuPAUL.

And then let us take a pause a remember our brothers and sisters of color who also identify (or not) as members of the LGBT community. Two STRIKES.

Priya Lynn
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Alex said ““The characteristic that sets him apart is not based on behavior or choice, but the characteristic that sets gay people apart as a minority is.”.

No, that’s not true. What sets gay people apart as a minority is their same sex attraction. That is neither a choice nor a behavior, it is an inate part of who they are, just as race is.

Timothy Kincaid
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

“On the other side of things, from the top of this story Mark Bingham is considered a role model, because he was a big guy who played rugby.”

Well, no.

He’s a role model because he led the effort to bring down a plane rather than let it be a tool of destruction by terrorists. He gave his life to save the lives of others and our nation’s symbols. Had RuPaul led that effort, he would be just as honored, I believe.

Alex
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Kith,

“Gays have been burned, hunted, shot, hanged, impaled, ridiculed, enslaved, had everything they’ve owned taken and sold, put on ships and sold to foreign nations as chattel, lived in fear of discovery, all because of a happenstance of birth.”

Hunted? Enslaved? How far back in history are we talking about here? Because if it’s before the 1800s, there was no concept of sexual orientation. There was no straight identity, no gay identity, no gay community, and no politically correct abbreviations like “LGBTQ” that try to include every little sub-category so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. There was just behavior. This means that A) it is inaccurate to assume based on modern standards that the victims were gay, B) the perpetrators were basing their hateful acts on what people did, not how they were born, and C) the victims could have escaped all of these things if they had simply chosen not to engage in homosexual behavior.

Alex
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

I agree that same-sex attraction is not a choice, but how else can people know you are gay unless you express it?

Timothy Kincaid
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Same-sex attracted persons existed prior to the 1800’s. It is a flawed argument to claim that persecution of same-sex attracted persons prior to 1800 is somehow distinct from persecution of persons who adopt the label “gay”.

And no. There was not “just behavior” any more than there is currently “just behavior” amongst the anti-gay conservative set who claim that orientation does not exist.

There have always been words and terms and slang for the guy who did not marry and was a bit “soft” in his mannerisms or who seemed to light up in the presense of other men.

THis argument about “behavior” is, frankly, false on the face of it and belied by history. Very few same-sex attracted persons in oppressive times announced their behaviors. That did not stop persecution.

rusty
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

although it is a leap, but ever heard of the Salem Witch Trials. sorry alex

and of the Berdache, Native American Two Spirit folk, have stories of these great individuals either being driven from their tribes or were ‘disposed of’ as the Great White Man took their territory. The Spainish Conquest also looked at the great sages of the Southern Continent as the barriers to their initial conquest even though most of these mystics were the ‘first contact’ folk.

Alex
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

(Sorry to have this in two separate posts)

“Your suggestion that people can simply ‘choose’ to deny their innermost desires and feelings and pretend to be something they are not is also pretty offensive.”

Millions of closeted gay people do that every day. Does that offend you? If it’s any consolation, I was one of them. I denied who I was and tried to be somebody else for 22 years of my life. It was a choice, but I never said it was a “simple” one. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

And I’m not saying that people SHOULD hide who they are for the comfort of others. My point is that their lives would be *easier*, although not necessarily happier, if they did. I know mine would. If this truth offends you so much, there’s really nothing more I can say.

Alex
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Timothy,

Does anyone actually read what people write here? I never said that same-sex attracted people did not exist prior to the 1800s.

rusty
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

oops, my lesbian ally told me that there probably isn’t a lesbian connection to the Salem Witch Trials.

my oops.

Kith
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

“The victims could have escaped all of these things if they had simply chosen not to engage in homosexual behavior.
Alex”

“I agree that same-sex attraction is not a choice, but how else can people know you are gay unless you express it?”

And those Jews could have avoided years of persecution if they’d just stop circumcising their children.

——

As to when in history are we talking about.

One of the crimes of the Cannintes(sp) was marring man to man and woman to woman, it was ordered that all should be killed and their villages burned to the ground. I may be mistaken but that is a lot farther back then 1800s.

Or how about The East Roman Code of Theodosius in 390 C.E. “All of those who are accustomed to condemn their own manly body, transformed into a womanly one, to undergo sexual practices reserved for the other sex, and who have nothing different from women, will pay for this crime among the avenging flames, in front of the people.”

“Seven-Part Code” during the rule of Alfonso X of Castile from 1252-1284 C.E. Included Sodomy in the “Crimes against Nature” and called for such people to be castrated then stoned to death.

Frances legal code in 1260 called for people engaged in same sex acts to have their labia or testicles amputated for the first offense, Penis or breasts amputated for the second and burning at the stake for the third. Louis IX ten years later made anal intercourse a capital offense.

In 1451 Pope Nicholas V empowered the Inquisition to hunt down and punish male sodomy.

So yeah, there is a long standing history of persecutions of homosexuals. Also this is just a small example from one article I had archived.

Timothy Kincaid
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Alex,

Timothy,

Does anyone actually read what people write here? I never said that same-sex attracted people did not exist prior to the 1800s.

I agree that it is useful to read what others write before responding. That is why I will refer you to what I wrote.

Same-sex attracted persons existed prior to the 1800’s. It is a flawed argument to claim that persecution of same-sex attracted persons prior to 1800 is somehow distinct from persecution of persons who adopt the label “gay”.

rusty
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

timothy, i referred to the Bingham piece as a point of Bingham being able to fit into the gender box. Bingham was also a McCain supporter. my point was that if some sluths at the time had ‘discovered’ that the all-american Bingham, one of the leaders of the rescue, had something like ‘drag’ or something else in his closet, that could eventually lead to an embarrassment, McCain may have chosen or atleast possibly been encouraged not to speak.

I found myself tearing up again watching the video of Bingham.

alex,
some people are gender benders and not even queer. women were jeans, men are at home with their kids, there is a woman on the GOP ticket for VP. Women are doctors, men are nurses.

as far as gender variant people, some women cut their hair very short, go without makeup and have the ‘stance’ of a man. some men are feminine, talk with a soft voice and know how to cook, clean and design a home.

my partner of 6 plus years is a man’s man, undetectable on gaydar, like the men who I have dated and seem to have mutual attraction. my partner was a roughneck in the oil fields, a professional long haul driver, basically blue collar but when we went shopping together shortly after setting up our ‘house’, was quick to buy a lovely pink button-down short sleeve oxford from Banana Republic, because he always wanted a pink shirt.

some people’s gender variance is wired, other is chosen. some command, others defer to community norms. But with Kith, her situation is based on, forgive me Kith if I am wrong, chromosonal issues. There is the basic premise of black/white – on/off – male/female. But it is much more complex than that. Some say there are actually 5 sexes, and to make things more complex, gender does not always coincide with the external sexual characteristics.

My point with gay men who do leather/bear/gym drag is that they are expressing their maleness, and yet I find some of my friends in each of those groups bigger queens than some of the boys I know who do drag.

Again it is disheartening that in a personal quest cleanse oneself of internalized homophobia and to succumb to homonegativity (new term to me) act out in our community. There are people who shrill over gay pride parades and the flaunting of same-sex couples holding hands at baseball games. Some queers even kiss in public. But I read the other day about the rants of Peter the EVIL and a woman asked him about the public displays of sex and such at Mardi Gras, or Spring Break SeX adventures of college and highschool students.

Be who you want to be Alex and let others be who they want to be.

rusty
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

OOPS BIG OOPS

LOOK at that. . .I assigned Kith my own gender assignment to KITH.

I made an assumption.

my apologies KITH

Priya Lynn
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Alex said “if it’s before the 1800s, there was no concept of sexual orientation”.

As another commenter pointed out to you this is not true. The native american Berdache were long known before the 1800’s and they were recognized as a distinct “two-spirited” orientation.

Alex said “I agree that same-sex attraction is not a choice, but how else can people know you are gay unless you express it?”.

Many gay men are naturally effeminate and lesbians naturally masculine. Their unconcious mannerisms make it readily apparent to others what their orientation is. A recent study showed that most people could pick out a gay man merely by their style of walking. So this “no one will know you’re gay unless you tell them” theory is untrue in many cases.

I said “Your suggestion that people can simply ‘choose’ to deny their innermost desires and feelings and pretend to be something they are not is also pretty offensive.”

Alex responded “Millions of closeted gay people do that every day. Does that offend you?”.

Yes. No one should have to pretend they are someone they aren’t in order to please bigots.

Alex said “If it’s any consolation, I was one of them.”.

I can’t imagine why you’d think that would console me – it doesn’t.

Alex said “I denied who I was and tried to be somebody else for 22 years of my life. It was a choice, but I never said it was a “simple” one. Please don’t put words in my mouth.”

Yes, you did say it was a simple choice – your exact words: “The victims could have escaped all of these things if they had simply chosen not to engage in homosexual behavior.”.

For someone who claims to be gay you sure like the “homosexual” term. Many gay people find that offensive. That’s why the style guidelies of most major newspapers suggest one use the term gay rather than “homosexual”

Alex said ” I’m not saying that people SHOULD hide who they are for the comfort of others. My point is that their lives would be *easier*, although not necessarily happier, if they did. I know mine would. If this truth offends you so much, there’s really nothing more I can say.”.

You haven’t proven that to be the truth. Constantly being on guard to avoid any subconcious mannerism or statement that might give away one’s orientation can be extremely stressful, it certainly was for me. I fail to see that being any easier than ignoring bigots who would condemn the reality of who we are. For someone who claims to not be suggesting people should hide who they are you certainly are going through a lot o effort to promote and justify that very idea. And yes the reality of injustice most definitely offends me. It seems you’d rather have gay people hide who they are than see the injustice that leads to that ended.

Timothy Kincaid
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

I don’t think closeted lives are “easier”.

First there is the logistics. One has to be on constant guard about pronouns, discussion of free time, references to friends, etc. And there there’s the extra effort in making sure that one isn’t seen in certain places, doesn’t wear something that might raise an eyebrow, and – occasionally, at least – creates an opportunity to fake interest in someone of the opposite sex.

One has to remember that Angelina Jolie is hot and that Brad Pitt is not. That we all are waiting to meet the right girl (or guy) and that a low cut dress deserves a second glance.

It’s a lot of work.

Then there’s the problem with partners.

It’s nearly impossible to maintain a relationship from within the closet for any length of time. So the closeted very seldom get to find a partner and build a life together.

And we all know that life with a helpmeet is much easier than life lived solo. If nothing else for the division of duties; it’s easier when you have another person to run to the drycleaners or pick up potting soil.

And those who are partnered seem to both live longer and have a higher reported level of contentment. Not to mention that when the libido rises, it’s far easier to turn to the person who you know and love than it is to troll on the internet and arrange for a secret tryst.

No, I don’t think the closet is an easier life at all.

Alex
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

This conversation could go on forever, so I’ll just address two more of your comments and leave it at that:

“For someone who claims to be gay you sure like the ‘homosexual’ term. Many gay people find that offensive.”

What are you trying to say? That because I used a word that some people don’t like, I must not really be gay? Or that I must be dealing with internalized homophobia? For God’s sake, this is what I can’t stand about the gay community. Everyone’s so afraid of offending anyone else. If someone like me doesn’t conform to what makes YOU comfortable, then I must not be “gay” enough to be a part of the club! Do you expect me to apologize for not being as PC as you and for not using the word that all the newspapers say I should use? Please. I really couldn’t care less if you or other gay people are offended by the word ‘homosexual.’ Here’s a piece of advice: no matter what term you think is appropriate, there’s always someone else out there who will be offended. So just toughen up and deal with it.

“No one should have to pretend they are someone they aren’t in order to please bigots.”

Yet another way in which the gay community expects conformity. Whoever said that gay people MUST come out of the closet? It’s not a duty or a rite of passage. And if someone chooses not to broadcast their sexuality to the world, that’s not the same thing as “pleasing the bigots.” It’s their personal choice, and you should respect that.

Kith
October 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Okay you have officially lost me here.

How does the statement.“No one should have to pretend they are someone they aren’t in order to please bigots” morph into “That gay people MUST come out of the closet”?

rusty
October 4th, 2008 | LINK

WATCH THIS ALEX

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBiBmwwrKzs

Mark Bingham lived a private life, almost a closeted life. . .

but with his death, his heroic death, many gays and lesbian’s lives were changed

Jim Burroway
October 4th, 2008 | LINK

He lived a private life in the sense that we all do (well, except for those of us who are public advocates.) But there is nothing in this video to suggest that he was “almost closeted.” Quite the opposite.

Alex
October 4th, 2008 | LINK

Rusty,

So, basically the fact that Mark Bingham was gay means that his death is more meaningful than anyone else’s on board that plane? That seems to be what you’re implying, otherwise you’d have shown me videos of the other United 93 victims along with his. I know you single him out because he was gay like you, but that doesn’t mean his sacrifice is the only one worth noting.

And let’s not ignore the OTHER people whose lives were affected by his death. It’s pretty egocentric to say that “many gays and lesbians’ lives were changed” without even mentioning anyone else. If that plane was indeed headed for the Capitol, I’d say Bingham’s death affected far more than just three percent of the population.

Jim Burroway
October 4th, 2008 | LINK

Alex,

Nobody said Bingham’s death was more meaningful than anyone else. Nobody said that he meant more than anyone else on the flight. Nobody said that nobody else’s life was affected by gay people.

His name came up simply because McCain was asked to name a gay role model.

I have no idea where you’re going with all of these strawman arguments that you’re throwing up, but I think its time to give it a rest.

EVERYONE: please read our comments policy (which, by the way, has a clear admonition against stawman arguments). This thread has clearly gone way off topic.

Alex
October 4th, 2008 | LINK

Jim,

Maybe we should let Rusty answer for himself.

Priya Lynn
October 4th, 2008 | LINK

Alex said “no matter what term you think is appropriate, there’s always someone else out there who will be offended.”

The vast majority of same sex attracted people prefer to be referred to as gay rather than “homosexal”. Your insistance on using “homosexual” with its negative connotations indicates a desire to denigrate same sex attracted people. Most people will use the term preferred by the majority to avoid offending the fewest people.

I said “No one should have to pretend they are someone they aren’t in order to please bigots.”

Alex responded “Yet another way in which the gay community expects conformity. Whoever said that gay people MUST come out of the closet? It’s not a duty or a rite of passage. And if someone chooses not to broadcast their sexuality to the world, that’s not the same thing as “pleasing the bigots.” It’s their personal choice, and you should respect that.”.

It has nothing to do with conformity. Most people live in the closet to avoid the criticism and negative consequences of anti-gay people realizing their orientation. That oppression is wrong, wrong wrong! You think an appropriate response to that is to accept it as it is with no effort to end the wrongdoing. I couldn’t disagree with you more. Without this oppression there would be precious few people “choosing” to live in the closet. As a fair minded person you should be offended by and fighting against that oppression. In the absense of such coercion then and only then would it be fine for people to choose to live in the closet.

Alex
October 4th, 2008 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

Words like “fag,” “homo,” and “queer” have even worse connotations than “homosexual,” but why are these terms somehow acceptable among most gay people while the other is not? I don’t see anything wrong with calling a gay person a homosexual…. because that’s what he IS.

By the way, I have no “insistence” on using one word over another. If you scroll up a bit, you’ll notice that I use the word “gay” quite often, even in describing myself. So your claim that I use a certain word to denigrate same-sex attracted people is demonstrably false and, since I’m gay myself, also kind of nonsensical.

Jim Burroway
October 4th, 2008 | LINK

No, Alex.

You tried to attribute an argument to Rusty that Rusty did not make. That is a clear, textbook example of a strawman argument. And it is against our comments policy.

FOR EVERYONE ELSE:

I would also have to observe that this thread has become a private conversation with, maybe, three people. Not only that, but it has devolved to an example of argument for arguments’ sake — not to mention that it is now horribly off topic.

This thread is not a discussion about the merits and/or downside to conformity (however that’s defined), the closet, or any other framework anyone wants to advance along those lines. It’s a nonsensical argument anyway. Even the most deeply closeted or gender-conforming gay people are nonconformists — they have sex with people of their own gender. So to argue that conformity is a virtue or a vice is completely nonsensical. If you’re gay, then by definition, you’re nonconformist.

And to argue that conformity is protective or provocative is equally ridiculous. Conformity is always protective, but absolute conformity is always impossible for gay people, just by virtue of who they are as gay people, let alone as individuals. And to blame people for being nonconformist is to open up a whole can of worms on attaching blame to victims rather than perpetrators. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is a non-starter.

Okay, those are my two cents. NOW, let’s go back to the main topic of the thread, or let’s move on to something else. Otherwise, I’ll be closing comments to this thread.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.