As France concludes its drive towards equality, a victim of a homophobic beating has become the face of the movement. Earlier this week, Wilfred de Bruijn was beaten unconscious by anti-gay hooligans, and equality supporters have used pictures of his cut and bruised face in placards at rallies and social media to show the nation the consequences of the Catholic Church’s message of opposition.
Anti-gay activists, such as those at the National Organization for Marriage (which has strongly pushed and promoted France’s anti-marriage movement), pretend that they only support the sanctity of marriage. They seek to distinguish their marriage-for-anyone-but-gays movement from the motivations and attitudes that lead to violence against gay people, asserting (despite significant evidence to the contrary) that they love gay people, they just are looking out for children.
But de Bruijn very eloquently ties it together: (WaPo)
“What (the anti-gay marriage campaign) are saying is that they’re not homophobic: lesbians and gays are nice people, but don’t let them get close to children — that’s very dangerous. It’s OK for them to live together, but not like other couples with the same protection because it’s not really the same thing,” De Bruijn said.
“These people are all professionals of the spoken word. They know very well what can happen if you repeat, repeat, repeat that these people are lower human beings. Of course it will have a result.”
When such things as these happen, the anti-gays rush to denounce the specific act and claim no connection. “No, we love the homosexual, don’t blame us for the beatings and the expressions of hatred.”
But the connection is clear. The increased anti-gay hate speech surrounding the 2004 anti-gay presidential campaign in the US, the murder of David Kato following the Kampala Conference, and the spike in anti-gay violence in France now are not coincidental.
“It was not Frigide Barjot who was hitting my head, or the bishop of Avignon lurking in that street to attack us,” he said. “But they are responsible.”