A sad example of internalized homophobia
June 11th, 2013
(Vote for a Republican? Internalized homophobia! Disapprove of some gay person’s extreme behavior? Internalized homophobia! Refuse to be in an open relationship? Internalized homophobia! Enjoy country music, refuse to watch Partners, go to the gym, avoid the gym, think Rachel Maddow actually does look ‘mannish’, love RuPaul, hate RuPaul, not know who RuPaul is, pretty much anything anyone can think of, and you’re just oozing internalized homophobia!)
But sometimes the description is accurate. Sometimes a person who has a homosexual orientation also has such a so gut-level, knee jerk response, negative about every aspect of gay people and/or their lives that it can only be seen as homophobia.
I’ve mostly tried to avoid discussing the small handful of same-sex attracted people who have captured a moment in the spotlight due to their opposition to civil equality in marriage. There are a good many people, straight and gay, who are not comfortable with the idea of gay marriage not out of malice but due to reasons that are based on their beliefs about marriage and children or even just a lack of good data.
So while it may seem as though by now all such reasons should be transparent to gay people, I still allow that some do not think that marriage is the appropriate venue for same-sex relationships. And I see little value in speculating about their motivations.
I’ve not called Doug Mainwaring names or demeaned Robert Oscar Lopez. Both claim to be gay men and to have some notion of the nature of gay men and use this as a basis for high-profile declarations about the dangers of allowing same-sex couples to be recognized in law. But while I find their choices and their rhetoric to be dishonorable, until now I’ve not assailed their character.
However in the latest piece written for the Witherspoon Institute about what he learned from French opposition to equality, Lopez reveals his own valuation of his character. It isn’t very high.
The French resistance to same-sex marriage has demonstrated that an ostensibly progressive nation that had little issue with homosexuality as a moral question can change its mind, not based on ignorance of reality, but based on knowing more about what same-sex marriage really means.
The drop in support for same-sex marriage came with education and broader public debate. As the French knew more gay people individually and learned more about the ramifications of their legalized marriage on the community at large—especially children and poor communities overseas targeted for adoption and surrogacy—they liked the idea of same-sex marriage less and less.
Lopez’ basic assumption in this piece is that the more you get to know gay people, the more you hate them.
I suggest that Lopez does not speak for me or any gay people I know. I’m sure that Lopez would insist that it is the disreputable homosexual activists about which he speaks, but sadly, I think he speaks for himself.
This looks to me like a recurrence of a once-common phenomenon, the gay person who so hates who they are that they overlay their own perceived flaws – their own self-imposed shame – on a gay community populated only by their own imagination.
Yes, I believe that this is a real and all too sad example of internalized homophobia.