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Posts for November, 2010

GOProud’s Tammy Bruce maligns West Hollywood

Timothy Kincaid

November 17th, 2010

GOProud is an organization of conservative gay people driven entirely by identity politics. They see themselves first as “not the Left”, secondarily as “conservatives”, third as partisan Republicans, and finally in a far distant place as gay. Unlike Log Cabin Republicans, the gay group who measures each issue against it’s matrix of beliefs, GOProud is reactionary, selecting their positions and candidates based primarily on what they think will most annoy liberal gay people and organizations.

So it is not at all surprising that GOProud has weighed in on a controversial but fairly non-consequential issue: Willow Palin’s homophobic slurs.

This all started on Monday when Willow got into a facebook squabble with another teen. She was “defending her mother” against this kid’s criticism that Sarah Palin’s Alaska, the new Palin reality show that premiered on Monday, was “failing”. Willow responded with the “you’re gay” putdown, followed by a homophobic slur:

Willow is a kid who did not ask to be Sarah Palin’s daughter and who has not pushed herself into the spotlight. Further, as best I can tell this was not an attack intended to reflect on anyone’s sexual orientation but rather typical of the careless and hurtful language that has saturated the youth culture. So I’m not quick to accuse her of homophobia or question her character.

But it is fair to note that this reflects on the Palin parenting style as well as the values of Todd and Sarah Palin. This is a classless exchange. And while my parents were conservative and certainly anti-gay, I would never have dared use this language.

So, to me, it is relevant that no one has, to date, apologized for the language used, or even suggested that it was inappropriate. Not a huge issue to me, but not outside of the realm of acceptable criticism.

But GOProud has leaped to the defense of Sarah Palin, one of their idols. If “the Left” is going to criticize the use of a hurtful slur, then they will defend it. (TMZ) just told TMZ, “The ‘slur’ used here is one you could hear on the streets of West Hollywood or Chelsea every day of the week. Apparently, it’s only a homophobic slur when it comes from the daughter of a conservative female leader.”

I can’t speak for Chelsea, but you WILL NOT hear that slur “on the streets of West Hollywood” any day of the week.

I don’t know what kind of language that GOProud’s Tammy Bruce (a local boring talk-show host) uses in private, or what her social circle has to say about gay men when they can’t be heard. And her “Boys in the Band” mentality may be shared by whatever self-loathing people she finds to confirm and bolster her need to be “not like them.”

But that slur reflects a complete lack of self-respect and a capitulation to a mindset that sees oneself and one’s community as worthless and deserving of contempt. It is entirely socially unacceptable in public or in any gay circles of which I am a part. And this is particularly true on the streets of West Hollywood.

The last time I hear that word used on Santa Monica Boulevard, a diminutive young lady tackled the guy saying it and began pounding her fists into his face. We don’t like that term so much, you see. And we have reason.

In 1984 when little WeHo became a city, the first night that it’s City Council met, it passed a non-discrimination ordinance. The council then marched down to Barney’s Beanery, a restaurant and bar within the new city limits, and confiscated their “Fagots – Stay Out” sign. That slur (and yes, it’s a slur even if Bruce puts in scare quotes) has not been welcome in West Hollywood since.

Just as I would never refer to Ms. Bruce with a term that denigrated her sex and orientation – in public or in private – she had best not bring her foul bigotry to the streets of my community. She best not dare.