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Aug 29 2011

It might not get better after all.

I love the “It Gets Better” campaign, started by newspaper personality Dan Savage. The message he has to deliver though, that bullying and oppression that you might experience by coming out as gay or transsexual or any other non-hetero orientation will eventually wane as others mature and learn to embrace plurality, might be… shall we say, inaccurate? Via sinned34′s blog:

President Obama to gay victims of bullying: “It gets better.”

Family Research Council to those same kids: “No, it doesn’t, you goddamned queers!”

Yeah. Really. Hardly any exaggeration there.

I honestly wish I was joking about this, but here’s the mailing the Family Research Council sent out recently.

EGADS! A homosexual extremist! I fully expect Dan Savage to strap on his pink Hello Kitty AK47 and bomb churches with fragmentation grenades shaped like dildos now! And I’m sure his terrorist attire would match his pumps, too! Seriously, people on the right throw around the word “extremist” to mean “people who advocate things that we don’t believe in”. It’s a pejorative that’s lost all meaning today, such that when you point to religious fundamentalists who stockpile guns and bomb buildings and call them extremists, the word just doesn’t capture their extremism any more.

The Family Research Council is not an extremist organization by any stretch of the imagination, but they are a religiously motivated single-issue political organization built around the idea that the only Biblically-acceptable family unit is one of man and wife, and any other family unit is evil and immoral. The people making up any non-heteronormative family unit are equally evil and immoral according to these chuckleheads.

Homosexuality, despite all the bloviating by these fools, is probably genetic.

The Family Research Council is therefore casting as a “moral failing” something that these children can no sooner control than they can control their handedness or hair color. Sure, you could train yourself to write with your right hand despite your natural inclinations; sure, you could dye your hair; but neither action will change your genetics. The fact that some really old book can be interpreted as saying that homosexuals are evil, doesn’t mean that anyone with that particular confluence of genes is actually evil. There’s nothing immoral (in the sense of “objectively harmful to society as a whole”) for people to be attracted to whomever they’re genetically predisposed to be attracted to. The only argument I’ve ever seen that might make it objectively harmful to society is one where you extrapolate out homosexual behaviour to the populace as a whole — if everyone were to switch to homosexuality, the human race would stop breeding and would die after a generation.

But that’s not what anyone’s suggesting here; what we’re suggesting is that we accept that proportion of the population whose genes direct them to be attracted to the same sex. We’re suggesting that you just live and let live. Love who you want to love. Tolerate who doesn’t love what you love. Be intolerant of people who are intolerant of others for stupid reasons like what genes they happen to have. Treat homophobes the same way as we’d treat someone who called being left-handed immoral and sinful. It is incumbent upon us to achieve a more perfect morality than the morality handed down by some goat-herders in the Middle-East who knew less about genetics than they did about the shape of the Earth or the orbits of the planets. We’re better than those morals. We deserve better than those morals.

Unless we can stomp out this bigotry, this intolerance, this hateful adherence to really old prejudices, then it might not get better. It’s up to us. Do we want it to Get Better? Because if we let bullshit like this slide, then it might not get better after all.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    LazyJay

    As a transgender person currently agonizing over whether I can even talk about it to my family, let alone transition, people like this scare me. It took me long enough to come to terms with who I am. I don’t need unbalanced lunatics screaming at me that I’m a pervert and an abomination.

  2. 2
    sinned34

    Thanks to insecurities instilled in me through elementary, middle, and high school growing up as a shy, nerdy kid, coupled to an Pentecostal/evangelical Christian upbringing, I used to be horribly homophobic and misogynistic. (Note that I’m not blaming my upbringing, but it was one of the contributing factors to my bigotry.)

    Then I started actually talking with gay people instead of going on the offensive and uttering slurs at them, in the desire to prevent them from hitting on me, since I was afraid other people would assume that if a homosexual was interested in me I must be gay too. Eventually, as I got older I learned to be less worried about what people thought of me, and I discovered that gay people aren’t horrifying monsters, out to convert me to a life of homosexual fabulousness. They are normal human beings, running the standard gamut of jocks, nerds, goths, punks, cheerleaders, etc.

    My biggest turning point where I started to drop my bigotry against gays was when I was doing tech support for Microsoft Windows XP almost ten years ago. A small group of us employees with similar interests sort of coalesced into a small friendly group. One of these people was a guy who brought in small tools and materials with which to build a set of ring mail in between calls at work. He was about 6′ 3″ tall, with long hair he kept in a braided pony tail. He was a non-conformist geek, seemingly normal (at least by tech support geek “normal”). One day we were talking and he started to tell me about a funny joke from an episode of Will and Grace he’d watched the night before. In my casually homophobic way, I joked that I never watched Will and Grace because I wasn’t a homosexual. He replied, “Just because I’m gay isn’t the only reason I watch it. W&G is an amusing show!”

    I was stunned. I think I literally stared at him silently, slackjawed, for at least 10 seconds. Here was a seemingly regular guy that, at least in my view, exhibited none of the stereotypical gay attributes that young, straight guys learn to notice in other people, yet here he was casually telling me that he was a homosexual. He shared a number of my interests like video games, D&D, weapons, and heavy metal music, which can be disconcerting for a homophobe. Nobody likes to find out they might have something in common with someone who is supposed to be a hated rival.

    For a couple of weeks afterward, I avoided him whenever I could. Slowly, however, I realized that finding out he was gay hadn’t actually changed the person he was, and it didn’t have to affect our friendly relationship if I didn’t let it. This was when the bigotry began to fall away from me.

    That is what groups like the Family Research Council, Focus On The Family, and all the other Christian-based anti-gay organizations are afraid of. They have to continually accuse gays of being behind some massive conspiracy to steal little boys away from their parents or to destroy heterosexual marriage, in the attempt to scare people away from even interacting with homosexuals. Familiarity breeds contempt, and with enough exposure to gay people, even some full-on homophobes can eventually learn that they don’t actually have anything to fear from the LGBT community.

    I hope I can humbly say that I’m proof of that.

    (Oh, and thanks for the link, Jason)

  3. 3
    Jason Thibeault

    Thank YOU, Sinned. I honestly hope more people have experiences like yours. It’s stories like that one that make this fight worthwhile.

  4. 4
    Thomathy, Such A 'Mo

    Well, it gets better in some sense. It’s good to know, as a now mature gay man, that not only did my peers and family (those who were less well-taken to my fabulousness) grow up, but I did too. I did that in a time before It Gets Better and in a time when Canada was being fickle about the direction of equality in this country.

    Obviously, the existence of the FRC and their like make it really quite hard for the fight for equality, at least in the States, but the idea that it gets better for gay teens because high school does end and life does get better and that there are a lot of accepting, loving people in the world does a lot to steel gay teens in terms of their resolve to expect and demand respect, even as teens.

    Dan Savage said recently, and I paraphrase because it was spoken word, ‘Society is changing, where gays don’t need to be afraid of their families rejecting them, but their families should be afraid of being rejected.’ I really like this idea. There are lots of resources for gay teens now. There are more people close to gay teens who are compassionate and supportive. The time has come when gay teens can come out and demand respect and love for who they are or leave the bigotry and hate behind.

    I think sinned34 is right about the likes of FRC and their motivation, even if he perhaps (but to endearing effect) misused the phrase ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. It is obvious that when people interact with gays we cease to be the monsters FRC and their like paints us as. It becomes particularly difficult to whip the party when a major piece of propaganda is blatantly untrue.

    I have always found it ironic that the FRC and their like accuse gays of having a pernicious agenda. I, at least, don’t spend my day trying (not that the FRC has to try very hard) to ruin the lives of other people.

  5. 5
    Gregory in Seattle

    You are right, the Family Research Council is not an extremist organization: they are a documented hate group.

  6. 6
    invigilator

    Could you tell me where I can get a Hello Kitty AK-47?

  7. 7
    Jason Thibeault

    Believe it or not… yes.

    http://www.glamguns.com/hk47.html

    Also, re Gregory’s broken link, this article from the Washington Times. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/nov/24/frc-labeled-a-hate-group/

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