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What Peter LaBarbera Will Never Understand

In a recent post on his website Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera criticizes so-called “pro-family leaders” for focusing on issues such as gay marriage while neglecting to oppose homosexuality itself. Citing the need to emphasize “WHY homosexual and transgender behaviors are always wrong”, “how homosexual sex is fraught with health risks”, “why homosexuality violates Natural Moral Law, the teachings of Judaism and Christianity”, and “the inordinate drug and porn use among homosexual men, and ‘gay-on-gay’ assaults and abuses”, he says:

Simply put, we as a movement must conquer whatever timidity, fear and political correctness we have in NOT wanting to debate the morality of homosexuality – because our fanatically-driven LGBT opponents will never relent in their audacious campaign to “sell” homosexuality to the public. Notice that while many conservatives shrink from the homosexuality debate, self-described out-and-proud “queer” activists never back-track in their misguided, indeed, pathological quest to compel society to approve of their aberrant “lifestyles.”

LaBarbera gives little thought to why this might be the case, but the answer should be obvious to anyone who isn’t consumed with self-righteous loathing for gay people. There certainly is a reason why the mainstream anti-gay movement does its best to avoid openly attacking us for being drug-addicted rapist sinners, and that’s because most people just don’t want to hear it.

Over 50% of Americans personally know someone who’s gay, and this figure holds true among liberals, moderates, and conservatives. Those who do know someone gay are more likely to support gay marriage and the legality of gay relations. Knowing gay people puts a human face on what would otherwise only be an abstract concept of what gay people, their relationships and their “lifestyles” are like. Without any actual firsthand experience, their understanding of us remains foggy and vulnerable to rumor, suspicion and distrust. Familiarity serves to ground this in reality – a reality which LaBarbera and his colleagues have dedicated themselves to fighting against.

What is it that makes these personal connections and interactions so effective at humanizing us in the eyes of the public? Many in the anti-gay movement seek to diminish our struggles in a historical sense by asserting that sexual orientation is nothing like one’s race or color. But in one crucial respect, this is absolutely true.

The fact of our sexuality does not visibly manifest itself in an easily recognizable way, with the unfortunate side effect of the superstitious marking of certain appearances or mannerisms as “gay”. While this has often resulted in plenty of anti-gay abuse being directed at young children and anyone who strays even slightly from established norms, it has also deprived people of any certainty about who among them might be gay. Our sexuality does not afford them the opportunity to recoil from our very skin the moment they lay eyes on us. It’s something they must come to learn.

In no small part because of a pervasive history of societal homophobia, many of us have been reluctant to share the truth about ourselves with anyone but those we trust the most: our good friends, neighbors, co-workers, and hopefully our families. By the time we feel comfortable enough to come out to them, this can spark an extraordinary shift in perspective, because these people have already come to know us, appreciate us, and love us for who we are – not what we are. When faced with the fact that the wholesome and upstanding person they respect and care deeply for also happens to be gay, this goes a long way toward dispelling any misconceptions, including the vulgar lies of anti-gay activists. Our own lives testify to the truth.

So how do you think our families and friends will react when Peter LaBarbera’s partners in homophobia such as pastor Patrick Wooden claim that gay men use gerbils and baseball bats sexually and “die in diapers”? What will they think about the notion that our very love should be subject to criminal sanctions and we’re going to burn in hell? How will they feel about baseless accusations that gay people are pedophiles and even orchestrated the Holocaust?

These wildly hateful confabulations may serve to rile up the anti-gay base, but this is utterly repulsive to anyone who knows us. Does LaBarbera really expect people to believe that their loved ones are actually child-molesting Nazis? If he thinks his moralistic bloviations can take precedence over our humanity, then we can only hope that even more anti-gay groups will follow his lead. He’s just given them a lesson in how to drive their movement directly into a brick wall.

Comments

  1. says

    SING OUT LOUISE!

    You absolutely nail it, Zinnia. The greatest power the gay rights movement ever had was out and proud gay people. Homophobia oppression is built on the assumption that we are ashamed of ourselves and will lie and hide to prevent being “exposed” for the mosnters we supposedly are. Well that game is over. La Barbara and his comrades in hate are desperately in need of therapy.

  2. Regan DuCasse says

    Thank you, Zinnia! I am one of those hets whose resistance to all the nasty and ridiculous defamation of the LGBT, was strong and insurmountable. I have always been able to pick up on whatever anti gay attitudes, subtle and not so, for the lack of experience and knowledge they truly are.
    One of the most offensive things I constantly witness, is a hetero person lecturing TO someone gay, that it’s a choice.
    And having no qualms about demanding evidence THAT isn’t true, while all the evidence in the world is right under their nose.
    I’d never consult a non Jewish anti Semite about being Jewish and the lives and history of Jews. Giving credence about gay people to a non gay, anti gay person is indicative of how willfully arrogant, if not stupid bigotry can make a person.

    And most of all, I resent the assumption that homosexuality has any need of being changed or is a threatening aspect of one’s character.
    Our world is a wealth of diversity and variance, little in nature is rigid or unchanging and each of us is unique.
    Gay people have been a part of all humanity, UNIVERSALLY for all of mankind’s history. THAT alone is proof of the biological basis of homosexuality, and the fact that it CAN be distinguishable from anti social and threatening behavior is also further proof that it’s a morally and socially neutral factor of our human lives together. I see a powerful ally in gay people that can be engaged to help fight ills that harm everyone.
    That’s what our human progress should have taught many a long time ago.
    There are no more excuses to do otherwise.
    I like to encourage people to fight bigotry and ignorance and fear, definite threats to humanity.

    Peter LaBarbera is a small, hypocritical little man of no importance or meaningful achievement. He’s dedicating his life in a strange way, and he’s detestable for that alone.

  3. David says

    Homophobia is a sin like lying, stealing and murder. Militant anti-gay activist LaBarbera would rather thumb his nose at God than make an effort to control his sinful homophobic urges. Thousands and thousands have proven that it is possible to leave homophobia. Unrepentant homophobe LaBarbera could do that too….if he tried.

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