This column has referred in recent weeks to a wide variety of narratives established by the Right describing their perceptions of LGBTs and the purported effects our existence poses on society. I’ve taken pains to point out that the only reason there are any of these issues in the general social conscience is because the Right goes to such pains to put and keep them there. Most of the references I’ve made to date are of historical positions taken by these people whom I describe as the perennial malcontent bent on creating evermore absurd supports of their opinions. Theirs is a world of manufactured descriptions designed to describe the world in a fashion to keep the faithful frightened, under control and coming back for more. And, they just so hate it when the rest of the world doesn’t take heed of their craziness and fall into line behind them. Their general countenance is of supremely uncomfortable people doing their best to prevent the one facet of existence that is guaranteed, constant and unequivocal. Change. Adaptation. Evolution.
The right has a small cadre of spokesmen and women who fabricate a surprising variety of reasons to be frightened of us gay people. Oh, they like to target other threats to their tribe’s way of thought, such as scientists, non-Christians such as Muslims, and proto-Christians like Mormons and Unitarians, the iniquitous such as unwed mothers and poor people, and the undeniably lost, like atheists, secularists, humanists, liberated women, Muslims and other suspect dark people, Mormons and Unitarians. You, know, the “Other.”
But, the right has a particularly hard spot in their tough-loving hearts for LGBTs. They spend a lot of time producing new vistas on how horrible and threatening we are. Following are a sampling of the diatribe narrative presented in recent weeks about the striking threat men-who-love-men and women-who-love-women are to society.
This shall be an ongoing narrative, with frequent additions and updates each week, and a new list beginning each Wednesday. Much thanks to Right Wing Watch, Media Matters, for doing the heavy lifting in tracking these examples of Free Speech and the exercise of Freedom of Religion.
`The Liberty Council is a Christian, Florida based think tank, public interest law firm and ministry that offers free legal services to people and organizations in the areas of religious liberty, anti-abortion “sanctity of life” and traditional family issues. On the Liberty Council’s syndicated radio program, Matt Barber, who is the Director of Cultural Affairs for both the Liberty Council and Liberty Alliance Action as well as an Associate Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, hosts the American Family Radio “Liberty Live” talk show. On November 15, Barber claimed that the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, would impose “San Francsico style social engineering” on the country. He said that if children are brought up in same-sex households, they’re more likely to identify as gay and gay men are more likely to contract HIV. Therefore, apparently, without DOMA, children of same sex parents are more likely to contract the AIDS virus. I wonder if he considers that there are still going to be the same number of same-sex household families with or without DOMA, And, he never explains just why it’s so horrible if a gay child in a gay household doesn’t have to struggle for years to come to terms with being gay.
California State Senator Mark Leno (D-SF) passed and helped implement SB 48, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act which would require instruction in social sciences to include a study of the “role and contributions” of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” in the same way that schools currently include the contributions of ethnic minorities, and prohibits adoption of textbooks and other materials, instruction or school-sponsored activities containing any matter that “reflects adversely” upon persons because of their “sexual orientation.” The law effects public, charter and alternative schools uniformly, but not home schooled children.
Michael Brown is Director of the Coalition of Conscience and President of FIRE School of Ministry, author, according to his website, of “the book the publishers are afraid to touch,” A Queer Thing Happened to America, hosts “The Line of Fire” radio program. In his November 15th program, Brown equates the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State with the lives of any LGBT citizens of note who contributed to society in a positive, meaningful manner, such as Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman and others. Never mind that scholars can’t even agree whether Whitman was homosexual, bisexual or even had any homosexual experiences, or that Lord Alfred Douglas, the man with whom Wilde had the affair that led to his imprisonment, was twenty-one when their affair began. According to Brown, all those gays are paedophiles. According to Brown, “it is equally outrageous that gay activists want us to celebrate, in history, men who are known for similar acts in their own lives, be they consensual, or other.” Clearly, Brown thinks Sandusky’s sickness is on par with Wilde, Whitman, Alan Turing who broke the German Enigma code machine, and is considered the father of modern computing and artificial intelligence. Same with Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, G.F. Handel, P.I. Tchaikovsky, T.E. Lawrence of Arabia, Laurence Olivier, Danny Kaye, Florence Nightingale, Napoleon, Voltaire, Jean Cocteau, Proust, Michel Foucauilt, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Buchanan or Abraham Lincoln, to name a few. Note that the FAIR Act doesn’t say anything about mentioning historical figures’ sexual orientation. FAIR only prevents gay figures in history from being excluded from the history books simply because they’re LGBT.
So, we begin. This chronicle of right wing paranoia and absurdities seems daunting from my perspecitive. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Check back frequently for updates.
This post is among a weekly series of examinations about the effect society’s attitudes has on Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered and sexual orientation Questioning citizens. Each week’s contribution seeks to expose motivations, machinations, malice and complicity among detractors of the LGBTQ community and supporters.
The ironically named Defense of The ironically named Defense of Marriage Act undermines the very institution it was written to support. Most Americans are against DOMA, what it stands for and the effects it has on American families. Conservatives use DOMA as a wedge to divide the nation in fear to capture the paranoid vote. The Right uses false assertions to justify the law’s existence and rail against those who would repeal it. The Defense of Marriage Act causes real harm to real American families without addressing, much less solving, the very problems its supporters claim are its targets.
There have been numerous challenges to the statute with variable results. Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer sued Orange County, California in federal court for having been refused a marriage license. The case was dismissed in district court denying them grounds to challenge DOMA Section 2 and the constitutionality of Section 3. The suit was dismissed again on appeal by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and denied hearing on further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Refiling in March, 2009, the case was dismissed in District Court for not having applied for and subsequently having been denied federal benefits and thereby lacking “an injury in fact.”
DOMA Disaster Proving once again that DOMA does nothing to defend marriage but is simply meant to be a punitive measure against gay people, DOMA has been invoked to keep Alisha Brennan from collecting her partner, Christina’s, body. Christina Santiago was one of the victims of last weekend’s Indiana State Fair’s stage collapse, and Alisha was left in critical condition. Full disclosure: I worked with Alisha at my last job, so I have special interest in this, but I have a feeling that she (and Christina) will be the new poster children nationally for why DOMA should be tossed. According to reports, the coroner in Indiana has been refusing to turn Christina’s body over to Alisha – even though they had a civil union, because of DOMA, the state can choose NOT to recognize it. How is this defending anybody else’s marriage? It’s destructive, and that’s all it is.
Girl Punished for Being Raped… Twice In this rather horrifying story, we learn of a 7th grader who was raped, reported it, punished by her school, and made to apologize to her rapist for accusing him. She was then subsequently raped by the SAME GUY and punished by the school… AGAIN. They even had physical evidence! To be honest, I really don’t understand how this could happen, and why CNN isn’t screaming about this at the top of their lungs. If they won’t, we should.
Why Victims Recant In a new study, jailhouse telephone calls were recorded to reveal what exactly felony domestic abuse victims are told by their abusers. It gives us a better idea of how and why victims recant and how to deal with that from a psychological perspective; often victims are not bullied but guilt tripped so that they gain sympathy for the people who hurt them.
Rick Perry is a Murderer No, he didn’t administer the injection himself, but Rick Perry used the state to kill an innocent man. Also, yes, I know that’s a strong statement, but I stand by it. Rick Perry had information – forensic information – in his hands that proved that the man was innocent, and all he had to do was issue a stay of the execution to review the information, but refused. In Texas, all that matters is killing… innocence is not important apparently. The media should be SCREAMING about this, but with a shrug and a murmur later, Perry is being given a pass and the go ahead to run for PRESIDENT. Think whatever you want, but I’m pretty sure Barack Obama never had an innocent man executed. This is a really good, really sad article, put out a while ago by The New Yorker… please read it and share it with everyone you can.
Oh Rupert More info has come out about the infamous hacking of Rupert Murdoch’s company, and if you’re anything like me, it does your cold little black heart good to hear it. More evidence? Yes, please!
Down with the EPA At least, that’s what GOP candidates would like to see, because you know, who needs clean air and water? Frankly, I’d prefer it if I could light my water on fire… it would be a neat party trick!
Broadway Cares Really, they do! The cast of The Lion King is performing a special matinee for Autistic children; they’re tweaking the show a little bit for the kids so they can enjoy the show without their condition getting in the way. “The performance, scheduled for Oct. 2, is part of a new pilot program from the Theatre Development Fund called the Autism Theatre Initiative, whose goal is to make theater accessible to children and adults on the autism spectrum — including those with Asperger’s syndrome — and their families.” This is really a wonderful thing, and it’s important to read about the goodness in humanity once and a while, and as an actor, it especially does my heart some good to see the theatre community doing something so great.
SAVE ROCKY!!!!! This dog has served multiple tours in Iraq and is now facing Euthanasia if a home is not found – he’s special needs, but worth it, don’t you think? SPREAD THE WORD!
Thanks for checking in and please come back for Thursday’s edition of the Daily News Drop!
Sources: The Stranger, AlterNet, Science Daily, The New Yorker, Slate, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times
Wisconsin Recall Election – GOP Retain Senate After an unprecedented effort of collecting enough signatures to recall six Republican Senators, Democrats fell one seat short of regaining the Wisconsin State Senate. The recall effort came after the power grab of the Republican Senate and Governor Scott Walker, including the stripping of bargaining rights of public sector unions. It’s a sad day for organized labor and those who support it.
Gay Married Couple Separated by Deportation Heartbreaking story. Citing the Defense of Marriage act, the Obama administration decided that a legal gay marriage was an invalid cause for permanent residency – this decision will force the expulsion of a man who had entered into a legal marriage in the state of Massachusetts seven years ago. This is a travesty that everyone should know about.
66th Anniversary of Nagasaki Nuclear Strike With the radiation levels the highest that they’ve been to this point at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, it seems ironic that it coincides with the anniversary of the two nuclear bomb detonations in Japan by the United States. Democracy Now had a great segment with Greg Mitchell that discussed some of the details of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that I’d never heard. Very informative.
1/4 of Super Congress Selected Harry Reid announced his selections for the Super Congress created by the Debt deal – Patty Murray (WA), Max Baucus (MT), and John Kerry (MA). Remember their names, because they will be part of this entity that will gut our social safety net.
Criminalization of Poverty in America Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, the bestselling novel by Barbara Ehrenreich, is being reprinted as a 10th Anniversary Edition. In the new afterward, Ehrenreich delves into a topic that isn’t discussed often – how poverty has become more and more criminalized in this country. Sleeping under a bridge is something that has been deemed illegal in many places. And while this law might apply to everyone from millionaires to homeless people, only homeless individuals are in any danger of breaking that law. I have to admit (ashamedly) that I haven’t read this book, so I’m looking forward to picking it up and reading it!
CNN Lets Trump Ramble for 30 Minutes About Economy Because of a 30 minute delay in President Obama’s speech on Monday, CNN was able to have a lengthened interview with Donald Trump. The real winner was the viewer. The above link contains some highlights of the interview, which was scattered at best. Watch and remember that he was at one point the #1 contender for the Republican party for the Presidential Nomination.
As a palate-cleanser for all this depressing news, here’s a happier story…
Less Mice to be Killed in Research The EPA granted $3 Million to design a computer that simulates a human liver – eliminating the need to use mice for testing in research in that area. This is great news. Systematic murder of rodents for our benefit is downright barbaric. Kudos EPA!
As always, thanks for reading and staying informed! Please share this and other posts if they’ve been helpful. Check back tomorrow for more news that you can use.
Sources: Huffington Post, SF Gate, Democracy Now!, Politico, Salon, Talking Points Memo