Lightening Strikes, Maybe Once, Maybe Twice…

An Argument For Every Homophobe

There comes a time in every member of the LGBT community’s lives when you learn to desensitize yourself to the constant influx of homophobia that comes through the the media and, of course, close-minded folk all over the country. It’s almost like a fight-or-flight response; you can’t possibly expend the energy to fight or defend yourself against every single homophobic situation or phrase – So you learn to roll your eyes and choose your battles.

However, there are certain “arguments” that people and groups frequently revert back to when scraping for any excuse to justify their bigotry. It’s tiring. It’s old. There are only so many times you can argue about the EXACT SAME THINGS. It’s like bashing your head against a brick wall, over and over – And, to be honest, my head much prefers feather pillows over brick walls.

Therefore, I’ve taken matters into my own hands and created this nifty little “go-to guide” for other members of the LGBT community as well as our straight allies. Chances are, if you find yourself in a situation with a homophobe, you will hear one of the following tired excuses listed below.

Bookmark this blog on your laptop, tablet or phone, print it out and memorize or copy specific talking points onto neon index cards to keep in your pocket and VOILA! – Whip out at any moment you find yourself face-to-face with “one of them”. Homophobes – Can’t live with ’em, could definitely live without ’em!

1. The “Ew, Gross” Excuse
It’s “unnatural”. You’re going against nature.

Love is love is love. As long as the two people involved in the relationship are happy, healthy, competent and consenting individuals, why in the world should their gender make a bit of difference? Homophobes, and the oftentimes ridiculously sexual names they come up with to describe gay people, think a whole lot more about gay intimacy than most gay people I know. And, let’s be real, how can you NOT question the comfort level someone has with their own sexuality when they’re coming up with the highly descriptive names that even WE haven’t thought of ourselves?!

Besides, if the one and only reason they are in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex is because they believe it’s “natural”, well, then that’s a whole bag of personal issues. The fact is, homosexuality has been around just as long as heterosexuality. If the entire human race’s sole purpose on the planet was to procreate, we never would have evolved past the ape stage, get it? Procreating is physical – And there are many facets to living a fulfilled human life that go beyond the physical realm of things. Balance is key and, besides, would you tell straight couples that choose not to or cannot have children that they’re unnatural? Going against nature? Now you just sound like an asshole…Oh, wait, you kind of already did.

2. The “Gay Agenda” Excuse (AKA the “Gay Panic” Excuse)
It threatens the very moral fiber and traditional family environment of America! The gay agenda is taking over!

This one is my favorite, because it really does make me laugh. My own response is usually something along the lines of “Shit! The secret gay mafia must have missed me when handing out copies of The Agenda after I came out!” That said, I think I can speak for most of us when I say that the “agenda” in question is simply to be recognized as couples equal to heterosexual couples in the eyes of the law. I know, it’s crazy. Hopefully this doesn’t get out – In fact, I can’t believe I’m even publishing this. What if heterosexual people now know what the gay agenda really is?! If the agenda is to ensure that all members of the LGBT community are treated fairly, respectfully and equally to our straight counterparts, then you’re goddamn right I’m going to push that agenda all day, every day. Ooops – Secret’s out.

I once read a comment online that the gay agenda was “so annoying” because “the gays” wanted to make sure that everyone else was gay too! How could the world go on this way?! Once again, I was amazed that people have made it this far in life. First off, dammit, I don’t want everyone to be gay. The gay community is competitive as it is! I don’t want the pool widening with Gisele Bundchens, Scarlett Johannsens and Heidi Klums! Okay – In all seriousness, what some straight people don’t understand is that you are just, well, they way you are! The world will never be all straight or all gay, because some people are born straight, others gay and a lot somewhere in between. Can I insert a “Duh!” here? Sigh.

3. The Bible-Thumping Excuse
Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve! You’re committing sins against God (insert quotes from Leviticus here).

The beauty of America is that you can follow whatever religion you choose. But when you try to force those religious principles on me is when we have a problem. Personally, I like to think of myself as non-denominational spiritual. I’m attracted to Buddhism but I was raised a Sunday morning Christian (meaning that we went to church on Sundays and holidays but religion wasn’t a predominant theme in our house) so whether I want them or not, some of those principles have stuck. But I’m not knocking Christianity – I know a few LGBT Christians and they are wonderful, happy people. All I’m sayin’ is that everyone has a right to believe what they choose, but when you start taking it outside of the home and church, protesting LGBT events and parades, condemning people to hellfire (which is subjective – if I don’t believe in a Hell, how can I go there?) and involving yourself in my life and my business, that’s extremism and I won’t accept it. I am happy, I am confident in my place in life (and the afterlife), I am enlightened (and always seeking further enlightenment because nobody knows enough to know everything) and I know, deep in my soul, that I am okay.

4. The Absolutely Ridiculous Excuse
Fine, you want to marry someone of the same sex? If THAT happens, you might as well just let people marry their dogs or legalize pedophilia while we’re at it!

Thankfully what was once a loud argument from the homophobes out there has waned to whiny drivel. Last I checked, dogs do not have the mental capacity to make decisions regarding marriage or relationships (and I have two, so you’ll be the first to know if I notice any different!) Human beings do. Children are not mature enough to make consensual decisions about these things either. Adults (18 and over) can – Usually. To say that, because I am in a healthy, consensual relationship with my partner, is akin to bestiality or pedophilia is ridiculous. I’m not dating an animal, I’m dating my girlfriend. I’m also not dating a child or underaged person, I’m dating my girlfriend. If you’re concerned with pedophilia, talk to Ted Nugent. He’s the (straight) one who legally adopted his underaged girlfriend so they could live together and continue their relationship. Ew. Two of these things are not like the other and to argue otherwise is foolish, unhealthy, ignorant, stupid and nonsensical.

5. The Ignorant Preconceived Notions Excuse
The LGBT community consists of, by nature, slutty, disease-ridden drug users with no regard for safety or courtesy.

The judgmental world could make wide-reaching generalizations about every minority, every community, every day (and they usually do). Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people that believe the stereotypical images of the LGBT community. There are good people and there are bad people, and that’s based on character – Nothing else. The media likes to stereotype minorities, the LGBT community included. I like to think that, the more people feel comfortable to come out, the more these stereotypes will shatter before our eyes. People will be affected and forced to rethink their judgments because – Oh, crap! My son/daughter/childhood friend/cousin/sister/brother/co-worker is gay and they’re normal. They’re good people! To say that your character is related to physical things like appearance or sexuality sounds just as ignorant and offensive now as it did in the days of Jim Crowe and the Trail of Tears.

6. The Other Ignorant Preconceived Notions Excuse
Being GLBT is a learned behavior/choice. You can change your sexuality if you really wanted to, and weren’t so darned perverted.

So, here’s what’s interesting. In a recent poll of heterosexual friends and family, I don’t know a single straight person that would feel comfortable dating someone that identified as “ex-gay”. Granted, none of these heterosexual friends or family believe that you can “pray away the gay” either (obviously – we would have no business hanging out otherwise). You can be unhappy while you’re gay. You can even be unhappy BECAUSE you’re gay (believe me, we’ve all been through it). But you can’t not be gay if you’re predominantly attracted to your same gender. Everyone goes through different phases of accepting themselves. It is hard enough to accept yourself for what you are and what you aren’t – Encouraging conversion is damaging, unhealthy and dangerous. I’m going to venture out and say that ALL of these people that say they are “ex-gays” come from extremely religious families that weren’t accepting of their sexuality. I don’t think a single person from a supportive family would go through that, or feel the need to. I can’t get too bleeding heart with them, though – For every kid forced into conversion therapy because their family sucks, there’s a Janet Boynes out there, forcing her own repressed beliefs on everyone else because she has issues with herself. Perhaps we can send her, and some of these others, to “Idiot Conversion Therapy”.

7. The “I Want To Raise My Kids To Be As Ignorant As I” Excuse
What am I supposed to tell my CHILDREN if same-sex couples are allowed to freely walk down the SAME streets as us?! And what about school, they’ll have the audacity (and freedom) to teach my kids that all people are created equal?!

I don’t know, they’re not my snot-faced tiny people. Tell them that two happy people are in love. And then tell them to shut up when we’re all in the movie theatre together, because I like hearing the film on the screen when it’s NOT punctuated with high-pitched chatter. And if you’re that concerned about their education, pony up the bucks for private, religious-based education. Can’t afford it and don’t want your tax dollars supporting equality in public schools? Too damn bad, my tax dollars (even more of them, since I have to file as single every year – Even though I’m not) have supported a myriad of politicians and causes that don’t support me, my rights, my equality or my beliefs for years. Welcome to America, jerk.

8. The “It’s Immoral” Excuse
I’m really  just a bigot, but that sounds so darned negative.

I’ve found that this is mostly just a fancy-schmancy way of thinly veiling your bigotry and hoping it sounds passable. You’re not and it doesn’t. First of all, morals are completely subjective (discounting general “morals” such as don’t kill people, don’t intentionally hurt others, don’t steal, etc). They’re based on upbringing, education, beliefs and experience. So, what is immoral to someone may be a non-issue for someone else. For example, someone may think it is “immoral” that I am in a long-term, happy, monogamous relationship with someone…Simply because they are another woman – Whereas I think it is “immoral” to lead a country into war on false pretenses and by outright lying to its people (by the way, did we ever find those weapons of mass destruction?). You say potato, George W. Bush says strategery.

9. The Clever “I’m Not a Homophobe, I Support Civil Unions and Equal Rights! Just Not MARRIAGE Between Gay Couples!” Excuse
I’m not a stick-in-the-mud fanatic, I’m a COOL religious follower! You’re all right with me…As long as you don’t try to get married!

I tend to hear this a lot in the area that I live in. Well, not directly to me (thankfully) but on local blogs, online comments on local newspapers and forums, etc. It’s still homophobic and it still bothers me. First off, it doesn’t even make sense. I suppose they think that civil unions are basically marriage without using the word marriage. False. There were two women in the local Chicago LGBT community that had gotten a civil union as soon as they were able to in Illinois. I was not personally acquainted with them, but they were active in the community so I knew OF them and we had some mutual friends. They went to the Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair. The stage collapsed, one of the young women was killed instantly and the other spent weeks in the hospital recovering from injuries. I don’t know exactly how it all ended, or if it’s still in limbo, but I know the surviving spouse had a hell of a time being recognized as her wife’s legal partner because the death happened in Indiana – Where gay marriage and civil unions (including those performed in other states) are not recognized. At all. If civil unions afforded the same rights as marriage and they were a straight couple who had recently wed, this would have been a non-issue. So, while civil unions are a step in the right direction, they are NOT equal to marriage in any way, shape or form.

I got into an online argument (I know, I know…Choose your battles) with a local woman through online newspaper comments. She kept saying how she loved gay people, she thought we were all fantastic but just don’t use the word marriage! I finally got so exasperated that I told her to call it a purple banana for all I cared – It’s not the name, it’s the rights, the “benefits package” if you will, that I was concerned with. Her issue was that she didn’t want religious institutions to have to “conform” to what they don’t agree with – Same-sex marriage. But churches can, and do (anyone remember the pastor down south who refused to marry an interracial couple earlier this year?), choose not to oversee certain marriages all the time. I would never deign to try to marry my partner in a Southern Baptist church, a Catholic church. They’ve made it clear they don’t like us and, well…Why would I want to have my wedding there? But why couldn’t we get married in a Unitarian church? An Episcopalian church? Or within another denomination that supports our community? Or, more likely, why couldn’t we leave the religious/church aspect out of it altogether, like many heterosexuals do, and just get married? Are straight people that choose to not get married in a church less married than those that did? Surprise, surprise – When I presented this argument to her, she had…..absolutely no response.

Ashley Quinn, changing the attitudes of the Midwest – One homophobe at a time. 

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2 responses

  1. Reblogged this on My Life as a Lesbian and commented:
    Not only was this post extremely well-written and a great read at that, but holy SHIT is it accurate. I even had a few laughs while reading it purely because of how accurate and entertaining it was. Ashley Quinn, I salute you.

    November 16, 2012 at 5:09 PM

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words and the reblog! I am glad that it’s hitting home for a lot of people and I’m even more glad that our community can share in homophobic frustrations (and even laugh at them once in a while – what else can we do sometimes?) – I very much believe that it’s a changing world out there and, together, we can all make a difference.

    November 16, 2012 at 6:16 PM

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