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"No public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality."
May 4, 2011 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Tennessee 'Don't Say Gay' Bill advances in state senate. We Say Gay is dedicated to fighting it.
posted by hermitosis (133 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
So at this point, it's become pretty clear that the GOP is putting on the largest mass-scale performance art piece of all time. Right? That's gotta be it.
posted by ORthey at 8:44 AM on May 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wow. I really thought, from reading the tin, that this bill would be an anti-hate-speech thing, and that a group of people who wanted to keep using the "that's so gay" phrase was fighting it.
posted by Danf at 8:44 AM on May 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


This is insane. It's like instead of just not moving forwards some people make a concious effort to actually move backwards.
posted by Tarumba at 8:45 AM on May 4, 2011


I SAY THEE GAY! /Thor
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:45 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


What, they want them to learn about it on the streets?
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM on May 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


Don't say gay. Say wide stance. And luggage carrier.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:47 AM on May 4, 2011 [20 favorites]


In these tough economic times, it's important to take a stand against the tide of homosexuality sweeping our nation. Don't have a job? It's because our teachers spend all their time talking about homosexuality! Lost your house to foreclosure? Homosexuality talk in the classroom is to blame! Bankrupt because you can't pay your medical bills? It's because the 7th grade music teacher the next county over showed a clip from Glee!
posted by rtha at 8:49 AM on May 4, 2011 [38 favorites]


What, they want them to learn about it on the streets?

More fun that way.

In other news: I note that the sponser of this bill is a 42 year old unmarried Republican (well, duh) male.

I've got $50 that says the dude's gay. Any takers?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 8:50 AM on May 4, 2011 [42 favorites]


The Bing banner at the bottom of the page was showing a very attractive Tennessee walking horse as an example of its image search capabilities, but before we can discuss that any further, I'll need to check ages.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:50 AM on May 4, 2011


This sounds a lot like Measure 9 in Oregon, which was defeated in the early 90s. My first real political memory is from being taken to a No on 9 rally as a little kid. There was a catchy little song about the Oregon Citizens Alliance (now-defunct anti-gay group) that gets stuck in my head to this day:

The OCA
They'll get you if you're gay
And if you're not
Well they'll get you anyway!


They were a pretty horrible and spiteful group. Reminds me more than a bit of the modern GOP (especially in many states).
posted by OverlappingElvis at 8:52 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


JOB! That's why you have to elect us! JOBS!
posted by edgeways at 8:54 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is a very strong and pervasive belief in middle America that homosexuality is essentially a transmittable disease. They are convinced that if children are told that it's ok to be gay, or that gay people aren't any worse than other people, this will cause kids to *choose* to be gay.

This is a very strong belief held by many tens of millions of Americans who don't have Metafilter accounts.

Personally, I'm at a loss to understand how we can deal with these people. I think it's possible that, with few exceptions, we've more or less reached a high-water mark in this country when it comes to tolerance for gays.

I see laws like these being passed left and right and I think that there probably won't be much national progress in equal rights until the current generation of kids grows up to replace their parents.
posted by Avenger at 8:55 AM on May 4, 2011 [16 favorites]


The OCA USA
They'll get you if you're gay
And if you're not
Well they'll get you anyway!

posted by hermitosis at 8:56 AM on May 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


Sometimes I think that I have lost the capacity to be gobsmacked by political crazy.

Nope.
posted by gaspode at 8:56 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stacey Campfield (born June 8, 1968) is a professional "house redeveloper" and Republican member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from the 18th district (northwest Knoxville), best known for trying to join the legislative Black Caucus, and for his sponsorship of highly conservative legislation such as bills to issue death certificates for aborted fetuses, to force women to look at fetal ultrasound images before having an abortion; for the right to carry guns onto college campuses; to eliminate the state’s pre-kindergarten programs; and for AB821, the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill which would forbid any discussion of homosexuality in Tennessee elementary or middle schools.

Way to elect a professional troll, Knoxville.
posted by ghharr at 8:56 AM on May 4, 2011 [19 favorites]


The UK version was Section 28. Enacted in 1988, finally repealed across the whole UK in 2003.
posted by tomcooke at 8:57 AM on May 4, 2011


We can only conclude that there are millions of bi or gay people who are TERRIFIED that they'll finally be responsible for their own desires, that nobody will be there to tell them that it's wrong, so that they'll have to wrestle with their feelings on their own.
posted by clockzero at 8:57 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


@avenger Clearly there is only one solution to this problem. We need to get these tens of millions of Americans on Metafilter!
posted by curious_yellow at 8:57 AM on May 4, 2011


"No public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality."

The obvious next step is to supplement those creationism-is-the-only-actual-history museums with heterosexuality-is-the-only-actual-orientation museums. Complete with hyperrealistic animatronic tableaux.

Then you go there and at first you're like, "Wow, this is kind of hot," but then you look around and realize (in that "This-is-the-wrong-bar" manner) that every other guy in the place is gay, closeted, and so uncomfortable that it ruins the whole thing for you. Plus his kids are crying and he won't let them leave.
posted by AugieAugustus at 8:58 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've got $50 that says the dude's gay. Any takers?

OK, I might occasionally be reckless with my money, but I'm not a complete idiot.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:58 AM on May 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Don't these people know that forbidding something only makes teens think it's cooler? If they keep this up, it won't be long until all the kids in Tennessee are gay!
posted by phunniemee at 8:58 AM on May 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


So, Mother's Day. Father's Day. Kids with two Moms or Dads can only make one card? Because otherwise it would be acknowledging homosexuality?

Family friendly!
posted by gaspode at 8:59 AM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


In other news: I note that the sponser of this bill is a 42 year old unmarried Republican (well, duh) male.

I've got $50 that says the dude's gay. Any takers?


Send him an anonymous letter that says "I saw you with that guy. Either you confess, or I tell the world." That ought to do the trick.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:59 AM on May 4, 2011 [20 favorites]


Maybe the key to defeating such a measure is just letting the kids infer?

"Many people enjoy sexual relations with other people. Of these people, most, though not all, enjoy such relations with people of the opposite gender. The state will not allow me to state whom the rest of these people enjoy such relations with. But kids, you're smart! If most, but not all women are attracted to men, then to whom are the remaining women attracted to?"

"Other women?"

"The state won't allow me to confirm, Sally. But you're a smart girl, Sally."
posted by explosion at 9:00 AM on May 4, 2011 [52 favorites]


At first, I was a little confused about what the purpose of the bill was. Then, it hit me: of course! In America, there were no homosexuals before the 80s! It's only been since people have started talking about it in the mainstream media that people have become gay!
posted by honeydew at 9:00 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]



There is a very strong and pervasive belief in middle America that homosexuality is essentially a transmittable disease. They are convinced that if children are told that it's ok to be gay, or that gay people aren't any worse than other people, this will cause kids to *choose* to be gay.


No you see they know that if it becomes "okay" to be gay then the whole world will become one big orgy of doing whatever you want and to economy will grind to a halt cause everyone too busy slating their carnal lusts and eventually the human race will become extinct.
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 AM on May 4, 2011


Well, maybe that's not the *only* conclusion, but how else to explain the intense anxiety and obsessive need to control the discourse and control recognition of relationships in general?
posted by clockzero at 9:01 AM on May 4, 2011


The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:01 AM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ok, if this passes I'm going to start a guerrilla lawn-sign campaign near public schools here in Nashville.

Sometimes a woman loves a woman.
And a man loves a man.
It's called being gay.
and it's ok.
Burma Shave
posted by ghharr at 9:02 AM on May 4, 2011 [30 favorites]


rep.stacey.campfield@legislature.state.tn.us
posted by clockzero at 9:02 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Regardless of this, remember that it's okay to be Takei.
posted by zizzle at 9:02 AM on May 4, 2011 [37 favorites]


Well, maybe that's not the *only* conclusion, but how else to explain the intense anxiety and obsessive need to control the discourse and control recognition of relationships in general?

Fear that they won't be able to control their childrens' behaviour, not just their own.
posted by zarq at 9:02 AM on May 4, 2011


TN bill will prevent teachers from using the word "gay" in class. In response, I'm lending them my name: "It's okay to be Takei."
-- @GeorgeTakei
posted by jcreigh at 9:04 AM on May 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


D'oh, zizzle beat me to it.
posted by jcreigh at 9:06 AM on May 4, 2011


Hey, don't worry, at least to balance it out the TN Legislature is also stripping teachers of collective bargaining rights.
posted by absalom at 9:06 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just to be fair, the public acknowledgement and approval of homosexuality probably does increase the number of people who identify as gay.

But, as I said: That is just being fair.
posted by General Tonic at 9:07 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've got $50 that says the dude's gay. Any takers?

No bet.

What about the opposition to any attempt to limit hate speech because...speech is protected!!

A Jon Stewart quote seems a pros pos: "Sometimes I wonder how our government puts on pants in the morning."
posted by dry white toast at 9:10 AM on May 4, 2011


Sometimes I think Republicans are either gay or obsessed with people who are gay, one or the other if not both.
posted by clockzero at 9:10 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


My husband, who used to hang out in conservative evangelical circles before he came to his senses, has a theory that all the focus on homosexuality-as-a-sin is because it's a "sin" that relatively few people are likely to commit. Relative to say, (heterosexual) adultery, or gluttony. You don't hear as much talk about those sins because it wouldn't fill up the church pews. People would just stay home. They don't want to hear what they're doing wrong, they want to hear what Those Other People are doing wrong. Homosexuality, in his understanding of the Bible, isn't listed as a greater sin than anything else, it's just an easy target.
posted by desjardins at 9:12 AM on May 4, 2011 [70 favorites]


Just to be clear, he doesn't believe it's a sin.
posted by desjardins at 9:12 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Between my state (KY) building the creationist museum (WITH STATE FUNDING Y'ALL), or the state I'm 10 miles from the border on (TN) doing this crap, I really feel like I should be living somewhere else. These are not my people.

Every state senator/representative talks about their people. How they are helping out their people. Caring for their people. If you pull shit like this, you are not caring for your people. You are caring for some of your people, which is a sea of difference away from what is coming out of your mouth. If you cared about your people, you would care that some of them are white, some are black, some are hispanic, gay, straight, bi-sexual, transgengered, physically handicapped, mentally handicapped, churched, unchurched. You would make enough laws that the ones who are at a disadvantage are brought to par with a level of their peers, and then you'd back off. That's caring about ALL YOUR PEOPLE. Not like what is coming out of your mouth. I'm sick of electing folks for either party that don't care about their people. If you don't care about us all, you care about us none, just go ahead and step down and let someone who cares do it.
posted by deezil at 9:14 AM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


funny... Stacey Campfield isn't spelled the same way as Mr.-There-are-no-gays-here, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
posted by edgeways at 9:14 AM on May 4, 2011


The guy’s blog is titled “Camp4u”. I’m throwing in with the he’s-gay lot.
posted by spitefulcrow at 9:15 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


desjardins: That's possible, but I think shakespeherian's idea makes so much sense, and explains so much. I just have to quote it:
I don't remember where I first read this, but I do like the theory that so many of these guys are really vocal about their opposition to gay rights, etc. because they honestly think of themselves as normal straight guys who are prone to the temptation of homosexual 'sin' just as much as they are to that of lying, cheating, stealing, etc. Like, homosexuality is just another thing that you have to be very careful not to do because of your evil sinful nature. So when they are concerned about kids seeing gay guys kiss on teevee, or when they are terrified that a homosexual might hit on them, it's because they think they know just how easy it is for everyone to give in to being gay. Because they aren't gay: they're just tempted.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:57 PM on May 4, 2010
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:22 AM on May 4, 2011 [17 favorites]


(out of context it may not be clear: "these guys" are gay men who make a career out of being anti-gay homophobe leaders)
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:24 AM on May 4, 2011


maybe he just mistook the Onion for news
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 AM on May 4, 2011


The UK version was Section 28. Enacted in 1988, finally repealed across the whole UK in 2003.

This looks even worse than Section 28 to me. If I recall correctly, Section 28 prohibited the promotion of homosexuality* in schools - this measure seems to prevent teachers from even admitting it exists.

*A concept that I still find both confusing and hilarious. How, precisely, does one "promote" homosexuality? Did the people who passed that measure think that without it, they'd have people setting up stalls on the first day of school to try and convince kids of the benefits of being gay? "Hey, little Timmy, how about it? For a low, low payment of £15 per annum you too can join the Homosexual Agenda! We have a free medical plan and twice-yearly holidays in the Bahamas!"
posted by ZsigE at 9:27 AM on May 4, 2011


How, precisely, does one "promote" homosexuality?

By lookin' fine.
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 AM on May 4, 2011 [49 favorites]


Yeah, I was kinda idly wondering if the gay-choicers aren't bi, and therefore assume that everyone feels those conflicted yearnings and might just give in to that guy down at the gym even as they still want to bone women too.

But who knows?

I will say, I'm reading a history of hell right now, and homosexuality has been, like, a huge deal for a lot of Christianity's history, more than I even understood (because a lot of it seems pretty, well, gay, on its own, what with the brother loving and no-girls-allowed stuff).
posted by klangklangston at 9:28 AM on May 4, 2011


You have got to be fucking kidding.
posted by brundlefly at 9:32 AM on May 4, 2011


Wait, will this bill have an exemption for teaching the kids other important issues that still involve questions of sexuality? Because otherwise, how are these kids going to know about what the QUEERS are doing to the SOIL?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:34 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Things We Cannot Discuss in School:

-The Gays
-Science
-History that does not include Ronald Reagan
-Spanish (speak English if you want to learn, damnit!)
-Organized Labor

That eliminates a pretty good portion of the curriculum. Sounds like we can get the rest done in five to seven years. So let's save on the budget by eliminating high school and kicking everyone out at grade six.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:38 AM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


how are these kids going to know about what the QUEERS are doing to the SOIL?


That's not what fracking means.
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 AM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I figure homophobia is just a sort of built-in survival instinct for the human race.

I mean, if all guys everywhere learned just how mind-blowingly awesome gay sex really is, they'd give up women altogether and the human race would quickly die out.
posted by xedrik at 9:41 AM on May 4, 2011


"...whether homosexuality is indeed being taught in the state's classrooms."

Alright, class. Now turn to page 42. You'll see that Figure 3 illustrates where the penis goes.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:43 AM on May 4, 2011


Between my state (KY) building the creationist museum (WITH STATE FUNDING Y'ALL), or the state I'm 10 miles from the border on (TN) doing this crap, I really feel like I should be living somewhere else. These are not my people.

I live in TN, and saying "These are not my people" would be kind of burying my head in the sand, I think. I am fortunate to live in a city where I don't come into contact with "those people" a lot, but they are here, they're all over, and most importantly, like Campfield, they are in positions to do great harm, whether I think they're my people or not.

Nashville recently passed an ordinance that would require contractors doing business with the city to have policies that explicitly forbid discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. The ordinance barely passed the Metro Council. A couple of weeks later, the state legislature passed a law explicitly forbidding any locality in the state from passing the kind of law that Nashville had just passed. The Nashville ordinance was thus repealed. Both houses of the legislature are Republican-dominated. So basically the party that's usually all "STATES RIGHTS FOREVUH!" is now clamping down on localities that decide to exercise their local rights.
posted by blucevalo at 9:45 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't understand how something like this could become enshrined in law. I don't mean like 'I am incredulous as to the political possibility' but more like This makes no logical sense and isn't actually feasible.' How can it be illegal for a teacher to tell students that things that are real actually exist? If a student comes in and says 'Yo teach' (kids talk this way, trust me), 'I have two dads, and they're both awesome and love me a lot, how come we haven't covered the fact that that's a thing?' Is the teacher required either to A) not respond or B) lie?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:46 AM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I kind of like the part where the law demands that teachers who are confronted by questions about the gay to stick their fingers in their ears and say "LA-LA! LA-LA!"
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:47 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dear TheWhelk,

I know it's off-topic, and I don't want to be that guy, but I am that guy, so ...

When you say
... too busy slating their carnal lusts ...
I think you really mean
... too busy slaking their carnal lusts ...
I just think that the hard 'k' sound adds a bit of urgency and roughness, and 'slake' automatically makes one think of 'thirst', and other urgent needs, and so it sexifies-up the whole phrase.

Sincerely,
benito.s
posted by benito.strauss at 9:54 AM on May 4, 2011


I live in TN, and saying "These are not my people" would be kind of burying my head in the sand, I think.

Yeah, I always try to remind myself: these are my countrymen. These people may be far away from me, we may be culturally isolated from each other, but when I refer to myself as an American, these people are part of who gets to define what that means.

The temptation when you move to a place like NYC of course, is to just laugh them off and enjoy the insulation provided by your Emerald City. And there are times when I do think I am just hiding here, using it as an excuse to not care so much.

But more and more, I care. These young Tennessee gays, growing up feeling confused and hated, are my brothers and sisters. We shouldn't wait until they wash up in places like NYC to help them.
posted by hermitosis at 9:54 AM on May 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


klangklanston, what's that book on the history of hell? is it any good? /derail
posted by epersonae at 10:00 AM on May 4, 2011


For a low, low payment of £15 per annum you too can join the Homosexual Agenda! We have a free medical plan and twice-yearly holidays in the Bahamas!

Damn, I'm in. Sorry, mr. desjardins.
posted by desjardins at 10:03 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am so glad the Georgia legislature only meets for 40 days and has wrapped up for the year, otherwise I am sure a copycat bill would be introduced in our capitol.

Also, for those debating the sexual leanings of Mr. Campbell, the preferred term down south is "confirmed bachelor".
posted by TedW at 10:04 AM on May 4, 2011


It's Never Lurgi: “I've got $50 that says the dude's gay. Any takers?”

This whole "he's a Republican jerk, he must be homosexual!" trope has always seemed more than a little obnoxious to me. It's possible to just hate gay people and be heterosexual. That doesn't make the bigotry any better or worse.

I know we're not actually jeering at people based on their sexual orientation, but it sure as hell looks like it, and that bothers me.
posted by koeselitz at 10:07 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's Never Lurgi: “I've got $50 that says the dude's gay. Any takers?”

I think it's possible to be unattractive to both gay AND straight people simultaneously.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:10 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps we should simply email Sen. Stacey Campfield the video of Julia Sweeney talking about reproduction and sex with her 8 year old daughter.

Summary of the clip, if you missed it before: her daughter had a question about frog reproduction and Julia Sweeney was trying to keep it "age appropriate," but the inquisitive mind of her daughter pushed the topic.

9th grade is WAY TOO LATE to start discussing homosexuality as a Real Thing. Because kids will notice that some couples are same-sex, and start asking questions. There is no convenient Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny to hide behind, and even if there was, NINTH GRADE? SERIOUSLY?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:11 AM on May 4, 2011


I worked on the campaign against measure 9 in Oregon, and later on 13, 19 and the 2nd Measure 9.

During one of those campaigns, a friend and I spent 12 hours standing on a median in the freezing cold holding up signs against the measure, encouraging drivers to honk their support. We got equal parts "faggot!" screamed at us, and honks and waves of support.

But the thing that made that day worth it was one woman who saw us out there in the cold and decided to bring us mochas - she picked them up, parked and walked over to hand them to us and thank us for being there. Sometimes these small gestures of solidarity, just a little here and there - can accumulate and create a real feeling of solidarity. And just a little love and support here and there (like the comments of support in this thread, or a letter of support with a few bucks donation) can really empower the people who are in the center of the fight and keep them going in spite of challenges and even threats.

Great post, thanks for it.
posted by jardinier at 10:12 AM on May 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


koeselitz: I know we're not actually jeering at people based on their sexual orientation, but it sure as hell looks like it, and that bothers me.

As I see it, it's not jeering at him for his sexual orientation, but being annoyed/angry at a potentially hypocritical person who is persecuting people who are like him, but open about it. The joke is an old one, and not that funny, but it's shorthand for "we've seen this before, and it could happen again."
posted by filthy light thief at 10:16 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've got $50 that says the dude's gay. Any takers?

No dice. The self-loathing, secretly gay ones are usually married, too.
posted by fifthrider at 10:16 AM on May 4, 2011


The "if you are a homophobe chances are you take it in the ass" sentiment bothers me. There are plenty of examples where this is true, of course. But, there are straight people who really, truly, sincerely believe all the crazy bullshit homophobes have been saying for years. And it is odd that the conversation is always "he must be gay" and never "she must be gay". Stacey Campfield can suck dick but Maggie Gallagher is assumed to be straight.

I know everyone has good intentions, and lord knows I think this myself. But it strikes me as a touch homophobic. It writes off the problem as being with the gays and the gays inability to accept their gayness rather than with homophobes.

My derail aside, If Campfield isn't a closet homo, I hope he gets abducted by the white party and forced to watch beautiful men dance naked to awful music for the rest of his days.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:20 AM on May 4, 2011


and never "she must be gay"

I was reading a book recently all about anti-gay rhetoric in the 70s and 80s (complete with wonderful rebuttals from the likes of Gore Vidal so I didn't go totally insane) and the thing that struck me is how lesbians where almost never mentioned - except by the people responding to the rhetoric.

Personal Theory: Patriarchal Social Norms contains a constant screaming fear that men will be unmanned. You're supposed to fuck women, not like them or consort with them.
posted by The Whelk at 10:25 AM on May 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is insane. It's like instead of just not moving forwards some people make a concious effort to actually move backwards.

They're just advancing to the rear. Which, you know, is funny.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:27 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


When you say

... too busy slating their carnal lusts ...

I think you really mean

... too busy slaking their carnal lusts ...


"Slated" = "scheduled" - it's possible that our theoretical gays have kids (or just busy lives) and have to pencil in time for slaking their carnal lusts. Just finding a mutually workable time might be a big hassle.

I'm giving TheWhelk the benefit of the doubt here.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:27 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don;t know how I could have made that mistake. My valet always makes sure my carnal lusts are in my Google Calendar a week in advance.
posted by The Whelk at 10:29 AM on May 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don;t know how I could have made that mistake.

lol
posted by hermitosis at 10:33 AM on May 4, 2011


"Nashville recently passed an ordinance that would require contractors doing business with the city to have policies that explicitly forbid discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. The ordinance barely passed the Metro Council. A couple of weeks later, the state legislature passed a law explicitly forbidding any locality in the state from passing the kind of law that Nashville had just passed. The Nashville ordinance was thus repealed. Both houses of the legislature are Republican-dominated. So basically the party that's usually all "STATES RIGHTS FOREVUH!" is now clamping down on localities that decide to exercise their local rights."

Really? How'd they get around Romer v. Evans? It'd seem like that state law would be directly challengeable based on Supreme Court precedent.
posted by klangklangston at 10:34 AM on May 4, 2011


Personal Theory: Patriarchal Social Norms contains a constant screaming fear that men will be unmanned. You're supposed to fuck women, not like them or consort with them.

That, and the idea that men are the only ones who have sexuality in the active sense, and women are merely receivers of sexuality. Lesbians don't "count" the way gay men do as a threat, because lesbians don't have "real" sex (which must involve a penis or it's not actually sex), and also it's hot to see two women do it.
posted by rtha at 10:36 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


How'd they get around Romer v. Evans?

From the wikipedia summary of RvE: "Romer, however, has not been widely cited beyond Lawrence, no doubt because Kennedy emphasized the "special" nature of Amendment 2 and refused to apply traditional rational-basis analysis to the Colorado law."

So it may not be the precedent you think, although I'd love to hear from someone more familiar with the Court. In fact, the Wiki article (at the bottom, in the same section) talks about a similar bill passed in Cincinnati (which sounds very similar to the Nashville one) which the Supreme Court let stand.
posted by wildcrdj at 10:43 AM on May 4, 2011


And it is odd that the conversation is always "he must be gay" and never "she must be gay".

I seem to recall last year quite a bit of speculation that Christine O'Donnell munched her share of carpet.
posted by mightygodking at 10:47 AM on May 4, 2011


I think feminists are often accused of being man-hating dykes.
posted by desjardins at 10:49 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


They may be fighting back here in TN, but, remember, every day they lose a little more ground, a little more relevancy, and a little more support for their hateful cause. It gets better, and it will keep getting better.
posted by Aizkolari at 10:50 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I find the entire notion of this proposal repugnant, but I also keep coming back to the timing. Ninth grade is fine, but eighth is forbidden? I knew several people who came out publicly in middle school (seventh and eight grade) and thankfully the faculty and administration was supportive. But here -- what would teachers do? Not respond at all?

It seems implicit in this proposal that all teacher-student conversations would be teacher-initiated, which is simply not the case now and has not been the case for a long time. In that sense the specifics of the proposal seem not in line with reality even absent its broader problems (and I mean, really? This is a serious suggestion?).
posted by cjelli at 10:51 AM on May 4, 2011


There is a very strong and pervasive belief in middle America that homosexuality is essentially a transmittable disease.

"He didn't give you gay, did he?" -- Homer Simpson, after Marge visits John Waters
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:57 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "if you are a homophobe chances are you take it in the ass" sentiment bothers me

Well, in the more limited sense of "if you lead a homophobic group or constantly bring up homophobic bills in your legislature, you're probably gay" it's become a stronger meme due to numerous high profile examples.

And even since that article you can add Eddie Long, at least.

There are clearly plenty of straight people who are anti-gay. But it does seem that in the subset of those who dedicate their life to being anti-gay, there are a disproportionate number of gays. And this makes sense to me --- why else would they care _so much_ about the issue? Most anti-gay types will make comments, vote against gay rights, etc -- but its not something that drives their day-to-day lives.
posted by wildcrdj at 10:58 AM on May 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Tennessee any more."
California Senate bill mandates gay history be taught in schools.
posted by ericb at 10:59 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was there on Sunday in front of the capitol building in Nashville, out with about 200 other people and the organizer of WSG, holding my sign that said, "It's Okay to Say Gay", shouting and cheering and waving at cars, and calling my senators to make sure they know exactly where I stand.

I know it's getting better, and I know the new generation cares less and less about sexual preference as a determiner of civil rights, but it's really, really hard to feel optimistic when the vast majority of cars that pass you won't even look at you, won't glance your way, won't give in to the idea that yours and the other 199 people's existence as a thing that should be acknowledged and talked about. I hope, I hope, I hope.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:00 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ninth grade is fine, but eighth is forbidden?

This comes back to the idea that homosexuality is all about Sex, and so should only be taught once they start talking about actual sex and STDs and that sort of thing (which should probably be earlier than high school, but it would not surprise me if in TN it's not). The whole relationship side of homosexuality isn't something these people think about -- to them it's just a sexual act, not an orientation or something you build a stable life around.
posted by wildcrdj at 11:01 AM on May 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


I feel stupid for having to explain the obvious, but apparently there are plenty of people who somehow think that homophobia is involved in the "Republican homophobe must be a closet homo". So, here goes the obvious. There are several things involved. One is the Shakespearian "the lady doth protest too much" - no homophobia involved, just the simple observation, that many of the homophobic activists and politicians have been exposed as such, there are many such prominent examples and they tend to stick in the public consciousness. The other thing involved is the simple human tendency to see hypocrisy as a special kind of failing - if you are advocating or enacting antigay policies, while you secretly engage in expressing your gay sexuality, well, there is an extra dimension of moral failing, and that is what people are zeroing in on - it has nothing to do with homosexuality; it applies equally to any politician who privately engages in the practices he officially legislates against. This jerk is a jerk regardless of his sexuality, but I don't see anything wrong with people simply announcing the reading on their gaydar - I think we can all remember the many, many cases where people's gaydar was proven right when it came to various homophobic politicians and activists. And this guy qualifies - there's nothing homophobic in pointing this out.
posted by VikingSword at 11:01 AM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


It seems implicit in this proposal that all teacher-student conversations would be teacher-initiated, which is simply not the case now and has not been the case for a long time. In that sense the specifics of the proposal seem not in line with reality even absent its broader problems (and I mean, really? This is a serious suggestion?).

I'm always amazed to see how quickly adults forget what it's like to be a kid. Middle schoolers are complete wise-asses. If I was a kid in Tennessee and I knew that this law was on the books, I would constantly be hassling my teachers about homosexuality just to get up their noses. How could you expect a 13 year-old to do anything else?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:02 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


rtha: That, and the idea that men are the only ones who have sexuality in the active sense, and women are merely receivers of sexuality.

Serious question: Is there a scientific term for a pathological fear of penetration?

...and also it's hot to see two women do it.

I've always liked Paul Reiser's take on it: "Because it's naked and fun and I agree with both of them." (Not to in any way diminish your excellent point. Sorry.)
posted by zarq at 11:08 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


And, 'across the pond':
UK Considering Television Ban of Gay Kisses Before 9 p.m., Removal of Underwear, Bra Ads from Streets .
posted by ericb at 11:23 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone should introduce a bill that makes it illegal for schools to NOT discuss homosexuality with all kids before they reach 9th grade.

This is an attention-seeking behavior from the congressman, and even if it were meant to actually pass, seems like it would be impractical to enforce, what with innuendo and such.

Also, the "other than heterosexuality" qualification shows that the law is about discrimination and not "age appropriateness." According to this law, we could discuss the particulars of male on female cunnilingus with a kindergartener, but we couldn't tell an 8th grader that sometimes people of the same sex make love?
posted by ottimo at 11:25 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, if all guys everywhere learned just how mind-blowingly awesome gay sex really is, they'd give up women altogether and the human race would quickly die out.
"Untrammeled homosexuality can take over and destroy a social system," says [Family Research Council founder Paul] Cameron. "If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one's own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get- and that is what homosexuality seems to be-then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist. The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm." So powerful is the allure of gays, Cameron believes, that if society approves that gay people, more and more heterosexuals will be inexorably drawn into homosexuality.

"I'm convinced that lesbians are particularly good seducers," says Cameron. "People in homosexuality are incredibly evangelical," he adds, sounding evangelical himself. "It's pure sexuality. It's almost like pure heroin. It's such a rush. They are committed in almost a religious way. And they'll take enormous risks, do anything." He says that for married men and women, gay sex would be irresistible. "Marital sex tends toward the boring end," he points out. "Generally, it doesn't deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does" So, Cameron believes, within a few generations homosexuality would be come the dominant form of sexual behavior.*
posted by ericb at 11:33 AM on May 4, 2011 [19 favorites]


Thank god for people like Cameron remaining upright and firm all night long against the hard, pulsating rush of pleasure for pleasure's sake.
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 AM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ninth grade is fine, but eighth is forbidden?
It's just an easy, physical demarcation. In many, if not most, areas, the middle school (5-8) is in a separate building from the high school (9-12). I'm actually kind of amazed this doesn't include high school.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:40 AM on May 4, 2011


The problem is if they use High School they might have to deal with openly gay students, so they'd have to pretend they didn't exist and talk to them hypothetically, as if in monologue


"I wonder what Jason would think the answer to this problem was, if he was here?"
posted by The Whelk at 11:44 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's just an easy, physical demarcation. In many, if not most, areas, the middle school (5-8) is in a separate building from the high school (9-12). I'm actually kind of amazed this doesn't include high school.

I think this is partly true.

But it also saddens me even more because middle school is hard enough, and middle school is when people begin to notice and think of their sexuality in, well, sexual contexts. It's hard enough being heterosexual and certain when dealing with those changes and thoughts. I can't imagine the difficulties faced by questioning young teens in the most supportive of environments, nevermind one in which you can't even use a word to possibly describe either who you are or who you are questioning you may be........
posted by zizzle at 11:45 AM on May 4, 2011


Serious question: Is there a scientific term for a pathological fear of penetration?

No idea. Probably, though.

I've always liked Paul Reiser's take on it: "Because it's naked and fun and I agree with both of them."

Me too. I could put on my Humorless Feminist HatTM and talk about the privilege of the male gaze blah blah blah but it's too hot here for hats today.

On preview: I went to a Boston-area public school that was K-8 for 7th and 8th grades, and we got sex ed in 7th grade; my stepmother used to teach sex ed/family education/home ec in Louisville KY public schools and apparently sex ed wasn't taught until the 10th grade at that time (1990s), which we both found shockingly late.
posted by rtha at 11:49 AM on May 4, 2011


VikingSword, what of the many, many times the individual was never found to be gay? Fred Phelps, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Trent Lott... just to name a few. There is absolutely a subset of homophobes that love the cock, no doubt. Why does the majority of public homophobes not "stick in the public consciousness" but the minority does?

I understand your position, and I see how that is true for a subset. But what I see is the assumption that what is true for the subset is true for all. And to me that feels a touch homophobic, though I wouldn't say there are any bad intentions in it. We can go to MeMail if you like.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:53 AM on May 4, 2011


VikingSword: “I feel stupid for having to explain the obvious, but apparently there are plenty of people who somehow think that homophobia is involved in the "Republican homophobe must be a closet homo"... it has nothing to do with homosexuality; it applies equally to any politician who privately engages in the practices he officially legislates against... I think we can all remember the many, many cases where people's gaydar was proven right when it came to various homophobic politicians and activists. And this guy qualifies - there's nothing homophobic in pointing this out.”

I said specifically that I'm aware that we're not jeering at somebody for their sexuality here; so, yeah, I know it's not homophobic.

The problem is that, as you say, it has nothing to do with homosexuality; nor does it have anything to do with the subject at hand. It's an enormous distraction from the subject at hand, in fact, and as such it does real damage to our cause. What the hell does it matter if he's a hypocrite? What matters is that he's a bigot. Frankly, I hope to God that Campbell is straight – not only because I don't want to share queerness with him, but because I know precisely what will happen if it turns out that he's gay: he'll get named-and-shamed by a sick society, the straight bigots will dismiss him as a fag, and the queers will dismiss him as a hypocrite politician.

And nobody will talk about the real problem. As pleasing as it is to believe that all those loud-mouthed public bigots are actually secretly on our side, and will someday see the light and come happily party with us, statistically this can't possibly be the case. The fact is: vast numbers of straight people in this country are bigots.
posted by koeselitz at 11:54 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


(In fact, it seems to me extraordinarily convenient for straight people every time one of these gay-bashing Republicans turn out to be gay themselves. It means that, in their heart of hearts, every straight person can breathe a sigh of relief and go back to ignoring the bigotry in their ranks.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:56 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's ironic that exactly in 8th grade is when students, unchecked in their pubescent machismo, reach a fever pitch of gay intolerance. I know this from growing up in the 80s, when gay things were not discussed. It was whispered behind others' backs or spewed as an insult. Everything bad was 'gay'. Gay 8th-graders like me spent their evenings torturing themselves and wishing some kind of explosive diarrhea revenge on all the mean kids who mocked them everyday, and on the adults who partnered with them in silence.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 12:01 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Thank god for people like Cameron remaining upright and firm all night long against the hard, pulsating rush of pleasure for pleasure's sake."

"I know, I'll do a lot of meth! That'll stop the throb of pleasure!"
posted by klangklangston at 12:07 PM on May 4, 2011


munchingzombie, I have never read or heard of anyone claiming that ALL homophobes are gay. That would be just silly. FWIW, I am also not familiar with any of the examples you cited ever being claimed by anyone as having been gay... Jerry Falwell? Newt Gingrich? Really? The only sexual thing I heard about Gingrich is that he's a shameless hypocrite who was two-timing his wife at the very time he was lambasting Clinton during the whole Lewinsky ordeal. So to me, that's a straw man.

Yes, gaydar is going to be wrong - but so what? Do we hold any instrument as needing to work 100% of time flawlessly to admit its usefulness? So why this double standard here? We'll be wrong about people all the time about all sorts of things. But it's about odds, and degree. For example, some antigay Repub politicians never tripped my gaydar and yet they were exposed as hypocrites. In other cases, there were long term "obvious" readings (Ken Mehlman, anyone?), and they finally came out. In still other cases, there are suspicions, but no confirmation (Lindsay Graham). And of course, there will be cases where it's suspected, but plain wrong. So what? Nothing in this world works 100% of the time.

So the point is not that all homophobes are gay. Nor that all homophobes who have been suspected of being gay, are. It's that in a huge number of cases that's the case, simply because we use our senses and experience and knowledge, and more often than not, if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck - well, it's a duck, even if occasionally it transpires to be a young gay swan.

Regardless, there isn't necessarily homophobia involved in reporting what your gaydar tells you. And this guy screams off the scale - to me. Of course, I may be wrong.
posted by VikingSword at 12:09 PM on May 4, 2011


Are they also going outlaw kids calling one another "fag" in school? Because that's how most of my friends & I found out about homosexuality.

(Also, STACEY? CAMPfield? Is this like Leslie Graham? lolgendernormative)
posted by Eideteker at 12:14 PM on May 4, 2011


It's arguments like the one Cameron makes that continue the "homophobe=gay" meme.

I mean:

"If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one's own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get- and that is what homosexuality seems to be-then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist.

No one who is straight thinks like that. The closest would be straight guys who say "I wish I was gay because it would be easier to get laid". But they're not actually attracted to guys, what they really wish is that women behaved more like they imagine gay men behave.

If that were true, then most open-minded people would be bi, right? Because why limit yourself to one gender? If the only thing holding us back was social convention, the bi population would be enormous.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:14 PM on May 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


What the hell does it matter if he's a hypocrite? What matters is that he's a bigot.

Talk about getting it wrong. koeslitz - you may say it doesn't matter that wheather he's a hypocrite, but you'd be wrong. It matters to people, the public. It matters a whole, whole lot. When a philandering politician is exposed, it matters to the public if he ran as a "family values man" or if he's never been beating that particular drum. You bet there is special opprobrium reserved for vicious hypocrites. There are certainly politicians who winked and smiled and we forgave them their infidelities because they were never hypocrites - we don't do that for the holier than thou. So yeah, you're just way, WAY wrong on this. And no, it is not a distraction. We are able to keep two thoughts in our heads at the same time - bigot, and and a bigot who is also a hypocrite.
posted by VikingSword at 12:16 PM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


VikingSword: “Talk about getting it wrong. koeslitz - you may say it doesn't matter that wheather he's a hypocrite, but you'd be wrong. It matters to people, the public. It matters a whole, whole lot. When a philandering politician is exposed, it matters to the public if he ran as a "family values man" or if he's never been beating that particular drum. You bet there is special opprobrium reserved for vicious hypocrites. There are certainly politicians who winked and smiled and we forgave them their infidelities because they were never hypocrites - we don't do that for the holier than thou.”

Well, look – I'm aware that hypocrisy matters on some level, but I also feel like we have to accept that it's pretty much a part of the American political system at this point. Nor is it necessarily something terrible in itself, I don't think, frankly. For instance, what if it turned out that Martin Luther King, Jr, hated white people deeply? Would that negate his stances or accomplishments? I don't think so.

Neither does it bother anti-gay bigots in the slightest when one of their number turns out to have been gay. They love it. It's just another chance for them to bash on a homosexual person.

“And no, it is not a distraction. We are able to keep two thoughts in our heads at the same time - bigot, and and a bigot who is also a hypocrite.”

"We" is a rather fluid term. Here, you must mean "we progressives," because the public at large certainly can't – at least not in the way you seem to think they can. Or are you really under the impression that, when a Republican Congressman who railed against homosexuality turns out to be having turgid love affairs with male staffers, everybody stops and talks about the dangers of bigotry? No. They talk about hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is much more salacious, much more gossip-worthy, much more delicious to the tabloids than something boring like encouraging respect for human beings of all sexual orientations.
posted by koeselitz at 12:28 PM on May 4, 2011


It gets better... but we can't tell you why.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:29 PM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are you F'ing kidding me.

I graduated high school in Knoxville and used to hang out on the main street downtown .

This makes me suspect that there is something really wrong inside the guy's head...
posted by djrock3k at 12:37 PM on May 4, 2011


It's been since renamed "Penis-Vagina" street.
posted by The Whelk at 12:40 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


That Cameron quote is amazing. I have always considered myself on the far straight end of the spectrum; I have no problem with anyone whose preferences are elsewhere, it's just that I don't find men attractive. Indeed, I am amazed (and grateful) that women find us attractive. After reading Cameron's ode to the joy of gay sex I am starting to rethink my feelings.
posted by TedW at 12:42 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


koeslitz, I'm afraid there is no way you'll make hypocrisy seem unimportant to the public. It's not what they tell us in polls. Hypocrisy matters - hugely. Even if the committed bigots don't care, many people who are less committed, or simply ignorant, do care - they care, because unlike deep bigots, they don't suffer from the same degree of cognitive dissonance. And I'd argue that politically there is great importance even in communities where it would seem to be most entrenched - note the salutary effects of the Ted Haggard implosion. It really, really discredited a lot of the homophobic preaching in the eyes of the public, and according to polls especially the younger generation of evangelicals is becoming less homophobic. And the church in question has become less of a political force with Ted Haggard disgraced. That's a huge, huge win. Hypocrisy matters. It matters a great deal not just to people in their personal lives, but in politics. It's one of the most potent charges, especially when exposed as spectacularly as in the case of sexual politics, because it is something much more visceral than abstract or abstruse economic or policy questions. There is hardly anything more visceral than that. And it matters. I'm afraid you stepped into it here, and as always with such cases, further struggle will get you in deeper :)
posted by VikingSword at 12:45 PM on May 4, 2011


So the point is not that all homophobes are gay. Nor that all homophobes who have been suspected of being gay, are. It's that in a huge number of cases that's the case, simply because we use our senses and experience and knowledge, and more often than not, if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck - well, it's a duck, even if occasionally it transpires to be a young gay swan.

But that is just it. There is not a huge number of cases. Closet case homophobes are the minority. That is why I listed a bunch of very high profile public figures who are homophobes and who are straight. For every Ted Haggard there are a hundred John Hagees. For every larry Craig there are a hundred Trent Lots. So no, listing those figures was not a straw man in the slightest. You can site the dozens of pastors or the dozens of politicians who have been caught. But that doesn't change the fact that millions and millions of Americans vote against LGBT issues; the majority of whom are straight.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:45 PM on May 4, 2011


The GOP reminds me of the company I work for. There was a big meeting where they were discussing the top 5 customer dissatisfiers, first among them being our prices are too high. The person presenting went through the list, admitted that they didn't know how to fix those issues and segued into a discussion of something else (not on the list) that they did know how to fix. Similarly, the Republicans seem to have abandoned any hope of fixing what's really worrying people (jobs, health care, needless wars etc.) and instead gone to work on unions, women's reproductive rights and gay rights.

I'd like to think that eventually their supporters will realize that nothing is being done to solve their real problems but this has been going on for years and shows no sign of changing.
posted by tommasz at 12:54 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


munchngzombie, I think you are missing the point. It's not about the majority/minority/plurality/whaever# of homophobes. It's about hypocrisy being a special spice. There's an extra dimension for those bigots - hypocrisy. Which is why we try to identify it. It has nothing to do with majorities, minorities or anything else. There are bigots. And then, there are hypocritical bigots. People, and the public, since time immemorial has reserved special opprobrium for hypocrites. So when we see them, we point it out, and when we suspect it based upon whatever evidence, we speculate - and that's what we've done here... no homophobia involved. We don't speculate when there's no evidence or evidence to the contrary, like your examples, so I'm not sure what point you're trying to prove here.
posted by VikingSword at 12:55 PM on May 4, 2011


I actually got to see Cameron's Ode to the Joy of Gay Sex performed live at the Symphony in Seattle last year, along with Santorum's Sinfonia No. 6 for Man, Dog, and Arm Chair in D.

Blown away...
posted by gc at 12:55 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


koeselitz : self-loathing closeted homosexuals who actively denigrate and suppress the freedoms of other homosexuals are absolutely fair game in my book, and since there's a long and storied history of exactly that type coming from that camp it's an unavoidable consequence that people will look, see, and theorize.
posted by radiosilents at 12:58 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the 'vicious homophobe who turns out to be gay' meme bears such weight not JUST because of the flagrant hypocrisy, but also as a demonstration of how much damage is enacted by these same policies - reinforcing such oppressive societal disgust towards a group of people just works towards creating more of the next generation of gay kids who loathe themselves and deny what they are, to the point of seeking out to destroy it any way they can in an effort to prove themselves worthy of acceptance.

It's not just schadenfreude over a public figure's disgrace, it's sadness at how much of an example they serve of the poisoned hearts they themselves are working to create.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:04 PM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Viking, is he a hypocrite? What evidence do we have? I see how hypocrisy is extra exciting but there is no evident hypocrisy here.

You can say that there is no homophobia involved over and over again, but that doesn't make it so. Literally every time a politician takes a stance like this I hear of people, gay and straight, asserting that they too must secretly be gay without any evidence what so ever. An equivalency is formed, homophobe = homosexual when the vast majority of homophobes are straight. Shoveling the blame of homophobia onto homosexuals is homophobic. Period. No one can make assumptions about ones sexuality without some sort of bias.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:15 PM on May 4, 2011


Del Shores has publically challenged Stacey Campfield to a debate on the issue.
posted by hermitosis at 1:16 PM on May 4, 2011


koeslitz, I'm afraid there is no way you'll make hypocrisy seem unimportant to the public. It's not what they tell us in polls. Hypocrisy matters - hugely. Even if the committed bigots don't care, many people who are less committed, or simply ignorant, do care - they care, because unlike deep bigots, they don't suffer from the same degree of cognitive dissonance.

VikingSword: “And I'd argue that politically there is great importance even in communities where it would seem to be most entrenched - note the salutary effects of the Ted Haggard implosion. It really, really discredited a lot of the homophobic preaching in the eyes of the public, and according to polls especially the younger generation of evangelicals is becoming less homophobic. And the church in question has become less of a political force with Ted Haggard disgraced. That's a huge, huge win.”

But that church itself – New Life Church – is actually larger. And it seems even more influential in its hometown, Colorado Springs. I live just north of there, in Denver, and I regret to say that my sister is actually a member of New Life Church. She, like lots of people she knows, joined up after the Ted Haggard debacle. It's a church undergoing a real growth spurt, in fact, particularly among young people.

Really, the thing is that the debacle proved absolutely nothing that everybody didn't already know. It sure as hell didn't prove that anti-gay people are all hypocrites; even us pro-gay folks know damned well that not all anti-gay people are hypocrites.

“Hypocrisy matters. It matters a great deal not just to people in their personal lives, but in politics. It's one of the most potent charges, especially when exposed as spectacularly as in the case of sexual politics, because it is something much more visceral than abstract or abstruse economic or policy questions. There is hardly anything more visceral than that. And it matters. I'm afraid you stepped into it here, and as always with such cases, further struggle will get you in deeper :)”

Indeed, I'll go further, and if I go deeper and deeper, struggling and sweating all the way, those who know me probably won't be surprised.

I know well that the tabloid-reading public loves the subject of hypocrisy, but again, I don't think it matters much at all. I think people have secrets; I think people lie about those secrets; and I don't care. I think they should be allowed to lie about those secrets, and I think they should be allowed to hide their private lives if they believe that revealing their private lives would be damaging to them.

It's tempting, I think, to think of bigotry as something inherently self-conflicted, a kind of hypocrisy. You characterized bigots as having a certain degree of "cognitive dissonance." But the thing is: you can hate gay people without hypocrisy. You can be a pure, unconflicted bigot. Bigots know this. They look for someone to represent them this way. And when it turns out that Ted Haggard is gay, they discredit him and move on to the next bigot.
posted by koeselitz at 1:36 PM on May 4, 2011


Argh, sorry, VikingSword – accidentally quoted you without attribution in the first paragraph of my comment. Hope that's at least a little obvious.
posted by koeselitz at 1:38 PM on May 4, 2011


Christ.. Cameron is a wanker beyond par.
posted by edgeways at 2:11 PM on May 4, 2011


But that church itself – New Life Church – is actually larger. And it seems even more influential in its hometown, Colorado Springs.

I don't know if the church has greater attendance - because that was never my point. My point was:

And the church in question has become less of a political force with Ted Haggard disgraced.[bolded now]

Wikipedia seems to bear me out:

"During Haggard's tenure as senior pastor, ministries were focused on cultural and political engagement. New Life Church, along with Focus on the Family, established Colorado Springs as a conservative evangelical center in the 1990s.[19] In 2005, Jeff Sharlet claimed that while New Life is "by no means the largest megachurch…[it] holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism" than any other church in America.[18] However, since late 2007 when Brady Boyd became senior pastor, the church has remained relatively silent on political issues."

Let them grow, shrink or stay the same, as long as they have less political involvement. Also wasn't there some article last year about how they now are less focused on homosexuality?

It's tempting, I think, to think of bigotry as something inherently self-conflicted, a kind of hypocrisy. You characterized bigots as having a certain degree of "cognitive dissonance." But the thing is: you can hate gay people without hypocrisy. You can be a pure, unconflicted bigot. Bigots know this. They look for someone to represent them this way. And when it turns out that Ted Haggard is gay, they discredit him and move on to the next bigot.

You misunderstand. I never said that bigots are inherently self-conflicted. Rather, that any fanatic of any persuasion needs to discard contradictory information to maintain their rigid views. In this context, any fanaticism or hatred that's that deep will have a significant amount of cognitive dissonance and so presenting contradictory information - such as examples of hypocrisy - is not going to be effective. All human beings have cognitive dissonance, but those whose minds are not as made up, have less defense mechanisms and are less invested in their ideology, suffer from less cognitive dissonance and so are more likely to be persuaded by contradictory information. That's pretty well understood by cognitive psychologists. That was the point of this sentence:

"Even if the committed bigots don't care, many people who are less committed, or simply ignorant, do care - they care, because unlike deep bigots, they don't suffer from the same degree of cognitive dissonance."

I thought it was pretty clear.

Hypocrisy, seen plainly by the public, has political power. You are denying reality, by claiming that it is of no importance.
posted by VikingSword at 2:19 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Christ.. Cameron is a wanker beyond par.

That's what they say at the baths.
posted by The Whelk at 2:28 PM on May 4, 2011


In other news: I note that the sponser of this bill is a 42 year old unmarried Republican (well, duh) male.

I've got $50 that says the dude's gay. Any takers?


How dumb do we look?

I give that guy 5 years tops before he's caught in an airport mens room snorting meth off a rentboy's waxed sixpack.
posted by unigolyn at 3:55 AM on May 5, 2011


munchingzombie: " And it is odd that the conversation is always "he must be gay" and never "she must be gay". "

Oh, this happens all the time, except that women are accused of being gay for refusing to sleep with a guy, being interested in "manly" things or being successful.
posted by QIbHom at 7:12 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vote on 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Postponed, Possibly Till Next Year.
posted by ericb at 3:29 PM on May 12, 2011


Meahwile, in Wisconsin: Governor Scott Walker to Prevent Same-Sex Couples Hospital Visitation Rights
posted by homunculus at 11:39 AM on May 17, 2011


If gays can visit each other in hospitals, what's next? Cats visiting dogs? Dolphins visiting women? It'll be anarchy! Madness!
posted by Eideteker at 3:04 PM on May 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Maybe if gays were easier to identify we wouldn't have these problems, like some kind of badge or ID card so they don't try to trick the system.
posted by The Whelk at 3:08 PM on May 17, 2011


Why let your political principles of smaller, less intrusive government stand in the way of your homophobia?
posted by rtha at 3:50 PM on May 17, 2011


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