Tag Archives: homophobia

what do if you have a homophobia brother and your gay

[Content Note: Homophobia]

The title of today’s blog post is based on a search term that someone used to find my site the other week. Strangely, I had a friend who was offering guidance to a young lesbian facing a similar situation ask me for any advice I might offer her several months ago. As such, I thought it would be good to talk about this subject.

First, I have a great deal of sympathy and empathy for anyone in such a situation. One should not have to deal with homophobia – no matter how minor or subtle – from one’s closest families. It can instill a real sense of betrayal and that you don’t belong. So to anyone who is reading this and is facing anything less than perfect acceptance from their immediately family, know that I would totally give you a hug right now if I were able to and you were comfortable with it.

To address the question, we first have to understand what we can do and what is our responsibility to do. For example, many of us – myself included at times – often think that what we need to do is convince our loved one to stop being homophobic. And in a perfect world, our loved ones would end their homophobia. (Well, in a perfect world, they never would’ve been homophobic in the first place, but hey.) But here’s the thing: we can’t make people change their mind or their behavior. It just doesn’t work that way. And trying to do it will only leave us even more frustrated and possibly (more) depressed and a lot of other things. In the end, we have to give our loved ones the freedom to address (or not) their own prejudices and their own actions in their own time.

So instead, we need to look at what we can do. And the thing I think we most need to focus on is the same thing we really should be focusing on anyway. We can and should focus on doing what it is that we need to do in order to feel good about ourselves. We can and should focus on making sure we like ourselves.

Liking ourselves and finding the good in ourselves can be difficult, especially when we have people saying or implying negative things about us. Doubly so when some of those people happen to be close and dear loved ones who are supposed to embrace, accept, and encourage us. In those cases, we have to struggle even harder to remind ourselves that we’re amazing people. (And if you don’t believe you’re an amazing person, please find someone safe to talk with about that fact as soon as you can!) Look at the things you enjoy and the things you are good at. Do you like to write? Write your heart out and cherish what you write. Treat yourself like you’re the next literary genius in training. Do you like to draw? Draw your heart out and treat your drawings like they’ll be hanging in the Louvre some day. Think of all the great qualities you offer the people in your life and the parts of yourself that you have to share with them. The sting of homophobia will never fully go away – especially when it comes from a loved one – but being able to confidently see yourself as a valuable and wonderful person does help.

Another thing that you can do is find the love, support, and encouragement you need. After all, that’s one of the really sucky parts about homophobic loved ones. Loving, supporting, and encouraging you is supposed to be THEIR job, and they’re failing at it in at least some ways. So it’s time to find people – and there are a lot of them out there – who would be happy to take on at least part of that job. Find and focus on other family members who are more supportive. Be honest with them and let them know that you need their support. Focus on friends – and make new ones if you need to – that will give you the support you need. When I came out nearly twenty years ago, I built an entirely new circle of friends. Oh sure, I kept in touch with some of my older friends and even have the occasional contact with some of them to this day. But my new friends were the ones who were both able and willing to walk with me through the process of self-discovery and self-acceptance. They were also the ones who felt safe to go through that process with. Those are the kinds of friends you need.

So if you don’t have them, find them. If you’re in school, see if your school has a GSA. See if there’s an LGBT community center or LGBT social groups in your area. See if there’s an active PFLAG chapter in your area.

Don’t rule out online friendships, either. For the first ten years after I came out, a lot of my friendships were online. Even the close and supportive friends I knew in person were people I mostly stayed in touch with via the Internet. An online friend may not be able to give you hug, but they can listen to you and tell you that you’re okay and that what you’re feeling is okay too. That’s extremely valuable.

You’ll notice that I talked about finding support after talking about learning to love yourself. There’s a couple reasons for that. The first is that while support is important and good, other people ultimately can’t make you feel good about yourself. That’s a gift you give yourself and you need to give it to yourself.

The other reason is because knowing what you like about yourself also helps you think about what you have to offer friends and possibly how to find them. If you’ve figured out you love to write, then finding friends that accept you for who you are and share that love of writing is an excellent plus. Maybe you can find a writing group locally or join a writing site online. The same is true of drawing or any other talent or interest you have. And the bonus is that they’ll encourage you and remind you that your talent or interest is awesome and valuable. Hey, other people can’t make you like yourself, but they sure can remind you of what there is to like about yourself!

The last thing to consider about finding love, encouragement, and support is to consider whether you want to and would benefit from talking to a trained mental health professional. If you have someone who is frequently – or even only slightly frequently – saying and doing things, that can really take a toll on you. It may be helpful to have someone in your corner who is trained to help you sort through that.

The final thing that you can do to take care of yourself in such a situation is try to limit your interactions with said loved one as much as possible. This can be tricky, depending on your circumstances. At 41 living on my own, I can get away and stay away from any homophobic relatives I may have as much as I want. If you’re a younger person who’s still living at home, you may be stuck living with a homophobic parent or sibling. If that’s your situation, you again have my sympathy. That totally sucks. It especially sucks if there’s more than one homophobic person in the house with you, or even if others in the household doesn’t see what the big deal is with the homophobic person’s behavior. Maybe they think you’re overreacting. They’re wrong.

In that situation, you can only do the best that you can do. If you can stay in your bedroom – and the rest of your family will leave you alone rather than barge into your room and try to force conversation on you – that may be what you need to do. You may need to find ways to keep yourself busy. (Again, this is where having those loving and supportive friends may be helpful – as you can go spend time with them whenever possible and get away from the homophobia.)

You may also want to consider calling out the homophobic person’s behavior when they’re being hurtful and disengage. “I feel what you just said or did was hurtful to me and I would like you to leave me alone now.” Then walk away if you can. Be aware that this can be a difficult thing to do. The other person is likely to get offended. They’re likely to try to get you to tell them exactly why you found what they said or did was hurtful – most likely so they can tell you that you were wrong to feel that way. If you decide to go this route, don’t let yourself be drawn into an explanation or an argument over it. Simply say, “I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I need time to be alone.” Stick to your guns. Go talk to one of your supportive friends or loved ones, someone who will totally understand why you’re hurt and will tell you that it’s okay to feel that way.

At any rate, that’s the best advice I can offer to help anyone going through such a situation. My readers are welcome to offer their own insights in the comments. Maybe some of you found something that helped you. Please feel free and encouraged to share.

Moderation Note: All comments complaining about how “easily” the word homophobia gets thrown around will be deleted. Any commenter trying to open a debate about what does and does not constitute homophobia will be banned. This is not the space to get defensive over how your words and actions are properly labeled. This is a space for you to listen and carefully consider how your words and actions impact the LGBT people in your life. If you try to do the former rather than the latter, than you’re part of the problem, and likely a bigger part than you want to admit.

 

So, Fred Phelps is Dead

[Content Note:  Death, Homophobia]

I didn’t get a chance to write about this yesterday, but Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church (that’s the “God Hates Fags” church, for anyone not familiar with its name), died on Wednesday night.

I’ve seen tweets, facebook updates, and blog posts about it.  Some have been humorous.  Some have been matter-of-fact.  Some have been offering sympathy to his family and friends.  Some have been about how LGBT people should respond to his passing.  Some have speculate on what (if any) afterlife he is now facing.

To be honest, I neither mourn nor celebrate his passing.  I never even met the man, and I think it’s difficult to truly mourn someone you don’t have at least some sort of personal connection with.  The only connection I have to the man is his declared hatred of me and those like me.  Again, this I only experienced in the most abstract of ways, or seeing how his words affected others, sometimes in horrible ways.

And truth be told, I suspect that part of Phelps’s legacy will continue past his death.  I do not expect that the WBC or its campaign of hate will disband with the death of their founder.  There are still enough people who have been infected with the man’s hate that will continue on without him.  Perhaps in a few more years, a new name (quite possibly that of his daughter, Shirley) will become more widely known as the name associated with the WBC and their campaigns, but that’s about it.

And, as both Fannie and Peter Montgomery noted, there are people outside of the WBC whose anti-gay views and actions are just as harmful, if not more insidious.  As both linked bloggers, such people have often pointed to Phelps and his cult as proof that they’re “not that bad” compared to the “real haters.”  I have no doubt that particular trend will continue as well.

Fred Phelps may be dead, but his legacy of hatred is alive and well and will continue for some time yet.  As someone who believes in reincarnation and believes that the cycle is about justice1, I pray that his soul returns to the earth soon and finds a way to clean up some of the mess he has produced and given root to.


1As opposed to retribution.

Let’s not be squeamish about the prostate

[Content Note:  Sex, Homophobia]

This morning, I was listening to the morning radio show.  For their “What would you do” segment, they chose a woman who was dating a guy who was practically perfect and with whom she had been building a great relationship.  She indicated that she had looked in his bedside table drawer the other day and found a dildo and wasn’t sure how to react.  To the credit of many people who called in or texted the show, many people seemed to have an attitude of “who cares?”  Some even went so far to suggest she offer to incorporate it into the couple’s own sexual experiences, which I thought was awesome.

However, there were also those who were leery about the whole thing.  One of the (male) radio hosts was even trying to come up with non-sexual explanations why the guy might have one.  (Seriously?  To massage an old shoulder injury?)  Because, you know, heaven forbid that a guy might enjoy actually having his prostate stimulated.  That might make him gay, I guess.1

But here’s the thing:  Stimulation of the prostate can be highly pleasurable for men.  A lot of men enjoy it.  Some of us are gay.  Some of us are bisexual2.  Some of us are even heterosexual, which is great.  Heterosexual guys should be free to enjoy whatever pleasure their bodies offer them as it pleases them.

Other guys — of all orientations — prefer to skip that particular activity for whatever reason.  That’s great too.  But we as a society would be well served to stop getting squeamish and/or offering up value judgments on those guys — reagardless of orientation — who know what they like and choose to indulge themselves.


1I’ll note that there’s not just a negativity toward the idea that a guy is gay, though.  There’s often added negativity toward the idea that some guys actually like being the receptive partner in anal sex.  It’s something completely unthinkable by some people, as can be noted by Phil Robertson’s underlying assumption that the only two possible choices a man could make is whether to stick his penis in a vagina or anus in his recent homophobic remarks.

2A possibility I suspect neither the show’s hosts nor those listeners who responded even considered.

Some days, you just can’t win

[Content Note:  Homophobia]

Today, I ran across this Right Wing Watch post:

American Family Association talk show host Sandy Rios this week once again connected the gay community to child abuse, this time telling Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality that the fact gay people want to serve as Scoutmasters or Big Brothers or Big Sisters is “big proof” they are pedophiles.

As I noted on Facebook:

This is what gets me. Some anti-gays will scream “gay people don’t have children, so they contribute nothing to society!” [Libby Anne did a post on this phenomenon yesterday.] Yet, when some LGBT people choose to get involved in programs where they can mentor and otherwise help youth (often at-risk youth), they turn around and scream “Oh look, they want to be around kids! They must be pedophiles!”

Some days, you just can’t win.

 

Search Engine Questions: Homophobia

One of the search phrases that landed a hit on my blog today today:

if someone is homophobic are they gay?

It’s possible, but not absolutely.  Unfortunately, this is an all too common assumption that some people like to make about homophobic people.  (It’s even made it’s way into at least one film.)  It’s one that needs and deserves to be addressed.

You know, I get why it’s a commonly promoted hypothesis.  It’s very compelling, especially to those of us who are gay.  There’s a certain comfort in the idea that our most virulent attackers are secretly one of us.  It’s half sympathy and half schadenfreude.  Plus, some very notable homophobes (see Larry Craig and Ted Haggard for two examples) have been outed for the very activities they’ve condemned.  It’s quite compelling (though cannot be proven) to assume that their anti-gay activities are motivated by self-loathing and a sense of guilt.

But just like it’s bad for ex-gays and anti-gays to universalize certain (often ex-)gay people’s experiences, I think it’s wrong to universalize the fact that some people who are homophobic turn out to have a “gay secret” to all people who express homophobic views or hurt LGBT people.

I also think it ultimately doesn’t help anyone or anything to make that assumption.  There are plenty of motivating factors to homophobia.  Some people may be homophobic simply because the idea of same-sex relationships challenges their gender essentialist and patriarchal beliefs, just to give one example.  Putting everything down to “oh, they just must be secretly gay” detracts from exposing and addressing real issues and arguments.

More musings on choosing friends.

[Content Note:  Homophobia, problematic and difficult friendships.]

Just my sense of humor, too.
Just my sense of humor, too.

I have to admit that Sunday’s post about ending friendships was not a topic I chose out of thin air.  It was primarily inspired by the day last week when I was looking through my blog visitor statistics and discovered that someone had found my blog through the search phrase “being gay and having a homophobic friend.”  My immediate reaction to reading that was to think of the old adage:  With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Rather then immediately responding to that query and the subject of dealing with homophobic friends, I decided to write Sunday’s post and talk about the liberation I found when I realized I’m allowed to choose my friends and even terminate current friendships if I feel it’s the best choice for my life.  After all, when dealing with a friend who is homophobic and making my life miserable because of hir homophobia, having the option to walk away altogether is a powerful thing.  Whether a person is virulently homophobic by spouting hateful slurs or merely inundating me with subtle microagressions like meeting every mention of my love life with cold and disapproving silence, that thing can get wearisome.  And it’s good to know that I don’t have to put up with it for the sake of some idealistic notion about “friendship” and “friends are forever1.”

Mind you, that doesn’t  mean that I can or should immediately kick every person out of my life.  Sometimes, there really are things about the friendship that make it worth sticking it out.  (But I get to decide whether that’s really the case.)  Sometimes, other factors require me to keep that person in my life.  Perhaps a given “friend” is really a relative that I simply will not be able to avoid or cut off all communication with without making family functions horribly awkward.  Maybe we’re on the same sporting team or  involved in the same project and I’m unwilling to give that up in order to avoid them2.  There are other reasons as well.

But knowing that I ultimately have the option to terminate a friendship with someone who cannot accept me for who I am — even if I decide that option is not a good choice in a particular situation — allows me to think of my many options of how to deal with such a person.


1As an aside, while searching for a graphic to include in Sunday’s post, I was disturbed by the sheer volume of images that promoted this “friendship is forever/never let go of a friend if you’re a real friend” thinking.

2I will note, however, that in such a scenario, I still have the power to limit my interactions with that person.  I may have to be cordial at team or group functions, but I don’t have to go beyond that.  Nor do I have to pretend we’re bosom buddies.  This is where it’s helpful to keep in mind that there are not just friends, but also acquaintances.

Asking to be treated like everyone else is demanding “special rights”: Immigration edition

Same Sex CouplesRight now, Congress is working on legislation for immigration reform.  Some people have had this “radical” idea that such reform should also speak to the fact that in some parts of our country, same-sex couples can legally get married.  After all, our laws already take people’s marriage to different-sex couples into account when making immigration decisions (e.g. we generally let an immigrant who is married to a citizen stay in the country), so it only makes sense to give married same-sex couples the same kind of consideration.

Unless you’re someone like Eugene Delgaudio, who had this to say about the idea in a recent fundraising email he sent on behalf of the Public Advocate of the United States:

You see, the Homosexual Immigration Act would give homosexuals a preferred immigration status and lead to the defacto nationalization of homosexual “marriage.”

Pay close attention to that statement.  According to people like Eugene Delgaudio, acknowledging that same-sex couples who went through the same process to gain the same legal recognition of their relationship as many different-sex couples and therefore deserve the same legal considerations that those different-sex couples receive — and often take for granted — is giving them a “preferred immigration status.”

Placing people on equal legal ground now constitutes “privileging” them?  Is there any evidence that would be more convincing than this that people like Eugene Delgaudio really have no idea what words “privilege” and “preferential status” mean?

I also think that it’s telling that he mentions this “granting of preferred immigration status” before the idea of “nationalizing homosexual ‘marriage.'”  It suggests that for all the anti-gay rhetoric about “protecting marriage” and “making sure every child has a mother and father,” the real motivation behind fighting marriage equality is that it still gives them ways to treat LGBT people as second-class citizens.  Stop and think about it.  If they deny that there can be such a thing as same sex marriage, they can continue to claim that treating same-sex couples with the same dignity and respect is perfectly okay.  Breaking up same-sex couples through deportation is okay because they were never a “real” couple.

That is an act of aggression against same-sex couples.  It’s an act of bigotry.  It’s an act of bigotry that is enabled by every person who opposes marriage equality, especially those who refuse to acknowledge how the lack of marriage equality negatively impacts same-sex couples.

 

Why are anti-gay people so confused about consent?

[Content Note:  Rape culture, Sexual Abuse, Anti-Gay Bigotry]

Yesterday afternoon, Zack Ford of ThinkProgress reported on a new statement by NARTH that’s intended to encourage the Boy Scouts of America to continue to exclude gay, bisexual, and (presumably) transgender boys from joining their ranks.  It’s the usual mash-up of misinformation about promiscuous gay men, heightened health risks, and gay people as sexual predators.  Zack does a good job of providing links that deconstruct the information.

However, I want to take a closer look at one of the excerpts from the statement that Zack quoted:

How will child protection be assured? If openly homosexual boys are allowed to participate, how does a Scoutmaster monitor the influence or actions that these boys may have upon others in the troop especially during overnight events?

As someone who has spent some time in feminist circles, I think that the answer is quite obvious:  You teach all the boys involved about consent.  You teach them that they have a right to say no to the advances — be it an offer of a hug or something more physically intimate — of any of their peers.  You also teach them that it is absolutely essential that they respect the boundaries of their peers and do not cross those boundaries without freely given (as in not coerced) and informed consent.  You teach them that if a peer does not respect their boundaries, they should immediately talk to the leaders about it and reassure them that the leaders will be sympathetic and take the matter and their safety seriously.  In short, I don’t think “protecting” boys in this situation is exactly rocket science.

But then again, I have no problem with the idea of consent.  I expect others to respect boundaries and I support those who speak up when their boundaries are violated.  I’m not convinced the same can be said for all — or even many — who raise the specter of sexual abuse when the topic of LGBT people comes up.

I’ve noticed for some time that there seems to be a lot of overlap between those who believe that LGBT people — especially gay and bisexual men and trans* women — are sexual predators and those who think that men in general are incapable of controlling their sexual impulses.  The difference is that when such people think about cis, heterosexual men — they assume that this is just natural and that others — most notably women — should adjust their lives and choices to protect those men from their hard-to-control urges.1  After all, they argue that those men ultimately can’t help themselves.  Insisting they respect consent just doesn’t work.

So it’s no wonder they automatically assume that teaching and enforcing consent won’t work with gay, bisexual, and trans boys.  Many of them are likely invested in ignoring the whole concept of consent anyway.  Which tends to make their pleas to “think of the potential victims of sexual abuse” sound rather hollow to me.

Of course, the other thing is that ultimately, I think that what NARTH and people like them are really afraid of isn’t that boys will get molested by their fellow scouts.  Instead, I suspect that they are worried that closeted and frightened scouts might actually meet and discover other boys like them and learn that being gay, bisexual, or trans* isn’t so bad.2  Because in greater scheme of things, that is one way in which NARTH and other folks like them are especially hostile to consent:  They don’t want LGBT people to feel like they have the choice to truly be themselves.


1I mean, stop and think about those two statements.  First:  “Heterosexual men are just sexual and aggressive by nature, so women should stay where they are safe and avoid tempting those men.”  Second:  “Gay men are just sexual and aggressive by nature, so gay men should be kept away from heterosexual men in order to protect the heterosexual men.”  Notice the one thing that is consistent between those two arguments?

2Yeah, the anti-gay animus and stigma can be pretty rotten at times.  But being gay itself?  It’s actually pretty okay.  (I’ll leave it to those who are bi and/or trans* to comment on whether they feel the same way about their own sexuality and/or gender identity.  I don’t want to speak for others.)

Thoughts on GENDA

I spent most of yesterday working the Psychic’s Thyme vendor booth at the Dyke Picnic and Womyn’s Festival here in Rochester.  It was an enjoyably warm day troubled only by gusts of wind that scattered fliers (even fliers weighted down by stones), merchandise, and the occasional tent (thank goodness I always stake ours, though I had to tamp a couple stakes back down later int he day).  It was also enjoyable to speak with the women who stopped by our booth.

At one point in the afternoon, a transwoman named Isabelle, came through collecting signatures of people willing to support the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and encourage their state senators (as the state assembly has approved GENDA every session for the past five years) to support the bill.  I gladly filled out one of the cards (and was pleased though unsurprised that the two women working with me did likewise).

To be honest, I was disappointed when legislators — with the support of many LGB[1] advocacy groups — removed protection for gender identity and gender expression from the national Employment Nondiscrimination Act in 2007.  And on the state level, I’m pleased that organizations like the Empire State Pride Agenda recognized that the passage of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) in 2003 was only a partial victory at best and is leading the fight to push for GENDA now.

Truth be told, some LGB people are far too willing to ignore the plight of trans* folk.  Even this past week, I saw a comment on another blog where one person expressed a desire to divorce the LGB movement from the trans* community completely.  Addressing someone who brought up the treatment received by many trans* people, this person said:

Your constant campaign to transjack every discussion is useful inasmuch
as it demonstrates both the inherent predatory selfishness of trans
activists (even trans poseurs like yourself) and the the foolishness of
attempting to merge LGB and T. Gay people do not have to apologize for
talking about gay issues. Not to you. Not to anyone. The day “LGBT”
dies will be a great day for gay people.

I was amazed that someone who is (presumably) a part of my community could be so uncaring about the plight of trans* people — to the point of demeaning their choice to focus on their issues by referring to it as “transjacking” a discussion — shocks and dismays me.

What really got me about that “transjacking” shot was that in effect, the commenter is claiming that gay[2] people have every right to focus on gay issues since that effects them most dearly, but if trans* people do the same and focus on issues that affect them most dearly, that’s a great offense.  To me, that is a mentality of someone who thinks, “Once I get mine, everyone else can go screw themselves.”  Personally, I have a great problem with that mentality.  I want to rid the world of oppression and marginalization, not simply switch things around enough to make sure I’m on the “winning side of the game.”

Besides, as I’ve slowly worked to broaden my horizons, I’ve come to appreciate that it’s all the same fight anyway.  Understanding the arguments used against trans* people and even women helps me to better understand the underlying mentality and arguments used to promote animus against me as a gay man.  Gaining a better understanding of those common themes helps me better combat them, and I realize that whether I’m arguing against homophobia (and I admit I’m still best at this), transhobia, or sexism, I’m often effectively arguing against assumptions that influence all three.

At any rate, if you are in New York State, please see what you can do to help get GENDA passed. If you live in another state that doesn’t offer protections based on gender identity and gender expression, see how you can help change that.  If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the sixteen states that already have such protections, please consider working to get those protections established on the national level.  Your fellow humans who are trans* need our help.

Notes:
[1]  I’m intentionally leaving the T out this time.  I have a hard time believing that any group that would leave trans* people in the dust for the sake of convenience can realistically be credited as acting as trans* advocates at that moment.

[2]  It’s not clear to me if “gay” is shorthand for “gay, lesbian, and bisexual,” if “gay” simply means “gay and lesbian” and the commenter is equally willing to disregard the issues that bisexual people face as well.

You can’t make stuff like this up (but Janet Mefferd can)

I decided to take a break from writing up my thoughts on “Out of a Far Country” by Angela and Christopher and Yuan.  While I find elements of the book problematic, especially in light of the culture in which the book was written and that it is presumably supporting, I feel much more strongly compelled to offer my comments on the arguments Janet Mefferd offered against homosexuality in general.

Mefferd attempts to draw parallels between the quest for LGBT rights and the quest to uphold  women’s reproductive rights, obviously intending to show how horrible both positions are.  However, in order to do so, she engages in some extreme rhetoric — making her accusations that those who support LGBT rights and a woman’s right to choose of engaging in rhetoric ironic at best and hypocritical at worst.

As such, I would like to explore some of the arguments she uses to demean those of us who support LGBT rights.  (While I fully support a woman’s right to choose, I would rather leave debunking Mefferd’s caricatures of that issue to someone far more capable of doing so.)  Mefford’s statements will appear in bold, while my responses and thoughts will appear in normal text.

1. Both agendas operate as anti-child cultures of death. Abortion kills children. Homosexual behavior can’t create them.

In three sentences, Mefferd has managed to conflate not wanting to have biological children (or not wanting to do so) with being anti-child and conflates being anti-child with operating as “a culture of death,” a term that I find practically meaningless beyond being used as a tool to instill fear and hatred of others.

This argument immediately ignores the fact that one does not need to biologically conceive or give birth to children in order to have children in one’s life.  One can adopt.  One can become a teacher.  One can become a mentor, a big brother/big sister, a scout leader, a den mother, a Sunday school teacher, a youth center volunteer, or many other things.  Mefferd is once again engaging in the fetishization of biological parenthood and the invisibilization of every other form of adult-child relationship in order to denigrate LGBT people.

Furthermore, by claiming that not wanting or not being able to have children (and there are those adults who are not interested in having children as a significant part of their life in any form) is to be part of “a culture of death,” Mefferd is arguing that the sole purpose of life is to reproduce.  Personally, I find this an unthinkably depressing and pointless understanding of life and culture.  If the only purpose in living is to produce children, who will in turn only exist in order to produce more children, who will in turn only exist in order to produce more children, who will….well, seriously, what’s the point.  This turns life into nothing more than the biological equivalent of a pyramid scheme or other marketing structure.

Mefferd’s failure to appreciate that people — LGBT and others — can remain childless and yet make great contributions to society in the form of art, science, philosophy, entrepreneurship, and hundreds of other worthy and beneficial pursuits shows how little she values these things.
 
2. Both agendas falsely play on people’s unnecessary fear and guilt by focusing on the micro personal story, rather than the macro moral issue.

Mefford and many like her seem to think that morality can be divorced from the personal.  I disagree, and would argue that it’s the interaction with other individuals that not only defines morality, but makes it necessary.  A person living on a mountaintop alone need not worry about morality.  Moral concerns are for those of us attempting to live with others.

The phrase “macro moral issue” draws to mind an attempt to reduce morality to nothing more than a checklist of behaviors that are either right or wrong, but without the context of personal interaction, such a checklist is meaningless.

Truth be told, pro-choice people and LGBT rights advocates make it personal because these issues are personal. These things are not abstract concepts, but very powerful and influential realities in flesh and blood humans.  I suspect that Mefferd simply wishes to ignore that reality in order to face those tough moral questions about why she should get to dictate how others should live their lives in ways that affect them greatly and herself not at all.

And to be honest, Mefferd and company aren’t nearly as opposed to making the issue personal.  After all, they like bringing up Carrie Preejan, Marjorie Chrisoffersen, David Parker, and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association and paint them as martyrs.  They like to talk (dishonestly, no less) about how individuals’ “religous conscience” could be at stake.

And, of course, if your answer focuses on deeper questions about the effect on society of embracing abortion on demand or so-called homosexual marriage, rather than personal love for your own flesh and blood, then you look like a jerk.

The thing is, people like Mefferd have been pushing these “deeper questions about the effect on society” of various issues and making dire predictions for years.  And yet, they can provide no evidence to support those predictions, nor can they offer a convincing argument as to why we should take their convictions seriously.  At some point, someone needs to tell Chicken Little that the sky is still as high as it ever was and they need to quit fearmongering.

3. Both agendas rely heavily on Orwellian Newspeak. For the abortion activists, the terminology is “a woman’s right to choose,” “reproductive health decision” or “termination of pregnancy.” No mention of babies. For the LGBT activists, the terminology is “equality,” “civil rights” and “love.” No mention of sodomy.

While it’s certainly true that LGBT advocates (and pro-choice advocates) choose words carefully to frame the issue to focus on what they feel is most important to focus on, Mefferd is being disingenuous by implying that she and those like her don’t do likewise.  Her use of the word “sodomy” is a prime example of this, in fact.  Mefferd wants to talk about sodomy, but here’s the thing, LGBT rights are not about sodomy.  LGBT rights are about people.  Sexual acts cannot push for rights.  They have no need for rights.  People, on the other hand do.  Whether I’m celibate, actively engaging in anal sex, or just prefer oral sex (okay, technically oral sex is sodomy too, but most people who use that term are talking about the buttsex), I am a human being deserving of the same respect, protection, and rights as everyone else.  In fact, I’d argue that the whole reason Mefferd would rather talk about anal sex is that it allows her to avoid facing me as a human being.

I’m complete skipping her fourth point.

5. Both agendas have succeeded by obfuscating the physical death, pain or injury that comes from embracing their agenda….Similarly, why don’t we ever see a major news analysis on the health risks of homosexuality, as reported on the website of the Centers for Disease Control? http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.htm

And just as Mefferd and others like her are obsessed with anal sex (but only if two men engage in it!), she and those like her are also obsessed with the “health risks of being gay.”

Except that she (and they) ignore the fact that the health risks she’s talking about have nothing to do with “being gay.”  Truth be told, the health risks she mentions are also health risks for heterosexual people.  The problem isn’t being gay, the problem is engaging in risky sexual practices.  And while it’s true that HIV (the health risk most often cited) is of particular concern among gay men, Mefferd will not discuss the multiple reasons why that is.  She certainly won’t quote this part of the CDC page she referenced:

Homophobia, stigma, and discrimination put MSM at risk for multiple physical and mental health problems and affect whether MSM seek and are able to obtain high-quality health services. Negative attitudes about homosexuality can lead to rejection by friends and family, discriminatory acts, and bullying and violence. These dynamics make it difficult for some MSM to be open about same-sex behaviors with others, which can increase stress, limit social support, and negatively affect health.

That reality makes her next statement particularly interesting.

I guess we are all to believe that the moment America’s First Gay President repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” all the health risks of homosexuality magically went away. Not relevant, homophobe. End of debate.

First, as I covered above, the health risks are not so much about homosexuality but risky behavior, some of which is encouraged by homophobia and other stigma.  And no, no one seriously expected such health concerns to magically disappear.  This is why HIV educators are still hard at work, why researchers are still working to develop an effective vaccine against HIV.  And it’s why many of us are still combating homophobia in the hopes that one day it will cease to contribute to some LGBT people’s poor health.  It’s why various organizations are pushing LGBT people to practice safe sex and to get tested — not only for HIV, but other STI’s as well — on a regular basis so that if the worst does happen, they can get the treatment they need to stay healthy and prevent further infections.

With the above statement Mefferd demonstrates that she doesn’t know the first thing about the health concerns of LGBT people.  Her lack of understanding demonstrates that she doesn’t care about them either.  Bringing them up is nothing more than an attempt to score rhetorical points on her part.

I’m going to pass on commenting on her final points.  I think I have demonstrated that her arguments are nothing more than the kind of rhetoric she accuses her opponents of engaging in.  Janet Mefferd would like to paint herself as the victim of the big mean gays and “abortionists.”  Yet her clear dishonesty demonstrates that she is merely projecting her own behavior on those with whom she disagrees.