Saturday, October 07, 2006

Anti-gay sentiment

The specifics of current anti-queer rhetorical points include:

Homosexual=predator: This one goes waaaay back. There's a 1950's US government propaganda education film about it called Boys Beware warning kids that "you never know when the homosexual is about". It even survives today as seen in this op-ed on Mark Foley:
Where does post-modern American ethics place Mark Foley's homosexuality on a scale of 1 to 10--a 1 being just another gay guy and a 10 being a compulsive, predatory sex offender?
. That quote does make perfect sense to some people: since being homosexual is exactly equivalent to being a sexual predator, then accepting homosexuality is exactly equivalent to accepting sexual predation.

There's also the tendency for the Republican party flacks to claim that they took no action against Foley before the media hit shit the fan on the grounds that it would have come across as gay-bashing. Leaving aside the question why these ferocious culture warriors who've spent plenty of government time and money hating on "militant homosexual activists" suddenly had to run like timid gazelles from the Homosexual Agenda[tm] in this particular instance, it also shows the continuing tendency to conflate sexual predation with homosexuality: "Those damn homos wouldn't have liked us stopping a sexual predator, see? Because his sexual predation is what makes him one of them".

Attacks on transgender people: with homosexuality gaining increasing tolerance and acceptance in society, many of the old myths about homosexuality are losing ground in the face of visible reality (the Far Right's misrepresentation of Foley's actions as typical homosexual behaviour notwithstanding). The attacks on the "freakshow" aspect of GLBT people's lives now seems increasingly focused on the T: transgender. This includes the Daily Telegraph's attack articles on the childcare "scandal" which described transgender people as people who have the atttiude of gender as being something that they can "change as easily as a person change's socks". The op-ed above insinuates that accepting transgenderism as valid means being required to accept something as uncertain that is supposed to always be certain: "There is much in American life that doesn't seem "obvious" anymore. Call it the transgendering of reality." The message is that those transgender weirdos are trying to deny the "obvious" reality of "basic biology" when they claim not to be their "true" gender ie the one they were born as. It helps some gay and lesbian people may be less than comfortable with transgenderism as well. I know I have a certain amount of transphobia within myself. In my defense, it wasn't that long ago that I was homophobic as well. I'm working on it.

Then there's the more subtle conflation of transgenderism and homosexuality, to try and treat the two as exactly equivalent so that myths about transgender people can get tarred on to GLB people as well. The Traditional Values Coalition in the US recently released an anti-homosexual, anti-transgender polemic called Will Cross-Dressing Activists Come To Your School? which says this:
TVC has long warned that one of the next phases of the homosexual movement is to normalize cross-dressing and sex change operations. The ultimate goal is to blur all distinctions between male and female-and to destroy marriage as a God-ordained institution.

Transgenderism is all a homosexual plot, see?

Thankfully gay rights organisations haven't tried to distance themselves from transgender issues in the face of this shared smearing to my knowledge.

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