Eric Marcus

Bestiality! Tapped Out?

Filed By Eric Marcus | November 14, 2007 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: bestiality, ENDA, LGBT civil rights, marriage, Trevor Carey, visibility, what if someone I know is gay

From the first e-mail query that came in from my publisher, I knew that last week's KNUS radio interview in Denver was not going to be about my new question and answer book for teens, What If Someone I Know Is Gay? It was going to be an old-fashioned talk-radio brawl, something that's become increasingly rare for me in recent years.

The show's conservative host, Trevor Carey, wrote: "I think it's only fair to allow Mr. Marcus to know I am setting up a debate format with another author who feels the opposite. His name is Dr. David Berman. He is a Pastor, Speaker and Author. He is not a hateful man, and I feel he would be fair and respectful of Mr. Marcus' views."

Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I love debating the right-wingers. And not the reasonable ones. I much prefer the unreconstructed nut jobs who think the only choice for people like us is to embrace wholesome heterosexuality through repentance and prayer--and who also believe that by letting gay people marry, society will find itself on the slippery slope toward man-on-pet sex.

So in my heart of hearts I was hoping that Dr. Berman would not be fair and respectful. After nearly twenty years in the business of writing about and defending the gay agenda, being fair and respectful doesn't interest me, except possibly as one weapon in my arsenal of verbal WMDs.

Dr. Berman didn't disappoint. Within minutes he was warning of the dangers America faced if we granted "special rights" based on sexual orientation. If we passed laws to protect homosexuals, he cautioned, we'd have to grant legal protections for "all kinds of sexual orientations," including people who wanted to have sex with animals. With that, we were off and running and kept running until the first commercial break. And despite my faux plea to the show's host after the break that we move on to another topic, he came right back to bestiality.

One thing I've come to expect with these kinds of radio shows is that you can always count on the show's host and the phone-in callers to come to the defense of someone like Dr. Berman (or they one-up him with threats of physical violence or express their concern for me along the lines of, "I'll pray for your soul"). But that didn't happen.

While the show's host was eager to fan the flames of our roiling debate, he didn't actually defend Dr. Berman's most outrageous claims and the two callers who made it on the air were surprisingly reasonable despite their professed conservative religious beliefs. One of them even chided Dr. Berman, suggesting it was time to come up with a better argument against gay rights laws and gay marriage than bestiality.

From the KNUS interview and the fact that my opportunities to engage in these extreme on-air debates has dwindled in recent years, I sense that something has changed. During last week's show, both callers made clear that they personally knew gay people and that the gay people they knew were no different from anyone else. And while the callers didn't support gay marriage and don't think schools should teach kids about homosexuals, they were very far from the flaming bigots of yore.

For decades now gay rights leaders have said that our visibility is key if we're going to win full and equal rights. I think that's true now more than ever. You can't demonize us if you know us. And as we all know, when people get to know us they learn that we're far more interested in marrying each other than having sex with our pets.


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What a great first post, Eric! Glad to have you on board with us!

I love debating the nut-job whackos too, so I know how you feel. The reasoned debaters just aren't as much fun as the ones who make outrageous claims with nothing to back them up.

During last week’s show, both callers made clear that they personally knew gay people and that the gay people they knew were no different from anyone else.

On the other side, I've always hated the "gays are just like us" arguiment...

We're not "just like them." That's straight-washing and erasing us.

Things are changing, people are seeing this strategy as mean-spirited. Oh, well, I hope that we don't start to long for the day when....

For decades now gay rights leaders have said that our visibility is key if we’re going to win full and equal rights. I think that’s true now more than ever. You can’t demonize us if you know us.

Transsexual people have a problem there.

We're visible, but unless we wear an "Ask me about my sex change", "Transsexual Menace" or "I changed my sex - fortunately they had one I liked" T-shirt, then we're not noticed.

Considering the amount of violence against us, being "not noticed" is not looked on as a Bad Thing(tm)

But it's not so much the violence, as the degree with which we're treated as The Other. Most of us are straight, and you'd call us Closeted. We prefer "stealth". Except... 1/3 of us are GLB, and I know at least one fairly prominent GLB activist who is Intersexed, but keeps that under wraps, as the Transphobia in the GLB community extends to IS as well as TS. I won't even tell you which continent this person lives on. It's not just a problem for those of us who are straight.

When someone who actually knows some of the handful of us that dare not to hide can say

What do I have in common with a guy who wants to remove his willy, grow breasts, become a woman and get married to a man? From where did this relatively new concept of "the LGBT community" come?
Then hiding in plain sight seems like a really good idea.

Hint: Guys don't want to remove their willies: women do want to remove theirs. It's not a gap of knowledge, it's a gap of understanding.

But then, I never did understand guys, straight, gay or bi.

Wait, I thought the "queer perspective" wasn't special, R....

Straight-washing.... Yes, it is. But it's better than being demonized. And "straight-washing" isn't the same as being erased. Erasing can also stem from being portrayed flatly, in the way critical race theorists would say that racial stereotypes applied to individuals "erace" people.

Or, wait, doesn't Butler end up concluding that being demonized is better than being erased? Of course, she was referring to lesbian erasure, that lesbians don't exist at all, and I don't think that's what the callers were saying.

Wait, do I have a point here? Or did I just hear you say something about "washing", R, and my mind went someplace else, someplace very affirming of washing you....

Alex, you are such a nerd!

Eric, when does your new book come out? Or is it already available?

Serena, The book was published in October. I've got lots of information about it on my web site: www.ericmarcus.com. Also, I expect to have a link by next week to the interview I reference in this posting.

"R," I didn't mean to suggest AT ALL that we're just like straight people. But I don't think it harms the debate or our political efforts for people to think that we're just like them (or at least a lot like them). Of course in terms of our humanity we are on average like everyone else. But, needless to say, our experiences of growing up and our perspective on the world we live in are different from the average straight person.

Alex, Not sure I understood your comment. Are you saying that my approach is mean-spirited?

When i hear phrases like "straight washing" used in the way R uses it i see a group of people who are more interested in standing out no matter the cost. Being a part of mainstream society is far more important to me. That is why you will never see me in an "ask me about my sex change" tee shirt.
Transition is behind me and i am a member of female sociality. The fact that i had a birth defect and had it corrected and that i am lesbian is not for public consumption.
Why would I advertise such on a tee shirt?


I will listen to mainstream talk radio from time to time. Although i usually listen alternative talk radio. (domestic short wave)
Eric what i find interesting about your experience with KNUS is usually the host sets up the debate to favor one side, and the calls are screened accordingly. the most obvious use of this technique is on Rush's show, i find it far more interesting that you didn't get the usual treatment and were not written off as some nut-job. I have children living in Denver so i visit once and a while. That city is far deeper into the traditional values dogma then San Antonio is. This is a good indication that things are in fact changing and the Christian Fundamentalists are running out of steam.

I for one am very happy to see this trend taking hold. This means that we can spend more time on what is important, that being the business of getting on with our lives.


Great commentary Eric
Take care
Susan Robins


Eric~

No, I mean the whole demonizing thing. People are beginning to see through that strategy, and, as Bil pointed out the other day on another post, the Religious Right is changing gears in some quarters to respond to it.

You, on the other hand, are awesome!

Alex~
I never said
the queer perspective wasn't special. I asked what was so special about it...

I didn't mean to suggest AT ALL that we're just like straight people. But I don't think it harms the debate or our political efforts for people to think that we're just like them (or at least a lot like them).

You don't want to suggest we're the same...

Of course in terms of our humanity we are on average like everyone else. But, needless to say, our experiences of growing up and our perspective on the world we live in are different from the average straight person.

But then you do

Which is it?

R, I don't see any contradition! In most ways we're the same. In some ways we're not. In terms of our day-to-day lives I don't see all that much difference between my life and the lives of the straight people I know. We all have to floss! That said, my straight male friends, for example, have lives that are different from mine, in no small part because they all have children and I don't. Still, in most fundamental ways the areas of common ground are greater than the things that are different.

Eric:

you are SOOOOOOO WRONG

AND
the odds are good that your "straight male friends" don't see you as an equal...no matter how hard you try...

ask them and get back to me....

I didn't mean to suggest AT ALL that we're just like straight people.

Then:

we are on average like everyone else.

You don't see the contradiction? REALLY?

Because it's glaring

Dr. Berman didn’t disappoint. Within minutes he was warning of the dangers America faced if we granted “special rights” based on sexual orientation. If we passed laws to protect homosexuals, he cautioned, we’d have to grant legal protections for “all kinds of sexual orientations,” including people who wanted to have sex with animals. With that, we were off and running and kept running until the first commercial break. And despite my faux plea to the show’s host after the break that we move on to another topic, he came right back to bestiality.

then:

the fact that my opportunities to engage in these extreme on-air debates has dwindled in recent years, I sense that something has changed.

AGAIN(YES, ALEX ALL CAPS) you fail to see the contradiction.

How exactly have things changed if you're answering thye same questions/charges you were answering yearts ago?

And from Alex:

Things are changing, people are seeing this strategy as mean-spirited. Oh, well, I hope that we don't start to long for the day when....

Care to illaberate or illustratye. Because I think this just sounds like wishful thinking
at this point....