Alex Blaze

It's not homophobic if your heart is in it

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 15, 2008 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: gay marriage, homophobic behavior, la times, LGBT, love won out, Margie Christoffersen, marriage, marriage equality, newspaper, no mob veto, Prop. 8, same-sex marriage, Sarah Palin, steven lopez

The right's in overdrive to construct an image of queer people that's a violent threat to anyone who would cross our paths. It was the most obvious in that full-page "No Mob Veto" ad put out by a group of not-just-anti-gay bigots, and it's growing in its volume. They want for the first thing people think of when they think of queer participation in politics is violence. It's a silencing technique, because deep in their authoritarian lizard brains is an impulse to get anyone who disagrees with them to STFU.

I was going to write up a response to Steve Lopez's recent LA Times column on the protests of El Coyote restaurant (whose owner, Margie Christoffersen, donated $100 to the Yes on 8 campaign), but Jim Burroway already responded to the facts. The column is absolutely ridiculous, mentioning that Christoffersen is crying because of the mean gays about a dozen times. One gets the impression that she's a frail woman (who has owned and operated a difficult business for decades and donates to contentious political causes) who's in shambles because she exercised her right to participate in democracy.

It's easy to get sarcastic here, because Lopez changes some real facts (saying that cops were showing up in riot gear, which Jim disputes) to make the situation more dramatic and presents Christoffersen as such an incredibly weak person one wonders how she even manages to stand up each morning. But Lopez got his point through: the gays made a girl cry.

What wonders what sort of protest would be acceptable to Lopez, since he seems at points to take issue with the very idea of not supporting businesses that are materially fighting people's rights. Lopez, in that way, dips into a very common traditional media columnist trope: we should all be able to disagree about fundamental issues without actually taking any sort of action. It's not like any of this is real. Christoffersen even said she likes gay people! Would someone who's really homophobic ever say something like that?

But Lopez thinks that Christoffersen was just voting her conscience and donating money to a cause she thought was necessary. It's not really homophobic, you see, because her heart was in it. Or something. With gay-supportive columnists like Lopez, who needs homophobes?

Speaking of people who couldn't possibly be homophobic, no matter what they want the government to do to punish queers, because they have gay friends, Sarah Palin's church was the target of an arsonist. No one was hurt. The AP is blaming the gays based on the fact that we had the gall to speak out against ex-gay camps:

The 1,000-member evangelical church was the subject of intense scrutiny after Palin was named John McCain's running mate. Early in Palin's campaign, the church was criticized for promoting in a Sunday bulletin a Focus on the Family "Love Won Out Conference" in Anchorage. The conference promised to "help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome."

Besides the fact that that church was criticized for a number of things, advertising the LWO conference being one of the smallest issues people took, the AP shouldn't just be throwing the blame around when there's absolutely no evidence that the attack took place because of the gays. No wonder so many papers are ending their AP subscription - it's a crappy product.

But it should be expected that the traditional media would turn against us if we effectively speak out against homophobia. Newspaper columnists, for as bad-ass as they like to think of themselves for speaking the truth no one wants to hear, are in reality quite adverse to conflict. Plus, most of their readership isn't gay, and considering the aging of the population who still reads dead-tree publications, probably not that gay-friendly either.

That definitely does not mean that we should stop. It just means it's getting good.


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Speaking of Love Won Out events;

For whose benefit are these events for?

The few self-loathing gays whose desire for acceptance in that denomination is enough to temporarily override their nature?

Or the hundreds of straight 'supporters' for whom attending fills a need to 'shout at the devil' contained in the 'sin' of same-sex attraction?

I think the hope-to-be-ex-gays are just being used by the straight-and-righteous so they (S&R) can feel good about themselves.

I think if people were really honest about it, you would find that some level of bi-sexuality is really the norm for humanity.

But then, that is just too scary of a thought for most people, so denial is going to be the norm for humankind for the forseeable future.

Rainbow Brite | December 16, 2008 9:11 AM

I couldn't agree with you more.

Alex, thanks for addressing Steve Lopez's outrageous column.

Check out John Aravosis's fantastic response (and dozens of excellent comments) to Lopez's column on Americablog.com. (I hope Lopez reads all that stuff.)

I can't say that I feel good about "making a 62 year old woman cry," but it's called education. Education on the hurt her atrocious actions, and her stupid adherence to Mormon dogma, caused. Perhaps it's tough to learn such a lesson so suddenly, abruptly, and harshly. But I know there is no way I could support a restaurant (or movie theater, i.e. Cinemark brands, or store, e.g., Lassens Health Food) where an owner or key manager gave money to Prop. 8.

If Ms. Christoffersen truly loves gays, and her gay customers, then this is what she should do:

(1) Renounce Prop 8.
(2) Apologize for her donation.
(3) Renounce the Mormon church for their support of Prop 8.
(4) Issue a statement, saying, "I've learned how this hurts people. I know better now."

Then, not only would be the boycott be off, I'd make a point to patronize El Coyote.

Now generally I'm willing to sign up for pretty much any criticism of supporters of the California Prop 8 removal of gay marriage act.
But when it's John Aravosis saying it I tend to wonder if it's only not okay when it's done to JA. Especially when he says;-

Yet another article about how intolerance is okay, even laudable, but intolerance of intolerance is a crime against humanity.

All very well, except... just a year ago when ENDA was rumbling through and transgender protections got dumped, JA was jumping up and down blasting the trans community because, in his opinion, trans rights were disposable on behalf of his and insisting that, because he felt we were Joannas-come-lately (read your history John, Stonewall was trans), we had no right to complain. An opinion he maintained loudly and defiantly on Americablog

To paraphrase the first sentence of his article, his intolerance (of us) was okay, but our intolerance of his intolerance was definitely not okay at all. So sorry John. While I have no truck with prop8 supporters, a nasty & vindictive part of me (basically the lot) says you personally have no right to complain

I hear Palin's church was advertising for a new pianist too. I'll bet it was a gang of dissatisfied ivory tinklers that did burned down the church.

There's so much justification for hate flying around that it's sickening. But as Gil-Scott Heron once said, "Ain't no new thing." It's the same as saying "I like black people. My receptionist is black!" or "He's so articulate." To like a group of people as long as they stay in their place or live within your prejudices is the worse kind of bigotry--subtle bigotry masked with a soft spoken voice and a positive tone. It's the kind that kills.
To say that you like a people, then support the denial of their rights is idiotic and hypocritical.
I admit that a part of me does hope it was a group of gays who burned down the Wasilla church (although i strongly doubt it), particularly for their LWO events, but I know it's not the answer to our problems and it's not the most constructive way to deal with our anger--but man, it would be fun to stand out there in the Alaska snow and yell "Burn, baby, burn!"