Alex Blaze

Gay panic from the Washington Post's readers

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 10, 2010 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: kiss, LGBT, marriage, men, Washington, Washington D.C., Washington Post

The Washington Post's Ombudsman's blog has a post up on the reaction to the photo they ran with their front-page story on same-sex marriage starting in the city last week. It shouldn't be all that controversial - same-sex marriage starting in the district is news worthy enough to be on the front page of their city's paper for at least one day, and the picture is public and tasteful. But it seems that seeing two dudes kissing is enough to send people into a panic.

dc-marriage-kiss.jpg

A few of the readers have engaged in rants, often with anti-gay slurs. One called me to complain about "promoting a faggot lifestyle." Another complained about the photo in an e-mail to the two Post reporters who wrote Thursday's story about the licenses: "That kind of stuff makes normal people want to throw up. People have kids who are being exposed to this crap. I will be glad when your rag goes out of business. Real men marry women."

More after.

Ann Witty of Woodbridge wrote to say she had canceled the Post subscription she has held since the 1960s.

"I am 65 years old and I realize that the world is changing rapidly - much more rapidly than I would like it to," she e-mailed. "While I realize that the Post must report on these changes - even the ones with which I do not agree - I feel that the picture on Thursday morning was an affront to the majority of your readership. It is not something that I want coming into my home. I believe that even your editors know that it would have been better placed in the Metro section and that it would have mitigated its impact to do so."

Wrote Lee Miller of Columbia: "I would appreciate it if your cover pictures would not be so disturbing where my kids can see it easily on the kitchen table... please don't shove this "Gay" business in our face. This is something that should have shown up on an inside page or two (without the picture)."

In comments to the ombudsman's call-in line (202.334.7582), one reader said, "the picture of two guys kissing makes me cringe." Another called it "ridiculous," adding: "Put it on page 10 or page four, put it in the paper, but I do not like it right there where I can't avoid looking at it."

If this isn't the emotion that gay panic is built on, then I don't know what is.

The most disappointing? This is what pissed off the Washington Post's readers, even more than the famous scandal last year where the Post was caught selling its journalists' integrity and objectivity to industry lobbyists for several thousand dollars.

Many threatened to cancel their Post subscriptions, and more than two dozen did. Post circulation vice president Gregg Fernandes said that late last week 27 subscribers canceled, specifically citing the photo. In contrast, The Post reported only two cancellations immediately after last July's ethics uproar over its ill-advised plan to sell sponsorships to off-the-record "salon" dinners at the publisher's residence.

I'm just going to throw it out there that the fact that more people care about this than about the integrity of the paper they're paying for, one that's supposed to be the foremost watchdog on the government and especially special interest lobbyists that got caught selling access to backroom meetings between those two institutions and its own journalists, is definitely one of the reasons America's in such a mess right now.

But besides that, the story was news in the city it was published in, big news, and people should be forced to deal with their own homophobia. Good on the Washington Post for putting it out there, and I hope they're not scared away from fair coverage in the future by a vocal group of homophobes.


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"Real men marry women."

That is going to ceate a problem, as real women marry women as well..

I just love this picture.

The kiss is so sweet and appropriate.

The reaction is just further proof we need to make out more in public, especially in front of cameras.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 10, 2010 1:37 PM

You bastards! I'm a bigoted asshole! How DARE you offend my eyes and pollute my spirit with two men *gasp* KISSING?!? (pause to clutch pearls) Unless you promise to pander to me and my 18th century beliefs, I will never read your paper again! I'm 65 and my children...CHILDREN saw that! (never mind that the youngest one is 30, that's beside the point) How can you be so irresponsible as to print a story about people being granted equal rights. Why, it reminds me of the 60s and that socialist Lyndon Johnson, giving those colored people rights. They didn't know how good they had it. You mark my words. Now that those homos can marry each other, they will be marrying goats and ponies next, (okay goats are fine but stay away from my ponies?), and then they'll want to marry children. MY children. The ones who saw that picture! (never mind their ages again) They're nothing but a bunch of pedof... pedofl....pedophy....child molesters! You make me sick! Now I have to make an appointment with my doctor cause you gave me the vapors. Good thing those homos haven't turned my medicare into a government run program!

That's hillarious! It's sad that people actually think that way, but your depiction put a smile on my face.

OK, totally best comment ever.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 10, 2010 3:54 PM

I'm glad that you guys liked it. Yep, it's a shame there are people like that. Even after all of that, it looked barely over the top to me. How can you make over the top fun of over the top hate?

That was f--king hilarious, Margaret.

Regan DuCasse | March 10, 2010 2:38 PM

Well, gee
The bombed out streets of Iraq, the gun toting rebels in the Third World, stories of female subjugation behind burkas and chadors aren't offensive?!

To say nothing of headlines reading that another sports figure is being put up on charges of rape or that a paroled sex offender has raped and murdered yet ANOTHER innocent teen girl?

Two men kissing, or two women joyously celebrating their 10+ years together by marrying carries SO much offense, NOW they complain?

What a sad shame that love, affection, commitment to another human being and the celebration thereof is met with so much disdain and hostility.

Just what we need, more disdain and hostility in the world!

. . . That is sad. I've seen less tasateful kisses on the front of papers before- But I guess that because they were Hetero kisses, it wasn't an issue. Ugh.

I am absolutely astounded... you people live in the Washington, DC environs and you're offended by two men/women kissing??? Where on earth have you cavepeople been the last 41 years. My Lord, same-sex kissing is old hat! What are you going to do when same-people start marrying? Ohhhh! I guess I haven't been reading the papers for the last ten years!)
Listen... get a life!!! We have more important things to worry about on this planet than two people living happily ever after! If I were able to afford it, I would buy those 26 cancelled subscriptions and give them to people who can't afford them but yet live in the here and now!
Such silliness! And MANY, MANY Blessings to the newly marrieds of all wedding days!
Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

Ann Witty of Woodbridge cancels subscription how funny. Here in Oregon (Eugene to be politically correct) I really had to laugh your rant really made my day...canceling a subscription for a picture my god get a life Margaretpoa your rant is so silly and so immature. I had to read it again hopefully what you wrote was a joke as much as I would sorrowfully say how sad. A 30 year old child isn't mature enough to see a "Gasp Oh my God the sky is falling" picture of two men locking lips and kissing I wonder what a mess you have raised or at least kept fed all these years. We queers just want no we demand equal civil rights in every form that is supposedly enjoyed by everyone else. Gasp front page picture on the kitchen table. I have coffee at my kitchen table, orange juice, and oatmeal. That the paper lays unused or unopened there for the world to see is just a waist of time. Turn that G**d Da%ned page and get over yourself. Thankfully the world is changing and it will leave you in its dust.