Bruce Parker

"America needs to take a stand" - At least we can all agree on that much.

Filed By Bruce Parker | September 14, 2007 1:35 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: free speech, gay marriage, homophobic behavior, LSU

So I am slowly falling in love with the moisture in the air, the brightness of the sun, the warm and welcoming Southern smiles and the rigor of my program at Louisiana State University. I am finding something very queer about the complexity of cultures that all intersect in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. I like that the racial divide within the queer community seems much less institutionalized than it was in Indiana, Ohio or Massachusetts. I like that lesbians and gay men seem to frequent the same establishments in Baton Rouge and interact with each other in a pretty seamless fashion. There is however a strange conservatism that seems to permeate the air and be palpable at times.

As I sat down to write up my submission for Bilerico I found myself confronting two possible stories that capture these conservative undertones and would allow me to invite you into discussion with me around them. One deals primarily with the continued pervasiveness of racism and the other deals with homophobia in a educational context. In honor of being a contributor to an LGBTQ blog, it seems appropriate that I respond to another LSU student's column that describes his position that America must take a “stand against homosexuality.” I provide you with his opening statement to hopefully entice you to read the rest of my entry.

Alexander Hamilton warned us years ago that "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." These words have been prophetic in the American debate on sexuality. America continues catering to the homosexual movement, and so America continues to be duped.

If you click on the link above you will see that the author of this silly and dangerous column is somewhat attractive and, at least to my eyes, a little gay looking (in a good way). Just as he fought the urge in his column to “talk about why practicing homosexuality is intrinsically disordered and why it prevents one from loving fully” I shall fight the urge to comment about how cute I think he is and how I am left wondering if one night of good gay loving might change his mind about this whole mess and silence one more dangerous voice.

The perception that America is “catering to the homosexual movement” is fascinating and seriously misguided. Michael might have been well served to look at the statistics on LGBTQ teenagers and homelessness. If that didn’t change his mind perhaps the suicide statistics for the same group would help him see more clearly that America is as a country - in a way - at war with its non-gender normative and non-heterosexual population. It is not accidental that if you want to eliminate a race of people you kill off their children, and if he paid a little closer attention he would notice that LGBTQ children are being eliminated. He might also notice the insane number of hate crimes that are perpetrated against non-gender normative and non-heterosexual populations and realize that, much like any form of difference, America is invested in eliminating this one. I don't feel like I am being catered to in any way.

Realizing that I may sound anti-American I want to take a moment to say that I am not. I am proud of where I am from in every way imaginable, but I think that it would be foolish of me not to acknowledge that we are at war. Not a war on terrorism but a war on difference, and despite some notable setbacks and Michael’s best efforts, I believe that my side (the queers, transsexuals, gays, immigrants, disabled, women and other “others”) will win.

Michael goes on to talk about the role of reproduction in sexuality saying,

America needs to grow in self-confidence on this debate. The homosexual argument is illogical; sexuality is obviously meant for reproduction. Any sexual activity that is opposed to life is intrinsically disordered. Yet we continue to refuse to stand up for ourselves, allowing courts, school boards and speech codes to dictate political correctness to us.

Could someone please not mention ENDA, the hate crimes bill or efforts to end the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell military policy to him or his friends? As long as he, like a lot of gay people, is convinced that the marriage question is the most important question at least he isn’t spreading his vile hate in other directions.

I feel compelled to ask Michael a potentially offensive question: does he masturbate? Or, if he has sex of any sort, does he use birth control? If someone is unable to conceive should they then be unable to have sex? Some women might not like that, and I would bet that men who have had vasectomies might kick his ass for bringing it up.

The idea that sex that is not about reproduction is “opposed to life” is absurd. Sex of any sort should be a celebration of life. Reminding us that we are indeed alive and blessed by the ability to be so close to other human beings regardless of gender identities, favorite positions, or resulting or not resulting offspring.

As I was writing this email it was announced that a debate with him around this issue is being planned for the future. I will plan to attend the debate and report back here how it goes. Stay tuned; this may just be the beginning of my relationship (in my head sexual) with Michael. Writing this post has left me wondering if I need therapy for my unhealthily strong attraction to ex-gays and conservative folks.

I am really curious what the rest of you think of his column and hope that some of you will chime in with your opinions.

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I'm more concerned that your school paper would print such drivel. They printed a column like that back when I was at Arizona State a number of years back, and I remember the controversy it caused on campus - mostly free speech vs. pro-gay. It was an interesting dichotomy, as if those two things are opposed to each other or they can be absolutes abstractions, ever. I'd think that they have some editorial standards there, and if they don't, they should adopt some. It's not like this kid wouldn't be able to speak without being on the newspaper staff, and his whole column, it sounds like, was written to encourage people to silence queers. See? we win the free speech argument that way.

Ugh. That paper is just irresponsible. And now they want a "debate" with him? Yeah, he seems like he's all about argumentation and reason. I guess it's cute in that college idealistic way, that he'll hear "arguments" (Gays are good people, trannies don't choose to be that way!) and then he'll somehow be persuaded. I'm not saying he's beyond help, just saying that you work on people with symbolism, etc, and not some sort of debate.

And then think about what an arrogant power trip that'll probably put him on - here's a debate all about trying to convince me to accept others as fully human with the same right to exist as I do. Uh, yeah. I'm tired of having to convince others that we're equal, in a vast and expansive definition of the word, and I'm so glad that people who came before me did that because I'd probably just have slapped people and gotten thrown in prison.

But seriously, what's this debate going to be about? Any debate worth anything has a central, defined question so that people know what they're talking about. Since this dude talks about just about everything LGBTQ in his column, would it be "Should queers be systematically killed?" Or maybe "If someone bothers me with their very existence, "do I have a right to call on 300 million people to help end their existence?" Or, at his suggestion, "Why is practicing homosexuality intrinsically disordered and why does it prevent one from loving fully?"

Instead of having debates in response to a column like this and acknowledging it as anything more than homophobic pablum, why not have a debate without him (but he'll be invited, of course) about what the university community can do to fight this sort of speech? I'm not thinking speech codes, but something more creative. Obviously, there's a need.

Maybe several years ago I would have been all gung ho about a debate on this subject, but it's getting tiring having to respond to junk like this. This guy is wrong, in every way possible, we should all know it by now, and it's degrading to have to debate for our right to exist. It's also creating a hostile environment for other students who might just be coming out at college and all. (Not you, of course, Bruce, since you seem to enjoy this whole thing a little too much.)

Either way, good post.

This guy I was friends with and kinda had a crush on just started an ex gay center in Kentucky in the last few years. My mom teases me and tells me its because I never did him. I so enjoy these boys more than I should it seems.

Great post, Bruce. As an aside, when I found that article and sent it to you I showed it to Jerame. I pointed out the picture and said, "Bruce should just fuck him. He looks like Bruce's type." So do you know how hard I'm laughing while reading "the author of this silly and dangerous column is somewhat attractive and, at least to my eyes, a little gay looking"? GMTA

Bruce, I am very interested in knowing if Michael masturbates. I'm also interested in hearing what he thinks about people who can't conceive for whatever reason, or post-menopausal women, women who've had hysterectomies, men who've had vasectomies, people who've been subjected to eugenics. I would not be surprised if he felt it was okay for them to have sex if they are, of course, heterosexual. I think, this kind of mindset not only demeans queer love and sex, but it also sets up a notion for those in heterosexual relationships that childrearing is the main purpose of sex, and if they are unable to get pregnant than they somehow "fail."

Please, let us know how the debate goes and if it turns into a sexual relationship

Alex is right: debating this guy is futile for queers and validating for him. Have a public gender-blind queer fuck fest and validate that instead!

I am not being sarcastic.

You can take the bo*y* out of the public gender-blind queer fuck fest, but you can't take the public gender-blind queer fuck fest out of the boy.

Bruce, all I want to know is when and where so I can come and watch you in action!

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968)

I think that you're right, Bruce. We will win--there's no other way for this whole convoluted exercise to end. The sad part is that there is a struggle in the first place. Being back in good ole Pike County, I feel like I'm closer to the front lines than I've been in years!

Maybe a debate may open him up to the scope of what he's trying to rally against. Maybe a thorough, public tongue-lashing (get your dirty little mind out of the gutter) will educate him. It isn't likely, but there's always hope.

But, if this kid really feels the way that he comes off in his paper, no debate or simple conversation is going to change his mind. I fear the possibility that nothing he sees will have any impact upon him. He has probably never had more than remote exposure to the lifestyle he has chosen to attack and he likely bases his opinions on second hand news and outmoded religious doctrine. Those all-too-common sources of ignorance are the most difficult to combat. Sometimes educating just one person is enough, though.

Have you thought about trying to publish a reaction in the same paper?