“All I Did Was Quote From the Scriptures.”
- Pat Robertson (Professional Asshat) on his view on Homosexuality
I have been told ad nausea in the last 2+ years that we are living in a “Post Gay” world and all of whiney LGBT (not the term they use) need to shut the fuck up. That most of the people screaming these things are hetero, white, religious, and male is an irony I feel little need to point out. Yes we are making great strides toward equality but no we are not in some “Post Gay” world. There is still a long way to go. Don’t believe me just Google ‘Recent Anti Gay’… scary right?
This brings me to my most recent clash, albeit in a minimal way, for LGBT respect. I promise I try very hard not to feed the trolls. In my younger years I was always up for a good internet flame war or debate. There are tales and myths of the epic debates someone who used to go by the handle of Citizen Lazlo participated in. But decades and grey hairs coupled with distaste for arguing just to argue has tamped that fire in my belly… usually.
I’m a member on several message boards, yes kids they still exist and all of us old fogies hang out on them and talk about grunge music, Babylon 5, and the dancing baby. NOW GET OFF MY LAWN! On one of these message boards, the one I’ve been a member of longer than any of the others (seriously since like 1997 or 1998) has a secret board called, well let’s call it Bitch & Moan or BM for short. I don’t often post on BM, like I said fighting and debate aren’t my thing anymore, but a couple of weeks ago I broke my own prohibition.
Recently on BM the topic of Kate Brown, the first openly bisexual governor in American history, came up. As anyone who reads my stuff on any regular basis knows I have a special warm and gooey spot in my heart for Kate Brown, despite not agreeing with some of her points, and I’ve been doing little dances of joy.
So of course I had to chime in on the subject.
Someone asked why her position was important. He didn’t mean it in the normal way trolling asshats do when they ask the question, he was truly curious as to why Governor Brown was significant. I made a reply, a section from the essay I wrote about it, and thought I wouldn’t have anything else to say. I mean seriously what was there for any reasonable person to bitch and moan about? I was used to assholes so really I could ignore them.
Then someone I used to respect responded.
This individual, let’s call him FAT, is a poster on this message board who I tended to give weight to. I only agreed with him some of the time but FAT made clear arguments and it never felt like he was trolling when he debated. I actually enjoyed reading his posts. Sometime last year he disappeared from the message board for a period and when he returned there seemed to be a fundamental change in the way he posted. It was still clearly the same person based on style and vocabulary but the tenor was skewed.
Still, I was shocked when he decided to target me. Below is the body of our exchange with some parting shots he made after I bowed out. Read, absorb, enjoy, and then catch my follow up at the end.
ME: It means something to the LGBT community in general and the bisexual community specifically. Everyone wants to see someone like themselves in positions of authority or influence and we're no different. It's a big deal to us and I have issues with attempts to marginalize it.
Barack Obama, Harvey Milk, Sally Ride, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Thurgood Marshall are names that will be remembered two hundred years from now. Sadly Kate Brown will likely end up as a footnote with Crispus Attucks, Hiram Revels, and Rebecca Latimer Felton as significant but not wall shattering American’s.
But you know what?
That’s okay, that’s pretty good company to be remembered in.
FAT: If it doesn't matter, then why do we have a thread about it? If those who support gay rights want to improve those rights, they need less of this noise, and more stuff about men and women like Tim Cook.
Tim Cook is the CEO of the largest cap company in the world. The most valuable entity on planet earth. It turns out he's gay. But no one cares, and it's not a deal. Why? Because he's making everyone who owns shares of apple rich. And at the end of the day, that's all that matters. Especially if you consider the idea that he may well be more powerful then President Obama.
This kind of story is useless. She didn't earn the job, she tripped into it. If she does well, the credit lies with the guy who got elected and had his girl friend **** up. If she does poorly, his fault.
Tim on the other hand, was awesome when Steve Jobs was there, and he's grown the company in ways Steve-O never could have imagined. That's the facts that count.
ME: Umm... she was elected the states secretary of state (Second highest position in the Oregonian Government) as an open bisexual which was a big deal. And if you think the LGBT community hasn't made a giant deal about Tim Cook coming out I question where you're getting your info from.
So I'll reiterate, to US it is a big deal.
FAT: But to us, it isn't. The world of business doesn't care about Tim Cook's boy friend or lack thereof. We care about the MONEY. Your group and the religious right are fighting this war in your imaginations that exists only for you.
If we hold that sexual identity has no bearing on one's ability, then it has no bearing on one's ability. It's a non-factor. It does not matter.
ME: Laudable, not how the real world works, but laudable.
FAT: As long as you keep treating these things like they've overcome a disability, it's going to be treated as such. Go up to the first post and replace "bi-sexual" with Polio victim and you have FDR's story. Bleh. It's not a disability, it just a thing. An unimportant thing. And the real world works exactly like this. Apple stock didn't drop through the floor the day after Cook came out. Apple's worth twice as much as Exxon Mobile. That's the only fact that matters.
ME: Okay I'm out, have fun with your view. Your wrong but it's not my job to convince you of it.
FAT: Only in your mind.
At this point I left the conversation but he kept making stupid comment after stupid comment. Here are a few of the best.
FAT: (On the accretion that LGBT people want to be treated as if we’re disabled) Meh. It's only a disability so long as one treats it like such. Homo-sexuals have had a significant effect on the world and they will continue to do so. Investing into "We're victims and we need the big tough straights to save us from the mean Christians" crap is just that. She's bi-sexual, her boss was a waste of space so now she has his job, it's not a deal.
FAT: (On our… entitlement??? Seriously I’m not sure, he rambles) So run for office. Change laws. Help Log cabin Republicans find their stride. Were gay Americans more than just a democrat voting bloc that frankly the DNC could care less about (recall the President's position in 08, and the circumstances of his "change" of opinion). Help the parties see that they want to cultivate these votes. They'll change.
It's not a disability. It's just some noise. My getting a scholarship wasn't a victory for straight people. It's just some noise. Her falling into this job isn't a victory for GLT community. It's just some noise. Or to call back to an earlier post, Tim Cook isn't a gay guy who's great at making money, he this guy who's great at making money.
And happens to be gay.
People are more than their sexual identity. If we want others to treat everyone else as people first and the other stuff as noise, then we need to act that way first.
FAT: (regarding the rose colored world he lives in when he’s called on it) It's a nice place. I like it here. If you want to live here, you can. Just stop excepting limitations and 'have to because'.
See, in your world, Freddy Mercury was a gay man who was a great singer. He had to hide his sexuality because the world couldn't accept FAT and he died, albeit indirectly from that.
In my world, Freddy was the greatest singer who ever lived. He had trouble in his life, but everyone has trouble in their lives, his was unique to FAT, but everyone else's is too, he died the way all rock and roller's do.
The gay vote TENDs to go to the Democrats because the Democrats are SLIGHTLY less douche bags about it then the Republicans. That's a call for gay rights advocates to look at ways to draw the GOP into supporting them. I think Stan Smith of American dad had a pretty good bit on that idea. Again, recall what our president's position was on gay rights when he took the job, and how his position didn't change until he needed votes and support.
FAT: (About Mathew Sheppard) Mathew was unique, not special. Kids his age die every day. It's happening right now. Kids all over the world are being killed. Over stupid ****. Killed because bigots dislike them on the grounds of their gender, their religion, their skin color and fifty other dumb ass reasons. People being murdered is the horrible part, the whys they were murdered is just noise.
I don’t get it. I honestly don’t understand how a person who has over the years shown he has critical thinking and reasoning abilities can actually take these stances. I am not building up to some grand announcement of verdict on the situation. There will be no grand proclamation or conclusion for that matter. I am honestly confused and disappointed.
FAT’s reaction did have one positive effect on me. I’m now more convinced than ever that LGBT people of every stripe and our allies have to continue speaking out. Now that keeping us from having equal rights is a lost cause, the people on the other side are turning to a far more dangerous and insidious forms of attack. We are now the targets of a campaign of marginalization.
Don’t believe me?
Just keep track of how many times you hear we’re in a “Post Gay” world.