Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Four things to queerly consider today. Five, if you count the photo (see explanation at end).
First, from New Civil Rights:
(A)nother study finds that homophobes – people who hate homosexuals – hate ‘the gays’ maybe because they are gay, and their authoritarian parents may be largely to blame. …
This is not the first study to find that homophobes very likely are homosexual, and won’t be the last. Remember the landmark 1996 study that plainly states, ‘Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.’
The latest study, conducted by Netta Weinstein (University of Essex, England) and Richard Ryan (University of California, Santa Barbara), is
‘… the first (study) to document the role that both parenting and sexual orientation play in the formation of intense and visceral fear of homosexuals, including self-reported homophobic attitudes, discriminatory bias, implicit hostility towards gays, and endorsement of anti-gay policies,’ Science Daily reports.
This seems like commonsense, but having studies confirm it is very helpful. Bias and hostility come by way of words, physical attacks, and “officially,” by way of policies and legislation. Ryan states:
‘In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward. …
‘Homophobia is not a laughing matter. It can sometimes have tragic consequences.’ …
This better understanding of “homophobia” was shortly followed by a better understanding of “ex-gay.” From Truth Wins Out:
Breaking News: TWO Applauds Dr. Robert Spitzer For Renouncing Infamous ‘Ex-Gay’ Study …
In a move that serves as a significant blow to ‘ex-gay’ programs and anti-gay organizations, Dr. Robert Spitzer repudiated his much-criticized 2001 study that claimed some ‘highly motivated’ homosexuals could go from gay to straight. His retraction occurred in an American Prospect magazine article that hit newsstands today. Spitzer’s rejection of his own research, which was originally published in the prestigious Archives of Sexual Behavior, is a devastating blow to ‘ex-gay’ organizations because it decisively eliminates their most potent claim that homosexuality can be reversed through therapy and prayer. …
Better understanding shows up in all kinds of ways. For example, under “Featured Story”, at CIA.gov:
CIA and ODNI Sponsor First Intelligence Community LGBT Summit
The CIA and the Office of the Director for National Intelligence (ODNI) recently hosted the first Intelligence Community (IC) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Summit. Participants included members of LGBT employee groups from nine IC agencies and CIA and ODNI leaders. The Summit was designed to ensure the Agency maintains a high performing, engaged, and diverse workforce. …
A panel discussion about LGBT inclusion and benefits included participants from the Department of State, the White House, Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA), and the IC LGBT Affinity Network Group.
Jim Burroway, writing at Box Turtle Bulletin:
Spooks Need Queers Too
Sixty years ago, LGBT people were seen as security risks. Now the intelligence agencies see us as assets ‘with the critical skills, knowledge, cultural backgrounds, and abilities needed to successfully meet mission requirements.’
Fischer? LaBarbera? Barber? You seeing this?
I don’t know what to call it, but in the interest of better understanding, there needs to be a term for people whose acceptance / support of Queerdom is of the fence-sitting, overly cautious, giving with one hand while taking away with the other, kind. It ranges from the focus on sex “I don’t care what they do in the bedroom as long as they don’t try to shove it in my face / down my throat” sort, to “I’ll sign the repeal of DADT but not an executive order providing employment protections” type. A wide spectrum, so coming up with a term to describe it is challenging.
Finally, an example of the results of a better understanding of LGBTs. This one is of the “sexual orientation is no big deal,” “people are people,” type. You know the “Texts From Hillary” Tumblr thing? Turns out the two guys who did this, Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith, are gay. And Hillary liked it so much she invited them to her office, and captioned her own Text From Hillary. Reported by Chris Geidner, at Metro Weekly:
Madam Secretary Meme Goes From Gay-Bar Banter to State Department Invite
Two gays walk into a bar …
… and out they walk, less than a week later, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office, laughing all the way. …
The two communications professionals … went for drinks a week back. …
Once Lambe returned home and launched the Tumblr site, the meme was born. …
You can see the posts at Texts From Hillary, and read:
After a week that included 32 posts, 83,000 shares on Facebook, 8,400 Twitter followers, over 45K Tumblr followers, news stories around the world … we think it’s time to stop while we are ahead.
As far as memes go — it has gone as far as it can go. Is it really possible to top a submission from the Secretary herself? No.
Smart guys, who happen to be gay.
As always, your thoughts, queer or otherwise, encouraged. Shared ideas and respectful conversation, after all, help promote better understanding.
(Phelps’ photo via Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook. Note: I’ve had this photo for years, taken at a “God hates fags” Phelps’ family appearance at Vanderbilt University. The two students told him they were fans, and he obliged with a photo op, at which point they revealed the message. Phelps didn’t catch on. Seeing the photo at WOHF, I can finally use it.)