Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Okay, so I sound like an “old hippie,” who happens to be queer: but I really could use a few minutes of peace and calm and quiet, maybe sitting by a softly babbling brook, because I’m really, really tired of the loud and obnoxious babbling coming from the religiously rigid realm of the Right.
It’s no surprise that Tony Perkins, of Family Research Council, and other individuals and organizations that fall into the same general “traditional Christian” (as they define it) grouping, are using the very wrong violent actions of one man as another means for their never-ending attack on LGBT people, and those who support them. Floyd Lee Corkins, II, shooting a guard at the Family Research Council DC offices (see here) was, as has been said repeatedly, very wrong. Corkin’s actions do not, of course, characterize all LGBTs, any more than the latest in the long line of younger, white males, apparently heterosexual, shooters characterize all younger white heterosexual males.
But Perkins and others are on a roll right now. They had the big Chick-Fil-A event, with thousands showing up to show their support for Dan Cathy’s backing of anti-LGBT organizations. Of course Cathy and thousands have the right to hold and express their beliefs. And they were successful in doing so in a highly visible manner. On one hand, buying some Chick-Fil-A on one particular day isn’t exactly a life-changing experience. But I will say this: watching, or even just knowing about, thousands of people taking time to do something that was meant to communicate their condemnation of who you are isn’t fun. It isn’t just the one day fast food protesting the “gays” itself. It’s yet another in a very long, loud line of words and actions that, while you know they’re wrong, still takes yet another bit of energy from you.
Watching now, as Perkins and friends reiterate their judgments of me and all LGBTs, as well as our allies and supporters, is maybe a little easier because of its familiarity, but not much. By now, for me, my various responses — frustration, anger, exhaustion, concern, fears, etc. —are often for the younger members of the LGBT communities. But of course I’m concerned for all of us, and the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about the “veteran” advocates of LGBT equality. We’ll “keep on keeping on,” but we may need to take a minute or two to work through another round of very loud, very public verbal attacks, before we get going at full force again. Which we will do … in addition to being annoying and a bit frightening at times, with every judgmental word, Perkins, Cathy, Fischer, etc., also provide motivation to keep working toward equality.
Right now, I wish some peace for all of us.
Some reading, if you’re inclined: Mark Potok, Senior Fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC: Family Research Council License-to-Kill Claim ‘Outrageous’; SPLC, Gays Remain Minority Most Targeted by Hate Crimes; Randy Potts, at Box Turtle Bulletin, Gang Style Chicken; Jeremy Hooper, at Good As You, Institute For American Values’ blog: ‘NOM further polarizes this ‘culture war’ and feeds into the cycle of aggression’, No labels. No claims. No editorializing. Just Tony Perkins’ record and ’ForTraditionalMarriage’: NOM commenter shows chillingly typical mindset; Zack Ford, at Think Progress, Bryan Fischer: SPLC Should Be ‘Held To Account’ For FRC Shooting; and Pam Spaulding, at Houseblend, The Family Research Council shooting and the impact of words and heads in the sand about violence.