Friday, November 9, 2007

Let's revisit my working definition of homophobia

Homophobia: when you pretend that every word you've just said doesn't apply equally well to straight people and/or couples.

Illustrative example:
O'REILLY: Illinois students at Weekaugan [sic: Waukegan] High School voted seniors Brandy Johnson and Lupe Silva the "cutest couple." So the self-proclaimed lesbians get their picture in the yearbook under the "cute" banner. At first, school officials tried to ban the category, but finally relented despite a parental objection.


O'REILLY: I believe, based upon our investigation of this Weekaugan High School deal -- and the picture, and put up the picture again of these students -- that the kids voted this couple the cutest couple to tweak the adults, Doctor, to cause trouble, to make an issue of the yearbook.


O'REILLY: [A]n exposition of sexuality in a minor -- and that's very important -- in a minor situation is inappropriate in an academic setting. All of those things are valid... .


O'REILLY: Look, I've been very consistent on this since my first book was written. I think private behavior belongs in private settings.

BERMAN: Right.

O'REILLY: I don't think it belongs in the high school yearbook.

BERMAN: But you'd be OK with the cutest couple, heterosexual couple, though?

O'REILLY: I would be, because that is the norm of society. See, it's the same gay-marriage thing. You have a 6 percent option here. Homosexuals, according to research, are 6 percent of the population. And, if you're basing --

BERMAN: But since minority --


BERMAN: But since African-Americans are a minority, would you have a problem with an African-American heterosexual couple as the cutest couple?

O'REILLY: No, because -- because race is not conduct. There's a difference between who you are and what you do. And that is another key --

BERMAN: So, you're judging homosexuality as poor conduct.

O'REILLY: Not judging -- I'm not judging anybody at anything. I'm telling you that there's a legitimate point of view that number one, you don't allow sexuality to intrude in your high school yearbook, because they're minors.

BERMAN: Right. This isn't about sexuality.

O'REILLY: Sure it is.

BERMAN: This is just a couple.


BERMAN: They're not flaunting their sexuality any more or any less than a heterosexual couple their age might.

O'REILLY: Look, Doctor, there's no reason why Brandy and Lupe had to declare themselves anything other than friends. They didn't have to do that. They chose to do that.

BERMAN: If they're in love -- but they have the same right to do that as any heterosexual couple does.

O'REILLY: It's not a matter -- it's a matter of appropriateness. That's what it's a matter of.


O'REILLY: But you're dismissing a very legitimate point. This is inappropriate. You do not define yourself in a high school yearbook --

BERMAN: Only if you judge homosexuality as wrong.

O'REILLY: -- in a sexual way. Period. You don't do it.

I bolded part of this that I think is exceedingly important to take note of. Some people will declare that they're sick of gay people flaunting themselves everywhere, trying to force their sexuality down other people's throats. They will sometimes refer to "outrageous" gay rights parades, where--they allege--half-naked leather-fetishists publicly masturbate, spraying their seed directly into the virginal eyes of their pure, innocent children who have never had a sexual thought before in their lives.

But what they actually mean, as Bill O'Reilly ably demonstrates, is that they object to the idea of gay people who are out of the closet. Gay people are okay as long as they pretend that they don't exist, and the homophobes don't have to acknowledge their existence. But for a gay person to proclaim their existence is to shove their sexuality down the homophobe's throat. For a gay teenager to date while in high school and become a couple is to flaunt their sexuality. For a gay couple to have their picture taken together is to "define themselves in a sexual way." For a gay person to hold hands with or kiss their partner--or even be seen in public together--is an obscene display of perversity that will corrupt women, children, and the elderly (the latter two of which are to be avoided at all costs, but the first is highly encouraged). For a gay person to try to marry is to threaten the destruction of all civilization.

But if a straight person were to do any of this, well, that's okay. That's just the natural order of things.


Brandon said...

I get the impression that a lot of casual homophobes think to themselves, "I have nothing against gay people, personally, but wouldn't life just be simpler if they weren't around? Can't we go back to that like in the fifties?" Basically Bill O'Reilly is suffering from Good 'ol Days syndrome.

Skemono said...

There may be something to that.

But there's also a lot of people treating it as something completely different from heterosexuality. I recall reading (though I couldn't say where anymore) an account of one person, who I think the speaker's father, who saw two gay men kissing in a park. This person reacted with revulsion and said "You'd never see two straight people do that!" The speaker pointed out that they do it all the time, but the person adamantly refused to recognize that two gay people making out is the same as two straight people making out.

Brandon said...

Newt Gingrinch's sister is a lesbian? Holy crap. That has to be the most awkward family reunion ever.