What We Learn from Anti-LGBTQ History Is That There's Nothing More to Say

October is historically LGBTQ History Month, but we’ll really learn a lot that’s useful every day from recent anti-LGBTQ history. Most importantly, when we look back we realize that there’s nothing new today that’s being said about LGBTQ people by their detractors. Yes, that’s nothing, nothing at all, because they have nothing new to say. If something sounds new to you in your experience, at least recognize that it’s been said before. It’s all been said for at least the last half-century. There are no new arguments that we haven’t heard for generations whether they’re religious, psychological, historical, gender-based, or those that cite “traditional” values or something else “traditional.”
Let’s start with religious arguments. New? Nothing.

All the Bible passages have been discussed now for multiple generations. And the reality is that each of the passages regurgitated again and again to argue against “homosexuality” (a concept not found in the Bible) have probably at least three to …

The Cliché Is Right: We Really Are All in this Together

Have you ever asked why one group that’s been a victim of discrimination doesn’t automatically see how another group is suffering? Have you wondered why people in one group could actually participate in the oppression of another or at least ignore the desires for similar equality by the other group? It doesn’t seem to matter what the basis of a discrimination is – class, race, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, abilities and disabilities, religion, etc. An inability to see discrimination and oppression as a way of approaching life that suits a system’s desire to eliminate threats to the status quo, functions to keep people in competition with each other, even fighting the liberation of an other, so that there’s no combined strength to change the system. There are different ways to look at the struggle to end discrimination and oppression. And their differences help explain why one oppressed group can’t empathize with how another group is similarly affected by a systemic o…

Can We Stand Resolute Against the Rollback of LGBTQ Equality

When in 2015 Michelangelo Signorile published his warningIt’s Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality, no matter how accurate his analysis was, he had little idea that even worse would be the election of a sociopathic egomaniac as president and a Vice President who is the poster boy for everything that is anti-LGBTQ. Back then I said that it was the must-read of the year. The way forward, he pointed out, was no longer to be wishy-washy liberals who thought that cookies and milk and the singing of Kumbaya would make everyone like us. “In fact,” Signorile wrote, “it’s time for us to be intolerant – intolerant of all forms of homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry against LGBT people. People often use the phrase ‘let’s agree to disagree’ when they respect but do not share the different positions of their friends or colleagues. But it’s time that all of us who support LGBT equality no longer agree to disagree on full civil rights for LGBT peopl…

Why Is the Idea of Privilege So Controversial?

“White privilege.” “Male privilege.” Heterosexual privilege.” “Class privilege.” “Able-bodied privilege.” “Christian privilege.” Though the concept of the privilege of the dominant group that’s based on culturally accepting their characteristics as the norm and others as deviants from a norm that’s somehow considered more natural, American, and human has been around for decades, its very mention to a person in those dominant groups often raises the level of a discussion’s heat.  People not a part of those dominant groups are regularly, and often silently, aware of what those phrases mean to their daily lives, but the dynamics of our culture’s intersection of the categories we use to divide people complicates the discussion. And when government or other institutions act to mitigate privilege, those actions often evoke complaints of reverse discrimination. We see this in the stereotypical attacks on affirmative action – the often misunderstood but most conservative attempt to correct h…

June is Another LGBTQ Pride Month, And It's the Pride Part that Drives Them Nuts

“If they just didn’t have to flaunt it.” “Why do they throw it in our faces?” “Can’t they just act like Americans?” “I like the ones who fit in with the rest of us.” “Why do we have to have all this Pride month propaganda?” All these complaints are akin to the recent statement by a Missouri lawmaker who has a long record of opening his mouth to change feet: “When you look at the tenets of religion, of the Bible, of the Quran, of other religions, there is a distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being.” The complaints reflect where anti-LGBTQ people who’ve convinced themselves they’re not are and how those who still raise money off of anti-LGBTQ crusades get the attention of their followers. They’re in sync with anti-LGBTQ claims that the goal of “the militant gays” (you know, like some kind of mafia) is to destroy “traditional” American culture or some part thereof. It’s also another example of what members of dominant groups say about any outsiders. White racism do…

More Collateral Damage Is Just the Price of Making America Macho Again

The politics and administration of the Trump phenomenon are a full-blown affirmation of what’s now called “toxic masculinity.” Observers point out that it’s both an appeal to men (mostly white) who feel that their and America’s masculinity is threatened as well as a glorification of the masculine gender conditioning that’s been part of American society for generations. Calling it “toxic masculinity,” though, makes it sound as if it’s something other than what it actually is: the full living out of a generations-old American male gender role that many thought was waning. It’s none other than our culture’s dominant definition of masculinity out in full force. There are many elements of this role such as the putting down of anything judged feminine or just not masculine enough while promoting a female role that makes women trophies and support personnel for the macho ego. Those elements have been called sexist and misogynist for they invoke the stereotypes of frat boy references to wome…

Translating Right-Wing Attempts to Trigger Liberal Guilt

We want to believe that everyone means what they say. We want to believe that a little more educating and presentation of the facts convinces people.  We think that explaining ourselves over and over again and spending a lot of energy to understand the right-wing will help us get along. We’re invested in the idea that showing them we care about their views – even claiming we “respect” irrational views – will win them over. And when these things don’t work, we blame ourselves, our lack of listening skills, our lack of empathy, our neglect to spend enough time, or our failure to articulate clearly what we mean. We treat ourselves as the guilty party in the debates and actually, though we’d never admit it to ourselves, end up looking down on right-wingers and their dupes as if they’re mere victims of ignorance, misinformation or illogic, not as actors who make choices and cling to their prejudices no matter how we argue.  No wonder that the right-wing thinks liberals look down on them.  …

What Now? Part Four: Are You Personally Prepared for this Fight?

If Republican operatives like Frank Luntz hadn’t already perfected the ability to manipulate people (“What matters most in politics is personality. It's not issues; it's not image.”) so that they’d regularly vote against their own interests before, we now have an administration that is thoroughly experienced in the manipulation of emotions over logic and the triggering of all that will keep its enemies off guard. The President himself has a history of being an egotistic, self-promoting conman and reality TV entertainer, and the real mastermind behind his initiatives, Steve Bannon, came from the leadership of the Breitbart right-wing news-manipulating organization. Thus, the first days of this administration have been marked by immediate bold executive actions that have been paced to hold the media’s attention and make people reel from their rapid-fire timing. Their strategy is brilliantly meant: to make the President look as if he’s a real take-charge CEO - appearance is what …