Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Pastors, hate speech and the messages we're all sending

So when we look at the big, dramatic (and typical) stories lately of religious bigots running their mouths with, frankly standard, homophobic bullshit – are we surprised?

When a pastor calls for gay kids to be beaten – are we surprised?

Why? All of this has happened –much as the straight world tries to erase history. It’s all still happening, for that matter. Why shouldn’t they feel like such language is acceptable? Have you read my “Bad News” lists? Take a moment, scroll through these horrendous lists – the Pope and many other religious leaders have said as bad in the past and likely will do in the future. Look at

Why shouldn’t they think this is acceptable discourse? Or, for that matter, why shouldn’t they think what they espouse isn’t acceptable policy?

Let’s make the root of homophobia clear: GBLT people are considered less than straight people. That is the root, the source of homophobia and we live in a homophobia society. In our society, the lives of GBLT people do not matter. I repeat, again, the lives of GBLT people do not have value. GBLT people are not considered valuable, real people. Our rights are less valuable, our personhood questionable, our humanity refused, our citizenship dismissible.

This is why, whenever we are murdered, we get the gay panic defence raised in court and it’s considered acceptable. This is why, when we die, the sentences are so weak.

This is why our rights and existence are debated on TV, why CNN invites hate group leaders to speak, why the BBC asks whether gay people should be executed.

This is why it took until 2005 fir the European Parliament to acknowledge GBLT people were victims of the Holocaust. That is why many Holocaust museums to this day still don’t include us. That is why some people still deny it happened. That is why bigots can openly compare GBLT people to the Nazis and no-one take them down for the sheer extremity of such vileness.  Usually we call that “holocaust denial” and it’s regarded with disgust. When it’s denying the massacres of GBLT people though? Well, that’s not the same.

This is why both hate groups and supposed social justice warriors alike can deny that there has been any history of oppression of GBLT people – outright deny it! Never mind that, in the west, in living memory you could be imprisoned and tortured and castrated for being GBLT. Never mind that for most of history we could be imprisoned, tortured and executed for existing – which still continues in so many parts of the world.

Never mind that, for most of history through most of the world there has been an unending genocide against us.

Yes, the g-word. Another word that you’ll find the social justice warriors and the liberals and the NGOs conspicuously not using. Oh no, not for GBLT people. We don’t count. Something about our deaths isn’t important enough for it to be considered genocide.

And you wonder why they think their hate speech is acceptable? When you can look at the systematic slaughter of an entire class of people and NOT call it genocide – why wouldn’t they think we’re less than people? When the straight world simply CANNOT bring itself to treat our deaths as important as the deaths of REAL people?

This is why supposedly liberal, homophobic blogs like Tiger Beatdown can complain about the mean GBLT people being angry about Dharum Ravi’s sentence (yet another example of how little our lives are worth) or Jack and Jill Politics think it’s necessary to present a “balanced” approach to whether GBLT people are due equal rights or not. This is why bigots like John Sentamu can be considered liberal and champions of human rights, why we give the Nobel Peace Prize to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who supports state persecution of GBLT people. Why, when President Mugabe who says gay people will cause the extinction of humanity is made a UN ambassador? This is why holding major global events like the World Cup in countries like Russia and Qatar – where we can be arrested for speaking up and flogged for existing – is considered perfectly acceptable.

The message is clear – not just on the right, but among so-called progressives as well, our lives don’t matter. Killing us doesn’t really count. Massacring us isn’t the same as massacring “real” people. These bigoted pastors are just saying exactly the same thing that the rest of the straight world says – only they’re being overt about it.

Until that message stops, until our humanity is acknowledged, homophobia will continue, and these bigoted pastors will keep saying starkly what you keep saying covertly.