Time to get serious for a moment–the subject is homophobia

Right now, over 200 authors are conducting a massive bloghop: Hop Against Homophobia. All the details are here. Each author is posting a blog–comments left at that blog place you in the running to win prizes–but that’s not what it is really about. It’s about standing up against blatant homophobia, be it in your state assembly, the local schoolyard, against someone you love, or someone you’ve never met.

It’s about respecting the civil rights of a group of people because it is the right thing to do. No, I don’t have to be a homosexual to believe in the rights of same-sex couples to marry. I don’t have to be a lesbian to believe that people should not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, or that media celebrities should be condemned for calling on the death of all homosexuals. (This allegation has since been denied)

Civil rights for one minority affects the civil rights of ALL minorities. Don’t believe me? Look at the direction the GOP is taking the election this year. They can’t win on the terror platform. They can’t win on the economic platform. So they are making this election about social issues. Abstinence. Access to birth control and sex education. Benefits to single mothers. Financial aid to college students. Abortion. And gay rights.

They are taking the Us against Them battle into the far right territory, where their staunch electoral base still lies. The battle for your civil rights isn’t something that is fought for and won, game over, you have the title. The war on civil rights is ongoing daily, with the people who hold the most power doing everything in their power to erode the rights of others. Why? That’s how they *stay* in power.

So don’t think for an instant, this doesn’t apply to you because you aren’t a homosexual. It does. It applies to every thinking, compassionate person in this country who believes that bullying is wrong, and that hate crimes should be tried as such, and that women deserve equal pay for equal work, and that if you love someone, you have the right to marry them, to sit beside them when they are hospitalized, to make decisions concerning their care when they cannot.

I was at the barn yesterday morning when a country music song came on over the radio, touting the freedoms of living in America, and how this would always be the case.

Um, no. Those freedoms are up for grabs each and every day, and if you aren’t paying attention, *your* civil rights could be the next to go.

I want to tell the GOP: Back to the Future called. They want their DeLorean back. Because we will not go quietly back into the 1950s at the whim of politicians looking for re-election. Did you know that Congress has its own health insurance plan? Yup. That’s right. A pension plan too. Funny how you don’t hear about that when they are making decisions regarding *your* health and pension plans.

Why do I bring politics into it? Because it is a divisive lightening rod for civil rights. I guarantee you the average politician doesn’t give a rat’s ass about homophobia, except as a means to whip up the electorate into a frothy rage.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it doesn’t apply to you. It does. Because when the civil rights of one person is trampled, the stampede can occur with us all.  Right now in Iran, they are putting to death homosexuals.  No, that is not happening here in the US, not yet.  But there are people who think this should be done.

Anyone who leaves a comment on this blog is in the running to select one of my stories from my backlist.  Show your support!

64 thoughts on “Time to get serious for a moment–the subject is homophobia

  1. Great post, Sarah 🙂 It’s sad when politicians spew out homophobic comments just to gain votes. You’re right, it’s an Us against Them approach. Very probably, in the future, these anti-GLBTQ politicians will be used as schoolbook examples of narrow-minded injustice.

    • Thanks, Erica!

      I get angry when I realize how much this current Presidential campaign is about eroding civil rights in the name of morality and religion. It is especially annoying when the Bible has a lot to say about adultery, but somehow people conveniently forget that! Or prohibitions against eating shellfish, or touching the dead flesh of a pig, for that matter.

      Much of the old laws as laid down in Leviticus had as much to do with hygiene as anything else. Someone back in the day recognized the association between certain ‘unclean’ things and disease, and turned it into Law. Most people today recognize what no longer applies and can act accordingly. Which is why I become angry when certain factions hold the Bible up and claim it as the last words.

      I keep coming back to the fact that Jesus didn’t have much to say about homosexuality (that was all Paul!) but he had a lot to say about being hypocritical, and loving money and power. 🙂

  2. Politics should never be involved to exclude a person or a group. It also shouldn’t be able to spread hate. It’s really a sad thing to see.

    • Especially if the people espousing said position are more concerned with winning votes than they are affirming their beliefs. Oh sure, thee may be a few out there who *really* believe the crap they are spewing, but for most of these people, it is about winning votes at all costs. Regardless of whether the ‘cost’ is a human life or not. It sickens me, and makes me fearful of the direction this country seems to be headed in. 🙁

      Thank you for commenting! I’m pleased to know your opinion. 🙂

  3. great post….I don’t think taking away anyones rights for votes or not is right. I wish people would just open their eyes and see that LOVE is what is really important not gender 🙂

    • I just don’t get the whole ‘biggest threat to the institution of marriage’ argument. Um, wouldn’t that be infidelity? 🙂

  4. I think that politics and religion screwed up the world. Maybe if they weren’t such narrow minded bigots then the world would be more tolerant. Thank you for posting on the blog.

    • When a politician such as Newt Gingrich can marry and divorce three times, well, I hardly think same sex marriage is the biggest threat to the institution! 🙂

      Religion throughout history has always been about who’s in power. I think sometimes people forget that. I have strong religious beliefs myself, but I don’t hold with many of the actions of the Church as an organization. 🙁

      I’m happy to add my voice to the list here–thank you for joining me!

    • You’re welcome, Shadow. It’s a cause that is important to me as well. 🙂 Especially now, when I see so many new laws and amendments aimed at eroded the civil rights of so many.

  5. Well thought out and well written post. You’re right – what more can I say? I’m not an American but I’ve been listening to your politicians and at times rolling my eyes.

    • The sad thing is, I don’t *really* think most of these politicians really believe the stuff they are spouting right now. They are doing anything and everything to mobilize their voting base because what is more important to them is winning the next election at all costs. It’s sad, and it scares the crap out of me. And it makes me angry too. I don’t know which is worse, the people who believe this ideology, or the people who use it for their own gains. 🙁

  6. What truly screws the institution of marriage is infidelity and moral double standarts(since some of those ardent politicians were caught with a mistress, prostitute or propositioning males after oposing gay marriage and rights in public).

  7. Thanks for this post, Sarah! The priest at my handfasting/wedding & my spouse’s best man were a couple. They’ve been together through more than 15 years, 4 or 5 dogs, 2 houses (complete with filthy epithets spray-painted on the siding) & who-knows-how-many straight marriages, & barely seem closer to being accepted & acknowleged than when they began…. It makes me so angry I feel sick sometimes.

    I came across a fantastic column by William R. Pitt called “It Is Enough: An Open Letter to the Sick at Heart” that says some things about tolerating the intolerant that I’ve been thinking for a long time, but in words much more eloquent (& less vulgar!) than I’ve been able to find. Part of it goes:

    “….Twenty years of peddling hate and fear metastasized into a ‘Tea Party’ base whose real muscle came from championing hate and fear… and the smart boys who started the whole thing two decades ago were left in front of an open barn door wondering how things got so bad so fast.

    “Suddenly, the worst elements of their dark creation — Christian dominionism, anti-gay zealotry, anti-woman Biblical dudgeon, unabashed racism, cocked-rifle xenophobia, and an all-out assault on even the most meager concepts of government — went from being the crap they’d once ignored as bad noise from their “useful idiots,” to being the hood ornament on the careening juggernaut of a party they no longer had control of.

    “The rest, as they say, is history: their ‘Tea Party’ opened the floodgates for the kind of publicly-spouted revisionist-history nonsense one might expect from a 19th century tent revival: lots of Jesus, please pass the hat, send home the women and children because the minstrel show is about to begin… and hey, sir, here’s some snake oil… it’ll cure what ails ya… cash only, please….

    “Welcome to 21st century American politics, Republican-style.”

    Welcome, indeed, to “America: Love It or Leave It.” I say NO. It is enough!

    • P.S.–This — “I want to tell the GOP: Back to the Future called. They want their DeLorean back.” — is brilliant! I’m dying for someone to make this into a poster or big icon, with a photo of a rusting, broken-down DeLorean. 😀

    • It’s so nice to hear someone be able to relate a story in which the religious figures in it are tolerant and caring. Sometimes I get the feeling that homophobia is about religious intolerance, but it’s not. Homophobia is a mindset, not a religious edict!

      The link you sent is awesome, thank you!

    • I would like to believe that, but tonight as I was driving home, I saw a bumper sticker that read: “The War Against the Northern Aggression was the American Holocaust.”

      I kid you not.

      It was so utterly depressing, I hardly know what to say. We are backsliding so badly, and it happened on my generation’s watch. I’m ashamed for my country at the moment.

      • Terrific post! And that bumper sticker you saw? Well that just makes me sick to my stomach for so VERY many reasons. I’m sure you heard the latest breaking news today about Joe Ricketts’ Super PAC putting together an anti-Obama ad campaign that invokes racism in its ugliest form (not that there is ever an “attractive” form). This whole political climate is just so distressing. I talk to my Canadian friends and they cannot even believe what is going on down here. I only hope and pray that we are able to call out this blatant fear-mongering for what it is and shed light on these very dark places. I live in Indiana and when Dick Lugar is voted out of office for being “too soft and liberal” I am seriously thinking that the earth is about to spin off it’s axis!

        After the vote in NC last week, the only thing we can do is continue to speak out and hope that the rational will outnumber the irrational and that indeed love will triumph over hate. I wish I were more optimistic about that happening any time soon. Unfortunately those with the power are so worried about keeping it that they are willing to do just about anything to keep it.

        • No, I missed the Super-Pac announcement. Argh. Work was terribly busy (as well as depressing) and I didn’t have the strength to turn on the news when I got home.

          You are absolutely right about the political climate here. It is appalling. Sometimes I can’t believe we as a nation are so stupid, but then FOX News and other Murdoch outlets have been spoon-feeding distortion and hatred for so long now, I shouldn’t be surprised.

          I hope we’re smarter and more courageous than I think we are. 🙁

  8. Not here for the prizes! Just wanted to let you know I adore your post. No punches pulled. Love it.

  9. Thank you for the post,you are so right,the civil rights of everyone is at stake if one group is denied their rights.All must have equal rights.

    • The far right has been systematically stripping every group capable of collectively standing up to them of their rights for years now–all in the name of religion, which is a pretty hard argument to fight. When you take the position of Us Against Them, with no middle ground, you force people to choose your side on ALL your views, even if they only agree on one or two.

      The funny thing is, if you’d asked me for my opinion on politics 10 years ago, I would have rolled my eyes and said I don’t have time for politics. Well, that’s how they snuck things past us. We weren’t paying attention because we were too busy trying to earn a living, take care of our aging parents, raise our children, etc.

      Things have degenerated to the point where a media personality such as Rush Limbaugh can openly call someone derogatory names for *days* before advertisers pull their funding. And Ted Nugent can say he’ll be dead or in jail if President Obama is re-elected–and people *support* him.

      When The Dixie Chicks lead singer stated, on the run up to the invasion of Iraq, that she was shamed President Bush was from Texas–the band was boycotted by radio stations across the nation and they received death threats.

      What is the difference here? Well, the Dixie Chicks comment came when we were still looking for someone to blame for 9/11. We were angry and scared and looking for a fight. Okay, I can understand how some people thought it was an inappropriate comment to make at a concert.

      But ten years later, we’ve somehow become a nation that fosters hate talk to such a degree that it is frightening. I blame it on FOX News and the other media outlets that make their ratings on frothing at the mouth. Women who seek birth control are ‘sluts’. Homosexuals are a threat to the ‘sanctity of marriage’, and are universally labeled as pedophiles (WTF?), and are not just denied their civil rights, but some would deny them their right to even *exist*.

      Funny how it all comes down to sex for the far right, isn’t it? Apparently, no one is allowed to have any. 🙂

      I just hope that enough people wake up to what is taking place and say, “No, that is unacceptable.”

  10. Great post Sarah! People that are against gay marriage/civil rights should just put the politics and religion aside and ask themselves how they would feel if they were treated this way. If they’re being honest, there’s no way they would agree that this is fair. It’s not and they know it! They are a bunch of hypocrites.

    • The problem is, so many of these people, the same people who would hold up the Golden Rule as the standard by which everyone should operate, have a big “EXCEPT” in their minds.

      Do unto others as you would have them do unto you EXCEPT if they are from another race, creed, religion, background as you.

      The people wielding the Bible as their shield and claiming their right to condemn homosexuality on moral grounds seem to have forgotten that Leviticus also has a lot to say about such things as eating shellfish (oops, has anyone told Red Lobster–oh, wait! That Red Lobster logo is OBVIOUSLY a symbol of Satan!! It’s Red! It has Claws! And a Tail!), and handling the skin of a dead pig for starters. (Does this spell the end of the NFL? Oh noes!)

      Leviticus also talked about the right to own slaves, and the right to sell your own daughter into slavery.

      Jesus said *nothing* about homosexuality. Nothing. And my understanding has always been that the coming of the Messiah transcended Mosaic Law. Not that I pretend to be a scholar as such, just that it’s food for thought, you know?

  11. Sarah,
    thanks for your post. I’ve read so many great posts today. Yours really hit home for me. I agree that it’s important for folks have to realize that discrimination hurts EVERYONE.

    • Thank you! I’ve read so many great posts this evening myself –and realize I have hundreds more to go! Each post has such a different perspective on this issue that I am learning something with every one. 🙂

  12. People who are bigoted against gays are often bigots in general. People who oppose equal rights for gays often oppose equal rights for others. It’s everybody’s fight.

    • Exactly! And in the same manner that the GOP has bound together a voting block built on people who hate things, it’s time the rest of us stood up together for what is right. 🙂

    • This! WORD. I think the GOP is just starting to get an idea of the slumbering beast they may have awakened. I hope that more people take a hard look at laws that are being passed without clear wording, paid for by special interest groups. The thing is, it is so easy to mobilize people over hate, and so hard to mobilize people when they feel that they have no power to change things.

      People need to realize that collectively, we *do* have power, which is why others are so bent on stripping us of our rights.

      What is the battle over health insurance really about? Keeping people in jobs they hate, working at the whim of big companies because they are terrified of losing coverage for their families. The battle over birth control is really ideology over abortion. Immigration laws, racism. The extreme wealthy talk about lifting yourself up by your bootstraps through hard work and not asking for a handout–and yet with each year, the earnings gap widens and it becomes harder to do the only option left open to us.

      When we deny homosexuals (or any other minority group) rights as *people*, we open the door for the oppression of *all* minorities.

      These guys want to talk Constitutional Law? What about the Declaration of Independence and the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? 🙂

  13. Great post! I hear people constantly talk about how great we have it and our freedom. I wonder if they are living in the same country as me sometimes. Do they not realize how much discrimination is still going on? Do they not see that all of us are not treated equally? Do they not see that our government is supporting that? Yes, it’s a great country and I love it but I can also see a lot of faults and areas for improvement too.

    • I don’t think people realize that our rights and freedoms are subject to being taken away by people with more money and a larger shouting voice if we aren’t paying attention. Sadly, the people with the most to lose are often the ones least educated about what’s at stake if they don’t get out and vote.

      Only when we stand together as a block are we a blizzard that can force change. By ourselves, we are just individual snowflakes. 🙂

    • I’ve read so many moving and heartbreaking stories, as well as stories of hope and encouragement. I know I can’t possibly read them all, but I’m going to try! Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

  14. Very well written post! I totally believe that any discrimination is bullying and I HATE bullies. Of every form. They are usually insecure, nasty people who are unhappy and want to make everyone else more miserable than they are.

    (Sorry – bullies are a hot topic for me!)

    • You know, until this very moment, I didn’t consider myself bullied at school, but I was. When I was 11, my family moved from a large suburb with a good school district to a very small town in Appalachia. I was socially awkward enough that I didn’t realize that it wasn’t cool to be the one answering the questions correctly in class.

      I was not the healthiest child. Underweight for my age, with a mop of hair and Coke-bottle lenses in my glasses, I was the perfect target for bullies who hated me because I was also smart. I was thrown down a flight of stairs. I was shut inside a metal hallway locker and was unable to get out until someone let me out. I was pushed around in the restroom and had clothes taken from me.

      Things came to a head when a girl pushed past me as we were leaving the gym, raking her cleated track shoes across my face as she went. “Out of my way, bitch!” she sneered.

      I don’t know if you’ve ever been hit in the face while wearing glasses, but it hurts. I lost it. I flew after her, picked her up off the ground and suspended her over my head while I said in my best Hulk voice, “Don’t you ever do that again!”

      I let her fall to the ground and stalked off. She waited until I was 25 feet away and shouted, “I bet you think you’re tough, bitch!”

      I wheeled in her direction and she bolted. I never had trouble out of the bullies again.

      The next semester I took a reading class as one of my electives. I thought it would be fun; instead it was a boring class in which we read short stories out of color coded booklets and took tests on them. One day I was assigned the duty of booklet collection. Mind you, I was in the seventh grade at the time. My booklet was coded for college level reading and above. The *next closest booklet* was for one of my rivals–and she was reading on the third grade level. Everyone else in the class was second grade or below.

      That was when I realized for the first time that most bullying is rooted in fear and shame. I can have compassion for some people who strike out for those reasons. Some. But I still know how to stand up for myself too. And you don’t want to make me mad. You won’t like me when I’m mad. *winks*

  15. Excellent post on the politics of hate and where its gotten us. I do feel like we’re approaching a tipping point with Obama being the first sitting President to personally come out in favor of gay marriage, and Biden going endearingly fanboy on Will & Grace. Polls show that the numbers the people in favor of gay marriage are rising wicked fast–even on the Republican side–and we have college students facing down congressional panels along with radio pundits who call them sluts.

    I think as a whole we’re moving in the right direction, and I’m with you. We have to keep moving forward even when bigots and Politicians-for-Pay push us back with everything they’ve got.

    • I think ‘the politics of hate’ is a very good way of putting it–and when we put it that way, do we really want to run our country and base our lives on a policy of hatred? Apparently some people do.

      I saw an excellent analogy today on Facebook. Taking legal action to prevent same-sex marriages is akin to being taught that watching Dr. Who on Sundays is against your religion–therefore, you will make it illegal for ANYONE ELSE to watch Dr. Who on Sundays as well.

      The principles are the same. If you don’t believe in same-sex marriages for religious reasons–don’t marry someone of the same sex. The only person you should be concerned with is yourself.


  16. Thanks for participating in this great blog hop. I’m enjoying all the posts 🙂


    • Thank you! You know, you are the only person who has left contact information–I should have suggested people do that in my post!

      I also have fallen off sharply in my own tour of the blog hop. There have been so many great posts, that is it hard to get through them all. Thank you for coming here. 🙂

  17. religioon and politics killed all the love. Here’s to the end of the world as we know it and a new beginning with no fears and love for everyone.

    • Very much like the John Lennon song, Imagine, huh? I admit, when I was younger, I didn’t understand that song the way I do now. 🙂

  18. Thank you so much for your post! You’re absolutely right, everybody should be concerned when civil rights are threatened or denied to some groups, because the next time it might be yourself who suffers. Politics really seem to be about how to get the most votes, no matter what. My high school politics teacher always said: it’s only about money and power. I second that it’s often the uneducated who don’t realize that what politicians promise is fake and what they personally lose by voting for them, i.e. the health care thing. I’m from western Europe and a lot of things are easier here (even though the Bush government once called us the “Old Europe”) we seem to have more modern political attitude and the religious right does not have such an influence on politics. For an outsider the upcoming election in the US really looks like a tipping point, towards either a more tolerant society or a backslide into the Dark Ages. I hope for the sake of all of us, that Obama will win!

    • Religion has always been about power–from the time that we started tithing to the church, priesthood, etc. If you look at the evolution of religion throughout history, some of the bloodiest battles between Us and Them have been in the name of religion–and who holds the land.

      You’re right about the Dark Ages–I’m very concerned. President Obama is one of the *best* presidents we’ve had in a generation–and yet the propaganda machine of the far right–namely FOX News–is much better at the spreading disinformation than the left is. To be honest, I think it is because the left is a wee bit nicer–and nice doesn’t make for good sound bites.

      I just hope we’re not as stupid as a nation as I’m afraid we are. 🙁

  19. Thank you so much for participating in the hop. I hope that this helps to spread the word and that one day a hop like this will no longer be needed. I have shown many of the post to my nieces and nephews. We recently have been discussing how damaging bullying is and how innocent remarks can make you be seen as being a bully. One of the things that makes me mad is when I hear…you’re so gay… pisses me off. These post have helped them already. I heard my nephew stand up to someone that called someone else a hurtful name… I was so proud. Thank you all for helping by sharing hurtful and/sad memories and your personal views/message.
    I pray one day for equality for EVERYONE not just some.

    • I’ve really struggled with the ‘that’s so gay’ phrase around the house here. It is such a pervasive phrase when the kids (or even my younger colleagues) want to say that something is ‘so lame.’

      Then I remind myself that ‘so lame’ is not acceptable either. Slowly but surely, we’re weeding all of this kind of derogatory language out of our lives. 🙂

  20. Thanks for participating for this wonderful cause of awareness…I teach high schoolers and this is a topic that we discuss at length. I just want them to be aware and know that they have the power to change the world!

    • I really think the average parent has no idea what goes on in schools these days. I wouldn’t want to be a teenager today.

      You have a tough job–kudos to you for teaching your students that they do have the power to enact change. Maybe not as individuals, but collectively, we can make change happen.

      Interracial marriage used to be illegal. That seems ludicrous now. More and more people state they support same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws. I think the closer we get to making change, the uglier things get for a while as the naysayers kick and scream on their way out the door. I certainly hope that’s the case here!

  21. Nice post. It’s kind of fun to find out that, while not all of them have gotten the memo, some Republicans are starting to back down from the anti-gay thing. The most homophobic of them are probably just about to be arrested in an airport men’s room. 🙂

    • I suspect a few of them are starting to count up all the ‘minority’ and ‘powerless’ people they’ve been pissing off lately and realize that collectively, we represent a HUGE number of the electorate. 😉

  22. When I did a presentation on Death Penalty, a lot of people in my course were surprised that homosexuality is still punishable by death in some countries, it’s sad that this doesn’t seem to hinder any relationships with this countries and there is not enough pressure on them to change this.

    • The recent images coming out of Iran are horrifying, as any man suspected of homosexuality is being executed. And there have certainly been problems with Americans traveling to certain countries and being jailed for suspected homosexuality. I think each of us have to win the war in our own backyards first, though. My fear is that we are at risk of losing all the gains made through the civil rights movement. And right granted can be revoked if enough people get behind it. And that seems to be the direction the far right wants to take us these days. 🙁

      In a way, though, it says *good* things about your classmates that they were surprised homosexuality is punishable by death in some countries. That means they recognize how fundamentally wrong that is, whether or not they support gay rights. 🙂

    • The world would be a much better place if people would only say, “Here are my beliefs. The only person I should be concerned about following my beliefs is me.” Unfortunately, power has been part of religion ever since the concept of different religions began. The Pharaoh Akhenaten preached about a ‘one true god’ and forced his beliefs on his people. At his death, the priests of Ra had Akhenaten’s name struck from every tablet and monument–which was akin to spiritual murder in their eyes. Why? Because the priesthood of Ra had been the most powerful group of men, second only to the Pharaoh, before Akhenaten shut them down.

      When we pair a moral standard with a religious calling, it is very hard for people of religious faith to separate the two. The Bible calls on us to be lambs or goats–but what happens when the spiritual leaders of the land lump all their hatreds in with their preaching? It is hard for people, used to swallowing the rhetoric whole, without ever questioning it, to say, “wait, I don’t think this is right.” Not when the leaders are saying, “Agree with me on EVERYTHING or you are wrong and going to hell!”

      I wonder how many of those leaders eat shellfish, or handle a football (made of pigskin) or commit casual adultery–and don’t consider these crimes as serious as the ‘crime’ of homosexuality? Because according to the Bible, these things are ‘wrong’ as well. So who gets to be the one who decides what to pick and choose? The religious right’s stance here is incredibly hypocritical, and yet they cannot see it.

  23. Thanks for being apart of the hop. One day the ones who went arround passing judgement will have to face the music themselves and when they do it will be a sweet moment.

    • Passing judgement is one thing–passing laws to enforce your judgement on others is another. I can’t understand how we keep progressively sliding backward into the kind of government that the colonists who came to this country were trying to leave behind? My only hope is that all the individual groups that are seeing what the GOP is doing to their basic rights will band together and send them a clear message in the next election. 🙂

    • It was my pleasure! I only wish I had gotten to more of the other posts on the tour, but I intend to keep making the rounds even though the official tour is ending. Everyone has a unique perspective on this issue, and I have been humbled by the experiences and insights of others. 🙂

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