Monday, May 17, 2010

Day Againsts Homophobia...Defending The Indefensible

Today, May 17th is marked as the "Day Against Homophobia". (learn more)Its labeled as a day to reach out to others and raise awareness of the effects of homophobia and transphobia. Celebrated in 50 countries, it is also a day in which events are held aimed at reducing the fear, lack of information, and deliberate misinformation that creates homophobia ane the awfull actions it leaves in its wake. While a worthy undertaking, its not exactly a day in which you run out an buy all your loved ones cards or gifts....though I suppose it could be celebrated over a few margaritas.

In considering the scope of this task, it feels like moving a mountain one spoonfull at a time. This is my spoonfull. Read on:

AmericaBlog ran a story today about President Obama appointing Johnathan Katz to an elite panel of scientists tasked with figuring out how to deal with the massive disaster that is the British Petroleum oil spill. The President refered to Mr. Katz as "one of our finest minds". The problem....Mr. Katz has gone on record  as a "proud homophobe" and has written his own diatribe called "In Defense Of Homophobia". In this work he accuses the gay community and I.V drug users of living a selfish and reckless lifestyle that lead to the tragedy of HIV deaths both in the gay community and beyond. It is his "Defense of Homophobia" that I would like to take on today. It is frowned upon to repost items wholecloth even though I would love to address the entire piece, so I will hit some of Katz's homophobic highlights...

The piece begins with Katz misdefining homophobia. He labels it "the moral judgement that homosexual behavior  is wrong." Now while judgementalism is one factor of homophobia. Homophobia itself also includes a range of negative behaviors begining with a lack of knowledge of who gay people are. Fear of the "other" is usually at the root of it and this has been repeated through misuse of religion to the point of being considered biblical canon. Fear, anger and hatred of those you don't know or understand are all contributants of homophobia. To equat the term merely with some skewed idea of righteous, moral judgement is to whitewash a borrow a biblical phrase.

Following, Katz than went on to include those same cherry-picked Bible passages that are so often used to condemn gay people, siting leviticus and the bibles use of the term "abomination" to describe homosexuality. Now...he does this in an off handed way, as if attempting to introduce facts into an argument that he doesn't explicitely say are his viewpoints...just what "some people believe". However, if thats the case...Why introduce religion into it at all? Surely "one of our finest minds" should have a deeper understanding of the origins and developement of religious practice. He even shoots himself in the foot within his own argument: (emphasis mine)

This condemnation is found in the Book of Leviticus, along with condemnations of incest and bestiality. Unlike homosexuality, there has been no organized effort to win approval for those sexual sins, which are condemned by almost everyone. The same word is used to condemn moving boundary markers, a grievous sin in an agricultural society.

Wow...moving a boundry marker you say...I wonder how many people are getting stoned for THAT today? Or the people who eat shellfish, or wear clothes made of mixed fabrics, or have anything to do with a menstrating woman, or any of the other items listed as "abominations" in ancient biblical culture. You would be able to litterally stone most of the worlds population if you condemned every action the Bible lists as an abomination. But being in the physical sciences, I guess thats a bit beyond his field...(har har..pun intended)

Now we move on from the realm of religious arguments into a "rationalist" argument against homosexuality that is meant to appeal to a more secular mind. Hold your nose, this is where it really begins to stink...

Recent medical history provides a convincing argument. HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, has been present, and occasionally found in the human population, for about half a century (a few sporadic AIDS cases have been identified as far back as the 1950's, or even earlier). Yet they were quite rare; the modern AIDS epidemic began suddenly about 1980. Its first victims were promiscuous homosexual males; it was initially called ``Gay-Related Immune Deficiency''.

Revisionist history anyone? While it did hit the gay community first and hard it was also called the 4H disease because it was popping up in Haitians, homosexuals, hemopheliacs, and heroin users....among the other lovely acronyms and cute names given a disease that was killing people while we laid blame. Another often overlooked fact of HIV that those who blame the gays fail to see is that it originated in African primates as the "Simian Immunodeficiency Virus". Thats right...another diseases that jumped from animals to people, much like that scare over the bird flue. Yet somehow along the way it became known as "gay cancer" and many considered it to be judgement for homosexual sinners. Was GOD judging the monkeys too?

The religious believer may see the hand of God, but both he and the rationalist must see a fact of Nature. The human body was not designed to share hypodermic needles, it was not designed to be promiscuous, and it was not designed to engage in homosexual acts. Engaging in such behavior is like riding a motorcycle on an icy road without a helmet. It may be possible to get away with it for a while, and a few misguided souls may get a thrill out of doing so, but sooner or later (probably sooner) the consequences will be catastrophic. Lethal diseases spread rapidly among people who do such things.

I will not defend sharing needles...that can and does kill...but its also not equal to homosexuality. The human body was not designed for hypodermic needles AT ALL else we would have a handy place to put them that would not involve breaking the skin. Nor is the human body designed to recieved artificial organs or pace makers. If we were designed for such things we would have a more convenient way of doing them without risking our lives through surgery. Now I can hear the argument now, "But surely unprotected sex IS comperable to sharing needles because you don't know what disease may be being passed between participants." Yes...unprotected sex carries with it a great deal of danger and risk and we can now be aware of that. However when AIDS first appeared the types of diseases you got from sex were treatable if not cureable. I would wager that, at that time, most people having recreational sex were having unprotected sex the majority of the time regardless of their sexual orientation. But since AIDS first appeared in large numbers within the gay community, people lay the blame there. What if it has happened within the straight community first? Surely those key parties and swingers clubs were just as active and more prevelent than gay bars. Would the President have moved a little faster to identify a treatement? What if had been confined to Africa? Would Americans have taken notice at all?

But heres where it gets really bad:

Unfortunately, the victims are not only those whose reckless behavior brought death on themselves. There are many completely innocent victims, too: hemophiliacs (a substantial fraction died as a result of contaminated clotting factor), recipients of contaminated transfusions, and their spouses and children, for AIDS can be transmitted heterosexually (in America, only infrequently) and congenitally. The icy road was lined with unsuspecting innocents, who never chose to ride a motorcycle. Guilt for their deaths is on the hands of the homosexuals and intravenous drug abusers who poisoned the blood supply. These people died so the sodomites could feel good about themselves.
Don't even begin to lay blame down on the gay community for the deaths brought about by AIDS. Many things contributed to that. One was utter, willfull ignorance about how HIV was spread. Many people were content to see it as a "gay disease" that they could never get because they weren't gay. And so it spread to everyone until the truth of HIV became known. When it spread into the straight community all the sudden their was this great sense of urgency to discover how it spread and how to treat it. Blaming the gay community and those who suffered and died is an awfull thing.  Too many people died because the government drug its feet because it was gay people who were dying. I don't think anyone who lived through that would ever describe it as a time when they felt good about themselves.

The homophobe does not engage in violence against homosexuals. Repelled, he stays away from them.
Really? Well its good to know that I am a homophobe repellent. You would think they would keep as far away from us as possible, not beat us with baseball bats as we leave a bar with our brothers, as happened to Jose Sucuzhanay....or ties us to fences, beat us, and leave us for dead, as happened to Matthew Sheppard....or light us on fire and then dismember us as happened to Jorge Mercado...and a list of countless others. You mean to tell me they could have just "repelled" them? Who knew?

Homophobes are divided on the wisdom of laws against homosexual acts. Some believe laws are a good way to reduce their frequency and damaging consequences.Others, probably the majority, believe that outlawing these acts is futile, just as outlawing drug abuse may be futile, and that laws may lead to destructive witch-hunts. These homophobes believe the best approach is moral condemnation, which is the approach our society now applies to many other destructive practices, such as adultery, alcohol and tobacco abuse, and suicide. Moral condemnation will not extirpate them, but neither can the law; a climate of disapproval may reduce their frequency and their harm.
Those witch-hunts can be troublesome. Tossing aside the Constitution has an odd way of backfiring on the people that supported the hunt. What begins with legislating against homosexuals this week, will end in witch-hunting someone else next week the moralist eye, all of us have something to hide. Just ask George Allen Rekkers.

What of those cursed with unnatural sexual desires? Must they forever suppress these desires? Yes, but this is hardly a unique fate. Almost everyone has desires which must be suppressed. Most men and women think adulterous thoughts fairly often, and find themselves attracted to members of the opposite sex to whom they are not married. Morality requires them to suppress these desires, and most do not commit adultery, though they feel lust in their hearts. Almost everyone, at one time or another, covets another's property. They do not steal. Many people feel great anger or intense hatred at some time in their lives. They do not kill.

Being gay is not the same as desiring to sit down and eat a whole chocolate cake. The alternative is a life without knowing the fullness of love. Not simply the feeling of love but the act of sex that accompanies it as well. Is that something Mr. Katz would be willing to do if the tables were turned? I highly doubt it. To commit steal...To practice sex with kill... all involve one person expressing dominance over a victim. Tell me how two men in a commited loving relationship equates to that....even two men having consentual sex?  Yet Mr. Katz is o.k. with me living a closeted life, married to a woman I have no attraction to whatsoever. That  scenario DOES involve victims as the heartbroken wives and of these closeted men can attest to....all to live "normally". I consider my sexual orientation normal. A part of the larger spectrum of life that everyday reveals itself in a bewildering array of diversity. It is not a curse. Through it I have known love and will never be ashamed for that.

Those are the words of of our declared "proud homophobe" and recently appointed Obama Administration brainiac. I hope he is better at cleaning up that oil spill than he is at supporting his reasons for homophobia because if this is an example of the thought process of "one of our brightest minds" I think he may want to think it through a little more.

Until next time everyone...


  1. "Proud self loathing closet case"

  2. I am pretty sure this guy is a closet case.

    He should be fired from whatever position he holds.

    If he said anything similar about black people he would be immiediated unacceptabe and I don't see how this can be any different.

    I was worried about our new conservative government but even they sacked someone for a top job for saying that bed and breakfast owners should be able to refuse double rooms to gay people for religous reasons.

    If a conservative government can sack someone for that then a liberal president surely can.



  4. I would hate to be one of his students, that makes no cences at all, it's totally illogical, and having him as a teacher seems like a sure way to create a threatening classroom environment.

    I bet we have one of our R71 supporters right here too, given the tone of his writing it would not surprise me one bit if he signed the petition ether!

    I think that the UW needs to think about doing the same thing that Obama did and fire this guys ass.