Wednesday, February 2, 2011

GOProud's Gay Slurs: Why I Give A Damn

Only 7 more days till GOProud goes to CPAC.  Please help send them with a new attitude regarding the gay left, and more importantly, a new realization of how their public political anti-gay rhetoric gives permission to bullies to harm gay youth, and sends a message to gay youth that all hope is lost if even the gays are now persecuting each other, and nobody stands up to hold them accountable.

Please re tweet or email this article to your friends and family, or email your thoughts to GOProud directly and help apply pressure to Chris R Barron to publicly apologize to the gay community for his tweet that reads,

"The Gay Left = The American Taliban."

If you are a reporter or blogger, feel free to republish this article as is, or make it your own.


Hello friends!


Irony has been the key word this past week as the gay community has stood up to Chris R. Barron and demanded that he either apologize or resign as Chairman of GOProud, for his Tweet from January 26 and 29th, 2011 that reads

"The gay left = American Taliban."

From gays on the right who have come to defend his indefensible words, only to shrink back into their spider holes when they discovered I wouldn't be drawn into rabbit holes with them, to Chris R. Barron being photographed while seated on the LEFT for his own photo-op in the New York Times, irony has been the word of the week for this blogger.

Countless gays on the right have attempted to convince me to dismiss Chris' remarks as simply "blowing off steam" or "political rhetoric" that's no more harmful than that which comes from the gay left.  But countless gays (and gay allies) on the left seem to actually "get it" when it comes to WHY we so fervently pursue this issue with unyielding resolve and fierce determination to hold one of our own accountable for his violence-inciting, anti-American, anti-freedom and anti-gay rhetoric.

The vast majority of gays who have responded to my humble pleas for their help realize that the gay community boycotts, protests, and demands apologies from EVERYone who besmirches the gay community with anti-gay rhetoric, (as we should, if we are determined to bring it to an end in the public discourse).  We also recognize the stark reality and repercussions of allowing one of our own to get away with it (REGARDLESS of the reason the hate filled words are said). 

We realize that we set ourselves up for the Right to accuse gays of applying a double standard when it comes to holding one of our own just as accountable for their public statements and representations of the gay community as we would hold anyone else.  We recognize that we simply don't need that kind of fuel added to the fires of persecution that lick at our heels every day as we continue to take steps forward toward full equality for ALL gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

When Jerry Falwell pointed to the camera and blamed gays for the Taliban's and Al Qaida's attacks on America on 9/11, the gay community swiftly demanded his apology and he gave it just days later.  He was wrong. He knew it.  We knew it....and ironically, he was on the Right....and APOLOGIZED at least. 

When Ann Coulter said "Gay Marriage is not a civil right--you're not black", the gay community spoke up, though she never apologized (and yet went on to host a fundraiser for GOProud last September--how ironic). 

When Andrew Breitbart said that he "fears the gay left more than Al Qaida," we spoke up, though he never apologized (and yet went on to join the Advisory Board of GOProud just this week--how ironic). 

When Anita Bryant, Phyllis Shaffley, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, or the iman in New York made slurs against the gay community, we spoke up, though they never apologized, but then again, they also never went on to support GOProud.  Again, how ironic.

But either because they also claim to be gay, or are too small right now to spend any time on, and/or because GOProud has convinced so many gays that THEY are the ones being persecuted by far Right Wing groups who are boycotting CPAC because of their attendance, a large swath of the gay press--as well as a large swath of the gay community at large--seems to be turning a blind eye to Chris R Barron's comparison of us to the Taliban.

Honestly, any comparison of any American to the Taliban is an offense to all Americans in my humble opinion.  They are violent, armed and dangerous enemies of the United States and freedom loving people everywhere.  This alone is enough for any of us to be offended.  But in my view, Chris' slur against the gay community is more than just being offended as an American or as a gay man.  For a gay man to be comparing fellow gay people to the Taliban is simply unconscionable and reprehensible, especially once we look down the road to the repercussions against ourselves, and against our gay youth, and the bullies who attack them every single day. 

There have even been a (very) few gays on the Left tell me that I should just 'drop it' and let the Conservative Republicans cannibalize their own in their typical fashion.  They have been led to believe the cover stories in the mainstream press' portrayal of GOProud being bullied by CPAC boycotters because they're gay, because that is how Chris R Barron has portrayed the situation, even as he flatly denies he's playing the victim card or victim identity politics....and ironically, even as he slurs the gay community HIMSELF!

To my fellow gays on both the Right and the Left,  I submit that to 'drop it' would be a fatal error that would set the gay community back at least a decade, and further imperil the lives of gay youth who look to us (ahem) older gays to give them a voice in the public arena, and leave them with a legacy that ensures the future of gay people is brighter than our own was at their age.

Are there bigger fish to fry and more important issues to the gay community than for one gay man's little rant and poor taste of words?  Of course!  But Chris R Barron is not just gay.  He's a public figure.  He claims to represent gays.  And he's going to be at CPAC, the largest gathering of conservative Republican political groups in the nation in just one week.  Most importantly, he claims to represent gay people.

In my considered and humble opinion, if gays let up on pressuring Chris for an apology or resignation from GOProud, we will not only embolden GOProud to ramp up its rhetoric against the gay left, unchecked by anyone from the gay community, but it will also embolden ALL Republicans, TeaPartiers and other Right Wing Nut Jobs to do so as well....and we will have only ourselves to thank for not nipping it in the bud when we had the chance.

So I humbly ask once more for your help.  Please join the effort to show Americans from the entire political spectrum in this country that gay or straight, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, if you slur the gay community, we will  stand against it.  We will hold you accountable for not only your actions and words, but for your responsible representation of the gay community as a whole. 

Why, you ask?

Because to not do so exposes gay youth who are already being bullied to even more violence.  Ignoring slurs such as being compared to the Taliban not only gives bullies even more "excuse" to harm, injure, or kill gay youth, but it becomes even more greatly compounded by the gay community's own complacency when it comes to holding our own accountable.

Let's suppose for a moment that the gay community just does nothing about Chris' words, and let's consider 2 hypothetical (yet realistic) results that I think give the clearest illustration of why I am so fervent about holding Mr. Barron accountable for his words.

Illustration 1.  Ignoring Chris Emboldens Bullies:

In the mind of a bully who reads about a gay man slurring the gay community, coupled with the gay community just giving him a pass, it allows a rationalization that goes something like this,

"If even a gay man thinks of other gays as the Taliban, and if nobody in the gay community says anything about it, then it must be true.  Therefore, this gay kid in my class must be a member of a worldwide terrorist organization that threatens not only the continuation of the human population, but the very safety and security of all American citizens.  He's probably a suicide bomber, or goes to a training camp.  He probably wants to learn to fly planes into buildings and build more mosques on American soil.  He must be the enemy!  He must be eliminated! He must be shunned!  He must be bullied!  He must be destroyed!  He must be killed!  This gay kid is part of the Taliban--a political public figure who is also gay said so, and so it must be true.  The entire gay community never said a word about it and their silence must confirm it really is true! 


Illustration 2:  Ignoring Chris Costs Gay Youth HOPE in Their Futures

In the mind of a gay youth who reads about a gay man slurring the gay community, coupled with the gay community just giving him a pass and not saying anything, it creates another layer of fear, self loathing, and self hatred that goes something like this,

"The church hates me and thinks I'm going to hell.  The kids at school are beating me up because they now think I'm part of the Taliban because another public gay man said so, and NOBODY in the gay community stood up and held him it really must be true then.  I don't want to be considered the enemy!  I love my country!  I love my family!  I love my church!  I love my God....but I can't live with myself thinking that everything I hear my country, and family, and church, and government...and even other gay people....say about being gay.....if it's true about ME!! 

I have no gay adults on my side speaking FOR me and I have no gay adults on my side speaking TO me. 

I don't know what else to do.  I don't want to hurt anyone.  I don't want to embarrass anyone.  I don't want to be bullied or bashed or belittled or besmirched all my life because I'm gay! 

All hope is lost!  My life will never amount to anything! 

Lots of people will be GLAD when I'm dead...even other gay people!

I'll be safer to myself, my family, my church, my country, my God and even other gay people if I'm dead.

...and at least I'll be in heaven instead of hell....

I think I'll jump off this bridge as soon as the next semi passes under it."

.....and THAT is why I give a damn!   Do YOU?

Brian Anthony Bowen
Member of the Worldwide Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community
Music Producer, "The Gemini Enterprise: Stellar Trance"
Blogger, "The Gemini Gayzette"
Author of upcoming new book, "The Bed Keeper:  A Biblical Case FOR Gay Marriage"

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