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Feb 23 2014

Planet Earth: what a wacky place to be gay

Here’s what happened:

The other evening after tacos my sidekick Stingray and I were lounging around slurping down an extra bottle of wine. Whereupon, as is inevitable with that level of saturation, two developments transpired.

1. I Spotified Madonna and started busting a move
2. LGBT politics became the topic of conversation

Stingray mentioned a fun fact that, because I am feckless nowadays and don’t read as much button-pushing Internet news as I should, I hadn’t purposely considered. She said, “you know how the noses of all right-thinking progressives in the US are out of joint about the highly publicized anti-gay legislation in Russia?” and I said, “yeah,” and she said, “well, surprisingly few of these disjointed probosci have so much as batted a jaundiced eye at the eerily similar laws on the books in many American states.”

“Wait a second,” I said, shaking my groove thang pretty prodigiously. “What eerily similar laws? I mean, obviously marriage equality is still pending here and there, and privatized anti-gay bigotry is still quite the hobby in many dickheaded circles, but what about Lawrence v Texas? Didn’t the Supremes rule back in 2003 that discrimination based on sexual orientation was unconstitutional?”

O, how soon we feckless news-ignorers forget. Lawrence did strike down the sodomy law in Texas, and by extension, all the other US sodomy laws, as unconstitutional. However, discrimination, bigotry, and statutory marginalization all remain totally legal. For example, the very sodomy law “struck down” by Lawrence, though ostensibly rendered unenforceable by the court decision, remains pretty glaringly un-repealed by the great state of Texas. My medieval home state also bans same-sex marriage and, with the exception of a few metropolitan areas, is perfectly content to permit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Oh, and good luck getting a hate crime prosecuted here. And don’t even get me started on the abortion thing, which, since a shit-ton of women are gay, is also a gay rights issue.

Anyway, Stingray, it turned out, had been cribbing from an article in Think Progress or possibly the Washington Post — recollection was murky — both of which claim that 8 (or 9, depending) states have, regarding sex ed in schools, Russia-esque “gay propaganda” statutes on the books.

I wish I were more surprised, but it’s not like gay panic — along with rattlesnake roundups and Cowboy Churches — isn’t a wildly popular pastime in rural locales like Cottonmouth County. Why shouldn’t the hate-virus spread, via infected evangelical rats, to conservative hell-holes the world over?

According to Mother Jones, American hatavangelicals have been infiltrating Russian “Sanctity of Motherhood” pro-birth-rate rallies to Pump. It. Up. Because when you allow homos to run loose through the countryside without beating them up, all the straight people instantly stop reproducing. And everyone knows gay people never have kids. The population will plummet. Gays will singlehandedly destroy the motherland.

On the second morning of the [Moscow] conference, the only American in attendance, a tall, collected man, stepped up for his speech. Larry Jacobs, vice president of the Rockford, Illinois-based World Congress of Families (WCF), an umbrella organization for the US religious right’s heavy hitters, told the audience that American evangelicals had a 40-year track record of “defending life and family” and they hoped to be “true allies” in Russia’s traditional values crusade.

US evangelicals and Russian birth-rate-berserkers: different alphabet, same belligerent jingoes. I mean, for crying out loud, the Arizona ledge has just passed (although the gov has yet to sign) a bill “allowing businesses to refuse service to gay couples in the name of religious freedom.” Because god forbid you should sell a hamburger to a couple of queers. You’ll catch the gay cooties and your woman will turn into a slutty Grace Adler and stop reproducing.

These deluded godbangers are pretty wack. Sometimes I feel like I’m just about the only somewhat civilized atheist yokel in the whole Southwest. It’s lonesome out here on my limb.

A propos of the globalization of hateriffic American family values, here’s an entertaining game we like to call “Spot The Russian Law.” Of the 3 following actual statutes, one is Russian and the others are Texan and Arizonian. If you can tell which is which I’ll eat a Cool Whip taco.

Law 1

No district shall include in its course of study instruction which:
1. Promotes a homosexual life-style.
2. Portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style.
3. Suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.

Law 2

Prohibits distribution of information that is aimed at:
1. The formation among minors of nontraditional sexual attitudes
2. Attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relations
3. Misconceptions of the social equivalence between traditional and non-traditional sexual relations
4. Enforcing information about non-traditional sexual relations that evokes interest in such relations

Law 3

The materials in the education programs intended for persons younger than 18 years of age must:
1. Emphasize sexual abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage as the expected standard in terms of public health and the most effective ways to prevent HIV infection, sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancies
2. State that homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code

Answer key:
Number 1 — Arizona. Number 2 — Russia. Number 3 —Texas. Note that in its item #2, the Texas statute references the illegal but still unrepealed law characterizing “homosexual conduct” as a criminal offense. The eyes of Texas are upon you.

17 comments

  1. Bushfire

    Ugh. “Traditional Sexual Attitudes” are certainly not appropriate for youth, or for anyone else.

  2. Twisty

    You know that’s right.

  3. Lab Rat

    Living in the Bay Area makes one forget this shit still exists.

    Hope lies in the young. For my daughter and her friends, gay is normal. Young people don’t as often seem to possess that weird fear of gay that older people still have (those who put the “phob” in homophobia).

    Regarding the Arizona law, I just saw a post on Perez Hilton (I know, I know, but it’s Sunday internet binge day) where a pizza restaurant in Arizona posted a sign in their window that said, “We reserve the right to refuse service to Arizona Legislators.”

  4. Pela Abolição dos Gêneros

    Twisty, here’s something you probably haven’t bumped into yet: transgenders would claim that your affirmation that abortion is also a gay issue because lots of women are gay is transphobic. They would say that since transmen can get pregnant you should instead say that it’s because lots of women and men are gay. And they would also say that lots of ciswomen can’t get pregnant, so those together with transwomen would make your focus on women also invalid.

  5. Ashley

    If heterosexuality was so uniformly “natural” they wouldn’t have to brainwash people that hard into it.

  6. quixote

    I don’t manage to take much heart from the LGBTQ acceptance by the young. At least some of them are the same people who need to have it explained to them that rape is not a joke. And then they don’t get it.

    One of the things that the election of Obama brought home to me as I watched my fellow anti-conservatives was that some kinds of tolerance are easier than others. If it’s not something you have to change in your own life, it’s easy. Feeling all progressive because you’re voting for a black president is very easy. Being understanding of LGBTQ is easy if they live somewhere else. Changing your own attitudes to your own laundry and doing it when it needs to be done? Not so much.

    So that’s why I’m going to be impressed by tolerance for variant sexuality only when I see just as much respect directed to women, no matter which other groups they belong to.

  7. Keri

    Our very own State Department has whole pages with information about traveling safely while gay abroad. LGBT travel warnings are listed for Russia:

    http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/russia.html
    (Listed under Local Laws and Special Circumstances)

    If only our government would provide such valuable information for here at home. That way a gay gal on a road trip could try and pick the least hateful states to visit. Also, I would appreciate being able to check the web and know where I could dine with the least amount of bigotry, homophobia, and baby Jesus while touring the USA. Apparently that’s not Arizona.

  8. lisabella

    I don’t know why it’s still called the LGBTQ-so called progressives have made it clear that lesbians aren’t welcome. “Queer men are supported by mainstream liberal feminists blogs faster than those scary butch lesbians. It’s a lot easier for women like Jessica Valenti to “show support” for those in Russia than it is to call out the cotton ceiling, get angry about the attacks on the women at AROOO, etc.

  9. Twisty

    “transgenders would claim that your affirmation that abortion is also a gay issue because lots of women are gay is transphobic. They would say that since transmen can get pregnant you should instead say that it’s because lots of women and men are gay. And they would also say that lots of ciswomen can’t get pregnant, so those together with transwomen would make your focus on women also invalid.”

    Well, Pela, it sure wouldn’t be the first time that, because I am merely a part-time human internet feminist rather than an omniscient deity with a focus on trans politics, I unintentionally omitted to consider the viewpoint of a marginalized group and was therefore labeled personally phobic and my arguments adjudged invalid.

    Point taken; of course you are right to point out that the condition of pregnancy is neither limited to ciswomen nor peculiar to all women. As a matter of fact, I myself am sort of a woman, yet I can’t get pregnant, so I don’t even fall into my own category. However, I maintain that my argument isn’t “invalid” so much as it is “not fully realized.” I would also argue that, despite my having failed to see the bigger picture regarding trans interests, I am not “phobic” so much as “sloppy.”

    Thank you for the nudge. Isn’t the internet marvelous!

  10. Twisty

    lisabella, didn’t you know that lesbians have already got it made in the shade? Ellen’s hosting the Oscars!

  11. TwissB

    Way back in the 1970′s, women campaigning for the ERA docily submitted to the demand of legislators whose support they solicited to deny the obvious fact that homophobic laws are sex discrimination. To this day, they staunchly insist that ERA, ,i.e. equal protection of the law for women, has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

    Meanwhile, gay men were kicking aside that feeble, abortion-tainted “right to privacy” expedient and moving over to claim their right as men to 14th Amendment equal protection against sex discrimination in the form of anti-homosexual laws. At last, a manly banner under which to march. Concurrently, events like the Gay Cruise, Stonewall, and the AIDS crisis pried open the closet door and lo! gay men – actors, musicians, artists, sports heroes, sons, brothers, and even legislators – were everywhere.

    And what about the wimmins? Lesbian, straight, whatever? Having shot themselves in the foot with those “nothing to do with” lies, they could not claim entitlement to equal protection of the law against sex discrimination. But, like formerly enslaved women back in 1868. lesbians might get a little help against racial or in this case sex discrimination as long as no one calls attention to the conflict with their exclusion as members of the class Women.

    Sex discrimination has always been selectively applied and always to men’s advantage. So Twisty’s roll call of anti-gay state laws, and Quixote’s observation that “some kinds of tolerance are easier than others” are reminders that all that liberal smug self-satisfied rhetoric does not mean that the battle for women’s rights is anywhere near won.

  12. Pela Abolição dos Gêneros

    Twisty, I’m sorry if it looked like I was calling you out on it, it wasn’t my intention at all. I don’t even agree with it. That’s just some stuff that I saw being thrown around before, so I thought I’d give you a heads up. I loved your answer and I believe your point is so valid nothing can invalidate it.

  13. Cyberwulf

    In general it is cissexist to presume that abortion legislation only affects cis women when it affects all people with uteri, including trans men and intersex and genderfluid folk who don’t necessarily present as female. But I give a massive gooey side-eye to someone who says “just warning you, trans folk would call you transphobic for not including them” when they don’t even agree with that. It smacks of “beware those crazy trans folk, causing trouble over stupid things”.

  14. Twisty

    @ Pela Abolição dos Gêneros: I sounded kind of snitty, didn’t I? Apologies. Internet feminism is a touchy business; I only rarely get it right. But I was sincere about thanking you for having reminded me to consider the full range of Uterus-American viewpoints. Unlike you, I actually do agree with your hypothetical trans advocate, and I feel a little sheepish about the error of omission. l’m still rusty after my hiatus, I guess.

  15. Keri

    I am thinking of circulating a petition to have Brian Boitano and Billie Jean King sent to Arizona to represent our country as a gesture of tolerance and good will. And Ellen too of course.

  16. Pela Abolição dos Gêneros

    @Twisty: No, you didn’t sound like that at all. I was just worried I might had.

    By the way, I really, really love your blog. You got a huge talent for making us think and laugh at the same time all these years. Cheers and lots of love to you.

  17. Veganrampage

    Glad I read the whole thread as about to pitch a fit when I thought Jill was being attacked yet again for not encompassing all POV’s for all people all the time.
    Let’s quit that shit in the future, yeah? If you have a point can it not be brought up in a civil way?
    Happy it was made all nice, nice, (truly) but Jill, you did forget to include male seahorses, and I am personally offended, just so you know.

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