Being black and gay ain't easy
I see the anti-gay industry had another one of their lovefests in which they patted themselves on the back and criticized everyone else who dares have an opinion that is opposite of their own. (http://thinkprogress.org/2006/09/26/anti-gay-summit/)
They call it a Values Voter Summit, but modesty precludes me from calling it what it really is.
But something happened there that really disturbs me.
A black minister, Wellington Boone, actually used a slur to demonize gay people and while it is nothing unusual, it had a deeper meaning for me.
An unfortunate side effect of the election of 2004 is the outreach the anti-gay industry made to black churches. So many of our so-called men of God wanted so much a piece of Bush's "faith based initiative" monies that they gladly attacked the gay community.
And not even with having the decent good taste of being subtle.
I have noticed that black ministers who have joined the anti-gay industry seem to revel in the image of being "attack dogs." Wellington Boone is just one of the new ones.
From DL Foster to Talbert Swann to Ken Hutcherson to Dwight McKissic, some black ministers nationwide are resorting to schoolyard name calling and posturing in order to get their names in press.
They are so wrapped up in their own egos that they don't even see how they are contributing to the problem.
A perfect example would be in my area of South Carolina. One Sunday in a local church (which shall remain nameless) an announcement was made that they had received a substantial monetary grant to educate congregants on HIV and AIDS.
Not less than 30 minutes later, a guest minister stood in the pulpit and inferred that gays are attempting to infiltrate public high schools.
In other words, just how in the hell can this church help stem the flow of HIV when it attacks the very people it should be helping.
For the record, I am a black gay man and I am cynical about the entire thing. A chapter about the hypocrisies of the black church was to be included in my book but I omitted it because I wasn't being fair. I attacked the black church but in all honesty that is only part of the problem.
As long as the mainstream gay community continue to play that diversionary game of "should we or should we not compare the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement" black gays and lesbians will be left out.
As long as we push visual heroes like Lance Bass, Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell without giving any acknowledgement to folks like Keith Boykin, Nadine Smith or Mandy Carter, we are only adding to the problem.
Black gays and lesbians should receive visibility and support but the black church ain't gonna give it to them.
The gay community needs to take up the slack.
Linda Harvey - Phony Expert
I see that Linda Harvey of Mission America is striking again (http://joebrummer.com/WordPress/?p=392)
For the luck of those who do not know, Linda Harvey considers herself a Christian and an expert of the gay community. God will decide on the first, but I will decide on the latter.
This woman has no idea what she is talking about. She spouts homophobia in the guise of expert opinion. She has a history of doing this:
"When people have views supporting homosexuality they should not be involved with youth in any way, period. Because they:
will provide inaccurate, misleading information to kids;
may limit a student’s opportunity to hear warnings about the behavior;
may advocate or model inappropriate behavior;
may be directly involved in the molestation of kids themselves; or
may be in a position to allow others to do so” - Linda Harvey, Fairy Tales Don’t Come True, February 13, 2006
Linda Harvey is a perfect example of an anti-gay industry propaganda technique; that of the phony expert. As far as I know, Harvey has no training or any degrees in assessing gay people. Her biggest attribute is her picture, which casts her as a wholesome mother figure in the guise of June Cleaver.
The anti-gay industry generally don’t recruit third, unbiased parties in their fact gathering. They create their own experts on the subject of homosexuality. And these phony experts, usually in-house employees or some with affiliations to religious conservative organizations, already have anti-gay biases.
Certainly everything they say and do will put homosexuality in a bad light, whether deserved or not, because that is what they are getting paid for. These so-called experts, like Timothy Dailey, Robert Knight, Peter LaBarbera, or Linda Harvey, have no training or background in what they claim to have expert opinions in. It seems that their titles are dependent on how well they look in the media, or how adept they can apply spin.
And then there are people like John R. Diggs.
The following excerpt about Diggs is from my upcoming book:
Some of the most dangerous spreaders of anti-gay propaganda are those masquerade their distortions under the guise of being an objective medical practitioner. While people such as Fred Phelps declare where they stand from the first instant, these “ministers of propaganda” seek to soothe their audience, taking the form of a concerned physician while they spread their biases and lies. It is this crowd that can potentially have more of a damaging effect on how America sees the gay community.
Dr. John R. Diggs is one of these false objective medical practitioners.
He published a study entitled The Health Risks of Gay Sex and it is featured on many so-called “pro-family” web sites as a thorough analysis of gay sex. While Diggs is an M.D., he is also co-chair of the Massachusetts Physician Resource Council, which is a part of the Massachusetts Family Institute, another so-called traditional values organization. Despite his credentials, Diggs’s real aim is to smear gays and lesbians.
The Health Risks of Gay Sex is a distortion-ridden research propaganda piece in the vein of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (the legendary piece of propaganda that claimed that Jewish people were attempting to take over the world) that seeks to exploit fears and stereotypes about gays and lesbians. Since he is taking the guise of a “concerned professional,” Diggs does not push forth any conspiracy theories, nor does he dehumanize homosexuals by calling them “radical” and the like.
However, the distortions in this study just do not hold up under close scrutiny:
Twice, he includes the study done by Alan Bell and Martin Weinberg in their book, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women, as indicative of the entire gay population. In one passage, he even refers to it as “a far ranging study of homosexual men . . .” But Bell and Weinberg never said that their findings were indicative of all gay men. They actually said “. . . given the variety of circumstances which discourage homosexuals from participating in research studies, it is unlike that any investigator will ever be in a position to say that this or that is true of a given percentage of all homosexuals.”
Diggs cites a Canadian study twice in order to claim that gays have a shorter lifespan than heterosexuals. But his citation of the study is a mischaracterization. In 2001, the six original researchers (Robert S. Hogg, Stefan A. Strathdee, Kevin J.P. Craib, Michael V. O’Shaughnessy, Julion Montaner, and Martin T. Schechter) who conducted that study have gone on record saying that religious conservatives (like Diggs) were distorting their work.
In another section entitled Physical Health, Diggs claims that gays are victims of “gay bowel syndrome.” The term is an obsolete medical term. exist and even the CDC does not use it. In fact, if one was to look at the endnotes of Diggs’ study, he would find that two of the sources he quoted concerning “gay bowel syndrome” were from articles in published in 1976 and 1983, which is consistent with the years that the term existed. One last source was a letter to the editor printed in 1994 but Diggs does not make it clear as to what were the circumstances surrounding it.