Wednesday, July 16, 2008

South Carolina “so gay” ad controversy - See this is what we mean when we say homophobia

Maybe I am wrong, but I am getting a huge kick out of this controversy regarding my state and the gay tourism ad.

On Friday it was learned that a London company was working on an ad campaign that would attract gay tourists to South Carolina. South Carolina tourism officials said they would not pay for the ad campaign because it was not agreed upon in the right manner.

Governor Mark Sanford and Greenville State Senator David Thomas objected strongly to the ad campaign. Senator Thomas demanded an investigation.

Since that time, much has taken place.

The person who was responsible for the ad campaign is said to have resigned. However, my paranoid Southern intuition tells me that maybe he was helped in that direction.

We don’t know for sure because no one is talking.

Meanwhile our esteemed Governor and Senator have removed themselves from their soapboxes of righteous indignation and onto the tables of conciliatory gestures. Both are trying to backtrack from their earlier comments

You think it has something to do with the fact that their overly aggressive condemnation of the ad campaign sends the message that lgbts aren’t welcomed in South Carolina?

Perhaps. And now the word is coming down that the state’s tourism industry could be harmed from all of their political posturing.

We will see what happens. All I know is that the more our representatives talk, the more they seem to wallow in the mess they put themselves in:

Governor Mark Sanford’s spokesman - “We welcome anyone to visit our state, but we agree with Sen. Thomas about using tax money to promote any group with a particular social or political agenda.”

Social or political agenda? We are talking about tourists here, not the Chicago Seven. The only agenda tourists have is getting a tan and lots of pictures so that they can make their friends back home jealous.

Greenville Senator David Thomas - “If the ad had said, ‘You will love the Southern Baptist beaches,’ I would also be offended. If a homosexual is attracted here, that’s great. But I have a problem with tax money being spent on ads with a social viewpoint, particularly with sexual orientation.”

Thomas is obviously tap dancing to the same tune the Governor’s office is listening to. And he is dancing as badly as the Governor.

I’m still stuck on the part about Southern Baptist beaches though. But I think I will leave that alone. No sense in causing a new controversy.

I want to say something stark and bold but modesty prevents me from being as rude as I want to be.

I hope that our representatives learn something from this. Our state has been laughed at on television and in the newspapers because of this controversy and frankly, we deserve it.

Don’t even try to sell me on the notions of Southern values and how South Carolina is entrenched in the old ways and traditional morality.

Our representatives acted liked damned fools (well, there goes the modesty).

They heard the word “gay” and conjured up images of half-naked men cavorting shamelessly on beaches complete with whips, chains, and leather chaps. Their minds spun visions so nasty and vile that they forgot that they were adults chosen by their peers to conduct business at a higher standard than that of ugly rumors and preconceived notions of sex and mindless bacchanalia.

Instead of using their heads, they acted with their emotions. They were so quick to take part in a gay version of the ‘War of the Worlds’ paranoia that they did more damage to South Carolina than any invading army, gay or otherwise.

You see when gay people talk about homophobia, this controversy is a perfect example of we mean.

This state is already in the middle of another controversy involving a high school principal who thinks that a gay/straight alliance in his school is the same as a sex club. It is obvious that the actions of Governor Sanford and Sen. Thomas aren’t isolated incidents, but patterns in a huge tapestry of ignorance.

What is that scares people so much about gays and lesbians in this state anyway? We all have gay relatives and we are all privy to occasional rumors about gay public officials. Whether we want to admit it or not, we interact with gays and lesbians almost every day.

So why does it scare people to realize that there are gays among them who lead normal, boring lives; who work, pay taxes, and even go on vacations.

Why is there this need to make gays the natural enemy of South Carolina families when many of them are the heads of those families?

Whatever the case may be, it goes way beyond believing that homosexuality is a sin. But I am not a psychiatrist so I am not going to try and analyze it from that standpoint.

I just hope that Governor Sanford, Sen. Thomas, and everyone in general learn something from this about gay South Carolinians and, most of all, themselves.

UPDATE - It has now been discovered by Q-Notes that the Governor's Office was personally involved in stopping the tourism campaign. The article is here.

Also, the Board of the SC Pride Movement has decided to raise the $5,000 necessary to pay the debt owed by the state for the "South Carolina is so gay" ads created for London Pride Week.

They will launch the campaign using the attached "South Carolina WILL BE 'So Gay'" ad on Thursday from the SC Pride website with PayPal as a way to donate. They will also accept donations mailed to them (Payable to SC Pride, PO Box 12648, Columbia, SC 29211).

Once they repay the state's debt to the UK company, all other proceeds will benefit the SC Pride 2008 Festival and Parade featuring RuPaul to ensure that South Carolina will be "SO GAY" on September 20, 2008 in Columbia, SC.

Anyone interested in donating should contact Ryan Wilson , call the Harriet Hancock Community Center (803) 771-7713, or visit for more info.

Robert Knight returns and reminds me the nature of not being truthful

Those who have read this blog or my book know that I don't particularly care for anti-gay industry talking head Robert Knight.

He was the only major anti-gay industry talking head whom I had the displeasure of meeting and I have never met anyone whom I would probably dislike more.

Some of you may accuse me of making hasty judgements, but I assure you that I am not. There is simply no other way that I can describe somone who talks about values and morality while at the same time repeating information that he knows is false.

For those who have not read my book, Knight and I met at the University of South Carolina a number of years ago when he was affiliated with Concerned Women for America. Before then he was with the Family Research Council. During his sojourn with these two groups, he freely cited the work of discredited researcher Paul Cameron. He even did so in front of a Congressional committee.

On the night that he and I met, I was able to ask about his usage of Cameron's work. His answer to me was "we have used his work. So what?"

And that my friends (and forgive me for my use of hyperbole) is when I came to a true understanding of the nature of evil.

Sometimes evil has nothing to do with monsters that we see in horror movies like Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger. The true and insidious nature of evil is the ability to give deceptive information with a straight face even though you most likely know that the information will lead to broken families, lgbt children being kicked out of their homes, elderly lgbts losing everything at the death of their partners, and the eventual psychological boxing in of the lgbt community in general.

That is the essence of Robert Knight. Dr. Martin Luther King once said he wanted to be remembered as a drum major for justice. Knight will be remembered as a drum major for lies.

What got me so philosophical about Knight was reading a piece he wrote in One News Now today entitled Washington Post tells kids that homosexuality is fine.

Actually the article does not takes sides. But to Knight and those like him, any article that does not include lies about the "health risks of being gay" is one sided.

Of course one good thing about his column is that while Knight gives the spiel about "gay health risks," he does not go into the lies about "gay domestic violence" and "gays having a short life span."

In the past, he would have. The fact that he cannot now is to the credit of intelligent lgbts and bloggers who have destroyed those patterns of lies.

But this is not to say that Knight doesn't try to do damage. Especially when he talks about the murder of Matthew Shepard:

(Washington Post writer Theresa) Vargas pulled out all the stops, even repeating the gay-activist-created myth that Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard "was killed for being gay." Shepard, as revealed in an ABC News investigation on 20/20 on Nov. 26, 2004, was tied to a fence and left to die after a drug deal turned into a robbery in 1998. The assailants, who were convicted of murder and given life terms, picked out Shepard not to make a savage point about hating gays but because he was carrying cash and looked like an easy mark. Nonetheless, the media have continued to follow the "killed for being gay" script written for them by homosexual activists who flooded into Wyoming and made Matthew the martyr for their cause.

Knight is referring to a 20/20 special that made the claim that Shepard was not murdered because he was gay. In all honesty, the investigation brought up points of hearsay that were never proven. According to wikipedia:

Commander Dave O'Malley — who was also interviewed by ABC and criticized the 20/20 report — pointed out that the drug motive does not necessarily disqualify the anti-gay motive: “My feelings have been that the initial contact was probably motivated by robbery because they needed money. What they got was $20 and a pair of shoes ... then something changed and changed profoundly... But, we will never, ever know because Matt’s dead and I don’t trust what [McKinney and Henderson] said.

You see, before the report, McKinney and Henderson did say that they targeted Shepard because he was gay. In addition, their girlfriends testified under oath that the two had planned to rob a gay man.

So to Knight, in the case of an anti-gay murder, a convicted murderer has more credibility than a man on trial for murder.

But such is Robert Knight, the drummer major for lies.

By the way, this link is the original Washington Post article that got Knight all up in arms. It's good journalism; something Knight knows nothing about.