Wednesday, November 02, 2011

I get VERY frustrated with the gay community

I'll let you in on a little secret.

There are times when I get extremely frustrated with some who fight for lgbtq equality.

Yesterday, I was reading an excellent piece on Equality Matters (a really good site), which detailed the fact that Fox News was relying on the supposed expertise of religious right "experts" to comment on a situation involving a seven-year-old transgender girl who was allowed in the Girl Scouts.

The piece pinpointed two of the phony experts - Judith Reisman:

Reisman is actually a long-time peddler of anti-LGBT propaganda. She is a full-throated proponent of the claim that gay people are more likely to engage in pedophilia, as well as the myth that the Nazi party was run by gay men. She has railed against the media for failing to acknowledge “that homosexuality is correlated with disorder.” She’s also accused those who support transgender youth of “chemically violating and numbing the nation’s cruelly and unnaturally traumatized youth.”

And the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg:

FRC has been labeled as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Sprigg is a good example of the reasons why. Sprigg is the author of some of FRC’s vilest anti-LGBT propaganda, including a pamphlet that links homosexuality to pedophilia, mental illness, disease, and violence while promoting “ex-gay” therapy. He’s stated that he would prefer to “export” gays and lesbians from the U.S. and condemned anti-bullying initiatives for trying to “indoctrinat[e]” children.

Here is the thing, though.

The piece failed to mention that Reisman is a failed researcher who was given a federal grant of more than $784,000 to study 30 years worth of Playboy magazines. These findings were dismissed as "paranoid pseudoscientific hyperbole." Or that she wrote a book accusing sex researcher Alfred Kinsey of child abuse. When the Kinsey Institute easily batted down her charges, she sued it for defamation and emotional distress, claiming that it tried to censor her book. Not only was the case dismissed, but it was dismissed with prejudice, which means Reisman could not re-file it.

The piece also failed to mention that Sprigg's pamphlet in question - The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality - is filled with distortions, cherry-picked work, and quotes taken out of context created to justify homophobia.

This is not a slam on Equality Matters, but rather just an outcry of frustration on the entire lgbtq movement in general. I think that the reason why it has been so difficult for us to expose the right is because we are not thorough enough.

In dealing with religious right groups, the gay community has shown an appalling degree of laziness in demonstrating why these groups and their phony analysts have no credibility.

It is simply not enough to call them hatemongerers. It is simply not enough to say that they are hate groups.

We have yet  to make any consistent effort in educating the public how they rely on lies, junk science, and distortions to make their case. Simply spotlighting their words with no explanation as to the inaccuracy of their statements is totally unacceptable.

How many of us know anything about the 11 researchers who have gone on record over the years complaining about how religious right groups take their work out of context?

How many of us know anything about Paul Cameron and the religious right's reliance on his discredited research and methods?

There is a serious disconnect here and it's something which constantly bothers me. The lgbtq community has so much power than we did before. We've got magazines. we have webpages. Hell, we even have a television channel.

Would it kill those in charge of gay media to focus at least one iota of attention on what goes into a Family Research Council anti-gay pamphlet or what criteria do these groups use to anoint someone as a "policy expert?"

If I said it once, I've said it a million times - if the lgbtq community is going to get any headway with combating religious right groups, the labeling of these groups as bigots without any discussion or knowledge of their techniques of deception  must stop. The lgbt community must roll up its collective sleeves and do the hard work not just to educate those in the mainstream, but also itself.

But I can't help but wondering are we ever going to at least make an effort?

Related posts:

How religious right groups distort good science in the name of God

It's not enough to call them bigots

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JayJonson said...

Dear Alvin,

Great rant. You might also enjoy this rant by Claude Summers at entitled "More Dubious Research from the Institute for American Values," which also deals with junk science. Here is the url:

Sage said...

Alvin, I agree with you 100% here. I see the inept way the LGBT community handles these and other issues related to the community and its liberaton. Combating this type of stuff, while important to me, is not the primary goal of my LGBT activism work. But I do know someone whose primary work it seems to be...YOU!

Alvin, you have such passion, such competence and such intuitive wisdom around this issue, I believe you have got to find a way to make your voice more heard, more prominent. My intention here is not to place a heavy messiah type burden on you nor to put you in the position of doing this work *alone* However, here is what I notice about you and it is, I believe, your greatest strength. This is work you are literally a genius at. I would venture to speculate this is at least a very large part if not the biggest part of your life's work and calling. I promote you and your blog periodically on my own blog. But this certainly is not enough. I don't know what the solution is. I however, believe you need to think BIG where your talent and competencies around this issue are concerned.

For example, have you thought of running for city council in your community or the school board? Politics is obviously one way to increase your impact. Have you looked into being a special LGBT correspondent for Huffington Post or some other big time media outlet? There has got to be some way to increase your visibility and get your message out to a wider audience. If you find an outlet, I will support you in whatever way I can. I will give you my word on that! think buddy, think. How can you increase your impact? What feels like a way to do it? Sometimes drastic measures may be needed. For example, my passion is getting the message of the occupied movement out there more strongly. I am especially interested in bringing the message to the African American community, the LGBT and communities and the progressive spiritual/religious communities and to have the specific needs of those communities have a more prominent voice in the movement. I have started a non-profit specifically for this purpose. I had already decided to move back to The San Francisco Bay Area, a place that is FAR more conducive for me to accomplish this work than Arizona. I began announcing this plan to friends just yesterday by way of a facebook private message I'm sending out to friends. I already have the 501c3 status. And yesterday I received my first donation pledge. It was for $500. Maybe you can start a non-profit just to do this exposing work you do. Find your way Alvin and then go for it. This work you do is too important. Now is the time. If you don't do it who will?

Many Blessing to you Alvin!

Anonymous said...

You make a good point. It's one thing to call them bigots, but you have to substantiate.

Whenever I write about bigots I tend to include their statements. At least some more info.

Alas, I've backed away from the fight or marriage equality because the org her in my state was hijacked by HRC and they let a horrible civil unions bill become law. That law carves out deep exceptions for the religious bigots.