Even though anti-gay conservatives say a lot of stupid things on an almost daily basis, there have been a couple of recent situations that really sent the levels on my piss-me-off meter through the roof.
Quote: “The point is that Scouting is not the place for sex education. When a gay or lesbian leader makes an issue of his or her sexual preference, it makes it impossible to remove sexual conduct from the Scouting realm.”
I have to say that as a Boy Scout who was kicked out for being gay, challenging this comment
rom Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s new book, “On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For,” is not for me merely an exercise in debate or rhetoric.
For me, as with the countless other boys and young men who have been harassed, tormented and booted by their fellow Scouts and BSA leaders, this issue is a deeply personal one. It’s particularly disheartening that Scouting has yet to embrace its entire family even as the program moves toward its centennial in 2010.
Gov. Perry’s position is just plain wrong and he’s completely misleading people. The BSA policy prohibiting gays from membership and leadership is just that: a prohibition against both members and leaders. Perry doesn’t mention members, as in youth members, but rather only “leaders” (I haven’t read the entire book, but the excerpts made public make no mention of discrimination of youth).
Unfortunately, Perry isn’t the only one who overlooks the point that the BSA actively discriminates against youth and children. The mainstream media and even our own gay media often do the same.
Even given that, however, Perry is wrong when he says gay adult leaders are “making an issue” of their “sexual preference.” Most gay adults who want to be involved in Scouting are either parents of children in the program or young adults who have aged out of the youth program and want to continue in a leadership capacity. The latter was the case with James Dale, who took his valiant but ultimately unsuccessful fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000.
In addition, we cannot overlook the blatant scare tactics. I’d suggest that Perry, a smart and successful politician, fully realizes the power of his rhetorical progression from “gay” to “sexual preference” to “sexual conduct.” This is just another example of right-wing fear-mongering by equating being gay with having sex.
Quote: “I think people will respect my views on [same-sex marriage equality], I respect theirs. The great thing about America is we can have totally different viewpoints and we can do it without having animosity, and hatred. This is one of the great countries where you can have sharp disagreements without killing each other over it. That’s where I think we need to celebrate what is great about America and that is we all don’t have to agree.”
Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee obviously lives on the fantasyland side of our two very different Americas, as evidenced by this statement from an interview with Tyra Banks. As much as we’d all love America to be a place where we can “have sharp disagreements without killing each other over it,” LGBT folks know better.
In the last issue of Q-Notes we reported on the cold-blooded, anti-gay murder of 15-year-old, California middle school student Lawrence King. His killer, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney, shot him in the head in a classroom filled with 20 students. McInerney was known for bullying King because he was openly gay.
Two weeks before King’s death, 18-year-old Adolphus Simmons was shot dead in North Charleston, S.C. for his “flamboyant” appearance. Two weeks after King’s death, the LGBT community was rocked by yet another homophobic shooting — this time a 17-year-old Floridian. All three of the victims’ clothing was gender non-conforming. The FBI ranks hate crimes motivated by anti-gay bias third, behind instances based on race and religion.
I dare Gov. Huckabee to take a walk with me on this side of America. See it from our perspective and then he’ll understand that “sharp disagreements” over LGBT issues do indeed have life or death consequences.
Matt Comer Editor
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