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Author Topic: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?  (Read 6136 times)

Altair

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Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« on: April 15, 2012, 02:12:15 pm »
Mandrina made an interesting comment in another thread:

Quote from: mandrina;49645
much as I dislike Santorum as a politician and disagree with his policies, I'm not sure the jokes should happen like this.  In another thread, umbrage was taken about that kind of speech from the other side.


This, of course, is in reference to the successful attempt by gay activist Dan Savage to redefine the last name of politician Rick Santorum in retaliation for his rabidly anti-gay efforts. (Google it if you don't know what I mean.)

Now comes the following blog, going after anti-gay National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher:

Where's Raman?
The Hunt for the World's Most Private Husband

http://wheresraman.blogspot.com/2012/04/wheres-raman-guess-1.html?spref=tw

"Maggie Gallagher is America's loudest voice for marriage - but she's formerly an unwed mother who has never been in seen in public with her mystery husband, Raman Srivastav. We're trying to answer one pressing question: Where's Raman?"

For me, it's not so much the attempt to spotlight her marriage that's potentially troublesome; if you're going to found an organization that promotes marriage as only between one man and one woman, you'd better be prepared for that kind of scrutiny. It's some of the comments on the blog that might give pause.

The bottom line is, the lesbian and gay community now seems to be winning the war for marriage equality. Should we tone down the rhetoric to reflect that? Yes, we queer folks have been powerless underdogs for our entire political history--a condition that leads to creative and, shall we say, colorful means to get one's point across--but as we transition into a place of political success and power, should our means of communication transition too?
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HeartShadow

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 02:50:49 pm »
Quote from: Altair;50288


 
I think this is one of those context based issues.

When people start going on about how gay people need to be "cured" or that being gay is synonymous with being sexually attracted to box turtles, I can see how being polite is damn near impossible.  And you certainly shouldn't get high and mighty about *proper* relationships if you don't expect that to be turned back on you.

That said, I think the overall tone is going to have to change - it needs to be more a looking down/looking back tone instead of an equal-fight tone, if that makes sense.  Now that you don't NEED to come down to that level, or as you don't need to come down to that level, the rhetoric needs to get more mature.

Which doesn't mean stop talking - and personally, I think the Santorum thing is a thing of genius!  but I do think it means being aware of who's being targeted and why, and making sure it doesn't get to the "just because we can" point.  Because that's when everyone's ears turn off.

Valentine

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 03:40:58 pm »
Quote from: Altair;50288

The bottom line is, the lesbian and gay community now seems to be winning the war for marriage equality. Should we tone down the rhetoric to reflect that? Yes, we queer folks have been powerless underdogs for our entire political history--a condition that leads to creative and, shall we say, colorful means to get one's point across--but as we transition into a place of political success and power, should our means of communication transition too?

 
I don't think we're "winning" just yet, just because we're getting closer to marriage equality.  Well-to-do, white, cis gay men and lesbians are, to some degree, "winning," but the rest of us are dying out here.  Marriage equality doesn't stack up against what my end of the community faces--1 in 5 homeless, 1 in 5 HIV-positive, 1 in 12 murder rate, an absurdly high level of job and housing discrimination, something like an 80% domestic violence rate, a 1 in 2 rate of sexual assault, and more than 40% of the living reporting having attempted suicide--it just doesn't.  We're still killed for sport on the streets with almost no consequences.  Our elders are still dying alone and closeted in nursing homes if they live to old age, and our youngest are still coming apart for lack of intergenerational community.
I mean, marriage equality is a win.  I am an old-fashioned, marrying kind of girl, you know?  But we're not well-represented politically, and other than a thin slice of upper-class white people--who were already born into a certain amount of power, lost some upon coming out, and are now getting it back--we're not doing well economically, either.  Culture's getting kinder, step by step, but there's miles to go.

These people aren't just trying to keep us from getting married, or serving in the military.  They don't want us to have jobs, or homes.  They want our kids bullied with impunity.  They want the right to kill us for flirting with them.  They want us to not be visible in public.  Mike Huckabee was talking about putting queer folk in camps how long ago?  Last election?  I think our namecalling is very small, up against people with money and guns and microphones and power who have openly stated that they want us annihilated.  I believe in civil discourse, and there is nothing civil about politely, gently calling me an abomination, you know?  Mockery and glitterbombing is, if not the most mature move, kind of saintly restraint.
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Lokabrenna

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 03:47:12 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;50291

When people start going on about how gay people need to be "cured" or that being gay is synonymous with being sexually attracted to box turtles, I can see how being polite is damn near impossible.  And you certainly shouldn't get high and mighty about *proper* relationships if you don't expect that to be turned back on you.


I agree with this, but I also think as as hard as it is to be polite, not being civil is only going to add fuel to the anti-LGBT fire. It's exactly what our opponents expect us to do.

I personally find the Santorum thing to be in poor taste, even though I strongly disagree with his politics. The thing that so many hatemongers fear, IMO, is when the object of their hate doesn't act in the way that they imagine they should act. It seems more like some of these activists are stooping to their level when they would be better off taking the high road.

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 03:56:06 pm »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;50296
I agree with this, but I also think as as hard as it is to be polite, not being civil is only going to add fuel to the anti-LGBT fire. It's exactly what our opponents expect us to do.

I personally find the Santorum thing to be in poor taste, even though I strongly disagree with his politics. The thing that so many hatemongers fear, IMO, is when the object of their hate doesn't act in the way that they imagine they should act. It seems more like some of these activists are stooping to their level when they would be better off taking the high road.

 
Well, part of what made the Santorum thing so well-done was that it was an off the cuff remark by a guy on the Colbert Report.  It wasn't a staged huge *thing* - it was a "yeah, well, he's a *bleep*"  Then it went viral.

I think things like THAT - casual indifference and disgust - are actually really effective.  It wasn't the fact that Santorum was called a name - it was a very savvy way of making him look like a blithering idiot AND the .. *butt* of all the jokes.  (couldn't help it).  It made him a laughingstock.

I honestly think that making bigots laughingstocks is one of the best ways to move the majority of the country.  After all, who wants to be associated with THAT idiot?  There needs to be reason so both sides don't look like frothing lunatics, but at the same time, indifferent disgust is REALLY powerful in social media.

HeartShadow

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2012, 03:59:44 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;50295
I don't think we're "winning" just yet, just because we're getting closer to marriage equality.  Well-to-do, white, cis gay men and lesbians are, to some degree, "winning," but the rest of us are dying out here.  Marriage equality doesn't stack up against what my end of the community faces--1 in 5 homeless, 1 in 5 HIV-positive, 1 in 12 murder rate, an absurdly high level of job and housing discrimination, something like an 80% domestic violence rate, a 1 in 2 rate of sexual assault, and more than 40% of the living reporting having attempted suicide--it just doesn't.  

 
It's not winning - unfortunately, what happens *on stage* still tends to be what people take home.  And that stage is really important, even when it's still completely irrelevant.

That doesn't change any of the things you've just said, but until there's a way to put THAT onstage, what people see is glitterbombing and froth jokes, so that's what needs to be addressed when talking about the public.

cigfran

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2012, 04:02:34 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;50295
They want us to not be visible in public.


They want us to not exist.
 
Screw civility. Screw 'tolerance,' and the fake trap it sets up. To hell with false equivalence and 'moral high roads' that do nothing but empower the persistence of evil bullshit delivered with implausible deniability.

Being afraid of your voice is being afraid, and all too often calls for civility in social progress amount to marginalization of the improper for the sake of 'respectability.' It pushes out anyone who is a little too loud, a little too queer, a little too angry.

ALL tactics are necessary all the time. We need diplomats and firebrands, theorists and the street-wise. We do not need to enforce yet another kind of normativity.

Too far?

Not damn far enough.

RandallS

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2012, 04:21:31 pm »
Quote from: cigfran;50300
They want us to not exist.
 
Screw civility. Screw 'tolerance,' and the fake trap it sets up. To hell with false equivalence and 'moral high roads' that do nothing but empower the persistence of evil bullshit delivered with implausible deniability.

While I can understand your position, unfortunately people who don't want you to exist are always going to be around. All-out counterattacks on "them" are going to make you look bad to those outside "them". At some point such counterattacks will do more harm than good in the wider community (and will never change a single "them" mind). Has this point been reached in the LGBT battle, I don't know -- but at some point it will be, just as it has been reached in other minority rights battles in the past.
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Lokabrenna

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2012, 04:32:53 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;50297
Well, part of what made the Santorum thing so well-done was that it was an off the cuff remark by a guy on the Colbert Report.  It wasn't a staged huge *thing* - it was a "yeah, well, he's a *bleep*"  Then it went viral.

I think things like THAT - casual indifference and disgust - are actually really effective.  It wasn't the fact that Santorum was called a name - it was a very savvy way of making him look like a blithering idiot AND the .. *butt* of all the jokes.  (couldn't help it).  It made him a laughingstock.

I honestly think that making bigots laughingstocks is one of the best ways to move the majority of the country.  After all, who wants to be associated with THAT idiot?  There needs to be reason so both sides don't look like frothing lunatics, but at the same time, indifferent disgust is REALLY powerful in social media.

 
See? This is why context is important! When you put it that way, I don't think that's going too far, but then again, I am obviously horribly biased against all forms of bigotry.

Also, to the people who don't want us to exist, I say "too fucking bad", they don't get to choose who exists and who doesn't, and as much as I wish bigots didn't exist, apparently I have to put up with them.

cigfran

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2012, 04:37:20 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;50306
All-out counterattacks on "them" are going to make you look bad to those outside "them".


People with such fragile ethics are not much concern to me.

Bear in that I have already made it clear that I do not think my attitude is the right and only one.

But neither can it be suppressed.

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2012, 05:08:14 pm »
Quote from: Altair;50288
The bottom line is, the lesbian and gay community now seems to be winning the war for marriage equality. Should we tone down the rhetoric to reflect that? Yes, we queer folks have been powerless underdogs for our entire political history--a condition that leads to creative and, shall we say, colorful means to get one's point across--but as we transition into a place of political success and power, should our means of communication transition too?


Here in the Netherlands, we are about as close to equality as I think is possible. We are able to marry, adopt kids, get sperm donors relatively easily, etc. In the eyes of the law, my (future) marriage to my girlfriend of seven years is just as valid as that of any heterosexual couple. It's a good thing, a great thing even, but it has done very little to stop the discrimination that still lingers in society. That piece of paper gave us more rights but it never made us equal. Unfortunately, the fight for equality is far from over.
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Jabberwocky

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2012, 05:19:41 pm »
Quote from: Altair;50288

This, of course, is in reference to the successful attempt by gay activist Dan Savage to redefine the last name of politician Rick Santorum in retaliation for his rabidly anti-gay efforts. (Google it if you don't know what I mean.)


I really don't have a problem with the Santorum thing at all.  I'd accept it's quite immature, but I find it funny.  Which is what I suspect this particular one boils down to- it's to do with people's senses of humour mostly.

Now comes the following blog, going after anti-gay National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher:

Where's Raman?
The Hunt for the World's Most Private Husband

http://wheresraman.blogspot.com/2012/04/wheres-raman-guess-1.html?spref=tw

Quote
For me, it's not so much the attempt to spotlight her marriage that's potentially troublesome; if you're going to found an organization that promotes marriage as only between one man and one woman, you'd better be prepared for that kind of scrutiny. It's some of the comments on the blog that might give pause.


The blog, I do have more of an issue with, but it's nothing to do with people being aggressive or Maggie Gallagher getting her feelings hurt.  The specific problems I have are with her being attacked for previously being an "unwed mother" and the comments about her weight.  Because those kind of comments don't exist in isolation- they're part of a wider societal pattern of attitudes towards unwed mothers and overweight people.  And by utilising that, people are reinforcing those attitudes.  I don't think that's on. Any more than I'd think it was acceptable to deal with a racist gay person through recourse to homophobic insults.

I'm all in favour of fighting fire with fire.  But that's not the same thing as adopting the enemy's worldview.
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Jabberwocky

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2012, 05:24:12 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;50306
While I can understand your position, unfortunately people who don't want you to exist are always going to be around. All-out counterattacks on "them" are going to make you look bad to those outside "them".


I can't see it making a difference either way.  People might not support specific individuals or groups because they see them as too confrontational.  But nobody is suddenly going to become homophobic because they read someone being nasty about homophobes on the Internet.

Quote
At some point such counterattacks will do more harm than good in the wider community (and will never change a single "them" mind).


I see no evidence that civility will change any "them" minds either.  So it's not about that for me.  It's that I think it's a good thing for bigots to feel under attack.  The other side has been throwing the vast bulk of the punches in the "culture wars" over the years.  As far as I'm concerned, it's about time people started hitting back.
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Altair

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2012, 08:02:09 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;50295
I don't think we're "winning" just yet, just because we're getting closer to marriage equality.  Well-to-do, white, cis gay men and lesbians are, to some degree, "winning," but the rest of us are dying out here.  Marriage equality doesn't stack up against what my end of the community faces--1 in 5 homeless, 1 in 5 HIV-positive, 1 in 12 murder rate, an absurdly high level of job and housing discrimination, something like an 80% domestic violence rate, a 1 in 2 rate of sexual assault, and more than 40% of the living reporting having attempted suicide--it just doesn't.  We're still killed for sport on the streets with almost no consequences.  Our elders are still dying alone and closeted in nursing homes if they live to old age, and our youngest are still coming apart for lack of intergenerational community.
I mean, marriage equality is a win.  I am an old-fashioned, marrying kind of girl, you know?  But we're not well-represented politically, and other than a thin slice of upper-class white people--who were already born into a certain amount of power, lost some upon coming out, and are now getting it back--we're not doing well economically, either.  Culture's getting kinder, step by step, but there's miles to go.


First, while I agree with you on how much still remains to be done, marriage equality is more than a win; it's a win that goes a long way towards addressing many of the other problems you mention. Full equality before the law--and marriage is perhaps the biggest hurdle to this--will help our young people with their self-esteem, which will reduce substance abuse and suicide; reduce ostracism, which will help with suicide and murder; etc.

I'm not saying marriage is a panacea. But it's more than an isolated win. It's a win with a lot of ramifications.

But that's not the issue I'm raising with my question. I'm wondering if, in the marketplace of ideas, we're slowing our future success with rhetoric that served us well when we were on the bottom of the societal heap, but maybe doesn't work as well now that we're doing better.

(And yes, despite all the work left to be done, there's no denying we're doing better. I lived a closeted life all through grade school and high school through the '70s, and an openly gay life beginning in college in the early '80s, and the difference between then and now is light-years.)
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Etheric1

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Re: Have LGBT Counterattacks Gone Too Far?
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2012, 08:12:11 pm »
Quote from: Jabberwocky;50341


I see no evidence that civility will change any "them" minds either.  So it's not about that for me.  It's that I think it's a good thing for bigots to feel under attack.  The other side has been throwing the vast bulk of the punches in the "culture wars" over the years.  As far as I'm concerned, it's about time people started hitting back.

 
This.  It may look ugly, but when it comes to bullying, which is basically what this is in many cases, hitting back can be necessary.  I do not accept the argument that it's lowering one's self to "their level."  Sometimes their level is the only thing they can understand.  The civility thing is great and all, but when it doesn't work, I'm not against turning things up a notch.
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