words echo in our ears and raise our ire because they constitute
the core rhetoric of intolerance and antigay bigotry. These
are the code words used by the religious right in the service
of creating a kind of bumper-sticker condemnation of gay and
is really being said by the Radical Right, "Hate
gays, fear their motives, and control their lives!"
I understand family values to be such things as loyalty, love,
trust, and putting family first. The radical right's use of
the code words family values is meant to imply that homosexuals
are too sexually promiscuous and socially irresponsible to care
about family, and would just as soon see family life disappear.
reality gays go to a lot of trouble to have children and form
family units. Gays cherish their families, and celebrate the
values of loyalty, love, trust, and putting family first. Radical
right values appear to be organized around exclusion and intolerance.
most recent study available, is from Australia and it concluded:
"... lesbian couples made better parents because their
children were more tolerant of diversity and more socially skilled.
Children of lesbians were also found to suffer far less parental
sexual and physical abuse and incest than their peers."
means Christian, heterosexual, and antigay. Homosexuals, according
to the radical right, imperil the survival of the family as
an institution. This supposedly justifies attempting to control
the lives of gays.
there is any doubt about the intended use of this code word,
"family," to signal right (heterosexual
Christian) from wrong (not-heterosexual
Christian) one need only summon up the names of some
of the major antigay organizations in the United States: the
American Family Association, the Family Research Council, Focus
on the Family, the Family Research Institute, etc.
radical right's version of the "gay agenda" is that
homosexual's are plotting to take over society and turn everyone
gay! This ludicrous assertion demonizes gays sufficiently to
justify attempting to restrict their constitutional rights and
real gay agenda is to achieve the same rights that every other
law-abiding citizen of this country takes for granted
a reasonable concept. The
Homosexual Agenda Revealed
is about fighting change, preserving the status quo, and validating
the Christian, heterosexual way of life as the only acceptable
way to be. The purpose of this coded term is to encourage enmity
toward homosexuals who do indeed challenge the traditions of
bigotry and discrimination. Change is in the wind. Empty phrases
such as "traditional values" cannot hold time still.
Besides, we are living in some of the best of times right now.
claim is that homosexuals have all the same rights as everyone
fact is that gay and lesbian people can be denied the right
to stay in a hotel, to be served in a restaurant or store, rent
an apartment ("We are not gay-friendly here"), to
be hired for a job, (no-homosexuals employment policy), or (by
court order) raise their own children. A man and a woman who
have been married for only one-minute have an estimated 1,047
more rights and protections than a gay couple who has been together
"special rights" argument is used to justify legalized
discrimination against gays and lesbians in an attempt to render
them powerless in their struggle for true equality under the
law. In cities and states all over this country the radical
religious right pursue a campaign of intolerance against lesbian
and gay people with ballot initiatives to deprive homosexuals
of basic rights. Where is equal protection of the law for gays
against these extremist assaults on basic civil rights for gays?
people simply want the right to be treated fairly in the workplace,
in public accommodation, in family matters the same rights
everyone else has. There is nothing special about that.
and Gay people are asking for Equal Rights ... no more
... no less. "Special Rights" in the rhetoric of the
religious right means no equal rights for gays.
is used as a derogatory term referring to the "immoral,
sick, and sinful gay and lesbian way of life." There is
no positive value to "alternative" since no legitimate
options exist for the religious rightists outside of Christian,
heterosexual, legally married, and sex in the missionary position.
human being has a sexual orientation. It may be heterosexual
or homosexual, or any point between.
Orientation is a Choice
orientation emerges for most people in early adolescence without
any prior sexual experience. Some people report trying very
hard over many years to change their sexual orientation from
homosexual to heterosexual with no success. Psychologists and
American Psychological Association do not consider sexual
orientation for most people to be a conscious choice that can
be voluntarily changed.
behavior is natural, according to the book "Biological Exuberance."
Penguins and porcupines and porpoises do it. Giraffes and elephants
and monkeys do it. Of the 2,000 species whose full range of
sexuality has been observed, same-sex activity has been seen
in 450 species, or about 20%. The activity can be brief or last
for years. Female bears co-parent cubs, and greylag geese bond
in same-sex pairs for their 16 year lifespans. Wait, it gets
more complicated. Some fish angelfish, for example
are born one sex, and turn into the other as they mature. Male
wrasses have harems, but if the male is killed, a female will
change her sex and become the male leader. Mother Nature is
keeping an open mind.
is a Mental Illness or Emotional Problem
psychiatrists and other mental health professionals including
Psychological Association agree that homosexuality is not
an illness, mental disorder or emotional problem.
objective scientific research over the past 35 years shows us
that homosexual orientation, in and of itself, is not associated
with emotional of social problems.
Conversion Therapy Can Change
though most homosexuals live successful, happy lives, some homosexual
or bisexual people may attempt to change their sexual orientation
through therapy, sometimes pressured by the influence of family
members or religious groups to try and do so.
reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not
require treatment and it is not changeable.
lesbian, and bisexual people may seek psychological help with
the coming out process or for strategies to deal with prejudice,
but most go into therapy for the same reasons and life issues
that bring straight people to mental health professionals.
Are Not a True Minority
is a blatant effort to turn minority against minority. One of
the media giants of the radical right says, "Gays are trying
to hijack the black civil rights movement!"
truth is, the executive director and the board president of
the NAACP spoke at the Washington March in support of gay and
lesbian civil rights, as has Jesse Jackson. Coretta Scott King
has made many strong pleas for equal rights and for the acceptance
of gays and lesbians. At a major King memorial event in Atlanta,
Georgia, King's nephew Derek B. King mentioned gays in his sermon.
is just another way the Radical Right is trying to convince
people that gays are social outlaws and that it's okay to hate
My husband understood that all forms of discrimination and persecution
were unjust and unacceptable for a great democracy. He believed
that none of us could be free until all of us were free, that
a person of conscience had no alternative but to defend the
human rights of all people. ... I want to reaffirm my determination
to secure the fullest protection of the law for all working
people, regardless of their sexual orientation ... it is right,
just, and good for America.
September 16, 1997
dangerous conspiracy threatens the freedom of millions of Americans.
The campaign of hate being carried on by radical right extremists
has implications beyond its main target the gay and lesbian
citizens in a free society are at risk from a movement that
seeks to promote aggression against innocent people, transform
hatred into law, and stealthily seize control of the mechanisms
up, America! This pseudo-religious assault on personal freedom
will affect you, your children, your community, and your government
if it is not challenged and contained!
Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak
up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came
for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't
a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't
speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984)
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