Saturday, May 22, 2010

Homophobia: The Untold Story

I hate to be crass, but this is some vomit-worthy material. It is filled with debunked myths, misconstrued data, and lies. And, at its core, it is hateful and intolerant. So, it is with a heavy heart I turn to Susan Brinkmann's article for (gag) "Homosexuality: The Untold Story - The phantom gene (part 1 of 6 for her.)
Professor Janis Price of DePauw University, Indiana, placed issues of a magazine on a table in the back of her classroom. One of her students was offended by an article that was critical of how homosexuality was being handled in public schools and complained to the administration. Price was accused of providing her students with intolerant material. She was suspended and her salary cut by 25 percent.
Let's see what we can dig up on this with a quick Google search (for example, when this happened.) Okay, so this was in the early 2000s. In 2002, Price filed a lawsuit claiming her freedoms of speech and freedom of religion were violated when the Methodist (private) university she worked part-time for told her she couldn't keep the evangelical magazine Teachers in Focus (brought to you by those fine homophobic, child beating Focus on the Family types) in the back of her classroom for students to read. Methodists are a liberal denomination of Christianity, and most Methodists would probably find Focus on the Family as detestable as I do. Oh, and while a judge smacked down the idea that Price's rights had been violated, a later jury awarded her $10,401 in 2003 for lost wages (you know, the same one's our author is about to get all indignant about.)
Albert Buonanno, a Christian employee of AT&T Broadband, was fired in February 2004 for refusing to go along with a mandatory company policy demanding acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.
Well you know what? Violating mandatory company policies rarely improves one's career. Let's fire up the old Google machine and see what we can find, shall we? Well, it looks like once again we've got a poor beleaguered Christian bigot who... gets paid! Alberto here made off with $146,000 for lost wages and "emotional damages." (Aw, did the poor little bigot not like how it felt?) From (hardly a liberal website, to put it mildly - this place puts quotes around the phrase "hate crimes")
The judge found that although there was no direct religious discrimination against Mr. Buonanno, AT&T Broadband failed to show it could not have accommodated Mr. Buonanno's beliefs "without undue hardship" to the company he had been with for nearly two year.
Wow, so his refusal to sign a statement in the company handbook to "accept the diversity among us" got him paid even though he faced no religious discrimination! (I'm just pointing these details out because you know Susan won't.)
Rolf Szabo lost his job at Eastman Kodak after he refused to go along with the company's "diversity" program, which required he give support to homosexuals in the work place who wanted to come out.
Yeah, how dare Kodak try to make Szabo treat people like people? He should totally be allowed to devalue his coworkers and torment them when they try to live honestly. In 2002, Kodak sent about 1,000 employees an email regarding National Coming Out Day, giving suggestions on ways someone could be supportive of an out coworker or employee. (Way to go, Kodak!) Szabo fired back a reply-all email saying, "Please do not send this type of information to me anymore, as I find it disgusting and offensive." A Kodak division manager quickly shot back with
As you all know, our strategic thrust to build a Winning & Inclusive Culture drives us to behave in ways that value everyone regardless of differences. While I understand that we are all free to have our own personal beliefs, when we come to the Kodak workplace, our behaviors must align with the Kodak Values. I apologize for the e-mail sent to all of you from Rolf Szabo this morning. Rolf's comments are hurtful to our employees, friends, and family members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. This behavior is not aligned with the Kodak Values and, therefore, is not acceptable.
Szabo was fired and did not pursue a lawsuit (because seriously, what grounds would you use for a spouting off reply all?) Again, way to go Kodak. So far in the More Tolerant Than Susan category we've got Kodak, AT&T and Methodists. Add Motorola to that list now.
Motorola actively promotes a similar agenda through mandatory "homophobia" workshops and homosexual sex-ed courses. One employee told author David Limbaugh that "this push is causing a great deal of tension among employees and the 'quiet anger' of some who disapprove of the homosexual lifestyle because of their religious beliefs."
I gotta say, even though the phone sucked royally, I don't regret having been a Motorola customer, now that I know this. (Maybe I should read Christian websites "black lists" more often, to find out which companies to support?) And let me just say this: Work is not about religion. If you need your workplace to be totally in line with your religious views, join the clergy. You have every right to hold your views, and to express them in church, online, and even on street corners. But your employer also has the right (and even the obligation, if ENDA goes through,) to say, "We won't tolerate bigotry here."

Aren't conservatives all about letting private industry do what it wants? (Hell, Rand Paul even thinks private businesses shouldn't be compelled to serve black customers, but he totally hates bigotry and racism. Honest.) A company cannot fire you because you are a Christian, but they can fire you if you choose to be a jerk at the office. You can attribute your assholery to your religion all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that private employers get to decide if they want assholes in the company, and what kind of cultural values they are going to promote.
Episodes such as these are happening by the hundreds across America, every day of the week.
Citation please?
According to medical, social science and especially legal experts, what is being called "diversity" is actually a dangerous new movement by a small group of activists to make the homosexual lifestyle appear as normal and healthy as the heterosexual lifestyle, even if that means deliberately hiding any information to the contrary.
Okay so we have a few claims here. One is that everybody knows diversity is bad (see all those experts? They know!) A second lie premise is that Only a "small group of activists" want acceptance for gays and lesbians. (I'll admit it is a smaller number of people who support full rights and acceptance for trans persons, however, most polls indicate the US population as a whole, and the military, are overwhelmingly in support of, for example, repealing DADT.) Her third claim is that people are intentionally hiding information (which she somehow knows) about the "dangers" of being born gay. Oh wait, silly me, she thinks people choose to be gay and hated!
"The media or major health organizations communicate none of the serious medical and psychiatric problems associated with homosexuality," said Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist from West Conshohocken, who has practiced child and adult psychiatry for more than 20 years.
Where the hell is West Conshohocken? Ah, it's a borough in Pennsylvania with a population of 1,446 according to the 2000 census. (See what we can do when we Google? It's better than prayer!) Okay, so Fitzgibbons isn't working at some of the most esteemed mental health institutions or universities in the US - he's a private practice guy in a small town (less than 2,000 people is a small town to me) and his medical education is 20 years out of date. Got it. Fitzgibbons is gonna be Susan's go-to guy for most of her "data" so I thought it was important to check out his credentials (as her "expert witness.")

Maybe if none of the media and mental health organizations are reporting on these things, it's because they don't exist or aren't relevant?
For instance, a 1997 Canadian study done in Vancouver shows the life span of gay men to be similar to what it was in 1871. The study estimates that one-half of all gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 will not reach their 65th birthday.
A study in Vancouver - well that certainly narrows it down! Who conducted it? How large was the sample size? What data was examined to reach these conclusions? Is the study credible? We aren't given any of that information, or enough details to adequately Google. We're being given a study to trust, without being given good reason. Even if the results were true, and gay men do not live as long as straight men, how is this relevant? African-American women in the US have a four times higher maternal mortality rate. Does this mean we should urge black people to convert to whiteness? Of course not. For one thing, it would be impossible, just as it is impossible for a gay person to "convert" to heterosexuality. (For another, it's offensive as hell.)
Two recent studies published in the American Medical Association Archives of General Psychiatry confirm the existence of a strong link between homosexuality and suicide, as well as other mental and emotional problems. Forty percent of people with same-sex attraction were sexually abused as children. Relationship violence is as high as 44 percent among gay men and 55 percent among lesbian couples.
Again, we're just told that there are "two recent studies published" and not given sufficient information to know which studies (ya know, something like a citation!) Now let's examine Susan's points individually.

The rate of teen suicide is four times higher for gay, lesbian, bi, and trans gendered youth. That's a serious concern, but I have a feeling the solution isn't to make people feel worse about their orientation - it's to reduce bigotry. Gay teens aren't suicidal because they're gay; they're suicidal because of how they are treated for being gay (or by their own thoughts on religion and homosexuality.) has information on domestic violence in same sex relationships, including the additional difficulties victims of abuse may face when attempting to leave a situation, such as isolation from other LGBT individuals, and homophobia from social workers and shelter operators. I don't know if Susan's numbers are true, or how they compare with heterosexuals and I don't care.

Even if there are certain risks associated with homosexuality (as causation or correlation), why does that mean we should be bigoted toward homosexuals? That's like saying, "Having cystic fibrosis significantly decreases lifespan! Warn your children about the dangers of having cystic fibrosis, and if they know anyone who has it, teach your children to despise that person for being open and honest about their CF!" How dare all those queers get abused as kids!
"This is the truth that no one will speak," said Fitzgibbons, "This is the truth that is not spoken in any of the diversity weeks they have in colleges or high schools. Students are made to think the homosexual lifestyle is exactly the same as the heterosexual lifestyle and all the major research coming out today shows that it's not the same. ? But they are specifically choosing to ignore this research because the issue is political correctness, not science."
Fitzgibbons is now claiming that "all" the major research says being gay is... what? Bad for your health? So is sickle cell anemia, but you don't try to cure people of that through guilt and shame and quack theories about hand-eye coordination now, do you? No, because you find sickle cell anemia morally acceptable, and this isn't about science or medicine. It's about religion. (I love how the writer included a question mark typo in there, like ORLY?)
Fitzgibbons recently served as an expert witnesses in a case involving an Ann Arbor Michigan high school student whose Christian viewpoint was deliberately excluded from the schools "Diversity Week" celebration. Part of the week's festivities involved a panel of six clerics from different denominations who were assembled for a discussion about "Homosexuality and Religion." No one on the panel represented the Judeo-Christian view of homosexual relations.
Now does that mean there were no Jews or Christians on the panel? No. It means there were no anti-gay Jews or Christians on the 6 person panel organized by the student group Gay/Straight Alliance. Miss Betty here first attempted to get a Roman Catholic priest on the panel, then the school offered her 2 minutes to read a prepared speech. The school edited (she claims censored) her speech to remove a statement which read, "I completely and whole-heartedly support racial diversity, but I can't accept religious and sexual ideas or actions that are wrong."

Here's a thing you see a lot - the equating of homosexuality with homosexual sex acts. The focus seems to be wrapped up in genitalia* and at times it's as if we (the media, this writer, straight people) forget that gay, lesbian, and trans gendered people want what we all want - love. Sex is just one part of that, for most of us, and to varying degrees. Loving a woman does not mean loving a vagina - it means loving a woman.
Betsy Hanson, an 18-year-old Roman Catholic student, requested that a representative of the Catholic Church be part of the panel. Her request was denied by school officials who claimed her religious views would convey a negative message and would "water-down" the positive religious message that they wanted to convey.
Now remember, it's the GSA who put together this panel, not the school themselves, so I'm not sure who exactly said "No" to the bigot priest idea. Regardless, while I can understand why liberal clergy members and students in the GSA might both wish to have such a panel, I think religion on school grounds is always extremely tricky business. It's not the school's place to promote any religious ideas over others. Being fully in support of LGBTQ students is wonderful; saying god is also supportive isn't.
Hanson and her mother decided to sue and Detroit Federal Judge Gerald Rosen ruled in their favor. "Isn't this cultural hegemony, where you're only going to present one view to the exclusion of others?" the judge demanded of the school's attorneys. "Don't you think that smacks of government and religious totalitarianism? Isn't that how we got to book-burning in Nazi Germany back in the 1930s?"
Nice to see we got in a Godwin! And hot damn, what a mouth foamer Federal Judge Rosen sounds like.
Fitzgibbons believes schools and school psychologists should be held liable when they actively promote the homosexual lifestyle while withholding vital information about mental and physical risks.
Banning bullying of students is not "promoting" anything but tolerance and decent civil behavior. Should students also be informed of the mental and physical risks associated with being born a person of color? Are schools to be held financially responsible if they promote or tolerate black children, despite the fact that black children face higher risks of violence, joblessness, and poverty? No, but we should see what we can do to eliminate or reduce those risks - not strive to defend some arcane right to be a bigot.
"I've dealt with parents whose children were ushered into the gay lifestyle in college who are determined that if their child acquires AIDS, they plan to bring litigation against those universities. If a child was ushered into the lifestyle by the faculty at a school, and were never presented with the truth about the medical and psychological dangers associated with homosexuality, then they should be held liable."
There is no homosexual lifestyle, just homosexual people. Gay people aren't Martians, you know, and they aren't straight people who got "ushered into a lifestyle" either. They're GAY.
Although doctors are obligated to provide informed consent to their patients, educators are not, he said.
Teachers are not making your kids gay! There is no "consent" because homosexuality is not a treatment option you choose. It's genetic, and natural, and normal (although not as common as heterosexuality, like blue eyes aren't as common as brown ones.)

However, in schools where a school psychologist is involved in these groups, then Fitzgibbons said they have the requirement to provide informed consent about the dangers of the lifestyle.
Oh well, if Fitzgibbons says it, then we must take it at face value! I mean, after all, this is the .... guy? Susan is going with the Expert propaganda technique we learned in advertising studies in 6th grade, and she's not even doing it well. This is not a renowned, respected, highly-educated man, or at least, nothing from my Google search of him led me to believe those things, and neither did Susan. He's just one psychologist, spouting his conspiracy theories about how everybody else is keeping the dangerous truth about homosexuals out of the light because they all want to be so politically correct. He's nuts! And by the way, straight people get HIV, too. Everybody is at risk.
"If they don't, and a child experiences some of the medical illnesses that are so highly prevalent, particularly among men involved in same-sex relationships, that school psychologist is liable, the principal is liable and the school superintendent is liable. Just as when a doctor makes a mistake at a hospital, the hospital is also liable."
Um, Fitz is on the fritz. Schools aren't hospitals, and teachers aren't doctors. Also? The school isn't making anybody gay, just by saying that bullying of gay students will not be allowed. And that's what we're really talking about here - whether or not you have a right to be a bigot. That's why this article didn't start out by being concerned about the poor suicidal gay teenagers maybe getting AIDS. It started off with stories of "persecuted Christians" who were prohibited from spouting anti-gay bigotry, by (in all cases but one) privately owned businesses!

Having a faith panel organized by the GSA at a school diversity week was questionable, but the GSA is under no compulsion to offer an anti-gay viewpoint! Just as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes would never be required to make an anti-Christian statement, or provide accommodation for anti-Christian viewpoints. It's absurd to say that in order to protect your right to be a religious bigot, everyone else must lie about who they are, or give you a platform to call them abnormal and immoral. It's absurd and conceited.
Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, has been sending out letters to 2,500 schools across the country who are relying on the "safe-school" programs devised by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network warning them of potential legal liabilities for the tort of negligence "if it is proven that homosexual activist organizations were granted access to students under the school's responsibility and that students suffered physical or mental harm. Under the right circumstances, state authorities could also bring criminal proceedings," he writes, citing Ohio Revised Code 2907.04, 2919.22 and 2919.24.
Okay, Google, here we go! Citizens for Community Values "exists to promote Judeo-Christian moral values, and to reduce destructive behaviors contrary to those values." Well that's not at all creepy and horrifying. Not! CCV started in the 1980s as an anti-porn moral panic group. They were all "concerned" about how pictures of naked women were destroying the moral fiber of America. All their prayer and moral outrage doesn't seem to have done much good. Not only is porn still around, it's now free. No more black bag packaging for you! Just clear the browser history and you're free to find whatever kink or hink tickles you pink. Here's hoping they're just as spectacularly unsuccessful when it comes to harassing gay Americans as part of their "religious" beliefs.

Onto this - "Homosexual activists" being granted "access to students" who then supposedly "suffered physical or mental harm"... Am I the only one feeling the bad after-school-special vibe?

GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network "is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students." Not quite the fevered dreams of "homosexual activists" Fitz was presenting now, is it? What kind of world would this be if we tried to make sure students were safe from physical harm?! Won't someone please think of the (gay) children?
Beginning here, The Catholic Standard & Times will publish a six-part series that will focus exclusively on the untold side of this issue. We will explore what is known to the medical, social, scientific and religious communities about homosexuality, giving our readers and their loved ones an opportunity to make an intelligent and fully informed choice about their lifestyle.
While you're at it, can you let me know about all those well known totally proven but secretly withheld natural cures THEY don't want me to know about?

She's got a six part series? I've got a six part series. I'll also be continuing with Vision Forum. I'm not well enough to really have my creative juices flowing, but being sick in bed and sarcastic suits me just fine for the moment.

Be well, everyone.

* How's that for a mental image?

**About all the Google love in today's post: First, I'll always be grateful that I was able to use such a simple search engine tool to find out the truth about my childhood. I will never forget that night. Second, I'm trying to show just how simple it is to do a very minimal level of research, and how our atuhor failed to inlcude information negative of her view, while simultaneously accusing non-bigots of somehow stifling her free speech if they did the same.