Birthin’ Babies and Chick-fil-A: Gender on the brain.
Few people have been spewing misinformation and hate towards the LGBT community in the name of God for as long as Pat robertson, and he is still at it. Consider this quote (emphasis mine):
Yesterday on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson said that activists who don’t want Chick-fil-A on their college campus due to the company’s anti-gay advocacy should keep quiet: “I defy these homosexuals to bring forth a baby from that part of the anatomy which they concentrate on, when that happens I will change everything I’m saying; until that happens, I wish those demonstrators would shut their mouth.”
It may be too simplistic, but I’ll go there anyway, because I’m not sure that it is. The entire social/religious conservative fight against full LGBT Equality, is 100% centered in a patriarchal heterocentric model of gender roles. And, while the Bible is the weapon they use to try and support their position, this really isn’t about God or Religion. If it were, we would see outrage against fertility clinics and other scientific methodology. BUT, in all cases, a baby still “comes out of one part of the anatomy,” which is a fancy way of saying that women have a specific gender role and that is all that matters in a marriage.
So, the fight against us, and our Equality isn’t really about us at all. It isn’t about our right to love the person we choose, or the right to have our partners treated fairly in civil law. It is all about a preoccupation with and only with gay men’s theoretical sexual behaviors. I am saying theoretical, because what the homophobes think we are doing may not at all mirror our real lives. It isn’t about us at all. It is all about the fact that gay men fail to live up to some gender stereotype of what a man is supposed to do (which is impregnate a woman). Just as women have a specific gender role, so do men, and anything outside of that narrow mandate is unacceptable. The whole of the fight against LGBT Equality is gender discrimination. The homophobes have gender on the brain!
So, there is little likelihood that we will ever win over strict homophobes like Pat Robertson. He is unlikely to ever accept that gay men and lesbian women form loving, lasting, meaningful relationships based on love and a commitment to be together and be a family. He isn’t likely to ever believe bisexuals or trans persons deserve equality since they are, by their very nature acting outside of the rigid gender constrictions he imposes and demands. Robertson has gender on the brain, and he sees only that men impregnate women, and women have babies come out of certain anatomy. Period. But he is, and he represents a truly small, yet highly funded and loudly vocal minority.
Within the whole of our culture, support for same-sex marriage and full equality in employment, housing, and public accommodations is growing, because for the most part, people are seeing same-sex couples are truly just like opposite sex couples in everyday. We work, buy groceries, clean the house, participate in the community, pay taxes, raise children, love each other, and everything that the whole of being families involves. Most folks don’t have gender on the brain like the homophobes do, because they see in their own lives straight people who also live outside of those rigid gender roles, and they recognize that parts of the anatomy are not the basis for loving, meaningful relationships.
While this battle isn’t really about us, here we are right in the middle of it, and truly fighting for our lives and for our equality, and we better keep fighting hard, even if it isn’t about us. But I think this distinction is crucial, because it means that even if the abuses against us are done with the intention of harming us personally, we don’t have to take it personally. For example, it isn’t about me, Thomas Waters. It is about some group of folks trying to force their rigid ideas upon everyone else. If I don’t take it personally, I don’t need to defend myself, and who I am. I don’t have to prove that I have a right to be. I can focus all my energy into fighting for Equality, because everyone deserves to be treated equally. I also think the efforts and verbal attacks against us hurt less when we realize they aren’t about us personally. The depth of the wound and the severity of the pain is less.
If we remember what we are fighting for, and why equality is worth the fight, and we remember that it isn’t really about who we are, but rather, it is about overcoming archaic and ineffective, rigid ideas about gender roles, we will succeed sooner rather than later. If we remain committed to the struggle for equality in all things including employment, housing public accommodations, as well as the right to be families, we won’t get caught up in the pettiness which is thrown at us, and we are less likely to feel so attacked since the real problem is that the homophobes have gender on the brain.
I can also say that I don’t really support those who want to keep Chick-fil-A off college campuses or in cities. I think that is itching for a legal battle we can’t win, and will truly set our movement for Equality back 20 years. But I’ll write separately about that.
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