As LGBTs exist in the midst of all this drama regarding the so-called culture war, I thought I would talk about something near and dear to my heart.
My online booklet,How They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America has just reached 1,000,000 hits/reads. It's a remarkable achievement, seeing that it got very little mainstream coverage.
How They See Us is the product of good, old-fashioned journalism, spit, polish, and heavy support from the online community. Though not as flamboyant or extravagant as other products which generally capture the attention of the LGBT community and our allies, the booklet is an important facet in our fight for equality. It challenges LGBTs to reach back into our past and bring up bad memories as well as look intensely at the groups who defame us and their tactics. Our community talks in depth about street protests, building relationships with allies, and telling our stories to the public, but rarely do we talk about going into the "belly of the beast," i.e. the anti-gay religious right. But it's time we stop pussyfooting around. The anti-gay religious right is a powerful obstacle to LGBT equality and unless we start taking them seriously, instead of as homophobic jokes, we are going to continue to have a difficult time gaining the rights which should have been ours in the first place.
Things have changed tremendously since January of last year when I published this booklet. Thanks to the recent Hobby Lobby decision, the anti-gay religious right is gaining traction with their bogus "religious freedom" argument. Granted, we can still count on them to accuse LGBTs of attempting to "recruit children," or being "oversexed all-around public health menaces." However, just like the Klan tried to retool its reputation by claiming they are not "anti-black," just "pro-white," the anti-gay religious right is cleverly retooling their arguments by saying they aren't anti-gay, just "pro-traditional marriage." They also claim that they are unfairly being targeted for not "celebrating" the so-called "gay lifestyle." Unfortunately, they have been successful at controlling the argument with this claim.
Of course we know the truth.
Their "religious freedom" or "religious liberty" argument is another tactic in a long line of tactics and arguments going back decades And the goal has always been the demonization and stigmatization of LGBT individuals in order to deny the LGBT community our God-granted right to equality.
They will never own up to what they have been doing. They won't bring up any of the anti-gay lies, homophobic language, or willful scientific distortions they have been guilty of throughout the years. And let's be honest about something -- neither will the media, particularly the Washington Beltway media.
Don't get me wrong. The inattention given to the lies of the religious right is mostly not a problem of animus or a conspiracy, just slack inattention. Media figures are so wrapped up with getting the story first that they forget the crucial component of getting the story accurate or complete.
If the LGBT community is waiting for a latter-day Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite to swoop in and save us by exposing the religious right, we are going to be waiting for a pretty long time.
That job belongs to us, i.e. the recipients of all of their anti-gay vitriol. Our desire for full equality is noble and true, but we have to recognize and call out those groups and personalities who hide their homophobic animus behind Scripture and the claim of "deeply held religious beliefs."
If you desire to fight back against homophobic lies, then realize that knowledge is the first key. Passing along this knowledge is the second one.
(And just to clear things up, this booklet is free. I don't get a dime for it. I created it because I am tired of talking about LGBT equality on the terms of the religious right. I'm tired of not having a good resource on hand to call out anti-gay propaganda. The LGBT community -- particularly LGBT youth -- should have something like this. We all should have had something like this a long time ago.)
Images taken from Deathstyle via How They See Us.