I think the “why” is part of what makes the Blend such a special place. Gay rights are human rights, and you need not be gay to fight for those rights, no more than 19th century abolitionists had to be black. That’s also why you’ll see so much discussion of racial and gender issues as well. Certainly these are Pam’s personal issues, but these are issues that affect us all, even if we’re all not black lesbians, even if some of us are as statistically stereotypically average middle-class married white males.
That leads me to the other type of attention we garner, the opposition side, whether it is dressed up in the buttoned-down pseudosociological “studies” of Peter LaBarbera: Queer Private Dick, or let loose as the disheveled ravings of delusional homophobes like a certain recent commenter. In their Bizzarro world, homosexuals are a miniscule minority group nearly universally reviled by society (and choose to be that way), and yet they have this incredible power and influence in the corridors of power and are close to imposing some “Homosexual Agenda™” upon an unwilling populace. They are such disgusting, vile, unnatural, repulsive, abhorrent abominations that non-stop attention must be paid to their every revolting, decadent, sinful intimate act.
These trolls pop in from time to time to deliver some sort of appearance-based or sexually-degrading epithet or two, then chide the blog for being an insulated mutual admiration society that ignores the overwheling worldwide disapproval of homosexuality.
That’s why I think it is interesting to have me here as Pam’s demographic opposite. This isn’t just some queer sewing circle where homosexuals gather to pat themselves on the back. Besides my voice there are all the wonderful House Blenders comprised of a myriad of demographics. I wouldn’t even be surprised if a majority of readers of this blog are straight. How do the homophobes explain all of us straight people who love and respect our gay friends, family, and neighbors? Probably by calling us “fag lovers” under their breath, not so far removed from their ideological predecessors’ taunts of “nigger lovers” half a century ago.
The Bizzarro world of the virulent homophobe is projection, of course. Nothing could be a better example of intellectual isolationism than to believe that all or even most of the people of the world think homosexuality to be as disgusting as they think. Most people just don’t care (you can always bet on apathy). I don’t care who or how my neighbors screw, nor do most people, and that becomes more true as you poll younger people. But don’t take my word for it, Mr. LaBarbera…
(LA Times) That gays are more widely accepted in American society is readily apparent in everything from television sitcoms to corporate anti-discrimination policies to recent U.S. Supreme Court opinions.
The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., has compiled 30 yearsâ€™ worth of major public opinion poll results on Americansâ€™ attitudes toward homosexuals. While the surveys consistently show that about two-thirds of Americans oppose gay marriage, an issue that has now reached the California Supreme Court, they also demonstrate remarkable shifts on numerous other fronts. For example:
* Public acceptance of gays in the military grew from 51% in a 1977 Gallup Poll to 80% in 2003.
* Approval of gays as elementary school teachers grew from 27% in 1977 to 61% over the same period.
* A 1999 Gallup survey showed that 59% would vote for a well-qualified presidential candidate who was homosexual, up from 26% in 1978.
Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking, into the future…
(ReligiousTolerance.org) “Do you feel that homosexuality should be considered an acceptable alternative lifestyle or not?” (1982: 34%; 2003: 54%)
“Do you think homosexual relations between consenting adults should or should not be legal?” (1977: 43%; 2003: 60%)
“As you may know, there has been considerable discussion in the news regarding the rights of homosexual men and women. In general, do you think homosexuals should or should not have equal rights in terms of job opportunities?” (1977: 56%; 2003: 88%)
I believe the children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way…”
Zogby International and Hamilton College in New York conducted a nation-wide Hamilton College Gay Issues Poll. It involved a random sampling of 1,000 “class of 2001” high school seniors. Margin of error is 3%. Results were released in 2001-AUG-27.
The data indicate that the students are far more accepting of homosexuality than their parents. The poll results include:
- 92% say that homosexuals should be able to serve in the military.
- 40% would have gays and lesbians serving openly.
- 52% are in favor of the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
- 88% supported anti hate-crime legislation to protect gays and lesbians.
- 88% said that the phrase, “That’s so gay” is used to describe something that is not liked.
- Allowing same-sex marriage is favored by:
- 86% of those students who believe that homosexuality is determined at birth,
- 61% of those who believe that homosexuality is caused by upbringing, and
- 58% of those who believe that homosexuality is a chosen behavior.
- 86% say that lesbians should be “accepted by society.”
- 85% say that gay men should be “accepted by society.”
- 85% believe that gays and lesbians should be accepted by society.
- 84% of students, who would expect their parents to be accepting of a gay friend, were in favor of same-sex marriage.
- 80% of Roman Catholics support same-sex marriage; this is strongly opposed by their church.
- 80% of Jews support same-sex marriage.
- 79% support anti-discrimination laws to protect gays from job discrimination
- 78% of students who has a close gay friend, 59% of those who know a gay person, and 55% of those who don’t know a gay person favor same-sex marriage.
- 78% disagree with the statement “Lesbians are disgusting.”
- 77% believe that “gays contribute to society in unique and positive ways.”
- 71% believe that adult homosexual behavior should be legal. This compares with only 54% of adults, according to a recent Gallup poll.
- 71% would allow gay men to serve as Scout leaders.
- 69% disagree with the statement “Gay men are disgusting.”
- 68% would allow gay couples to adopt children.
- 66% feel that same-sex marriages should be legal. This compares to about 33% of adults, according to recent polls conducted by the Associated Press, Gallup and the LA Times.
- 63% would be comfortable in a class with a gay math teacher.
- 61% disagree with the s
tatement “Gay lifestyles are morally wrong.”
- About 50% said that they had heard classmates insult gay students by calling them “faggot,” “homo,” “dyke” or similar names.
- 43% would be comfortable with a gay lab partner.
- 39% say that “gay lifestyles are morally wrong.”
- 31% would be comfortable at a party with both straight and gay couples.
The survey found that 30% of the students, mainly “highly religious” evangelical Christians, could be characterized as “anti-homosexual.” One professor who conducted the survey said: “Their views are firmly rooted, and unlikely to change real [sic] soon.” However, even among the evangelical Christians, 80% supported hate crime legislation and half said homosexuals should be accepted by society.
Some comments volunteered by the students:
- “Who they are as a person is more important than who they sleep with or love. It shouldn’t be a big deal.”
- “Flaming homosexuals are just weird and gross. But if they don’t flash it there’s nothing wrong with it.”
- “I don’t like fags. I want to beat their queer asses.” (The homophobia gene will take more than a generation or two to completely disappear…)
- “God made them that way. Let them be.”
- “I believe it is a choice, a moral decision. And I don’t believe what they are doing is right.”
- “Gays are morally wrong, but should be accepted for who they are and not discriminated against.”
- “People say they are gay to get attention.”
- “I like gays. They are nice people.”
Beliefs of high school students are particularly important because today’s students will be the adult decision makers in future decades.
So when you, Mr. LaBarbera or homophobic troll, browse through this blog, remember that it is us who are on the right side of the future and you who are the endangered minority. And you, the scared, confused gay or lesbian teen looking for solace, know that not only do you have the support of millions of other gays and lesbians, but also many more millions of straight folks, too.