Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"LGBT Experiences Have Been Erased and Nullified": More on Who's Erasing Queer People from Discussion of a Massacre of Queer People, and Why This Is Being Done

More observations on who's erasing queer people from the massacre of queer people in Orlando, and why they're doing this:

If there are questions about Mateen’s own sexuality now to be raised, the straight body politic, and mainstream media, will need to do something it has singularly failed to do in the last three days: to understand and name out loud homophobia in all its forms (violent, and in the statute books), and to understand what being LGBT means, and the sometimes extreme cost of living in denial of it. 
Mateen, if what we are being told is true, was a man possibly attracted to men who didn't see himself as gay, who—if the facts are to be believed thus far—hated both that idea as it applied to himself, and to others. 
He was, by virtue of his actions at Pulse, virulently anti-gay: not just self-hating, but LGBT-hating in extremis, with ISIS ideology a bedrock of still unclear-importance. 
Mateen’s closet, whatever was hanging in there, was polluted and toxic. So, if they are going to bandy it around as a possible cause, the media and politicians at their podiums need to understand the complexity of that closet. 
Am I hopeful that they will? Not at all. Thus far, almost three days after the Orlando tragedy, and with honorable exceptions like President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Anderson Cooper, nobody has addressed Orlando as a uniquely LGBT hate crime and act of aggression. LGBT voices are almost absent from our TV screens. Bar pretty pictures of vigils, with sonorous music playing over them, LGBT experiences have been erased and nullified.

Within hours of the news spreading that there had been a massacre at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, it became clear that conservatives needed to minimize the possibility that this was the anti-gay hate crime that it looked like. Republican pundits and politicians got to work trying to imply the choice of a target was unimportant or arbitrary, refusing to acknowledge that Pulse was a gay bar or that most of the victims were queer. 
The move, while cynical, makes sense. If Republicans can trick people into thinking this was some kind of generic Islamic assault on the West, then they can run the terrorists-are-coming-for-you script that has worked so well for them politically in the past. But to admit that it might have been Omar Mateen’s anti-gay beliefs that motivated this this is political poison. 
After all, it's not just fundamentalist Islam that is anti-gay. Fundamentalist Christianity is, too, and if anti-gay religious teachings can cause a Muslim to reach for his gun, they can surely do the same to a Christian. Indeed, hate crimes against LGBT people are common in this country, and most of them are not being committed by Muslims.

Michael Sean Winters at National Catholic Reporter to the U.S. Catholic bishops who, with notable exceptions, still cannot bring themselves to say "gay" or "LGBTQ" even following a shocking massacre of LGBTQ human beings:

Do you think it is polite to refer to people in the manner that they refer to themselves? Do you still call Presbyterians and Lutherans heretics? Would you appreciate being called papists? Idolators? Does your hesitancy reflect concern about certain theories about LGBT issues you have been sold by some conservative groups and, if so, is this reluctance to call gay people gay not an example of putting ideology before people which the pope has denounced as the source of great evil and many barriers and injustices in our world? 
Do you realize that even Donald Trump yesterday understood it was morally necessary to express specific concern for the LGBT community? Do you also realize that when you have ceded the moral high ground to Donald Trump, even for a minute, it is time to rethink your entire life? 
Do you think your ability to relate to the LGBT community is helped or hindered by the fact that so many anti-LGBT leaders, and indeed some of the loudest voices among the bishops, are themselves conflicted about their sexual identity? 
The lesson here is to be quiet lest you keep embarrassing yourselves. Ask around within your diocese and find a way to meet with some gay and lesbian people on a regular basis, find out how God is already active in their lives, what their lives are like, and ask them how you think the church should speak about them and their lives. Read some real literature on the subject, starting with John Boswell's seminal study Christianity, Homosexuality and Social Tolerance.

Do you also realize that when you have ceded the moral high ground to Donald Trump, even for a minute, it is time to rethink your entire life? And then, of course, there's the archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, appointed by the previous pope to that important see in which LGBTQ culture is open, vibrant, and concentrated, who has chosen to say, in response to what just happened in Orlando, that God loves us all regardless of our "personal lifestyle."

Talk about ceding the moral high ground by bucketfuls and basketloads. Talk about an insensitivity that goes beyond merely atrocious and gruesome into the realm of outright cruelty.

One would almost think Cordileone (and many other Catholic leaders) want to be perceived that way, when the topic of conversation is fellow human beings who are LGBTQ.

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