You ruined my Pride March. You went along to an event that celebrates Melbourne’s Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Trans* and Intersex communities, and you thought it was appropriate to yell, “Get off the fence, I don’t care how” more than once, and “undecided”. I decided to yell back at you “Fuck off”, but that doesn’t mitigate the fact that you went to a Pride event and decided to hurl abuse at a small group of bisexual people marching down the road.
Really, I’m so over this. This had previously been our normal, walking along at Pride and copping abuse from the crowd for existing, for daring take our non-monosexuality out in the open and be present and proud with all the other members of the LGBTIQ communities. We stood up against it, and it went away… for a while. Clearly you either missed the memo, or thought that since it hadn’t been spoken about for a while that it was completely acceptable to yell abuse at us.
What on earth were you thinking? Did you also hurl abuse at other groups like TGV or Seahorses? Did you yell at the politicians, the Police, or emergency services workers? If you were so full of vitriol that you had to yell at the one and only bisexual group at Pride, why did you bother to come along at all?
I don’t understand people like you who come along to an event to celebrate a group of minorities in society and yet reject an entire community in that broader community. I don’t understand what you thought yelling at us would achieve, other than making me (and others) sad. Do you honestly and genuinely believe that bisexual people haven’t made up their minds about their orientation? Do you think we’re all deluding ourselves? All of us? All 50% of the LGBTI community?
It’s beyond time that YOU stopped being so scared of us and so hateful towards us that you think that standing on the street during Pride March and yelling at us is completely acceptable. It’s time you started being generous of spirit, gracious, and willing to admit that sometimes you are wrong about things. It’s definitely time you started educating yourself about who is in your broader community, what their lives are like, and what effects biphobia actually has on them. Try a little compassion in your life.
I am specifically not writing about trans* or intersex children because I am not trans* nor intersex. As a bisexual, my advice will fit (mostly) lesbian and gay children of straight parents.
Also, this is not advice for parents who are already awesome and love their non-straight children and their non-straight children’s partners. This is not advice for parents who are homophobes either – unless you want to get over yourself.
I am going to use the term “queer” to refer to bisexual, lesbian and gay unless I specifically need to refer to the individual orientations.
So your child isn’t straight, they’ve come out to you as something other than straight, or perhaps you’ve come across that knowledge some other way, and have indicated that although you’re not particularly comfortable with the idea, you still love your child – this is step one in being a good parent.
The next step might be tricky, it might be tricky because you’re from a generation that doesn’t talk much about relationships, or because you mistakenly confuse queer relationships as sex sex sex, and therefore view talking about queer relationships as talking about sex and you’re from a generation that doesn’t talk about sex.
Talk to your child and their partner about things. Talk to them both, don’t ignore the same-sex partner because you don’t know what to say or how to say it. Relationships between straight people and relationships between queer people are more or less similar. The differences aren’t so important that they need to be focussed on, and the similarities are where you bond. If your child is in a relationship with someone of the same gender as themselves, then the conversations about how they met, what they do for a living (if they’re working), their hopes and dreams and the like are just like the conversations you’d have with your child’s straight partner. It might seem awkward to you, but that’s ok – feel that awkwardness and own it. Your child and their partner live that awkwardness as society still mainly considers non heterosexual relationships to be odd, different and sometimes wrong. Your brief experience of awkwardness while interacting with your queer child and their partner, should be an empathy building exercise for you, you can begin to understand what it is like when your child and their partner exist in the wider world.
One of the most important things you can do when interacting with your child and their partner, is to not see affection between them as wrong or disgusting. You might indeed find it discomforting, but sit with that, feel it, and then remember empathy. If you see affection between opposite sex couples as sweet/cute/adorable/lovely/normal, then remember than the affection between your child and their partner is exactly the same. You’ve been conditioned to think otherwise, but don’t for the love of any deity you hold holy, say or do anything that suggests that your comfort and feelings are more important than your child’s. The more exposure you have to non-straight people, the easier this gets, and the more normal it seems (because it is).
As a straight, not entirely comfortable with queer people, parent – it is your duty as a good parent to love ALL of your child, and to work as hard getting to know their same-sex partners as you would if they brought home an opposite sex partner. It is your job to come to terms with your own internalised homo/bi/trans-phobia and and banish that from you. It is your job to educate yourself on the struggles faced by your child. There are so many people who will happily talk to you about your discomfort, your lack of knowledge regarding the LGBTIQ communities, and who can hold your hand through your own journey to full acceptance – don’t expect your child to do all the work. As a good parent, show good faith and do most of the work yourself, do not expect your child to carry the burden of your struggle to understand and accept.
Is it news that Ian Thorpe is gay, by his own admission? Yes, it is news, it’s always news whenever anyone with prominence comes out and states that they are not heterosexual, because being queer is still seen as unusual. Is it any of our actual business who Ian Thorpe is attracted to at any given point in his life? Fuck no it is not.
What really bothers me about the whole thing is that Ian Thorpe for years has been repeatedly asked by people whether or not he’s gay. He’s told everyone who has ever asked, and everyone seems to have asked at one point or another, that he was straight, and the constant pressure he’s been under to actually be gay, is astounding. It does look like the media has hounded him into just admitting that he is gay so they’ll leave him alone. That’s no way to be authentic to yourself. If anyone thinks that the media will now back off Ian Thorpe because he has now stated that he is gay, then those people have rocks in their heads. Those women that he previously dated, they’ll be interviewed – friends, family, acquaintances, etc – all interviewed and fed to those of you who think that digesting someone’s personal life is a right, not a privilege.
If Ian Thorpe wanted to come out, then it should have been in his own time. It is possible that this interview with Michael Parkinson was his own time, and the nerves I’ve read described were those of relief and anxiety of finally being able to be himself – though they could equally be of frustration and resignation that this question has been asked yet again, and deciding to just say “yes” because maybe then it’ll stop. I’m not going to watch the interview, and these comments are based on the media I’ve read prior to the interview being aired.
Sexuality is fluid, people move and change, and someone who says that they are straight today might identify as gay or bisexual later in life, and vice versa. I don’t have any problems with people shifting from one sexual orientation to anther, what I do have a HUGE problem with, is that people proscribing a sexual orientation on someone for how they are perceived to be acting. If you don’t act like a macho manly man, then you must be gay – that’s the message that the hounding of Ian Thorpe, and others like him, give to young men – queer or not.
Additionally, I’m not at all surprised that people haven’t asked him if he was bisexual, because bisexuals are invisible and apparently evil/gross/two-timing back-stabbing arseholes. I should know.
I have so much linkspam, as I haven’t done a linkspam round up for ages (I’ve been busy), so I thought I’d do one just on all the bisexuality related news and posts I’ve found. Sit back, and enjoy the ride.
And this disbelief in bisexuality often leads to its general lack of acceptance. The doubts are especially and, perhaps unexpectedly, pronounced among gay people, many of whom have struggled with having their sexual orientation acknowledged and respected.
“There’s a misconception that bisexuals can’t be trusted in relationships,” says A.J. Walkley, a bisexual woman and activist who lives in Arizona. “If a lesbian is dating a bisexual woman, there’s an underlying fear that she’s going to miss penis at some point and go back to a man. There’s this thought that we can choose, we have the choice of being in a heterosexual relationship or homosexual relationship, that we have straight privilege.”
Cross-dressers aren’t the only members of the LGBT spectrum who trail gays and lesbians in social acceptance: As a recent piece in The New York Times Magazine showed, bisexuals face constant biphobia and even struggle to scientifically prove that bisexuality exists. Despite a greater number of Americans claiming to be bisexual than either gay or lesbian, far more bisexuals are in the closet than their LG counterparts. Straight people have more negative attitudes towards bisexuals than gays and lesbians. These factors have led theorists to coin the phrase “bisexual erasure”: The idea that our society systematically ignores and dismisses bisexual identity.
Sixty books were nominated to our second Bisexual Book Awards. “We are thrilled that an unprecedented number of bisexual books were nominated this year. No book awards has ever seen 60 bisexual book submissions,” says Sheela Lambert, Director of the Bi Writers Association. The previous record was held by the Lammy Awards, who received 33 nominations to their bisexual book categories in 2011.
“Homosexual” comes from the Greek homos, meaning “same.”
“Heterosexual” comes from the Greek heteros, meaning “different,” or “other.”
“Bisexual” comes from the Latin bi, meaning “two.”
Two of what? If “homo” is same, and “hetero” is different, we can read “bisexual” as referring to attraction to both same and different. It’s true that during part of its past, “bisexual” was meant as attraction to both sexes. During part of its past, “computer” was used to refer to a mathematician. Language changes.
On the surface, there’s something perfectly reasonable about defining bisexuality as acts-based. That’s what we do with other identities. Bakers are bakers because they bake. Firemen fight fires. Criminals commit crimes. So bisexuals sleep with both genders, right? But from this simplistic understanding, sloppy stereotypes too easily emerge: Bisexuals must desire both genders equally or they’re not really bi; and if they desire both genders equally, they’ll never be satisfied with monogamy, because they must sleep with someone of each gender consistently to be identifying as bi. Openness to both genders gets redefined as needing both genders. And having a range of desires—which, as Freud pointed out, is the most obvious way to characterize all humans—is reconverted back into the binary our culture just can’t shake: You can like one sex or you can like two equally, but none of this weird spectrum crap.
This is silly. Some feelings and beliefs, as opposed to acts, are considered so profound and enduring that people identify around them regardless of how they behave. Romantic desire may be one of these things. You’re straight or gay even if you’re a virgin. So why not bisexual? Faith is another source of enduring identity, and many religions have their own internal debate about this. Some people don’t consider you a Christian if you don’t, as an act of will, believe in Jesus. Yet I’m a Jew no matter what I do.
That splitting and policing of sexual desire, relationship narrative, and life experience is at the heart of what makes bi erasure a psychic murder. By selecting which loved ones and sexual partners in someone’s life are worthy of being recognized, bi erasure is a violent amputation of a person’s chosen family and community.
The destructive impact of such psychic violence contributes to an environment hostile to bisexuality and bisexuals, evidenced by the existing disparities in poverty, suicide, domestic violence and health among bisexuals. Many bisexuals feel an intense betrayal when gays and lesbians, our brothers and sisters in sexual oppression, participate in bi erasure.
The announcer was talking about some of the gay Pride parades which had taken place during the day and said to paraphrase, “members of the LGT community came out today to celebrate their Pride.”
Needless to say the announcer and/or writer of the news story was ignorant of the fact that there is more to LGT and bisexuals make up a big part of the community. Here again and this time by a news announcer we were made to be invisible.
So there is a queer film festival in Canberra and NSW starting soon called shOUT. I’m all for film festivals, particularly queer ones that show the entire LGBTIQ community as fully realised people who live interesting, dull, full, empty, happy, sad, sexy, and unfulfilled lives. Because unsurprisingly we’re just like everyone else, we however are a small percentage of the population that has same sex attraction, or who doesn’t fit in with the gender binary, or with the gender that they were born with, or whose gender was undetermined at birth.
Where are the bisexuals I asked? Sadly, I wasn’t convinced that leaving out bisexuals on the poster was entirely an accident, though it would be hard to argue that they didn’t have the space to fit it in, because as a queer film festival, and one that had used the #LGBT hashtag, they clearly knew that bisexuals exist, and yet made a conscious choice to not include us.
And while writing this post, shOUT confirms in a tweet to me that they left off bisexuals in the poster because homophobia allegedly includes biphobia (I get a tad annoyed/sweary in the exchange). And then they sent me an email after I used their “Contact us” form to ask them WTF:
We fully recognise bisexuality and do use the term “LGBT” where possible. However, we have chosen not to recognise “biphobia” or bisexuality in our communications as we believe (as does IDAHOT) that biphobia is inherently included under homophobia – as the phobic responses exhibited by persons toward those whom are bisexual are not in response to the heterosexual relationships those people maintain, but the same-sex (homosexual) relationships they maintain.
We do not intend to cause offense and we certainly do not mean to exclude. The festival is actually aimed at the heterosexual community as well as the LGBTQI community and therefore we need to find a midpoint in the language we use to communicate with both communities. We in no way mean to marginalise or sideline any sexuality or gender however the inclusion of bisexual would also require that we include intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and pansexual which are also part of the community acronym… and its very hard to have any artwork or communications that is headed by
“The 3rd Annual shOUT! Gay, Lesbian , Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Asexual, Pansexual Film Festival”
“…chosen to not recognise “biphobia” or bisexuality”
Just let that sink in for a moment. An organisation that is hosting a queer film festival, one that allegedly represents the entire QUILTBAG community, chose to not recognise bisexuality or biphobia because marketing and well bisexuals only face homophobia, not biphobia from within our own community.
Now I completely disagree with IDAHOT that biphobia is under the umbrella of homophobia, and any inclusive organisation would also. Biphobia is a completely separate and distinct phobia from homophobia, and one that bisexuals face from within the LGBTIQ (mostly LG) community, as well as from the wider straight community. From the UK Bisexuality Report:
Homophobia, heterosexiam and heteronormativity
When tackling biphobia it is important to remember that, like lesbians, gay men, and anybody else who identifies as outside of heterosexuality, bisexual people are also subject to homophobia, heterosexism and heteronormativity. Heterosexual people can also be subject to homophobia and biphobia in cases where their sexuality is misread.
Homophobia consists of negative attitudes towards those with ‘same-gender’ attractions and relationships, expressed as anger, disgust, fear, or other negative emotions. It includes hate crimes, workplace discrimination, the use of the word ‘gay’ as an insult, and the perpetuation of negative stereotypes of LGB people. Institutionalised homophobia is where whole structures, organisations or societies are homophobic.
Bisexual people may also be more likely than heterosexual people to be subject to transphobia and cisgenderism (attacking or discriminating against those who transgress the perceived gender binaries, or making assumptions about how men and women should appear or behave). This is because bisexuality, in itself, is seen by some as a gender transgression, in that it is not conforming to conventions of femininity (for women) and masculinity (for men) which involve being attracted to ‘the other gender’. In addition (and more so than lesbian and gay sexuality) attraction to more than one gender can be seen as challenging the gender binary for those bisexual people who do not distinguish people on the basis of gender.
Biphobia refers to negative attitudes, behaviours and structures specifically directed towards anyone who is attracted to more than one gender. Biphobia is perpetuated in common representations of bisexual people (see above) and attitudes towards bisexual people are often found to be even more negative than those towards other minority groups. A related idea is ‘monosexual privilege’ which refers to the privilege experienced by all those whose (stated) attraction is to only one gender.
Referring to ‘homophobia’ rather than ‘homophobia and biphobia’ when speaking of negative attitudes, behaviours and structures in relation to LGB people.
Claiming to speak for LGB, or LGBT people, and then failing to include ‘B’ in the name or mission statement of a group, neglecting bisexual-specific issues, and/or dropping the ‘B’ within materials.
Prioritising lesbian and/or gay issues over bisexual issues.
Failing to engage with bisexual individuals or groups in relation to policy and practice.
Another issue specific to biphobia is double discrimination: the fact that bisexual people can be discriminated against both by heterosexuals and by lesbian and gay people. Both groups can be suspicious of bisexual partners (fearing that they will be left for someone of the ‘other gender’) and assume that bisexual people will be a threat to their relationships. Some lesbian and gay people may also feel threatened if they have any ‘other gender’ attraction themselves and are faced with the tough prospect of a second ‘coming out’ if they were to identify as bisexual. Also, some people can feel that the existence of bisexuality ‘muddies the water’ in a way which calls into question the basis on which they have fought for their rights.
It can be particularly difficult for bisexual people when they are excluded from, or rejected by, lesbian and gay individuals or groups where they had expected to find safety and community. Common historical examples of such exclusions include having to fight to be allowed to take part in pride marches, being relegated to the back of such marches, and having no bisexual people on the stage alongside the lesbian, gay and trans people there. Some gay clubs and services have also had gay-only door policies meaning that bisexual people have been forced to lie if they want to participate. … the legacy remains among bisexual people accessing services today, and there is still fear among UK bisexual people that they will be rejected if they attempt to engage with LGBT groups.
From where I’m sitting, shOUT’s refusal to recognise bisexuality and biphobia is looking very biphobic.
Let’s take a look at the rest of their website. Firstly I think it’s great that they’ve included trans* people in their marketing material, however they do completely bollocks that up in the first paragraph on their home page though:
shOUT it OUT! The shOUT Gay & Lesbian Film Festival is returning for its 3rd year in 2014. A whole month of the best queer cinema from around the world to make you cry, cackle and cringe.
Yes, I’m cringing already, because we’ve gone from LGT to LG – and that’s a bad and worrying sign.
Their IDAHO page fares a little better, it mentions both trans*phobia and intersexphobia – something their email suggested that they’d not include… so I’m confused.
The aim of the shOUT film festival is to create awareness that, although rights for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) individuals has progressed substantially in Australia, many peoples attitudes have not changed – leading to homophobia, transphobia and intersex-phobia in workplaces, schools, public and even at home.
shOUT made a conscious decision to not include bisexuals, because then they’d have to include other groups, and instead of using an umbrella term such as “queer” they decided that excluding potentially the largest group of the LGBTIQ community, because it was convenient.
I’m not in Canberra or NSW, so I can’t not attend this event in order to demonstrate my displeasure at their response to me regarding bisexuality and biphobia. However, with my Bi-Alliance President hat on, I will be approaching the committee and asking what we’re going to do about this. I strongly encourage you to write to shOUT and ask WTF regarding their policy of choosing not to recognise bisexuals and biphobia, particularly if you live in NSW and had been planning to attend.
In an almost good article, arguing for continued inclusion of Trans* people, writer Tyler Curry fucks the rest of the article up by excluding bisexuals and intersex people. Because the Huffington Post now requires you to link your Facebook profile to their site for you to comment, you now get an entire blog post growling about this issue instead of a comment on Huffington Post as I don’t have a Facebook account.
Look, I don’t even this article… Trans* people can be gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight, and they are a multidimensional part of the LGBTIQ community, a vital one that should be included and celebrated. If you’re a transphobic arsehat that doesn’t agree then you should not be part of the LGBTIQ community.
If you’re going to write an article championing the continued inclusion (as if you could exclude them) of T, then you perhaps should examine your article and ensure that it’s completely inclusive and not excluding any other group, such as intersex (I), or bisexuals (B). Tyler uses “gay and lesbian” and sometimes just “gay” to mean LGBTIQ, and we should beyond using gay as an umbrella term and making invisible lesbians, bisexuals, and intersex people. Tyler uses bisexual once when referring to the “gay rights movement”… not “the LGBTIQ rights movement”, not the “queer rights movement”, no the “gay rights movement” because apparently they’re the rights that matter the most? Tyler also seems to be completely oblivious to the existence of intersex people in the LGBTIQ community, as well as those who prefer to identify as queer.
This article is fail on so many levels, I’m disappointed in Tyler Curry and HuffPo (as usual) for failing to get it right.
As a bisexual, I appreciate that Stacey is attempting to have my back and protect me from homophobia (though not biphobia and there is absolutely no mention of transphobia in the article), but I think he doesn’t have sufficient historical knowledge to understand the Capitol and their wealth in context. Stacey seems to think that men who wear flamboyant clothing and makeup are foppish and effeminate, and that women who wear extravagent makeup are dressing like drag queens, which doesn’t sound at all homophobic.
The context that Stacey is missing is that historically the incredibly wealthy (generally the nobility) wore extravagant clothes and makeup. In pre-Revoluntionary France Kings Louis XV and XVI lived lives of decadence, wearing fine laces, silks, brocade, wigs, and makeup, because that’s what was done. The unadorned man is actually a very recent invention. Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games Trilogy (I assume Stacey hasn’t read them) makes it clear how wealthy the citizens of Capitol are compared to those who live in the Districts. As King Louis XVI’s court was physically separated from the poor and starving in Paris, so the Capitol’s citizens are distant and separated from the poor of the Districts. As King Louis’s XVI court spent far too much money on clothes, make up and food, while the poor starved and agitated in Paris, those in the Capitol do exactly the same while those in the District start to agitate for change.
The story is not about homophobia, the story is about what happens when you treat a large portion of your population with contempt, put them in arenas to kill each other, while forcing them to watch, and letting them starve while you keep all the good things for yourself. In the books and in the movies, those of Capitol are displayed as incredibly wealthy, incredibly unaware (for the most part) of the privileged position they hold, and that they view those of the Districts as toys versus actual people.
The Hunger Games and stories are really a cross between the Roman Empire and it’s circuses and the pre-Revolutionary French monarchy’s disregard for the lower classes. If you read homophobia into that, then I’d suggest it’s your own internalised homophobia.
Stacey’s comparison of The Hunger Games to the movie 300 is also weird. 300 (the movie) was based on the comic book 300, written by Frank Miller.. Stacey claims that 300 was racist and well on the surface that’s indeed true, but again ignores history.
When you have a story about one group of people going to war with another group of people, one of those groups is always going to be painted as the bad people, and generally it’s going to be based on where they’re from or the reason they’re warring in the first place (wrong religion, wrong wife, wrong coloured socks, etc).
To conclude, Stacey needs to learn more history and stop judging things after a few seconds of thought. Perhaps he should also ask some other LGBTIQ people their opinions on the movie before spending several hundred words writing a mostly incomprehensible article about non-existent homophobia (and biphobia and transphobia) and alluding to racism in movies for reasons that aren’t very clear.
The comments on this article (at least the first page) are pretty good for a change, and it’s refreshing to read a whole lot of people go, “What, why did you even!!!” at someone I’m doing the same thing to.
Clearly, not everyone shares the same understanding of the terms “gay marriage” and “marriage equality” and I think it’s crucially important, in the overall quest for equal marriage rights, that the relationship between these terms is explored and articulated.
Just about everyone (even those who have no connection with or interest in gay rights politics) understands what is meant by “gay marriage” — it’s the phenomenon of two people of the same sex getting married, a woman and a woman, or a man and man.
Except it’s not. Gay marriage, is two gay people getting married, not two people of the same sex. If I married my girlfriend I would not be getting gay married, as neither of us are gay. The continual privileging of “gay” to mean QUILTBAG, makes invisible anyone who doesn’t identify as gay.
In general, however, it is the phrase “gay marriage” — and not “same-sex marriage” — which has dominated public discourse when discussion turns to marriage between persons of the same sex.
Which is typically because those who identify as gay have found the term useful, and haven’t pushed back on media using an exclusionary term. Those that spoke the loudest were handed a term that suited their identity and they ran with it. If the media had started with “same sex marriage” the story would be quite different and we’d all be much happier.
In recent years there has been a growing trend by gay rights organizations, and politicians pursuing changes in marriage laws, to downplay the words “gay marriage” and to focus instead on “marriage equality.” While the logic behind this strategy is understandable it has also led to confusion as to what these different labels mean and has resulted in some supporters of same-sex marriage developing an unwarrantedly negative view of the phrase “gay marriage.”
Could that be because “gay marriage” completely excludes those who identify as bisexual, or those trans* folk who don’t identify as gay? I have a very negative view of the phrase “gay marriage” and it is not at all unwarranted. After all, I want to be part of the team, not on the sidelines being ignored as the bisexual community is far to commonly used to.
Adjectives are a key part of language. These important words help to describe differences between similar things. They bring visibility to the diversity that exists in just about every aspect of human existence. Without adjectives language would have considerably less communicative value. Placing the word “gay” in front of “marriage” provides useful descriptive information.
Yup, useful descriptive information that the person using the term doesn’t understand that using exclusionary language is a problem (words matter people). If you want to be an ally to the bisexual community, and bisexuals:
Use inclusive language. Unless you know for a fact that both members of a couple are gay, refer to them as a same-sex couple, not a gay or lesbian couple. Likewise, use “same-sex marriage” rather than “gay marriage”, “LGBT rights” rather than “gay rights,” “the LGBT community” rather than “the gay community”, “pride” or “LGBT pride” rather than “gay pride”, “homophobia and biphobia” rather than just “homophobia”, and so forth. When naming an organization or group, use “LGBT” rather than “gay” if applicable (for example, a “LGBT-Straight Alliance” rather than a “Gay-Straight Alliance”.) [Feministe]
I don’t know how many times people in the bisexual community, and our allies, have to tell people such as Murray Lipp that words matter, and the continued use of “gay marriage” does not include bisexuals and others.
Related to this, campaigns for the legalization of same-sex marriage increasingly downplay the “gay” aspect and focus more on “marriage equality,” which in large part is an effort to avoid having to deal with the very real stigma that is often linked with all things “gay.” While this strategy to neutralize stigma has no doubt helped fuel the success of some of these campaigns, and drawn in more straight supporters, it has also had another impact: the demonization of the term “gay marriage.” It should come as no surprise then that some supporters of same-sex marriage have internalized this and developed a negative view of the term.
I do wonder if Murray Lipp actually spoke to anyone who didn’t like the term “gay marriage” before his article and attempted to understand their objections before just making shit up. I have not internalised homophobia and have a negative view of “gay marriage” because of the stigma attached to the word “gay”. I just really hate being sidelined by people who I thought were on my side.
There are number of reasons why “gay marriage” remains a powerful and very useful way to refer to marriage between people of the same sex. As previously outlined, “gay marriage” has instant recognition value — people know what it means — it’s easy for the mind to grasp and understand the concept. When discussing any issue, and especially when trying to attract supporters for a cause, rapid recognition of this kind is extremely valuable, especially in today’s society in which time and attention spans are limited.
Except… except we’re not all gay. I’m not gay. My girlfriend is not gay. My husband is not gay. My husband’s boyfriend is not gay. By continually using “gay” as an umbrella term, you make it harder for bisexuals to exist. You’re making the only options available straight or gay. Guess what, there are other options, and we’re so very sick of you not paying attention to us. Hello! We’re over here!
“Gay marriage” refers to the actual phenomenon of same-sex marriage, the legal union between two people of the same sex. It’s something which is legal or not in any given part of the world. “Marriage equality,” on the other hand, refers to the equal allocation of rights and benefits to all married couples, regardless of whether those couples are opposite-sex or same-sex. It does not describe a type of marriage. It describes an outcome, an achievement or goal, that being the attainment of equality.
“Gay marriage” refers to the legal recognition of two people who identify as gay being married. Not necessarily all same-sex marriages as we’ve discussed. I’m a big fan of “marriage equality” and “same-sex” marriage, and you should be too if you want to be seen to be an ally to the entire LGBTIQ community.
While it seems like an impossible dream, there is certainly the hope that one day “gay marriage” will be legal throughout the entire world. If that ever happens there will perhaps then be less need to make distinctions between gay and straight marriage.
And this proves my point. For Murry Lipp to even have written this indicates that at no point during this article did he consider those who didn’t identify as gay.
In the comments of this article, which I have contributed to, Murray continues to fail to understand that “gay” is not an umbrella term for QUILTBAG and that his exclusion of those who don’t identify as gay could possibly be a problem. Here is an activist who needs to be educated in being a good queer ally, and ignored until he’s done that education.
It’s not often I bother to click on a link tweeted by ABC Religion and Ethics because far too often I find myself suffering serious eye-roll, if not rage. Sometimes they have articles worth reading, today’s effort by Roger Scruton and Phillip Blond (two UK writers) was not one of them.
The article was florid and pretentious, using language and terms that many people would struggle with, but the worst thing is that the article was masquerading as a balanced view on marriage, which instead came across as sexist, gender essentialist and a bit homo, bi and trans* phobic. I suspect that most people would have been put off by the language use, I almost was, and perhaps for my rage levels I should have let myself be – curse my stubbornness.
Apparently the Vatican still having conniptions about the fact that the rest of the Western world is not listening to them and are continuing to recognise same-sex relationships, granting people who are attracted to those of the same sex rights equivalent to those who are opposite sex attracted. And they just won’t stand for it – in order to let everyone know how unhappy they are, and how absolutely morally abhorrent they consider same-sex attraction to be, they came out and said (mid December 2012):
Monday’s edition of Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican, features a front-page editorial attacking French Catholic magazine Temoignage Chretien (“Christian Witness”) for supporting marriage equality. The editorialclaims that same-sex couples exist in “a different reality” because they are unable to conceive children, and goes on to claim that marriage equality is part of some socialist “utopia”:
Saying that marriage between a woman and a man is equal to that between two homosexuals is, in fact, a denial of the truth that affects one of the basic structures of human society, the family. We cannot base a society on these foundations without then paying a very high price as happened in the past when there was an attempt to achieve total economic and social equality. Why repeat the same mistake and chase after an unattainable utopia? [(emphasis in original) from ThinkProgress]
It’s taken me a while to write this because every time I’ve thought about it, I’ve just struggled to understand where exactly the Vatican thinks it exists, what century they think it is, and why they think that anyone is going to listen to a bunch of old men in frocks who think that same sex relationships, and the ordination of women are worse or equivalent sins to Catholic Priests raping children and and adults.