It’s been fun ever since the Family Research Council and the American Family Association were added to the list of SPLC-certified hate groups, watching groups like NOM double down and apply themselves harder so that they might make the list next time. Over at the blog for The Ruth Institute, that wang of NOM which serves, from what I can see, no purpose whatsoever, some wingnut named “Mary Rice Hasson” is telling us all why it Doesn’t Get Better for gay teens:
How can life get better for sexually confused young people if they cut themselves off from their families and abandon themselves to sex?
Damn, right out the gate, she reveals herself as a dishonest nitwit of the Maggie Gallagher school of dishonest nitwits. Mary: the kids only end up cut off from their families if their families listen to the backwards pig ignorance of people like you and cut off their kids for being who they are. At least you, in a roundabout way, admit that your kind is the prime motivating force behind the gay teen homelessness rate. Great effing parenting, you guys.
Also, being honest about one’s sexuality has nothing to do with “abandoning” oneself to sex. Your readers may be stupid, but mine aren’t, so they see through that sort of thing.
Anyway, now Mary would like to tell the class why she doesn’t like the “It Gets Better” project:
So what’s not to like? Plenty. For starters, it’s the brainchild of Dan Savage, “America’s leading sex-advice columnist.” (Sample his advice here. Warning: graphic.)
Mary links to Dan giving sex advice to a reader who asked him about sex in his sex column. That’s “sex” three times in one sentence. Mary is obviously horrified that anyone would discuss what she may well consider to be shameful wifely duties in polite company, but the rest of us are grown-ups and thus can handle grown-up talk.
Mary then describes the It Gets Better project as she understands it:
In spite of the project’s spin, it awakens much-needed compassion for adolescents who endure humiliation, physical brutality and extreme loneliness because of their appearance or sexuality. Their pain is real and, for many, the suffering intense and prolonged. Preventing teen suicides is vital work. And we should affirm the essential goodness, value, and lovability of every person.
Good that she recognizes that teen suicide is, um, a problem.
But that’s not what the project is about.
Oh, no? Please ‘splain it for the rest of us, laywoman from Maggie Gallagher’s fevered hate project:
It Gets Better (IGB) is an agenda-driven campaign that caricatures traditional morality and religious people, drives a wedge between parents and children, and aggressively promotes deviant sex.
Let me grab my Bigot-to-English dictionary and translate for you: It Gets Better is a campaign that tells kids, EVEN THOSE with bigoted parents like Mary, Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown that, despite what their bigoted parents/families/teachers might say, they are not sick or diseased for being gay, that they are good and worthy of love and support, that they’re decidedly not going to hell for being who they are, and that they can live long, happy fulfilled lives with their integrity intact.
The problem here, and it is always the problem, is that people like Mary Rice Hasson believe something very stupid about gay teens: they believe that their teachings and rearing can change their gay teens into straight teens, or even prevent them from being gay at all. There is NO evidence for this asinine, childish belief, which they then foist on anyone in earshot of their ignorant warbling, but they push it just the same. We on the side of reality understand that their teachings and beliefs are directly responsible for the pain and suffering, and often depression and suicidal thoughts, that THEIR KIDS go through, as a result of hearing day in/day out [wingnuts being utterly obsessed with homosexuality], that they’re not good enough for God.
That’s why Mary’s next quote, which is intended to be shocking, is important:
In a May 2011 speech to Google employees, and in a July 2011 New York Times interview, Savage brags that the “subversive,” culture-changing goal of the campaign is to “pull an end run around people who are trying to isolate their queer kids from information, from queer adults, [from] the idea that you can be a happy LGBT adult.”
Damn right, Mary. Damn right. If fundamentalist headcases didn’t drop the ball on parenting in this area, other responsible adults wouldn’t have to create YouTube projects to try to save their kids.
He aims now to reach young adolescents—12,13, 14—and those teens whose “bullying“ parents (i.e., religious parents) are least likely to approve of the LGBT lifestyle.
Yep. If their parents loved them — I mean, truly loved them, not through the filter of fundamentalist religion — we wouldn’t have to do things like this. Pardon us for wanting their kids to grow up healthy and alive.
At Mary’s blog, she goes through the “real messages” of It Gets Better in what I can only presume she considers to be great detail, but really just comes off as the kvetching of a bigot who’s terrified that the cultural supremacy of her chosen bigotry is becoming socially unacceptable.
Real Message Number One: “Traditional morality and religious beliefs equal bigotry.” As they pertain to LGBT people, this is a fairly accurate statement. Their beliefs about gay people have no basis in reality, much as white supremacists’ beliefs have no basis in reality. Both have long used religion as an excuse. Next!
Real Message Number Two: “Families who oppose homosexuality are bullies; the LGBT community is your ‘family.’” Meh, she doesn’t get it. It’s not so much about the LGBT community being your “real family,” but more that there really are bigoted parents who are truly bullies to their own children, and they don’t even realize it. I grew up in Southern Bible-Based Education Land myself, and saw this play out over and over and over again. Indeed, programs have had to be set up to house kids who are kicked out by their “traditionally moral and religious believing” parents for being gay. Once again, sad that we have to step in and provide familial love when these people drop the ball on their duties as parents, but that’s life. Mary seems particularly blown away by the idea that kids are sometimes born into crappy homes, and that as adults, often have to put together their own families. Moreover, she is blind to the reality that those “crappy homes” are often the kinds of homes she advocates for most fervently. Whatever. As long as there are people like Mary in the world, there will be gay people who grow up, realize that their families really never understood the concept of “unconditional love” in the first place, and who create familial support systems for themselves far outside their nuclear families, in order that they may live and thrive in joy and peace.
Real Message Number Three: “LGBT means sex—lots of it, your way.” Oh god, the It Gets Better project doesn’t have a damn thing to do with sex, except inasmuch as it affirms that LGBT people can have happy, full lives — including their sex lives. This is just fundamentalist horror-mongering about sex, and Mary is all too willing to comply. She states, “LGBT culture is all about sex.” As Mary is an expert on absolutely nothing that I can detect, I can’t imagine why she would deign to attempt to explain LGBT culture. This paragraph is funny, though:
The original It Gets Better video shows Savage and his partner snickering over memories of their initial meeting, which included a proposition for oral sex. Savage boasts that he refused the requests of high school guidance counselors to delete the oral sex reference from the video because “people with pretty mouths eating you is one of the ways ‘it gets better.’” (And he wonders why parents don’t want LGBT mentors for their kids.)
Haha, big deal. Again, we in the grown-up world don’t giggle uncomfortably when sex is discussed, and parents are supposed to raise their kids to be fully functioning adults. So a little honesty about sex from responsible adults goes a long damn way where teens are concerned. UNFORTUNATELY, in my experience, fundamentalist adults don’t tend to take a very adult approach to sex in their own lives, and are even worse when it comes to educating their own children. Point: Dan.
Mary finishes that section by saying something stupid and with no factual basis about gay sex causing “guilty consciences.” Considering the fact that Mary comes from a worldview where all sex is considered icky, we’ll just let that one slide and mock her concluding paragraphs.
Other than Bornstein’s tongue-in-cheek mention of hell, or the writers who mock the ranting bigotry of “hellfire” and brimstone preachers, the project keeps silent about the negative practical consequences of the LGBT lifestyle. No mention of STDs, HIV, AIDS, rates of drug abuse, domestic violence, and infidelity.
Quickly, because I want lunch, and this woman is tiresome:
1. STDs are preventable with safe sex practices and, strangely enough, affect heterosexuals too. While HIV/AIDS is more prevalent in this country among gay men, it’s the height of moralistic, hateful bigotry, to lay the blame for this on WHO PEOPLE ARE, rather than working tirelessly to educate people in safe sex practices, HIV testing, and the like. I understand that HIV in gay men has, in many ways, been like Christmas for fundamentalists, much like 9/11 was Christmas for neocons. Props up their malevolent dumbassery, it does.
2. Drug abuse affects straight people too. Also, see above. Instead of playing the scapegoating card of the fraudulent “ex-gay”-industrial complex and blaming higher rates of drug abuse [among certain subsets of LGBT people -- not all, or even most, by any means] on people’s sexuality, how about we take the grown-up approach and figger out whar it come from, Mary?
[This whole "taking the grown-up approach" vs. taking the fundamentalist Christian approach comes up every single day in this work. It gets so boring.]
3. Domestic violence happens with lots of straight people, as well! Though I understand that Mary comes from a worldview where many of her compatriots still aren’t sure that marital rape even exists, why don’t we address the root causes of domestic violence instead of cheaply trying to use that against gay people? I know, I know. Fundamentalist Christians are allowed to be as dishonest and deceitful as they want, as long as they believe they’re doing it for their lord and savior, Republican Jesus.
4. Infidelity: Uh. You know? Hm. Infidelity is an issue for lots of people. It’s definitely not limited to either straight or gay people. If Mary wants to learn about it, perhaps she should peruse a gay dating website and count how many men on there are married to women, living in the suburbs. Then maybe she’ll understand that her cohort needs to clean up its own damn house before DARING to come into ours.
Mary ends by cynically and dishonestly discussing the problem of meth abuse among some gay men, an issue which we all, as LGBT people, know is FAR more complex than meets the eye — and honestly is more of a class issue than a sexuality issue, but that’s another discussion — and uses that to broadbrush the entire homoseckshul lifestyle as drug addicted and sad. This is lame, of course, but the good news is that every single day, people who are as ignorant as Mary face the harsh reality of actuarial tables, and people who actually grew up knowing gay people in their families, neighborhoods, schools and churches, turn eighteen. Knowledge is indeed power, and any reader who actually knows gay people sees Mary’s “argument” for what it is: the uneducated, bigoted ranting of a woman who needs to find a hobby and an outlet for her hatred.
And that, dears, is one of the simple reasons it is indeed getting so much better for so many LGBT people. We know for a fact that gay kids that grow up surrounded by love, support and encouragement are far more likely to grow up healthy and happy just like anybody else. We also know that kids who grow up without that support are much more likely to end up as one of Mary’s Convenient Statistics. And that, again, is why It Gets Better exists: to reach into the dark corners of anti-gay wingnuttia and try to prevent their kids from becoming their parents’ statistics. Dan never kept that a secret, so I don’t know why Mary’s treating it as some kind of revelation.
Good day, hateful woman. It is time for my gay lunch.