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Tag Archives: Holy hate speech Batman!

I was going to write about tattoos today. Really.

But then Wyoming decided that it’s ok to legalize domestic partnerships, but not same-sex marriage. And, y’know, this could be considered a step forward, I suppose. It’s better than killing both bills, right? Well, yeah, except…. here are their reasons for killing the marriage bill:

“Homosexual behavior is harmful to the mind, body and spirit,” state Rep. Lynn Hutchings (R-Cheyenne) said.

Uh, what? I’d like to see the studies, please, that prove people who engage in homosexual behavior are more likely to suffer chronic mental or physical illness. Preferably studies that don’t include “homosexuality” as a mental or physical illness, since that would end up being some pretty circular logic. Of course, I’m not sure how seriously I can take Representative Hutchings, since

Hutchings, who is African American, called on supporters of gay marriage to “stop carpet-bagging on our civil rights movement,” saying that there is no comparison between the two.

She goes on to say this because she believes being gay is a choice. She believes this because she knows someone who has decided to stop being gay.

And, I guess, since people are being marginalized for things they choose to do, it’s okay to perpetuate discrimination and hate against them. Just like it’s okay to discriminate against people for choosing to practice a certain religion. Right?

I’d also like to address her use of the term “carpet-bagging” here. I actually had to look it up, just to be sure it meant what I thought it did. Yup – it’s a derogatory term from the post-Civil War era. It was used as a derogatory term, “suggesting opportunism and exploitation by the outsiders” as Wikipedia puts it. So that’s nice. She’s suggesting that the marriage equality movement is somehow exploiting the civil rights movement; like somehow all those gays and lesbians are just waiting to steal liberties away from people of color. Because freedom is a limited resource – in order to give freedom to one group of people, apparently, you have to take it away from someone else.

There’s also this little gem:

Opponents centered their arguments primarily on religious, moral and health issues. In addition to her civil rights comments, Hutchings said that she opposed the bill because of AIDS cases nationally, while another witness said she has found research connecting homosexuality to higher cancer rates. She did not cite the research. A male witness raised questions about health as well.

“Anatomy is not made for two women or two men,” he said. “The colon is not made for that type of behavior.”

AIDS. Gay people shouldn’t get married because AIDS. And cancer, scary scary cancer!

I’m trying to figure out what exactly it is about marriage that causes cancer. And why does it only happen to homosexuals? Where is that research? Assuming that a majority or even a plurality of married homosexuals are monogamous, wouldn’t that actually slow the spread of AIDS? Plus, I’m not sure about your colon, Mr. Male Witness, but mine handles “that type of behavior” just fine. Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it.

Come on, Wyoming. Just say what you really mean. I would respect you more if you just said “It’s icky and we don’t like it.” I could handle that – hell, I’d even say it’s your right to feel that way. Not that you should be allowed to make legislature based on it, but at least people could see your squeamishness for what it is. Throwing around your pseudo-science and made-up health concerns makes you look childish. Pretending that this is not a civil rights concern makes you look petty. Acting like your opinions on homosexuality are universal facts makes you look uneducated and foolish.

We are men of action, Wyoming. Lies do not become us.

So, another person calling herself a feminist has posted another public rant, filled with hate and abusive language, targeting a minority group (of women, no less!) lower on the totem pole than herself. I found pieces of it – along with a well-written and delightfully snarky retort – on Consider The Tea Cosy . (As of yesterday or so, the original article was taken down and an apology posted – though I believe one of the Tea Cosy commentariat posted a link hosted elsewhere, if you really feel like slogging through the schoolyard name-calling vitriol.)

It got me thinking: What is the goal of feminism, exactly?

For some, it seems, feminism is about raising the status of women in the world. For some it is about taking power back from men, away from men. For some, it is about the expression of sexuality, gender identity, conformity or non-conformity to societal norms. For the writer of the article in question (a self-described “militant feminist”), it seems to be about pointing out all the ways men have more freedom than women – even people described as men at birth who would prefer to live their lives as women, who have a need and a desire to live as women – and how unfairrrrr that is. As tempted as I am to go into that more, I think Ms. O’Riordan has already covered it wonderfully. Instead, I will say this:

I think feminism is about freedom. And here’s the thing: if we can’t all be free, then none of us are free.

Feminism is about basic human rights. The right to be oneself. The right to live free of hatred. The right to live free of violence. The right to live free of shame. Feminism is more than just a women’s issue. And if I accept that feminism is a human rights issue, then I accept that feminism is about supporting the rights of those around me.

Feminism means supporting the rights people of color have to be seen always as equals, as peers, as who they are and not their racial history. It means supporting their right to be free of hatred, shame, persecution, prejudice, bias, violence. It means supporting their right to have a voice. I lend that support gladly.

Feminism means supporting the rights the LBGTQ community has to live life in the open, to seek and find and celebrate relationships as freely as the straight community does. It means supporting their right to be free of violence, hatred, shame, persecution, prejudice, bias. It means supporting their right to have a voice. I lend that support gladly.

Feminism means supporting the rights that trans people of all genders have, to be called not by the gender they were assigned at birth but by the gender they have always known themselves to be, to live life openly, at home in their own body. It means supporting their right to be free of bias, violence, hatred, shame, persecution, prejudice. It means supporting their right to have a voice. I lend that support gladly.

Feminism means supporting the rights that women have, to be treated as human beings and not decorations or toys or children. It means supporting their right to be free of prejudice, bias, violence, hatred, shame, persecution. It means supporting their right to have a voice. I lend that support gladly.

Feminism means supporting the rights that men have, to be treated as human beings and not cavemen or animals or simpletons. It means supporting their right to be free of persecution, prejudice, bias, violence, hatred, shame. Yes, it means supporting their right to have a voice. Yes, I lend that support gladly.

And I hope I can rely on that same support in return.

Feminism is about educating oneself. It means not just pointing out the privilege of others, but examining one’s own privilege and realizing the ways in which we, too, are flawed and prejudiced. It means re-structuring our beliefs to be more inclusive. Feminism is not about taking away rights; it is about extending them. It is about recognizing the humanity in every living soul; it is about respecting that humanity. It is not enough to support the rights of those like us or those that agree with us. Believing in equal rights means believing even in the rights of our oppressors. That does not mean supporting their presumed “right” to oppress us; but it means recognizing the humanity even in those we consider the enemy. It means understanding that the system, the kyriarchy, The Man, screws us all up; it implants false belief systems and skewed world views in all of us. It means realizing our jailors also live in a cell.

Regardless of who we are or how we live our lives, we are all in this together. Screaming angry slurs across lines drawn in the sand will not get us anywhere. It doesn’t matter which side of the line we’re on. We are all human. We are all in this together.

Until all of us are free, none of us are free.

Patton Oswalt

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