slammerkinbabe: (!facepalm (face and palm are friends))
Hi, guys. I’m thinking of coming back to LJ for awhile. I’ve been doing a project of staying away from Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter for a couple months, to see if it helps with my concentration. More about that in a later post, maybe, if I feel like soul-baring. But I took August off from all social media and am now reintroducing LJ because I think long-form blogging is better for me than status updates, tweets and gifs.

ANYWAY, right now I am kind of losing my frigging mind over this case with the Kentucky clerk who is refusing to do her job, refusing to quit her job, and refusing to admit that she is, of her own free will, digging herself into a really big hole. Specifically, for anyone who’s missed it, she won’t issue marriage licenses to gay people (or to straight people either, on the hilarious notion that this is going to protect her from lawsuits) and every court up to and including the Supreme Court has said “No, your religion doesn’t give you the right to not do your job,” but she is Adamant! I just cannot get over the fact that she thinks she has the right to retain a job she is openly avowing she cannot do. Your God may be telling you not to license gay marriages, lady, but I will need to see the Bible verse where God insists that the only job on His green earth that you can ethically hold is that of county clerk. Because I really, really don’t think that’s part of His dictate. Resign your fucking job and find a new one. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, right? Go work for the Family Research Council. I’m positive they can fit you in.

Anyway. So there’s this whole kerfuffle, but the thing I have been thinking about the most is a story I found on Snopes a few months ago, when I was reading Snopes chronically because I have been feeling very dumb lately and I was enjoying reading about people who are dumber than me. This particular story about people dumber than me was a story about a guy who went to a WalMart and, when he got to checkout, found that the clerk in his lane was not checking out alcoholic beverages. He saw the clerk’s name on his nametag, noted that it was “not Steve,” and concluded that a.) the clerk’s name was Muslim, b.) the clerk was not checking out alcoholic beverages in accordance with his religious beliefs, and c.) SHARIA LAW WAS BEING UNLOOSED UPON THE NATION.

Well, it turned out that the clerk’s non-Steve name had nothing to do with why he wasn’t checking out alcoholic beverages. He wasn’t checking them out because he was underage. But the conservatives got a good fury-boost out of it anyway. Which leads me to this: here we have a situation where a clerk -- in a private establishment, no less -- was purportedly refusing to do a portion of his job because of his religion. Alcoholic beverages were being checked out by other clerks in other lanes, just as, we are constantly told by conservatives, gay marriage licenses are being issued by other clerks in Kentucky.* Furthermore, another clerk could quickly step into that clerk’s lane and check out the alcohol if a transaction was already in progress, just as, as Kim Davis’ legal team notes, a clerk from a neighboring county could be deputized to issue Rowan County gay marriage licenses so Davis wouldn’t have to do it. I mean, it’s a really small concession to make to protect someone’s religious freedom, right? Just go to the next lane, or the next county? Everybody gets their alcohol, or their gay marriage, and nobody has to violate their religious freedom? What could possibly be wrong with that?

Well, in the case of WalMart, it’s that that would apparently be a forerunner of the establishment of sharia law in the US, despite the fact that it was a private establishment (unlike the county clerk’s office) whose employee was not doing anything in the name of the government (unlike Kim Davis) and that was not trying to establish a legal precedent that would impact the country at large (unlike Kim Davis). None of those last things matter because it would be fundamentally wrong to allow someone to plead off from doing their job because of their religious convictions!

But Kim Davis? I mean. She’s Christian. So none of that applies. Right?

________________________________________________

*Which argument makes me BATSHIT because WHAT HAPPENS IF THEY START REFUSING GAY MARRIAGE LICENSES EN MASSE, AS COULD WELL HAPPEN IN A HEAVILY CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE STATE. The argument “there are other people who will do this” only holds meaning if THE LAW IS MAKING THEM DO IT. But anyway.
slammerkinbabe: (!politics (shades of gray))
On my way in to the library today, I passed a Marine Week display in the park across the street. There were three tanks on the opposite part of the park and a bunch of soldiers milling around. Near the sidewalk, as I was waiting for the light, I saw a wide-eyed little boy hanging onto his mother's hand, chatting with a couple of the soldiers. He was clearly entranced, and the soldiers were really enjoying him, laughing and talking kindly. And I smiled, because the kid was cute and the soldiers were nice and it was a nice scene.

Then I noticed what was right behind the kid: a machine gun on display, propped up on a tripod-like thing next to the sidewalk. The machine gun was bigger than the child, if you'd laid one next to the other. My smile faded.

It's not that I got angry about this, precisely, or onto an anti-Marines kick. I don't bear resentment towards individual soldiers. I have a vague sense of the variety of reasons that a person might join the military. Many believe wholeheartedly that this is the only way to keep their country safe and are willing to put their lives on the line for that. I know some of those people and I respect them. Others join the military because they need the opportunities that it affords them to better their lives and the lives of their families: money, education, and so on. I know some of those people, and I respect them, too. There are plenty more reasons, I'm sure, just as I'm sure that sadism, or a desire to kill other people carte blanche, is among the least common.

But it was an emotional experience nevertheless, seeing this tiny child standing next to this big gun, seeing his face lit up with excitement and visions of what it could mean to be a man, a soldier, in America. Perhaps it's contradictory to what I said above, but I don't like guns. Not guns that are designed with the specific intent of killing other human beings. And seeing this little boy standing next to a gun bigger than he was, my mind couldn't help but drift to other children in other places where the guns are bigger than they are: kids looking down the barrel of a gun at a soldier who isn't smiling, child soldiers toting guns heavier than they are in several senses of the word. Small children mangled by bullets, made even smaller in death.

Point fingers at the guns, at the military, at the culture that teaches children that war is both a game and an aspiration. I don't know the answers and wouldn't know how to implement them if I did.

I wish things could be different, is all. But wishing won't change anything. And somewhere, a little boy is talking about how cool it is to be a soldier.
slammerkinbabe: (srsly)
I am currently sleepless, stuck in an unfortunate no-man's land where it's too late for me to go back to bed but too early for me to finish up any of the work that I have to do today (it involves making phone calls to a time zone that's an hour behind me, so, no.) Therefore I am killing time online, which means that I wandered over to Townhall.com, a site that is sure to fill a morning with endless hilarity if you can forget that people actually listen to these asshats. And I usually skip over Mike Adams' columns, because while I have a hardy stomach for most conservative wingnuts' incoherent rantings, the horrific racism and sexism of his columns is usually a bit too much for me. I don't know why I decided to read today's column. But I DO know why I am posting a point-by-point refutation of it: BECAUSE I AM BORED!

Is there any better - nay, any other - reason to blog?

Anyway. Here is his column. It is presented in the form of a quiz the likes of which he might give one of his college classes*, so I thought I would just go ahead and give my answers. At the end you all can grade me.

cut because Mike Adams is, among many other things, verbose )


*Mike Adams is a professor at some podunk fifth-rate hick college in the middle of like Georgia or something. He spends his time sexually harassing female colleagues, making smug references to how dumb the Vagina Monologues are, trumping up ever-more-bogus accusations of "reverse racism", and making semidaily references to how if they don't promote him to full professor it will be evidence of a political crusade against him. He's a sweetie.
slammerkinbabe: (Default)
Was anyone else watching the Massachusetts Democratic candidates for governor debate tonight?

For those of you who missed it, here's a precis:

MODERATOR: So, what do you think about blah blah? Tom, why don't we start with y--
TOM REILLY: I'M THE BEST EVER BECAUSE I DID EVERYTHING EVER IN MASSACHUSETTS. EXCEPT THE THINGS THAT WENT WRONG, LIKE THE BIG DIG, BUT BASICALLY I DID EVERYTHING GOOD EVER AND I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF AND NOBODY HELPED ME. ALSO I AM AN ANGRY OLD WHITE MAN AND I HATE YOU ::pointing at Gabrieli:: AND I HATE YOU ::pointing at Patrick:: AND I HATE YOU ::pointing at Gabrieli:: AND I HATE YOU ::pointing at Patrick:: AND I HATE YOU ::pointing at Patrick:: AND I HATE YOU ::pointing at Patrick:: AND I HATE YOU ::pointing at Patrick:: AND -
DEVAL PATRICK: ::is smiling indulgently::
TOM REILLY: - AND YOU ARE THE WORST EVER AT EVERYTHING AND I REALLY REALLY HATE YOU AND -
DEVAL PATRICK, cutting in smoothly: It's okay, Tom. Of course I don't deserve all of that, but we all know that, because you are an angry old white man with spittle on your chin, and I am a charismatic young black man who is going to breathe new life into Massachusetts government. But you have some good ideas too, occasionally. You should be very proud of yourself, just like I'm proud of myself for being better than you.
TOM REILLY: I HATE YOU AND I HATE YOU AND I SPUTTER SPITTLE IN YOUR DIRECTION! AND -
CHRIS GABRIELI: Um, guys, can I cut in here for just a second? I just want to say that I really like stem cell research, and Harvard, and medicine, and that kind of stuff. And I'm really a pretty articulate guy, with some reasonably well-formulated and possibly workable ideas -
TOM REILLY: AND I HATE YOU MOST ESPECIALLY BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT AS GOOD AS ME, YOU ARE NOT ATTORNEY GENERAL LIKE ME, AND YOU DID NOT DO THINGS LIKE MAKING SURE THAT AWFUL THINGS LIKE 9/11 COULD NEVER EVER HAPPEN AGAIN BY DOING PRECISELY NOTHING TO ENSURE THAT SECURITY WAS STEPPED UP AT LOGAN AIRPORT, BUT THAT WAS AWESOME AND IT WAS ALL ME, AND I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO DID IT, AND NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER BEEN AS GOOD AS ME IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, AND I HATE YOU, AND -
DEVAL PATRICK: I agree with both of you. In a way. Because you're both very smart men, deserving of respect. And so are a bunch of Republicans that I'm going to mention by name, so that you know that I'm willing to cross partisan boundaries to reject politics-as-usual. Also, I am very handsome. See how good I look in my suit and tie, and hear how smooth and well-modulated my speaking voice is.
TOM REILLY: AAAACK I HATE YOU SO MUCH I THINK THE VEINS IN MY NECK WILL EXPLODE -
CHRIS GABRIELI: Guys? Stem cells? Anyone?
DEVAL PATRICK: Absolutely, Chris. Absolutely.
TOM REILLY: ::chokes on his own umbrage::
JEANNE SHAHEEN: That's all for tonight's debate. See you at the next debate, after the primaries, when we'll be rid of this Reilly asshole. Night!

Man, I wish the Presidential debates went like this. How come in the Presidential debates everyone acts like Tom Reilly, while on the state level we get guys like Patrick and Gabrieli, who just kind of look him over with this "are you shitting me, you little bald man?" expression?
slammerkinbabe: (julie wtf)

Ann Coulter says Bill Clinton is gay because he has a lot of sex with women.

Here are the excerpts that are relevant, because the transcript I linked to includes a whole lot of Ann's interviewer going "Bu... wha... I... huh?" and a lot of Ann trying to change the subject, possibly because she realizes that what she said made less than no sense, possibly because whatever is wrong with her brain is progressive and has given her the attention span of a tsetse fly:*


COULTER: I think that sort of rampant promiscuity does show some level of latent homosexuality.
DEUTSCH: OK, I think you need to say that again. That Bill Clinton, you think on some level, has — is a latent homosexual, is that what you’re saying?
COULTER: Yeah. I mean, not sort of just completely anonymous — I don’t know if you read the Starr report, the rest of us were glued to it, I have many passages memorized. No, there was more plot and dialogue in a porno movie...
DEUTSCH: OK. No, no. Here’s a — here’s... a former president of the United States, and just saying, `You know what? I think he has latent homosexual tendencies.’
COULTER: No. I think anyone with that level of promiscuity where, you know, you — I mean, he didn’t know Monica’s name until their sixth sexual encounter. There is something that is — that is of the bathhouse about that.
DEUTSCH: But what is the homosexual — that’s — you could say somebody who maybe doesn’t celebrate women the way he should or just is that he’s a hound dog?
COULTER: It’s reminiscent of a bathhouse. It’s just this obsession with your own — with your own essence.
DEUTSCH: But why is that homosexual? You could say narcissistic.
COULTER: Right.
DEUTSCH: You could say nymphomaniac.
COULTER: Well, there is something narcissistic about homosexuality. Right? Because you’re in love with someone who looks like you. I’m not breaking new territory here, why are you looking at me like that?


Amazing.

*I'm not sure whether a tsetse fly's attention span would be any shorter than a regular house fly's, but it's more fun to say for sure.
slammerkinbabe: (I blame the patriarchy)
It’s Blog Against Racism Week. I keep wanting to write a long entry about racism. I keep on getting hung up.

But I’ve been reading lots of really, really trainwrecky threads that have arisen this week. Threads that come up when someone makes a post to say “Hey, guys, have you ever considered [this] about racism and white privilege?” and the response is immediate and almost derangedly angry. [Note: I am not calling out anyone on my flist - the worst of this has happened off my flist entirely.] “NO I HAVEN’T THOUGHT ABOUT THAT AND I WON’T BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE WHITE PRIVILEGE! I’M POOR AND I’M A WOMAN AND THOSE ARE NOT PRIVILEGED THINGS AND YOU’RE BEING RIDICULOUS BECAUSE THE WAY THIS SOCIETY IS IS JUST THE WAY THIS SOCIETY IS AND ANYWAY I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING SO JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!”

I mean, people get really heated.

And I just have this to say. “White privilege”, as a concept, is not limited to any one person, and a person’s possession of it is not an indictment of that person’s character. We live in a patriarchal society in which institutional racism has been the norm since its conception. Let me emphasize that. Institutional racism has been the norm in this society since its conception. It’s not the same as individual racism, and it’s something that started long before we were born.

But just because it started before we were born, we are not excused from the need to examine it. With an open mind. Thoughtfully. Not defensively.

It’s the defensive aspect that shuts down almost all discussions on this subject, or turns them into trainwrecks. People hear “white privilege” or “institutional racism” and they think “ZOMG THIS PERSON JUST CALLED ME A RACIST.” And, I mean, in that one word, there is a *lot* of negative baggage. Calling someone a racist, in a lot of people’s minds, is to put that person in the same category as the people who owned slaves, lynched blacks, and endorsed the construction of “separate but equal” laws and facilities. People get really pissed when they think they’re being told that they’re bad people in the same way that slave owners were bad people. And they get defensive, and they get angry, and that angry defensiveness completely shuts down all further discourse.

And people who don’t have that anger are accused of having “white guilt”. And you know what? It does feel guilty. It feels guilty to be a part of a race that has the kind of disgraceful history with respect to race relations that the whites here in America do. We get freaked out. We don’t want to acknowledge that not only is that part of our history, it’s part of our present. Slavery is gone, and we have taken a lot of steps forward; and we want so desperately to believe that the steps we’ve taken have been enough. It’s all right now, everything is equal, we can just forget about it. We’re not racist. We know who the racists are these days – they’re the people like the ones in the movie Crash, the ones who call black people n----rs and Thai people Chinamen and assume that any black with a job got there via affirmative action and that a Latino guy with tattoos got those tattoos in prison. But those people aren’t us – we would never call a black person a “n----r”!

Being a good person and being a person who benefits from institutional racism in ways s/he is unaware of are not mutually exclusive circumstances. In fact, most good people, if they are white, are also people who benefit from institutional racism in ways they are not aware of. What’s more, their benefiting is not a character flaw, and their unawareness is often due to lack of exposure to adequate information and knowledge.

But when someone tries to impart that knowledge, the defensiveness often rises up to crush the discussion; and at that point a line has been crossed, and a person who was innocently unaware becomes a person who is *deliberately* unaware. That still doesn’t make him or her a bad person. But it’s not an okay thing to do, either.

It being Blog Against Racism Week, these discussions are going to keep coming up. My request, a request I’m making of anyone who reads this entry, is this:

The next time a discussion on racism comes up, on LJ or anywhere else, think carefully about what you are saying and what the other person is saying. Try to remember that if you are white, the power structure in this country is in your favor. That’s not to say that if you are a woman there isn’t a different power structure working against you – there is – or that if you’re poor, that’s canceled out by the fact that you’re white – it’s not. All of these are different issues, and yes, the power structures in this country are weighted against women and poor people as well as against people of color. But they don’t negate the issue of race.

The next time a discussion comes up and you want to get defensive, don’t.

Remember that if someone is angry at you personally for being white, that anger is debatably understandable but unquestionably misdirected. (It’s also something that is often misinterpreted; people often hear anger where there is no anger, or they simplify the reasons for that anger and set up a straw man without realizing it.) It’s not your fault that you are white. It’s not your fault that you have privilege.

It IS your fault if you take that privilege and manipulate it. It is your fault if you shut down all discourse on the subject because it makes you feel guilty and scared and angry.

Just listen. Even if you think what someone is saying is wrong, listen to them. Listen and try not to get angry. Listen and try not to take it personally.

Listen. Think.

I’m not trying to say “all the whites reading this need to realize RIGHT NOW that they have privilege and it consists of exactly what I say it consists of and they need to acknowledge it and be clear on that from this moment on!” That sort of talk accomplishes precisely nothing. I can’t make you realize anything. No one can make you realize anything. I have my beliefs, and other people have theirs, and that’s the way the world goes. But it frustrates me when I see so much anger and defensiveness around this subject that people stop thinking deeply.

Think for yourself. Don’t let me, or anyone, tell you what the truth is; don’t accept it unquestioningly because someone else said it.

But listen. Listen to what people have to say. Think about it. Set everything else aside, all the baggage you’ve carried for all these years, and look at it from a different angle.

Listen. Think.

That’s the best start anyone can possibly make.

A note: I have a lot of work to do today and will not be answering comments very quickly or frequently. Please don't think that if I don't respond to your comment, I am uninterested in having a discussion. I'm sure I've said a million things in this entry that are debatable or problematic or just plain wrong, and if you call me out on one of those and I don't respond, it's not because I'm not considering your response, it's because I have work and may not be able to get to your comments until this evening. I will get to comments as soon as I can, because I'm really interested in discussing this.
slammerkinbabe: (bitch please)
Gay couples don't deserve the right to get married because they are... better parents than straight couples?

Excerpt:

[T]he New York court also put forth another argument, sometimes called the “reckless procreation” rationale. “Heterosexual intercourse,” the plurality opinion stated, “has a natural tendency to lead to the birth of children; homosexual intercourse does not.” Gays become parents, the opinion said, in a variety of ways, including adoption and artificial insemination, “but they do not become parents as a result of accident or impulse.”

Consequently, “the Legislature could find that unstable relationships between people of the opposite sex present a greater danger that children will be born into or grow up in unstable homes than is the case with same-sex couples... the Legislature could rationally offer the benefits of marriage to opposite-sex couples only.”

...

Wow! Did you hear what the New York Supreme Court said, folks? They said it's not that gays aren't good enough to get married, it's that STRAIGHTS aren't good enough to NOT get married!

No one could ever accuse them of homophobia now.

::headdesk:: Seriously, people. Stop trying to play both sides of the fence, placating both the radical righties and your own uneasy feelings around homosexuality by keeping gay marriage illegal while pretending that you're totally absolutely 100% a-okay with gay people. You're not fooling anyone.
slammerkinbabe: (shades of gray)
Salon has an interesting article on the ex-gay movement. (Yeah, you need to watch a few seconds of an ad to see the article, but it's worth it if you're at all interested in the subject, really.) It treats it both in depth and more fairly than most coverage that I've seen has done. I think it's flawed, but for all that, it's pretty well done.

It served as a stepping-off point for me to consider some of my reactions to the ex-gay movement as well. Like so many things in my life, my perspective on this has been in gradual evolution. Several years ago, I had the same snarling, fiercely defensive, claws-out reaction to the ex-gay movement that I did with anything that I perceived as threatening to my own belief system. Ex-gays were wrong; not just wrong, deluded; not just deluded, offensive. Their philosophy was a poisonous blend of religious fundamentalism and denial that bordered on psychosis, and I didn't want to see or hear anything about them, ever. I didn't want them speaking on my campus, I didn't want them to have access to public fora from which they could traumatize young kids who were just coming out (I believed in free speech, of course, but come on, some people don't DESERVE a podium and microphone), and I would have worked zealously to convert any of them back to homosexuality, assuming I didn't get bored or fed up first. It was all so clear!

I didn't really know much about what they did, then. I mean, practically speaking. I knew they claimed you could change your sexuality, and I knew they wanted to change their own sexuality because they thought being gay was morally wrong, and so I guess I just assumed they were The Enemy. I mean, really, who needed to know anything more?

And yet there's a bit of cognitive dissonance here. I sure as hell don't agree with the basic foundations of the ex-gay movement. I don't believe that homosexuality is morally wrong or that God wants us all to be straight. I don't believe that homosexuality is the product of a conflicted or gender-disordered upbringing. I don't believe in reinforcing "normal" gender-binary behavior - sports and manual labor for the guys, baking and babies for the girls! - at all, let alone promoting its reinforcement as part of a cure for homosexuality. I am not, nor will I ever be, an ex-gay, folks.

And yet. When you leave out of the equation all the camps for teenagers that parents enroll their kids in (as that's not the focus of the above article), and when you leave out the fact that I (and I'm sure you) disagree with them politically...

...who cares what they do?

I mean this very seriously. I hear so many snide remarks aimed at ex-gays - at best it's an ironic, eye-rolling comment that presupposes that OF COURSE they're all closeted morons, and at worst it's actively judgmental vitriol that assumes them to be a major threat. I see all of this, and it just seems out of proportion. I'm not talking here about James Dobson & Co., the far-right wackos who use the ex-gay movement as one piece of their larger political arsenal. I'm not talking about the people who wield political power and make use of the ex-gay movement to buttress their own attempts to foment bigotry and religiously based hatred. Those people didn't give a shit about ex-gays before they became politically useful, as the article will tell you, and underneath the rhetoric they don't really give a shit about them now. Ex-gays' struggles are really not of concern to the fundies who have appropriated them for political gain.

I'm asking a fundamental question here. Like I said, leave out the teenagers who get forced into these programs by their parents; that's a separate issue, and a disturbing one. In general, ex-gays make a choice, and it's one that's made with as much freedom and autonomy as any choice in this world. Sure, a lot of them have probably had their perspectives shaped by political forces that you and I don't agree with. But everyone's shaped by something, unless they're really, really lucky. And people respond to these influences as best they can, and they make choices that allow them to sleep at night. That's it, that's all. If someone has chosen to become ex-gay, it's because for that person, being gay was not an option they could live with.

Do some people choose wrongly, make choices that will leave them with regrets? Sure. Are all those people ex-gays? Are you kidding me?

I just get really antsy and twitchy when I hear so much unthinking condemnation of a particularly unpopular choice, and that's what I tend to hear when the ex-gay movement comes up. Now, let me reinforce here, as I always do when the subject of personal choice comes up, that any choice that hurts another person is emphatically not okay. I just don't think the ex-gay movement necessarily *does* hurt other people, or not in a way that can be avoided. I know they're politically dangerous to me and my rights, sure. But what's the solution, that I condemn them for speaking out, or, worse, for making their own choices? They're not doing what they do *in order to hurt me*. It's easy to stomp on them, or just to mock them, because so many other people have done it. But that doesn't make it okay.

Part of this is doubtless shaped by the fact that I don't think sexual orientation is always inborn and immutable. I got into a bit of a comment-thread brawl on this subject awhile back; a lot of gay people are threatened by this viewpoint, which I can understand, because it's both politically inexpedient *and* it doesn't conform to a lot of people's experience. A lot of people, they really don't feel they ever had a choice. I'm not saying everyone does. I just think that for some people, there is an element of choice - that we do have the power to control where we direct our attractions, in a sense. I think most people are bisexual to some degree, even if it's small, and that we can choose to nurture that bisexual element, or we can shut it down. I believe this in part because I've lived it. I do not claim that it's everyone's experience or true across the board. But I have some sense that it is possible to have some degree of choice with respect to sexuality.

I get bothered when people try to force a different choice on me, of course. There are a ton of politicians who would be absolutely salivating to hear someone say what I've said here, because if I *can* change, then of course I *should*, right? No. I don't acknowledge that because a couple of lines in the Bible say homosexuality should be punished by death - a couple of lines that lie alongside lines stating that people who eat shrimp and people who wear polyester blends should also be punished by death - I need to fall in line with that. Leviticus is not my moral authority; nor is it the moral authority of this country. I have yet to hear a convincing moral reason why I should convert to heterosexuality. The day I hear one that's convincing, maybe I'll think about it. In the meantime, I'm going to go ahead and marry my girlfriend, because I really don't see that happening.

But for some individuals, Leviticus is apparently what works for them. If they try to write Leviticus' moral code into the Constitution, as some are trying to do, I will scream to high heaven. If they try to shape their own behavior by that moral code? I will - this will sound strange - but I will applaud them for making a really, really hard choice that they feel is right for them. Seriously. They're grownups. They know what they're getting into. If they ever come out of the ex-gay movement, I will applaud them for that too. I'll probably be happier for them if they come out of it. But the fact remains that they make their own choices, and that the choices they make for their own lives are no threat to my own.

In some ways it reminds me of a conflict I've come upon while working the BARCC hotline. Some of the survivors who call BARCC make choices in their healing that I really, really, really would never make in a million years. Things that seem so blatantly illogical and even unhealthy. And I always want to be like "but... why would you do that? No, seriously, you can't do that. Please don't. That's stupid." But in the end - you support them, assuming the choices they're making aren't deliberately or overtly harmful to them or anyone else. You tell them that they make their own choices and that they're doing a really good job of deciding what's right for them, no matter what anyone else would say. And it's *true*, is the thing. And maybe in six months they'll call back and say that they've come out of that period, and you'll help them find a new path, one that, again, they determine. And maybe they won't, and they'll spend the rest of their lives in a lifestyle that you just can't understand to save your life.

But you have to trust people. You have to trust that they *can* make their own choices. And if their choices seem so bad to you that you can't trust them, you have to respect, ultimately, that they do make those choices freely.

I do not like judgment very much.

This was supposed to be a piece about the ex-gay movement, I think; I had some decent points to make about that, but now I seem to have forgotten what they were. This turned out to be both longer and broader than I expected it to. And I strongly suspect that it turned out to be more boring than I wanted it to be as well.

Still. Don't be judgey, people. Being judgey never does anyone any good.

/lecture.

ETA: I realized this is one of the points I wanted to cover in my original post, but I forgot and now there's nowhere I can put it where it will flow so you get it in an ETA. There's been some hoopla about whether the ex-gay movement should be allowed to leave pamphlets in with, say, high school guidance counselors so that their perspective can be heard by any teenager who's coming out. They say they want these kids to have a balanced perspective. This seems to get everyone extremely upset, and I understand why - it's an awfully gray area. But in the end, I think it *is* not just okay but fundamentally fair and right for different viewpoints to be represented there. We liberals are always talking big about how giving kids information does not mean we're forcing them to make use of it. We talk about how teenagers are old enough to make their own choices WRT things like sex, and so giving them information about safe sex and birth control is not the same thing as telling them to have sex, it just allows them to make an informed decision. And I know it's not exactly the same thing, because sexuality isn't a choice in the same way sexual activity is, but honestly, if we present kids with a big pamphlet of GLBT support and resources, why do we assume it will be fundamentally damaging to them if we give them a pamphlet on the ex-gay movement as well, or that they'll feel unbearably pressured to join the ex-gay ranks? Distributing information is not the same thing as endorsing it, and I think we're perfectly capable of making that clear. And if we disagree with information that is disseminated, the way to respond is to speak louder and with more clarity and coherence, not to try to stop its dissemination.

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