The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

Judge Leon M. Bazile (1965)
denying the motion of Richard and Mildred Loving to vacate their conviction for miscegenation

If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made. The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn the line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line.

Rev. Jerry Falwell
“Segregation or Integration: Which?” (1958) Continue reading


8½ Rules of Privilege

As many beautifully-snarky people have pointed out in recent years, it’s getting harder and harder to be White, male, heterosexual, and/or cisgender in this country these days without having to occasionally think about one or more of these identities in ways that might make us uncomfortable. (Full disclosure: I am all of those things listed in the previous sentence.) I have the utmost faith that we can handle it, though, and that we will emerge better for it.

I only recently (i.e. in the past 4-5 years) came to understand the extent to which I do not have to consider how my race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. affect my daily life. Other people do not have that luxury.

I’m not talking about any great epiphany that I had. Really, the most important thing that I have come to understand and accept is this: with respect to people whose lives are not like mine, I don’t understand their daily reality, and I will never fully understand. To put it another way, I get that I don’t get it.

I’ve had numerous discussions on social media and in real life (yes, IRL conversations do still happen, even with people who live glued to a computer like me) recently about how to recognize and understand our various forms of privilege, and how it can be difficult because of the way our society tends to view most of my attributes (White, male, etc.) as the “default” setting.

As a sort of confession, I used to be of the mindset that racism, sexism, etc. were not my fault, because I never owned slaves, I hadn’t even been born when Mad Men took place, and so on. It’s a seductive view for someone who wants to be on the right side of history while keeping a perfectly clear conscience, but it’s not true. Continue reading


Choosing to Be Heterosexual

(It’s strange that I have to update a post before it actually publishes, but that’s what I get for writing a post on Wednesday and scheduling it to post on Thursday. The restaurant described below is apparently closing for a while until the hubbub dies down. I also haven’t ruled out that this is all some elaborate April Fool’s hoax.)

An Indiana pizza restaurant has become one of the first businesses to announce publicly that it supports the new state law that would allow it to refuse to provide pizza for a gay wedding (h/t Jen). This seems….unlikely to happen regardless of what Indiana law says….but then, I dont know anything about Indiana weddings. Maybe pizza catering is a thing.

A small-town pizza shop is saying they agree with Governor Pence and the signing of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The O’Connor family, who owns Memories Pizza, says they have a right to believe in their religion and protect those ideals.

“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” says Crystal O’Connor of Memories Pizza.

She and her family are standing firm in their beliefs.

The O’Connor’s have owned Memories Pizza in Walkerton for 9 years.

It’s a small-town business, with small-town ideals.

What, exactly, are “small-town ideals”?

They also have the audacity to insist that “We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything.”

Well, now I have some beliefs about you. Maybe it’s unfair, though, to single this business out. It’s probably too early to know just how many businesses are on board with this. I guess my point is that I don’t want my reader(s) to give this one business any excessive amount of shit on account of anything I said.

Anyway, I just keep coming back to this part:

“That lifestyle is something they choose. I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?” says Kevin O’Connor.

I have a few thoughts here….

A. I didn’t “choose” to be heterosexual, and I feel fairly confident that most heterosexual people—of all political stripes—would agree with me on this, so WTF is this dude talking about?

B. Please, do go on, Mr. O’Connor. I feel like there’s an interesting story afoot….

C. At a minimum, I support “beat over the head” as an alternative to the ubiquitousrammed down our throats.”


What I’m Reading, February 19, 2015

Blame the Muslims: how government and media stoke the fires of Islamophobia, Lindsey German, The Age of Blasphemy, February 12, 2015

Why are the approaches to different groups of terrorists so different? Part of the reason is racism: Muslims are portrayed as fanatics and extremists, caught in a clash of civilisations where the good guys are representatives of western civilisation while the bad guys are identified with backwardness, superstition and barbarity.

This dichotomy conveniently ignores western lack of civilisation, whether through two world wars and a holocaust or through the creation of empires which ruled over whole peoples – many of them the same who are being demonised here. It also ignores the record of Muslim culture historically.

There is one overwhelming reason why this happens however: the wars themselves. There is a refusal to link terrorism with the wars which have taken place over a decade and a half, and a refusal to see that one of their outcomes is a rise in Islamophobia.

There is a hideous symmetry in this: as the wars involving Britain and the US have become more mired in failure, so civil liberties have come under greater attack and the rise in Islamophobia has become more pronounced.

“The bills! The bills!”: A Japanese woman’s experience giving birth in the United States, Fran Wrigley, Rocket News 24, February 13, 2015 Continue reading


Who Is to Blame for this Lie?

I’m not in the habit of quoting the Daily Mail, but this headline caught my eye: “Former top presidential adviser says Obama LIED about his support for gay marriage for years so he could get elected.”

Gosh, the use of caps lock really drives the point home, doesn’t it?

Anyway, it’s an interesting allegation:

Longtime Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod writes in his new memoir that Barack Obama lied about his position on gay marriage so he could get elected president in 2008.

And documents reveal that Obama responded to a questionnaire in 1996 from the Chicago-based Outlines newspaper, as he was making his first run for the state Senate in Illinois, that he strongly favored legalizing same-sex unions.

‘I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,’ Obama wrote then.

Two years later, though, as his political future began to take shape, he told the same newspaper that he was ‘undecided.’

In 2008, under the glare of a presidential campaign and the weight of history, his public rhetoric swung to a position that America’s Bible belt could embrace – support for only a traditional definition of marriage.

But as president in 2010 he returned publicly to his original position 14 years after he first articulated it.

Oh, and if you’re thinking this is some sort of smear job against the president, Axelrod also apparently says it was at least partly his idea: Continue reading


Fart Demons

That’s really all I have to say on the topic. Fart demons.

Fart. Demons.


Bert Farias, founder of Holy Fire Ministries, claims to know the “raw, naked truth” about why people are gay: They are possessed by “fart demons.” Yes, fart demons.

Oh, but it gets better.

Farias also claims that in choosing to be gay, a person chooses to engage in “unclean demonic practices.” Once that happens, they become possessed by “putrid-smelling” demons so stinky they can drive pigs to suicide.

(h/t Alice)


What I’m Reading, September 9, 2014

Tiptoeing Around the Civil Rights Act, Adam Lee, Daylight Atheism, September 3, 2014

The Civil Rights Act is an abiding dilemma for members of the right-wing Church of Not Gay. As marriage equality continues to progress, their latest cause celebre is arguing that believers should have the right to refuse service to gay couples – whether they be photographers, bakers, owners of wedding venues, even county clerks – all in the name, supposedly, of “religious liberty”, which they believe should be a trump card allowing holders to opt out of any generally applicable law.

The problem, from their perspective, is that the historical parallel is too raw and too obvious: it wasn’t that long ago that many business owners also demanded the right to refuse service to black people (and, yes, claimed a religious justification for doing so). From both a legal and a cultural standpoint, this argument has already been settled: business owners who offer a public accommodation can’t pick and choose their customers on the basis of irrelevant characteristics such as race, gender, or sexuality.

‘Sexual Liberty’ and Religious Freedom, Ed Brayton, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, September 5, 2014 Continue reading


Is This a Serious Argument at All?

I don’t understand many, many things about the anti-gay lobby, but I am particularly mystified by the claim that adoption by lesbians and gay men is a secret* plot to convert children to, uh, gayness or something, which they have to do because they can’t reproduce naturally.

The only way this would make any sense at all would be if this plan, or something like it, has already been in place for decades, because otherwise, where are all these gay people coming from?????

It’s almost like, I don’t know, parents who aren’t gay might have children who are, and parents who are gay might have children who aren’t gay. And that’s not even close to all the possible permutations.

Okay, I know it’s probably not a serious argument in the sense that the pundits making it genuinely believe in it. I suspect it’s a ploy to trigger fear responses in their readers/listeners/viewers by invoking the specter of the “danger to the children.” What both sad and frightening is how often that ploy works.


* But not so secret that these folks can’t see right through it!!! Checkmate, Satan!!!!!


Homophobes Doth Protest Too Much

Bryan Fischer of the American Family association is upset that a Burger King in San Francisco (of all places!) is wrapping burgers in rainbow-patterned paper. For one thing, he’s concerned that this aesthetic may spread and turn hamburgers across the country gay. For another thing:

Fischer just thinks the entire thing is a disastrous marketing idea because “when people sit down to eat a hamburger, the last thing they want to be thinking about is two guys having sex.”

I’ll let Ed Brayton take it from here:

Okay, here’s the deal: If seeing rainbow-colored wrappers makes you think about guys having sex, you might just be a tad bit obsessed with gay sex. Like more obsessed with it than any gay person on earth.


What I’m Reading, June 20, 2014

It’s Time For People to Stop Using the Social Construct of “Biological Sex” to Defend Their Transmisogyny, Mey, Autostraddle, June 5, 2014

Time and time again, transmisogynists and transphobes go back to that old excuse that they are just standing up for the reality of “biological sex” when they spew their ignorance and hate. They say that no matter what a trans woman does, no matter what she believes, she’s still actually a man. Others cede the fact that trans women are women, but stop there and say “gender is what’s between your ears, sex is what’s between your legs” and therefore trans women are still males. Although this is a popular idea, it is based on a misunderstanding of biology, social constructs and anatomy, and it needs to stop.

The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men’s Lives is a Killer, Mark Greene, The Good Men Project, November 4, 2013 Continue reading