If you want to see how far we’ve come in just forty odd years, check out this 1967 Mike Wallace hosted documentary on homosexuality:
It’s amazing listening to these people spouting insane assumptions about gay people on no evidence other than their own silly prejudices. You want to go back to the time it’s being filmed and ask them WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU BASING THAT ON? In what way is it an “illness”? And… homosexuals are unhappy? Well, so would you be if you were discriminated against on a daily basis for no good reason at all!
In our present context, too, it’s worth considering that most of those still opposed to marriage equality grew up at a time when this was considered rational. When Jim Wallace was forming his pig-ignorant views about other people’s sexuality, this was being presented as “science”. Is it any wonder that some older people have such bizarre, warped perspectives on the subject of gays and lesbians?
But the claims in that video are now so obviously stupid that even Jim Wallace wouldn’t try to endorse them. Times have changed, and for the better.
Any time full equality seems so far out of reach, just remember how far we’ve come in such a short time. It can’t be much longer, can it?
Sadly, yes it can take much longer. That kind of viewpoint isn’t gone while there are people still saying hyperbolic and demonizing things like this:
“I believe we need a president who understands that just as Islam represents the greatest long range threat to our liberty, so the homosexual agenda represents the greatest immediate threat to every freedom and right that is enshrined in the First Amendment. It’s a particular threat to religious liberty….” Bryan Fischer at the Values Voter Summit 2011.
And folks like Bryan have a richly documented history of so much worse (summary from Good As You):
“This is the same Bryan Fischer who’s said “Homosexuals in the military gave us…six million dead Jews”. The guy who’s said “homosexuals should be disqualified from public office,” has called on Christian conservatives to breed gays and progressives out of existence, has called gay sex a “form of domestic terrorism,” who’s said only gays were savage enough for Hitler, has compared gays to heroin abusers, has directly compared laws against gay soldiers to those that apply to bank robbers, who once invoked a Biblical story about stabbing “sexually immoral” people with spears, saying we need this kind of action in modern day, who has spoken out against gays serving as public school teachers, has questioned why Medals of Honor are given to people who save lives (rather than take lives), who says that open service will “assign the United States to the scrap heap of history,” who recently commiserated with Bradlee ‘Executing homosexuals is moral’ Dean, and who has blamed gay activists for dead gay kids, saying that: “If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students”. The guy who said the only acceptable “culture war” truce would have gays giving up their demand for equality. The guy who painted Native Americans as innately cursed because they “cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition”. The guy who encourages an “ex-gay” mother to ignore court orders that she finds Biblically unfair (Just like Rosa Parks, dont cha know?). The guy who conservative Christian Warren Throckmorton aptly noted is “to the right of Jerry Falwell” on some LGBT issues. The guy who says men always get the final say in a male/female marriage and that women are only fit to be President if an equally-abled male candidate is unavailable. The guy whose words pretty much single-handedly landed the American Family Association on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate groups list.”
And this rhetoric will never be gone while people like Fischer, Peter Sprigg, Tony Perkins, and their ilk are invited onto television programs and treated as the legitimate voice of those who oppose equality instead of Southern Poverty Law Center designated Hate group leaders and members.
“Times have changed, and for the better.”
It has been a slow change. The reason for this is a lack of empathy by people who cannot understand erotic feelings for people of the same gender. What we have seen is a lot of pseudo-reasons, some in the name of science, to support particular prejudices. These have been broken down over time until they are now held only by a minority of the population. It cannot be long before full equality is achieved.
In the case of slavery it took a hundred years after abolition for much needed legislation on civil rights to start the ball rolling on real and practical emancipation. Decriminalisation of homosexuality happened relatively recently in Australia. In NSW the ‘abominable crime’ was only abolished in 1984 shortly before Michael Kirby was appointed president of the court of appeal. the consequential changes to bring full equality are still not completed.
The interesting thing for me is the mechanism by which popular prejudice is overcome. It can be overcome. I would like to think it is by rationality, but that alone does not seem to be enough. It is also by familiarity and empathy. I’m not sure partisan attack is as a weapon in this battle. If you get two sides barking at each other then the battle is harder to win. It is counter-productive to label opponents as neanderthal fascists and to pour hate and scorn on them. That is usually taken as vindication by a recipient who already believes that leftists are essentially irrational and ideologically driven.
As a gay teenage boy growing up in the 60s, it’s no wonder I’m so screwed up still.
If you were a prospective parent and you could innoculate your child from being gay, I suspect most straight parents would do it.
Maybe science is the answer.
Why? Why would you stuff around with your child’s brain like that to “cure” a non “problem”? How is being gay a problem to which science must find an “answer”?
Aren’t gay people discriminated against? Aren’t gay teenagers more likely to attempt suicide? Aren’t gay people subject to indiscriminate ‘poofta bashings’? They sounds like problems to me.
We have had no success in curing homophobia within our own reasonably tollerant Australian community, prehaps therefore it is time to ‘cure’ homosexuality.
Yeah, and you’d cure racism by removing other races?
Homophobia’s the problem, and we haven’t really tackled it seriously yet. Hell, our government still maintains laws that discriminate against gay people.
Funnily enough, you’re not calling for science to find a cure for homophobia, are you?
“prehaps therefore it is time to ‘cure’ homosexuality.”
“Funnily enough, you’re not calling for science to find a cure for homophobia, are you?”
That would be discriminating against True Families right to discriminate Jeremy. What is it with the Left and discriminating against bigots?
Wow, looks like women’s liberation went the wrong way… we should’ve fought for government subsidised sex change surgeries instead of fighting to be rid of the still prevalent (but far improved) sexist bigotry out there. Thanks truefamiles for pointing me on the right track – it was me that was wrong to think that being human had any merit at all!
“True” families … pfft …
Holy crap. All this time I had a mental illness and I didn’t know. I’d better go check myself into the mad house right now. Did you hear that part about how “Gays are totally promiscuous, they can’t have long lasting relationships”. Thank f*&king god I was born in the 80s instead of the 50s.