Creep of the Week
Like many gay and lesbian Americans I’ve been proudly watching videos and news stories about same-sex couples getting to – finally! – legally wed in New York.
I got especially choked up reading about the first couple in the state to marry, Phyllis Siegal and Connie Kopelov, who are 77 and 85 years old respectively. They’ve been together 23 years.
“I am breathless. I almost couldn’t breathe,” Siegel told a reporter. “It’s mind-boggling. The fact that’s it’s happening to us – that we are finally legal and can do this like everyone else.”
It’s hard to imagine that anyone could look at a photo of these two women and not feel something akin to joy. I am so happy for them.
I can’t help but wonder what it must be like for young LGBT people witnessing this. When I was in high school, two women marrying each other was inconceivable. I figured I was sentenced to live in the closet forever.
There wasn’t a lot of information out there when I was a kid. I devoured everything I could find about gay people and I can’t help but think that it would have been really good for me to learn about people like Bayard Rustin in history class. Or how about Adrienne Rich? She was in every poetry anthology I encountered but no one ever mentioned that she was a lesbian.
Homosexuality just wasn’t talked about when I was in school. We didn’t learn that there were LGBT people who mattered. And though a lot has changed, homosexuality still isn’t talked about much, which is why California passed a measure mandating the inclusion of LGBT figures in public schools. Historically, LGBT people have been kept in the closet. This measure seeks to rectify that.
And boy are people pissed. God forbid an LGBT high school freshman learn in school that gay people have made and are making important contributions to history. They might inspire him. He might look up to them. He might even consider them role models.
But he shouldn’t. Just ask the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, a man who never seems to tire of railing against LGBT people in a way that your great uncle Larry only does when he’s off his medication.
Fischer is no fan of the new California law.
On July 24, Fischer addressed the issue on the AFA’s Focal Point radio show. “A controversial law in California was enacted last week that’s going to require that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender role models be taught, starting in kindergarten, in California schools,” he said. “Ladies and gentleman, by definition, somebody who engages in sexually aberrant behavior is not and cannot be a role model, period, end of story.”
You got that? Fuck off Bayard Rustin. Stuff your poems up your ass, Walt Whitman. Go jump off a hot tin roof Tennessee Williams.
Look, I don’t know who put Fischer in charge of defining the term “role model,” but he has spoken. The role model buck has officially stopped.
Of course, Fischer is under the misguided impression that teaching students about the contributions of gay people is the same thing as teaching them how to be gay. That’s not really how it works. Everybody knows that most people become gay after being asked to take a personality test by a well-dressed stranger and then sitting through an educational film. Wait, that’s Scientology.
In any case, if Fischer thinks that learning about gay people in school makes you gay, then does he also believe that learning about straight people makes you straight?
No doubt Fischer is the kind of guy who watches Phyllis Siegal and Connie Kopelov exchange marriage vows and feels sick. Where so many see two people in love, he sees two old lady sex perverts. Sucks to be him.