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S/he said

By | 2009-08-13T09:00:00-04:00 August 13th, 2009|Opinions|

compiled by Howard Israel

“Outside the community, if a straight person attacks someone for being effeminate, we attack them, we’re furious. But within our community, we’re terrible to each other on the very same issue. No one sat down and mapped this all out as part of an evilly brilliant strategy to keep gay and bisexual men oppressed. For the most part, it’s unconscious. But that’s also part of the problem too, because few people ever stop to question it. Anyway, the end result is the same: we can’t fight for equality when we’re so busy hating on each other. Why can’t effeminate men butch it up? That’s the title of this article, the one question everyone wants to ask. But it’s the wrong one. The right question is: why should they have to?”

– Brent Hartinger, in an article titled “Why Can’t You Just Butch Up? Gay Men, Effeminacy, and Our War with Ourselves,” afterelton.com, June 11.

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“The APA report … did a terrific job stating how therapists should handle clients who are struggling to accept their sexual orientation. Most important, they directly challenged ‘ex-gay’ therapists who mislead clients about gay life. The APA made it crystal clear that such charlatans should not be selling snake oil by claiming they can magically turn clients from gay to straight. Any therapist who makes such a pitch is a con artist. …Everyone deserves the chance to love and be loved – and conservative therapists will have an increasingly difficult time telling gay clients that they are exceptions to this rule.”

– Wayne Besen, founding executive director of Truth Wins Out, in a column about the American Psychological Association’s recent report and resolution rejecting so-called “reparative therapy” and the tactics of “ex-gay” therapists, truthwinsout.org, August 6.

“Homophobia in middle school is used to police gender. Today, girls are free to do sports and be competitive. No one thought they had to play dumb to get a boyfriend. The women’s movement has done great things for middle school girls. It’s another story with boys. We have not dealt with men and masculinity in a serious enough way. Boys police each other. There’s no room not to do anything not traditionally masculine. It’s important not to generalize the findings to most American children, but the fact that boys are labeled quickly suggests that this is a developmental stage. The stigma of homosexuality looms among young boys.”

– Barbara Risman, Ph.d., Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology, University of Illinois Chicago, in a panel discussion at the Council on Contemporary Families conference, reporting on her study of urban middle school students, finding vast differences between the sexes in their attitudes about sexual orientation, USA Today, April 19.

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“In New York in the ’40s and ’50s … I drank an awful lot, I drugged an awful lot. But I think I have a built-in governor, because at any point I would say OK, I’ve had enough, and I’d go home to bed. I assumed everybody could do that. I was a hopeless romantic. Well, no one could have that much sex and be entirely romantic. Eventually … I reached a point where I had been drinking so much and screwing so much, it just depressed the hell out of me. Somebody said to me, if you don’t stop going to parties, you’ll never write a play. So I wrote a play.”

– Arthur Laurents, author of the musicals “Gypsy,” “West Side Story” and “La Cage Aux Folles,” and the screenplays for “The Snake Pit,” “The Way We Were” and “The Turning Point,” in an interview about his life, Guardian.co.uk, August 1.

“‘Fairy Hawk’ is a term for individuals pretending to be gay in order to entrap a gay man. This technique has been used by police to arrest homosexuals in places where it is illegal, gay bashers and those seeking to blackmail people.”

– Word of the Gay blog entry, http://queersunited.blogspot.com, August 3.

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“Language matters and words have power. What you call someone has meaning, particularly when you use language that is offensive, derogatory or even ‘just’ dismissive. … How you talk about our community is an issue that is often fraught with tension and confusion. There are those well-meaning people who want to be respectful and appropriate and just don’t know how. There are those folks who don’t realize they’re being offensive in the language they use, but would likely change if the fact were pointed out to them. And there are those folks who want to be offensive because they have a specific, negative point of view about LGBT people. This post is for all of those folks, but I suspect only the folks in the first two groups will pay attention.”

– Ben Finzel, on his blog titled “Say What? Eight Words and Phrases to Avoid in LGBT Communications,” fhoutfront.com, August 4. Finzel’s eight offending terms are: “lifestyle,” “choice,” “sexual preference,” “homosexual,” “alternative,” “tolerance,” “special rights” and “friend,” used as a term for a partner or spouse.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.