Featured, Race & Politics

Ironic Homophobia Is Still Homophobia

Earlier this week, Panama and I made a trip together for VSB-related business. We met with a group of people interested in our long-term goals for the site. During this conversation, they expressed how unique they believe VSB to be, especially in regards to our (collective) candor, tone, and irreverence with race-related and race-adjacent topics.

This is something that never fails to come up in those types of meetings. And I find pleasure in hearing it, because it’s intentional. Our platform provides us the freedom to deconstruct, critique, and celebrate Blackness — from the mundane to the most serious — and our writers (and community) allows us to do it well. For this to work, both a hyper-sensitivity about race and racism and a willingness to recognize, articulate, and find humor in the absurdity is necessary.

For me, these are qualities cultivated through 37 years of life and the still burgeoning desire to be more aware and observant of race-related peculiarities. It’s paying attention to language — to colloquialism, to connotation, and to implication. And it’s being able to sense something is racially problematic, not quite having the words to articulate what’s wrong, but being comfortable enough to admit that sometimes you just aint going to have the words but that doesn’t make shit any less wrong.

And it’s through this examination of how I think and feel about race and racism that I’ve come to realize I’m a willing and active contributor to a culture of pervasive homophobia.

I haven’t written or published anything on Orlando this week because I just haven’t had the time and the mental bandwidth to create or edit something with the type of delicateness and nuance it deserves. I did however write a status on Facebook Sunday afternoon:

As thoughts about and images from the tragedy in Orlando continue to sadden and anger us, remember that Omar Mateen’s homophobia-fueled hate didn’t exist in a vacuum and wasn’t created in an isolated silo.

It’s one of the many tragic culminations of what happens when non-heterosexual sexual acts between consenting adults are still considered (by many) to be deviant, when words like “gay” and “queer” are regularly used as perjoratives, and when we weaponize Christianity as an agent of kind-hearted hate; using it as both a conduit and an excuse for unmitigated bigotry.

Perhaps connecting these acts to today’s terrorism seems melodramatic. Hysterical, even. But they all contribute to a state of perpetual unwelcome and intentional vulnerability for LGBTQ people. And as long as that continues to flourish — and as long as people willing to commit violence can find comfort in knowing that while their actions might be extreme, the latent bias that led to it has company — acts of violence against LGBTQ people will be less anomaly and more inevitability.

This was not a senseless act. Considering the world LGBTQ people are forced to exist and find safe space in, it made perfect sense.

It was appropriately angry, insightful, encompassing, and succinct. It was also hypocritical.

As far as I can remember being aware of homosexuality, I’ve also been aware that it’s just a thing some people happen to be. Not a good thing. Or a bad thing. But just a thing. Like having freckles. Or brown eyes. Or being left-handed. Of course, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but I never saw the value in discriminating against someone because they just happen to be attracted to a person of the same sex. Homophobia isn’t just restrictive and regressive. It’s unnecessarily time-consuming. And just fucking stupid. And I don’t hesitate to let people know that.

But, I’ve empowered this admittedly obnoxious and holier-than-thou progressivism as a shield to hide behind while I use homophobic language. I still occasionally refer to things I consider wack as “gay.” I’ve labeled men “suspect” and entertained year-long debates over whether a particularly effeminate guy is gay — as if it matters (and as if that’s any of my business anyway). And I’m three years away from 40, but I still find humor in someone saying “pause” as an accompaniment to a phrase that sounds gay-adjacent.

It’s always in jest, of course” is what I tell myself. Because I don’t really believe there’s anything wrong with being gay, so there’s nothing wrong with finding some ironic humor there.

But how is this any different than the ironic racism we (myself included) regularly call out and criticize? How is my rationale dissimilar from the hipster bro caught wearing Blackface who attempts to excuse it away as being “meta?” I’m just as not-homophobic as they’re not-racist. Which, frankly, is bullshit. Because while I don’t harbor any conspicuously homophobic beliefs, my language — as innocent and sarcastic and satiric as I claim it to be — contributes to it; adding to that same state of perpetual unwelcome and intentional vulnerability I mentioned in my status.

They’re mere microaggressions. But I should know as well as anyone that microaggressions matter. Putting that language in the air matters. As it softly reinforces and subconsciously validates the types of abhorrent beliefs that lead to fear, hate, bias, and violence.

I’m aware there’s a world of difference between using “gay” as a synonym for “weird” and excreting “God hates fags” from the hateful orifices some people use as mouths, and I’m not attempting to conflate the two. But they exist on the same continuum. And continuing to pretend they don’t — especially when specifically aware of the power of language — is just as willfully ignorant and intentionally oblivious as Wendy Bell.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Lea Thrace

    Bravo for self reflection.

  • I’ve been guilty of all of these charges in the past.

  • Vanity in Peril

    It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being humble enough to have ur vantage point challenged and to contemplate if adjustment is required. It’s about understanding that ur right to be bigoted or crass or rude is not more important than another person’s right to not be made to feel like a piece of crap.

    And then we do better. And then we wake up and do this all over again bc we are always evolving. And this sounds easy but most of us are falling way short.

    • Word. Just own the fact that you don’t know it all, and it’s fine that you don’t know it all.

    • LaMissLy

      THIS: “It’s about understanding that ur right to be bigoted or crass or rude is not more important than another person’s right to not be made to feel like a piece of crap.”

      • Blueberry01

        :emails Donald Trump:

  • *nods head knowingly* I hope that the black male community can start having these conversations more often about the microaggressions you spoke of. It’s seems harmless but so much damage is done when these kinds of things are said within earshot of someone struggling with their s e x u a l i t y and knowing that they’re surrounded by people who lowkey-highkey says hurtful things in jest.

    I feel terrible for those in the LGBTQ community and I hope that more conversations lead to more changing of attitudes about LGBTQ individuals. Tolerance is stupid to me because it suggests that we’re simply “putting up” with people as oppossed to accepting them for who they are.

    • Lea Thrace

      ALL. OF. THIS.

    • Lea Thrace

      “I hope that the black male community can start having these conversations more often about the microaggressions you spoke of. It’s seems harmless but so much damage is done when these kinds of things are said within earshot of someone struggling with their s e x u a l i t y and knowing that they’re surrounded by people who lowkey-highkey says hurtful things in jest.

      I feel terrible for those in the LGBTQ community and I hope that more conversations lead to more changing of attitudes about LGBTQ individuals. Tolerance is stupid to me because it suggests that we’re simply “putting up” with people as oppossed to accepting them for who they are.”

      I just really feel like it needed to be repeated. And want to add that the black female community is just as damn guilty.

      • You’re right but I think black women are much more accepting of gay men at least. Gay men are our friends, they do our hair and advise us in various areas of life. Now we black women do have issues with bi s e x u a l and trans men. That is definitely something we’re much less accepting of as black women.

        • Epsilonicus

          “You’re right but I think black women are much more accepting of gay men at least. ”

          Naw. Not even close. Some of the most homophobic things I have ever heard have come from women. I was surprised because I used to believe what you just stated.

          • Very true. We all need to do better.

          • Word. It’s on all of us, bruh.

            • Epsilonicus

              All. of. us. And it is so easy to slip back bc society will look at the language and just kanye shrug like it is no big deal.

          • IsitFridayyet?

            I agree with you. The number of microagressions used to describe men who are suspected to be gay is endless among some black women. For some black women (and women in general), gay men seem to almost be a mascot.

            • Epsilonicus

              Almost as if they are an accessory.

              And I’ve seen women who may have been hurt by a boyfriend go straight to attacking their masculinity in some of the most hurtful homophobic ways

          • Tambra

            You are right. One of my friends said she will kill her son if he comes out as gay. I looked at her and said, “That’s your child, who you will kill for, so, why can’t you continue loving him even if he is gay”. To put me in my place she told me I do not have a child so I will not know, but no child is shaming her. I was like okayyy. I am still computing that math.

            • Why are people like this? How can you be a parent and say this about your own child? I hate that whole, “You don’t understand because you’re not a parent” crap. I don’t need to be a parent to understand that murdering someone is an asinine act. Matter of fact, I don’t need to be a lot of things to understand basic concepts of life.

              • Tambra

                I do not know. I just do not know, and these days I am trying to pick my battles more wisely. I was trying to make the point that our race has been denigrated so much by the plantation, and later the spectre of the plantation, that we look for any thing which gives us a one up, and chexuality is one. So one the one hand, we give a slap on the back to a certain lifestyle which involves being chexual, and on the other, we are quick to drag out a knife. And then we can not understand why persons go on the down low, while we have actively created an environment which does not allow people to be who they are.

              • esa

                ~ Why are people like this?

                for some parents, love is conditional.

                • Smh

                • Gibbous

                  It’s not really love, then, is it?

                  • esa

                    you know, having been someone who knew conditional love to the point where self love remains something of a mystery, i dont know ~what~ it is. maybe it is love’s shadow trailing endlessly behind ~

                    but when it’s all you got, FOH ! you be shadow puppets, shadow dancing, shadowboxing away. i dunno, it’s not really love but i loved it all the same.

            • LMNOP

              That is so sad.

              When I was in college I took this class where we were proofreading each other’s essays, and the girl I got wrote about coming out to her mom and how scared she was, but that her mom kept kissing her good night every day, and it just broke my heart, as a mother, the idea of a child worrying about their parents not loving them for being gay.

              That was kind of rambling, but the point is a lot of moms feel differently. If my kid grows up to be a lesbian, I’ll definitely talk to Jesus about it, to say “thank you.”

              • Marc Lamont Hill made the comment the other day that many families on Sunday both found out their loved ones were gay and were murdered or hurt at the same time. Which illustrated the layers of nuance in the attacks.

                • Epsilonicus

                  That’s deep

                • Val

                  Exactly. That’s something the media hasn’t talked about. Lots of folks were outed by this attack.

                  • It makes the whole thing even more obscene.

                  • I hadn’t even considered that some of these people hadn’t come out prior to these attacks.

                  • PhlyyPhree

                    The thing about that point tht bothers me, is what if they weren’t outed? What if they were just there supporting a friend or loved one who was out? Neither situation sits right with me. I feel as though the person who was outed lost the chance to have a meaningful conversation and divulge on their own terms and the person who was incorrectly outed never had the chance to speak up if they’d wanted to correct the as sumption.
                    Maybe that’s the real horror. No matter what, voices were silenced forever.

                    • exactly, i was thinking the same thing.

                    • Jennifer

                      You heard the story about the mom of 12 who has out with one of her sons that night just to dance? She was killed, but he survived. I don’t think it made her murder any more meaningful, but it was a good example of all of the people there that night.

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      That’s specifically who I was thinking of.
                      Granted, I could be allll the way wrong, but I think part of creating a safe space is the ability to have others come in and be able to appreciate you and celebrate you too. You do NOT need their celebration or validation, but for the people who truly love you and truly get you and who truly are there to support you and encourage you and have fun with you…
                      You want to be able to have that feeling of mainstream acceptance sometimes too and I think that is also an aspect to this tragedy.

                    • miss t-lee

                      and the fact that she was a two time cancer survivor…kickin’ it with her son. Dayum shame, mayne.

                • NonyaB

                  Whoa, deep waters indeed. Dunno why Scarface’s “I’ve never seen a man cry until I seen a man die” just popped into my head now…

                • im still trying to figure out how he arrived at this conclusion

                  • Jennifer

                    Because it’s highly unlikely that all of the people in that club had come out to their families. So, when next of kin had to be contacted, they learned…

                    • ehhh still think its very presumptive. attending a gay club doesnt make you gay/LGBTQQIA and LGBTQQIA or not he doesn’t know whether they were out or not.

                    • Buster Cannon

                      Yeah, one of my [straight] coworkers was saying that she had visited the club before and had a lot of fun. You can’t make any assumptions about the chexuality of those who were present.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      True, you can’t but people will anyway.

                • miss t-lee

                  indeed.

            • Deeds

              I just don’t understand that degree of hate towards gay people, that you would think it ok to state you will kill you kid if he was gay.

              • Tambra

                My real confusion lies in the fact that she will do anything for her child, and to casually make such a statement. Love is love, even if she does not agree with the child’s child, it should not stop that love. Maybe one day I will understand but not today.

                • Kas

                  You will never understand, because it makes no sense.

                  • Tambra

                    You are so right.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            “Some of the most homophobic things I have ever heard have come from women.”

            I say this s h i t all of the time….worst stuff I ever heard of never came out of the mouths of men.

        • Kat

          What you listed has nothing to do with friends and more to do with customer service.

    • “It’s seems harmless but so much damage is done when these kinds of things are said within earshot of someone struggling with their s e x u a l i t y and knowing that they’re surrounded by people who lowkey-highkey says hurtful things in jest”

      Yeah, my best friend’s big brother is gay, which we all knew although he wasn’t out, and growing up as teens we would all make jokes and call things that we deemed less than as “gay” in front of him while at their house playing ball but never stopped once to consider what that was doing to him. I can’t speak for any one else on the squad but I had no problem what so ever with anyone else’s s e x u a l i t y but like a knucklehead I thought it was funny.

      I actually thought about it again last night while watching MSNBC and they showed clips of two preachers going in on LGBTQ folks, calling them all s*domites and pedophiles while praising Mateen’s actions as “Acts of God” , and simultaneously lamenting that our government isn’t righteous enough to do what Mateen did. Moneypenny turned to me and said someone close to these two fools is LGBTQ and hiding and these guys have no idea and don’t care what their words are doing.

      The things I said as a young man weren’t on the same level as the two bum-a** preachers but the hurt is the same.

      • The black church kills me with stuff like that. I know of pastors in my own community who actively cheat on their wives and random children with women in their congregations.

        Miss me with all of that. People stay pointing fingers as Christians but will say “God forgives all” when it’s them disobeying the laws they claim to follow

        • Well the Church, black or otherwise has so little sway with me because things like what you describe and a myriad of other foolishness. Being the staunch lapsed Baptist that I am I tell my wife all the time many of the hardcore “saints” cling to that so they don’t actually have to be good people. Toss around a few “He ain’t finished with me yets” without trying to acutally do better or mind their own business and all is good.

          • I had someone send me a sermon on saints like that. For the preacher to throw that in took some major chutzpah on his part, but it was needed.

          • Kat

            I’ve always wanted to ask… “Any idea on when he might be finished cause right now I ain’t seeing no difference from the you, 5 years ago or two years ago.”

            • LMNOP

              Gods working on people like they’re roads that need to get fixed up. Where you’re like “wait, you’re STILL working on this?”

            • Lea Thrace

              It’s such a damn copout. I say it (in reference to my snark) from time to time, but its in jest.

              For the people who say it to excuse their behavior, He aint done with you yet cause you got to start the work ya damn self. But you are too lazy and expect someone else to do the heavy lifting.

            • They schedule their self-improvement like they are janky cable installers.

          • Buster Cannon

            Yeah, I know it gets tossed around in jest, but the whole “God knows my heart” thing isn’t biblical. It’s up there with “only God can judge me” in terms of copout phrases people use to excuse their own spiritual laziness.

            Don’t get me wrong, every Christian is a work in progress up until they go on to glory. Expecting perfection is just unrealistic. That said, if you’re stuck in the same habit/behavior for a long period of time without even the slightest bit of growth, don’t put the blame on God.

            • I think most of my social media flame outs with my former in laws involve some variation of Only God Can Judge Me. If it weren’t for sharing pics of my daughter, I would have been blocked them.

            • PDL – Cape Girl

              Amen!

            • Mary Burrell

              Amen and Selah

              • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

                Right on Sister.

            • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

              Exactly.

            • Blueberry01

              Exactly, He gives each one of us free will and the wisdom to seek out ways to grow.

          • Mary Burrell

            And the other phony God knows my heart foolishness.

        • Amber

          The thing is it’s not just the black church. Black folks don’t have a lock on homophobia. But i do wish they were more welcoming as a whole because of our history in this country.

          • I think as a collective, deeply religious minorities are much more homophobic,

        • Tank Head

          I’m a devout Christian, but also part of the LGBT community. I was listening to Tasha Cobb’s “Break Every Chain” recently, and there was a moment in which she ad libbed “break the chain of h o m o s e x u a l i t y” and I literally had to stop listening to the song. The Black church doesn’t realize that they isolate an entire population of people who want to be saved by calling out one sin and being silent for the rest. It’s honestly why I haven’t stepped foot in a church for something other than Easter and bible study in years.

          • It must be terrible trying to navigate religious spaces as someone who is LGBTQ. I used to follow a popular female minister (Heather something) and I had to stop because she is aggressively homophobic. I don’t consider myself on the LGBTQ spectrum but I also don’t want to follow people who feel the need to condemn a person to h e l l just for being themselves.

            • Tambra
              • Smh. I can’t tell you. Idk. People minding their own business needs to be a thing across the board. Keep your mouth shut and let people live. I won’t ever find joy in anyone’s death. Real talk. If Donald Trump died tomorrow I wouldn’t go out of my way to talk about how great that it is he’s dead. I might talk a good game about wanting to see him walk off a cliff but in real life he’s a father, husband, etc. who just had terrible values and beliefs.

                • Tambra

                  I am a student of history, and I know people justify things to suit their own ends, but it always still hit me hard when I see people reacting like that. Further, I mentally substitute certain phrases and think nope nope nope.

              • NonyaB

                Ugh. It shouldn’t end with YouTube taking it down for violating their hate speech policy. The garbage humans involved should be automatically charged for hate-speech.

                • Tambra

                  I actually saw this first on the young turks, so if your stomach is strong you can look at it there.

          • Kylroy

            If you’ve got Christians who use Bible study for actual *study*, Acts 10 can be a real perspective shift for anti-LGBT folks.

            • Tank Head

              -finna have Bible study at work-

          • Buster Cannon

            The Black church doesn’t realize that they isolate an entire population of people who want to be saved by calling out one sin and being silent for the rest.

            I will say this; it’s not the pastor’s job to make people feel comfortable so that they’ll feel saved, the Gospel doesn’t work that way. The pastor’s job is preach the word, and let the unsaved know that although we are all born sinful, we can be forgiven by repenting and accepting Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. All topics aren’t comfortable, but if they’re biblical the pastor has a responsibility to cover it.

            Also, I think homochexuality gets talked about more only due to it being a political, hot-button issue. In most circles that I’ve been in, other sins like pride, unforgiveness, premarital chex, and wrath get airtime along with it. Now whether people heed those teachings or not is another thing, but they are talked about. The only sin that really seems to get ignored is gluttony; I’ve been in church more or less my whole life, and I think I’ve heard it talked about twice.

            • Tank Head

              The Gospel also doesn’t work by standing up in the pulpit on Sundays and calling out what’s a sin and what isn’t a sin. That’s literally why Jesus and the pharisees didn’t get along. It’s not a matter of making people “feel comfortable.” I’m excluded from certain churches, even though I’m a baptized believer, because of a sin that Jesus already paid the price for. That ain’t Godly, bruh, not when it’s faith that justifies us and is credited to us as righteousness. The entire point of Christ coming to Earth was to stop Hebrews from squabbling over what sins were what and to focus on treating people with compassion.

              People spend their whole lives studying the book and miss that. I don’t get it.

              • Buster Cannon

                Yes, I agree that we’re justified by faith through grace. That said:

                – Jesus told the adulterous woman at the well to go forth and sin no more (Jn 8:11)
                – Paul talks about the importance of judging/evaluating those inside of the church. (1 Cor. 5) Compassion is a part of love, but so is discipline. (Heb 12:6)
                – Paul tells Timothy that one of the duties of an apostle is to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). If the pastor’s job is to teach the Bible, expositing on what the bible says is right and wrong is part of that.
                – Jesus never abolished the law, He fulfilled it. (Matt. 5:16) Yes, the Pharisees squabbled over what the most important commandment was, but Jesus essentially summarized it up as “love God (first 4) and love your neighbor (last 6)”. His main assignment was to be the sacrifice for us so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the full punishment for sin that we deserve, not to end arguments among Hebrews. (Jn 3:16)

                • troubleman

                  Thank you.

                • Tank Head

                  Look, I’m glad you did your research, and I’m glad you know the Bible, but that has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m talking about, fam. Like absolutely nothing. I’m not negating that the job of the church is to teach the scripture. I’m talking about the exclusion of the LGBTQIA community from the church by way of otherizing h o m o s e x u a l i t y on the basis that the worst thing a Christian can be is gay. I have experienced this. I have run from churches that do this. I didn’t ask for Bible verses to prove your point. I ask only that het/cis Christians here us when we say that excluding the Christian LGBTQIA community isn’t good ministry.

                  • Blueberry01

                    Truth.

              • troubleman

                I think that’s Exactly what preachers are supposed to do, teach the Bible and about sins. In Baltimore growing up, everybody knew who was gay, it wasn’t a secret. There wasn’t many surprises. And when we went to church and the preacher talked about homosexuality the gay people squirmed. And when he talked about lying, fornication, adultery and stealing, we squirmed too. His job was to teach us according to the whole Bible. Not just the parts that made us feel good.

                • Epsilonicus

                  Meh. As someone who can state that they have probably been to a service in the vast majority of denominations of American Protestantism, Black and White, homosexuality is talked about with a fervor that I have not seen other sins discussed. The worst fire and brimstone sermons are almost always saved for homosexuality. Lets keep it all the way 100.

                  • Blueberry01

                    PREACH! If sin is sin, than you listing for someone that you’re not married to is just as bad as you lying on your taxes.

                    The grace and mercy of God is for EVERYBODY who wants it.

                • Tank Head

                  Here you go with this “feeling good.” I’m not talking about feeling comfortable in church. The Spirit is supposed to convict, so I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about being excluded, like I don’t belong among a body of believers because of the otherization of h o m o s e x u a l i t y. Until I find a church that’s inclusive of all believers, regardless of s e x u a l orientation. I stay away from preachers who like to make the congregation squirm for political/dramatic effect. That’s ineffective ministry.

              • Epsilonicus

                Right. Pastors don’t exclude fornicators, liars, people who eat shellfish (which would never fly in Maryland). Its easier to be a murderer and go into a church than it is to be gay and walk in

            • Val

              I think homos3xuality gets more attention from the pulpit is pastors want to keep the money rolling in. The majority of church-goers are str8 so if you focus on gay folks you don’t run the risk of offending your parishioners.

              But, if you start talking about adultery, fornication and the such then people start squirming because the sermon might be hitting a little too close to home.

          • PDL – Cape Girl

            “The Black church doesn’t realize that they isolate an entire population of people who want to be saved by calling out one sin and being silent for the rest”

            It’s the job of EVERY church and ministers called by God to preach the word…..without fear or favor.

          • PhlyyPhree

            “The Black church doesn’t realize that they isolate an entire population of people who want to be saved by calling out one sin and being silent for the rest.”
            You know, until you verbalized this, I never noticed it. I mean, I’ve listened to that song thousands of time, along with others and never really gave the fact that homochexuality is the only sin that they call out, much thought.
            That is really sad.

            • Lea Thrace

              This is how hate can be insidious. This is how it seeps in.

              • troubleman

                I don’t think you can characterize that as hate. Disagreeing with someone isn’t hate. Not agreeing with gay marriage doesn’t make someone a homophobe. We have to be able to discuss things without going to extremes and name calling.

                • rlgreen91

                  I disagree. To me, marriage is a civil liberty. If you want to deny someone a civil liberty because they’re LGBT – how is that not homophobia? How is that not a form of hate towards LGBT people? You may not be physically hurting them, but you are denying them rights and privileges afforded to everyone else. I’m having trouble understanding how that is just a “simple disagreement.”

        • troubleman

          Why is it always the Black Church being called out as homophobes? Islam and Judaism also preach against it.

          • I only have experience as a Southern Baptist Christian so I speak from what I know in that aspect.

            • MSNY

              As I struggle each day to form and understand my own spiritual philosophy, raised in the baptist church in the deep South…all I know is that no one taught me or convinced me to be heterosexual. I’ve liked boys my whole life so how can I judge or discriminate against something that is human nature? If I can’t help my attraction, how do I expect someone else to “change” theirs?… all that to say this born again 3 days a week southern Baptist Christian completely 100% supports my LGBTQ,Q, and add I for good measure, brothers and sisters. My youth choir director was definitely gay and I know many others in the music ministries in church are gay. I’m a long time lurker with some sporadic comments. I upvote more than comment. I have always respected and appreciated VAL’s opinions. They are like a breath of fresh air in the logic and reasoning. My sister I am so very sorry you are hurting. A lot of us straight allies are hurting right along with you. Please know you have a lot of love out in this here E-world. Love is love is love is love.

          • RewindingtonMaximus

            You always go for the majority first…or at least that’s how America thinks. So Black Christianity gets it first before the other religions.

            • I don’t speak for the Jewish or Muslim community but I can speak for the Christian community because I consider myself to fall under the Christian umbrella. I’m a heathen, but a Christian heathen.

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                As can I. But the Christian community is the biggest community amongst Black America, ergo people will always point out the faults within way quicker than they will the Jewish & Muslim portions of our community.

          • It doesn’t feel right to speak about Jews and Muslims unless you are a Jew or a Muslim. We all got our own faults. No need to sit around judging others when we need to do our own work.. especially when it comes to this…

            • Lea Thrace

              Yep. that old saying about getting your own house in order comes to mind.

      • KB

        I’m glad I don’t go to any churches because if I was at a service and a preacher said that stupid ish out loud, he might catch these hands right in the middle of service or at least have me standing up and going on an expletive laced rant right in the middle of service.

    • Cleojonz

      It almost seems worse in a way, there are more freedoms and there is more acceptance which is a great thing. However, It feels like people have lost a lot of coping mechanisms, for young people in particular. The automatic response is now violence or harming oneself instead of trying to seek out help or talking through these feelings.

      It’s sad really. I really feel for kids internalizing this stuff. This girl a worked with for a couple years is still not out to her family and she’s 28 years old. She happens to come from a pretty liberal and accepting family, but for whatever reason she still doesn’t feel like she can be her full self with them and I’m sad for her all the time for this.

      • I have my thoughts in kids self harming but I’ll save those for another day. I do believe that this era of social media makes it easier to target people’s weaknesses and exploit them to the HIGHEST degree.

        I young black girl killed herself recently because someone video taped her getting into the shower and spread it around. I’m not sure why kids now feel like they have to die due to embarassment but I know it’s probably worse for them because things that are online are permanent.

        • Cleojonz

          I saw that story and I was so angry that she thought her life was over because someone shared a nude video of her. Disgusting. There has always been this element of rumors spread about you in school, friends stabbing you in the back etc. but you didn’t want to kill yourself over it. Now there is photographic, video evidence of everything and these kids feel like they can’t recover.

          • What do we have to do to kill this online bullying with kids? They’re all so damb hateful/spiteful and they think being “petty” is cute. Also, I hate that kids feel like killing themselves is an option point blank.

            • Buster Cannon

              Kids have always been rough like, especially around the middle school age. The online stuff makes it so much worse; at least when I was growing up you could get home and escape the bullying, just chilling and doing nerdy stuff with your small circle of friends. Today kids essentially take the bullying home with them on their phone.

              • Smh, but even with MySpace, I didn’t ever see the kind of stuff that these kids are doing now!! We had bullies too but they were never this malicious.

                • Buster Cannon

                  I don’t think smartphones were as big when MySpace was popular, though. You actually had to get to a computer to use it (possibly on dial-up lol), so it wasn’t as accessible. These days Facebook and Twitter are just a tap or two away on any kid’s iPhone. Just shoot off whatever thought pops into your head before you get a chance to deliberate on it.

                  • You’re right. I suppose it’s a blessing I didn’t have to come to age in this era because kids are so cruel. I mean kids are mean in general but the internet gives them a larger platform to spread their s h i t t i n e s s.

                    I still maintain that many of the kids we are seeing now are a different breed of mean. Two girls (12 at the time) stabbed their “friend” in the woods and left her to die because of some internet game called Slender Man. Luckily the girl lived and the other two will go to trial this year.

                    • Buster Cannon

                      Yeah, that’s another point; it seems like kids today aren’t as great at separating fantasy and reality. You see more cases of kids ‘acting out’ stuff they see on TV/Cartoons than in generations past. I’m not exactly sure why that is to be honest.

                    • I hypothesize that parenting has made a shift towards being much less authoritative now. Not saying that authoritative parenting breeds perfect people free from issues but I feel like kids today are extremely soft in many aspects and they enjoy much more freedom to challenge authority figures.

                      I’ve seen some deplorable videos of kids of all ages cursing out their teachers, parents, and other adults like it is absolutely nothing. I knew some bad kids coming up but they knew their place so to speak. I pray for my friends that teach daily because these children today are literal demons.

                    • LMNOP

                      I work with kids and really think there has been an increase in significant behavioral/ mental health issues among young children. People are quick to jump to parenting as an explanation, but I think of the increase in autism and can’t help wonder if the underlying causes aren’t similar. It seems likely that something is affecting children’s brains pretty significantly, and I doubt it’s all parenting.

                    • Autism seems like a big jump don’t you think?

                    • LMNOP

                      I mean, I’ve definitely noticed no one really seems to be asking if the rise in autism and the rise in other behavioral health issues are related, including many people who are smarter and have significantly more expertise in this area than I do. It does seem plausible to me that some of the underlying causes could be similar though.

                      At the least, I feel like the changing societal view of autism as a condition that requires support, not shame, has a lot to teach us as far as how to work with and approach young children with behavioral and mental health issues.

                    • I briefly worked with children on the spectrum for a little over a year. I’m not so sure that a “rise” in autism as an actual rise in autism incidents. I think many children today are often misdiagnosed or aggressively diagnosed at the request of the parent(s). Some of these children are just children being children and doing what children will do.

                    • LMNOP

                      True. I know in a lot of places an autism diagnosis helps a kid qualify for and access services, like behavior therapists and a one-on-one, so I can understand where parents can be coming from with that (sometimes- when the kid legitly needs help). I’ve also worked with and known several families where 3 or more children all have some type of diagnosis and are getting SSI, which is another motive for aggressive diagnosis.

                    • I’m not the biggest fan of the kinds of medications prescribed to autistic children because it makes them sluggish and zombie like from what I’ve seen. Idk, I have strong feelings about autistic individuals and the way they’re viewed from an educational and medical standpoint.

                    • I used to work in the field. It’s on the rise yes, but there’s also a tendency to over-diagnose behavioral issues. Unfortunately, the field of psychology, as the DSM has always been a testament to, do not often engage in the scientific rigor that would be demanded of other sciences.

                    • esa

                      ~ Unfortunately, the field of psychology, as the DSM has always been a testament to, do not often engage in the scientific rigor that would be demanded of other sciences.

                      why do you think this is ?

                    • Social sciences are much more prone to political corruption than vice versa.

                      An uneducated person, given a little bit of guidance, can run a chemistry test and see the results in real time…which is pretty much what drug dealers do, especially with cocaine. Kids simply by playing and goofing off can perform a physics test; testing gravity, velocity, force, power, energy etc or playing a sport. In other words, it is much easier to verify what occurs in the natural science studies via observation. Most of academic science is explaining the theory of what can be easily observed and tested in nature as well as the context.

                      Most of the social sciences: anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics etc, are heavily influenced and biased by politics and ideology. The faith in peer-review research and sample data is supposed to provide the illusion of objectivity, but it simply isn’t the case. This also means that when the evidence that a theory is wrong, it is much more difficult for the opinion to be reserved, because the foundation of it, isn’t observable or testable, but pretty much a product of committee.

                      It doesn’t mean that sometimes the data might not match up or that peer-reviews aren’t correct, it’s just that there isn’t as much as an obligation to verify through rigorous testing, and there is much more investment in theory, than there is in practice. People in the social sciences can be attached to disproven theories for a long period of time.

                    • esa

                      curious, where would you place medical science in this: is it a natural science or a social science ?

                      ~ that there isn’t as much as an obligation to verify through rigorous
                      testing, and there is much more investment in theory, than there is in
                      practice.

                      curious that theory is elevated about everything. would you say that, as they are currently being practiced, social sciences are rooted in (and manifest from) political agendas/ideologies ?

                      ~ People in the social sciences can be attached to disproven theories for a long period of time.

                      so, would you say that many are not actually scientists or doctors, but rather ideologues? and i mean, wow. do they even know?

                    • Not necessarily.

                      I think it’s a 2-level problem; the first level is methodology. The issue is society doesn’t have an objective value. Many times, what we consider society, is related to our views of politics or the system we are observing aka our personal experiences within it. More times than not, these are by nature myopic.

                      The 2nd level is a matter of culture/human nature. The social sciences are an extensions of the humanities. The idea and concept behind the humanities requires a grounding in the universality of human nature. So for instance, if a researcher comes up with a political theory that meshes with American culture for example, for it to be a scientific theory, it would have to be universal and observable in other countries where culture differ, or it’s not so much social studies as much as it’s just cultural studies.

                      I don’t think social scientists are ideologues per sey, many of them do follow many aspects of the scientific method, it’s just that the scope required to establish and verify their theories are so large, that it’s easier to just take short cuts. However, those short cuts usually corrupt the work they do, and often much of the public isn’t sophisticated enough to call them out on it. That being said, there are social scientists who do uphold high rigor in research and verifying, it’s just that they aren’t as high in number as they used to be.

                    • esa

                      interesting. would you say that the word “science” is perhaps a misnomer when categorizing the bulk of the results of their work ? would it be more accurate to describe their practice on a whole as as a study, rather than a science ?

                      i ask as i think words matter, and it appears to me that describing something as a science when it rarely holds to the requirements of the discipline is, at best, intentionally misleading ..

                    • Epsilonicus

                      “I mean kids are mean in general but the internet gives them a larger platform to spread their s h i t t i n e s s.”

                      And in many ways that stuff can remain up there permanently.

            • Helga G.Pataki

              So many grown folks think “petty” is cool too and it’s just not ever okay to be deliberately mean to someone.

        • Deeds

          I heard about that story too. Before, rumors were only spread around the school, now it can be spread to everyone and will forever be out there. Also, kids may not see the long picture and see how things can get better. They’ve only lived a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things. Sad all around.

  • LMNOP

    Great post, champ.

  • Personally, I try to speak up on it, but try to do it with love if appropriate. I try to avoid the holier than thou crap because there go I but by the grace of God. Still, gay people are busy trying to live their lives, maybe get a lil sumthin sumthin on a Saturday night, and they get lit up like that. Dude was a flaming nutbar, but we don’t need to help crazy cats go crazy.

    Also, sidebar, is Alex Hardy going to write something? I’d love to hear his perspective about the whole thing, particularly since LGBT people of color have so many issues, now and in the past, over safe spaces.

    *Sigh* And now, whose gonna be the homophobe in the comments…

    • Epsilonicus

      I would drop names but God is working on me.

      • We all know the suspects. I’ll dip in and see how the threads roll.

      • God ain’t done with me and I know not of these people you speak.

    • I go right to holier-than-thou. I can’t help if i’m right and don’t feel like being humble that day.

    • Kas

      Flaming?

      • Good catch. I was using it in the sense of being obvious, but I’ll change it.

        • Kas

          Crazy how that word has become so tied to chexuality.

          • Tambra

            Just like the F word and the G word. Time and language.

            • Kas

              Wood doesn’t mean what it used to.

              • Tambra

                Of course not.

          • NonyaB

            How is Cheetos related to chexuality? Confuzzled.

            • Kas

              The word was originally flaming.

              • NonyaB

                Oh, never knew that.

  • I can’t front like I’ve never used the word “gay” in a pejorative fashion or any of the other things mentioned in this post. It takes A LOT to undo the social conditioning we have to automatically association gay with wrong/weird/bad etc. I harbor no ill will towards those in the LGBTQ community, but I have definitely contributed to the “unwelcome”. As I said yesterday, The Divine Energy is not yet through with me.

  • Kas

    I saw a meme on FB that called itself being supportive by saying that all sin is equal and homochexuality is no worse than drinking, premarital chex etc. I started to point out how wrong the meme was, but I just didn’t have the energy to do battle. This particular FB friend/high school acquaintance struggles with rational debate.

    • People who believe in God and sin need to worry about THEIR relationship with God and worry about THEIR own sins. Stop tryna police others with their belief system. I had to shed what little ties to religion I had because it simply makes NO sense…

      • True. These planks in my eye hurt and I can’t be bothered with those of anyone else.

      • Lea Thrace

        This is exactly my position. My sins and wrongs are so heavy that I cant see how I would have the time to police other peoples baggage. And who am I to say its a sin to begin with or to judge. Cause some of the things accepted by “the church” today are certainly explicitly mentioned as sins in the Bible. I just hold on to that great directive I was give which is to love people as if they were my own.

      • KB

        Same here.

      • NonyaB

        Yeah, I’m happily agnostic-atheist too.

    • The Unfriend button is only a click away

      • If would help if people stopped retweeting and sharing foolishness too.

        • IsitFridayyet?

          This would help greatly.

        • Listen, in life you have control over very little, what you do have the power to control is who is in your circle.

          • Very true. You’ve got to check your folks.

            • You have to know when to walk away too. I think I was having the same conversation with someone for going on a few months before I realized it’d be best if we weren’t friends anymore. Family is much harder to deal with since that’s blood, but they can get cut off to.

        • esa

          i find people telling on themselves to be invaluable. fronting is disappointing AF and takes up entirely too much time.

    • This event, has really revealed a lot of the Islam-Radicalism in modern day Christianity. I have a lot of friends and family members who truly think that the source of morality, ethics and most of all peace is rooted in religion, but as I’ve told them, that anyone who has even a decent, honest sense of history, knows that the peace; freedom to do as you please; toleration are byproducts of secularism.

      Peaceful religious folks are peaceful because their religion has been diluted by secularism. Turn up the pressure, turn up the challenge to the holy books and all of a sudden, old and primitive habits start to come to the surface.

    • Buster Cannon

      It’s one of those cases where saying nothing at all after a tragedy is far preferable to sticking your foot in your mouth. Yeah, sin is sin, but what does that have to do with people being gunned down in cold blood? Whether you agree with their lifestyle or not should have no bearing on you showing support for grieving families/friends.

      That said, my FB timeline was shockingly clear of any and all terrible responses. Even among the white Southern Baptists folks who I knew could say some ignorant stuff at times…not a peep. Just expressions of sympathy.

  • DoTheRunningMan

    I was guilty of this sort of thing when I was 15, 16. I too thought it was funny. I told myself, I didn’t have any gay friends at the time, so who was it hurting?

    Come to find out (of course) that several of my classmates were closeted.

    I’m glad I cut it out earlier. But we need to keep working.

  • Mizwest

    “They’re mere microaggressions. But I should know as well as anyone that microaggressions matter. Putting that language in the air matters. As it softly reinforces and subconsciously validates the types of abhorrent beliefs that lead to fear, hate, bias, and violence.” This spoke to me on so many levels, I have been guilty of this. It hits home, family, friends, co-workers etc…..Where I work there are a lot of different generations of people with different backgrounds and the comments about LGBTQ individuals I hear upset me. At the same time I myself am the first to come to their defense, but then I contradict that when I laugh at (or pretend to laugh) at the comments or judgments made. I joke around with my sister who is lesbian, call her gay and we laugh. Her getting to this point wasn’t a laughing matter, and everyday she still struggles with her chexuality (she won’t admit it) but I see it. She doesn’t come around family because of the questions and comments that seem harmless to them but makes her feel alienated. I never understood this before, but I do now.

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