Well, what can one say, other than thank our lucky stars for Andrew Sullivan?
This seems all too applicable to our own local “not anti-gay” folks. It was just a joke, people (so spake the talking heads on Hannity), a “school-yard taunt” only intended to poke fun at a straight man.
Why would gays care? [Coulter] is “pro-gay,” after all. Apart from backing a party that wants to strip gay couples of all legal rights by amending the federal constitution, kick them out of the military where they are putting their lives on the line, put them into “reparative therapy” to “cure” them, keep it legal to fire them in many states, and refusing to include them in hate crime laws, Coulter is very pro-gay.
I’m guessing that “pro-gay” over at NoVA TownHall is defined as “we don’t think you should be dragged out behind the barn and shot.”
Sullivan is right, this really does need to be said. For those in our community – those who make policy for our schools in particular – who still don’t get this whole “bullying” thing, the anti-gay slur is not primarily aimed at gay people. It is primarily employed to police the behavior and appearance and speech of straight people who might dare to color outside the lines a bit. It is therefore constant and relentless.
And for the slur to work, it must logically accept the premise that gay men are weak, effeminate, wusses, sissies, and the rest. A sane gay man has two responses to this, I think. The first is that there is nothing wrong with effeminacy or effeminate gay men – and certainly nothing weak about many of them. In the plague years, I saw countless nelly sissies face HIV and AIDS with as much courage and steel as any warrior on earth. You want to meet someone with balls? Find a drag queen. The courage of many gay men every day in facing down hatred and scorn and derision to live lives of dignity and integrity is not a sign of being a wuss or somehow weak…
…Secondly, gay men are not all effeminate. In the last couple of weeks, we have seen a leading NBA player and a soldier come out to tell their stories. I’d like to hear Coulter tell Amaechi and Alva that they are sissies and wusses. A man in uniform who just lost a leg for his country is a sissy? The first American solider to be wounded in Iraq is a wuss? What Coulter did, in her callow, empty way, was to accuse John Edwards of not being a real man. To do so, she asserted that gay men are not real men either. The emasculation of men in minority groups is an ancient trope of the vilest bigotry. Why was it wrong, after all, for white men to call African-American men “boys”? Because it robbed them of the dignity of their masculinity.
It is utterly amazing that we’re still having this conversation, and that there are elements of our culture that really haven’t advanced past 1910 in their understanding of sexuality and gender. The positive aspects of genuine conservatism have been all but lost because of the association of the term with this reactionary poison.