THE ANTI-ACTIVISTS "WHY IT IS AN IMPERATIVE TO CHALLENGE THEM ON THEIR POSITIONS" Published February 16th 2014 By Xander Gibb
For most of my life I have worked as L.G.B.T.Q/Human Rights activist. Not only has it made me unpopular in some circles, miss out out on work & even lose friends, but I have had to stand by the courage of my convictions. When people ask me about my motivation in challenging people to make a difference & effect change in the world, I can only say it is because I actually care. Not just about the gays, but about everybody. In recent times a phenomenon has impinged upon the L.G.B.T.Q community that sickens most of that do actually care, to the core. I am not talking about apathy, discrimination & homophobia, those things have been around forever. I am of course referring to Anti-Activists who write such dangerous damaging commentary about their own community in order to be famous for 15 minutes.
I would be the first one to stand up for the rights of free speech, if these "Anti -Activists" really believed the dross that that they spew out, but clearly they don't. I also toyed with the idea that maybe some of them write the things they do to actually get people talking about the issues. I don't even think that is the case. Purely & simply, they do it to try to be the popular kid for a while & troll out a few sound bites.
The danger of trolling out sound bites in this fashion is the way they are interpreted & the effect they have on on equality & the community in general. Lets to take two examples used recently.
1. I wasn't born born gay, I chose to be gay.
I cannot even begin to highlight how ridiculous this statement is & for anyone to purport that ideology is either lying, hates themselves or needs several hundred billable hours with a shrink. Whilst I am most comfortable with my sexuality, it was not always the case. Very few people come running out of the closet comfortable. For most it takes time to acclimatize.
Saying one chooses to be gay buys into the myths & ideologies that we all have issues with our Fathers or were fondled in a dark corner by Uncle Freddie one Thanksgiving. It also invites the propensity for the generalization of the fact that if one us chooses to be gay, then we all did & that is clearly not the case.
This was one of the sound bites used recently by Brandon Ambrosino who refers to himself as a "Writer & Professional Dancer from Baltimore". His commentary has been causing a barrage of negativity in the community which is compounded by his lack of willingness to dialogue or stand behind his ideologies. As a writer/social commentator/journalist/broadcaster I find it imperative to research my writing & be able to explain in detail the thinking behind it.
Many of us in the L.G.B.T.Q & writing communities have asked Ambrosino at what point in his life he decided to be gay but as yet have received no response. To compound this inability to back up his commentary, everyone who disagrees with him is attacked & labeled a bully by Ambrosino & his merry band of followers, who bare their teeth to anyone who dares to question his writings.
Whilst he is more than entitled to his opinion, when he puts his point of view out there publicly he opens himself up to criticism. What he really fails to see is the ramifications of his commentary & how it is not only feeding into the deep chasm which is inequality, it also encourages a level of homophobia. This level of homophobia not only divides the community, but also gives more fodder for the the haters. To continually sensationalize these issues for ones personal progression is frankly parasitical.
Last week Panti Bliss AKA Rory O'Neill, well known Irish Activist took to the stage in Dublin to talk about inequality. Rory's commentary was moving, entertaining & educational & designed to make a difference. His video (below) went viral.
One of the crux issues for O'Neill was pertaining to what homophobia was & who was allowed to identify it. He made it clear that those challenging his thinking were those who had never experienced homophobia in their lives. This brought into question their validity to claim authority on the issue & added to his feelings of oppression. Gay people were no longer the victims of homophobia, homophobes where the victims of homophobia.
2. Those who oppose Gay Marriage aren't homophobic?
Another point O'Neill made was about how being raised in a society where homophobia thrives, it makes us all a little homophobic, even those of us who are homo's. On Friday of last week, he was invited by The BBC along with Ambrosino & Caroline Farrow to discuss Gay Marriage & if those who were against it, where homophobic.
While O'Neill remained composed & used many of the arguments stated in his video , Ambrosino response was nauseating but predictable. He says we use the term homophobia broadly & demonize or vilify everybody who has any kind of reservation around gay marriage. He also wants to open a discussion which I agree with but first of all we need to quantify the topic.
What most people have an issue with in terms of gay marriage is not the real issue. The issue is to do with Holy Matrimony, sanctified by God, which is a totally different conversation. Until we are specific enough about the differences we cannot truly offer an opinion on the issue. Two individuals of the same sex who want to go to their local Town Hall & walk away with the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts, is what we are talking about.
Farrow who is a Catholic Blogger was also weighing in on the topic. Her response was totally towards the holy matrimony issues & not gay marriage. She went off on some tangent about marriage being a child centric issue, & it isn't. I can see however that holy matrimony is, identifying a clear need to be precise about what we are fighting for or against. The need for specificity is paramount or we are fighting battles over misnomers in terminologies.
Ambrosino, true to form uses every opportunity to pontificate & throw in buzz words & suggests he wants' to "open up the conversation". In real terms when anyone tries to open up the conversation with anything that is not specific to his agenda, he either ignores them or gets his followers to attack & call them bullies. How is this opening up the conversation on any level & how does it benefit the community as a whole, to bring the subject to the table & then refuse to dialogue?
We need to be aware of the information & opinions we put out there as they can affect the opinions & decisions of others. We need to be succinct & specific. Are you against gay marriage or are you against two people of the same sex who love each other partaking in holy matrimony? Making self serving commentary & divisive statements to make yourself popular will only work in the short term, as people will see through you very quickly.
I have tried every angle to reach Ambrosino to engage him on his dangerous commentary from being friendly, inviting him to dialogue, inviting him on my talk show & adding humor to break down the bad feeling his commentary has created. None of the above has worked.
As a comedian I attempted to make light of his perception by likening his speaking voice that of Alvin & The Chipmunks. His response was to say I was mocking him for sounding gay. I wasn't aware Alvin & the Chipmunks were gay, but maybe that speaks more to Ambrosino's victim mentality. This coupled with his friends attacking me on Facebook & calling me homophobic was the point I had to give up on him.
My response which may appear unfair was an experiment to gauge his reaction regarding commentary he disagreed with. He proved my point so well & clearly has a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude which is a little concerning to say the least. If we cannot stand by the views we put out into the world & are so unchangeable in our ideologies, we need to step back & question ourselves.
It is most unfortunate that those who shout the loudest about dialogue are the ones most unwilling to to actually engage in it. Resorting to to calling gay individuals homophobic for calling out your disloyalty to your community is a little far fetched. Thankfully, those of his throng that buy into his ideologies are few & I predict his 15 minutes of fame is all but over.
There is no doubt in my mind that not every person against gay marriage is homophobic, but questioning anyone having the same rights as you has to at least appear alarming. To quantify faulty reasoning & judgment by being unclear as to what you are actually fighting for compounds the illegitimacy of your argument.
I am thankful that thinking & feeling individuals are able to disseminate between gay marriage & holy matrimony & are able not all prone to throwing out ridiculous harmful statements about their community. Those who aren't really do need to give back their fag badges. If you care more about being liked than making a difference it will become abundantly clear & very quickly. False prophets are ten a penny!
What will you do?
Love & Peace, Xander.
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Xander Gibb has written for many publications and writes with an unapologetic response to the world around.