I saw the Scott Lively video that he claims is a “nuclear bomb” on Gays on Rachel Maddow yesterday, and I think it deserves as wide an audience as each of us is able to give it. (Shout out to Paul Bens and sparkindarkness for giving coverage on their blogs). Rachel picked it up from the always insightful (and hopefully inciteful) Box Turtle, and Box Turtle shares kudos with Ex-Gay Watch for the video compilation.
This should be dedicated to all the people who don’t seem to grasp that there is nothing harmless about saying “it’s just words.” What the speaker is really saying is that words don’t make things real and words don’t make things happen. We all know that since it’s all about the it’s-just-words-people, they feel incredibly outraged and indignant when someone says, “Wait a minute—it’s not “just” words.” We know they are appalled and stunned whirling dervishes of apoplexy when confronted with the reality reminders that supporting us is not being us (ingrates that we are, don’tcha know!)
Words have consequences, and those consequences have involved the murder, rape, maiming, wounding, hurting and degrading of GLBT people in a GLBT world populated 100% with already marginalized, stereotyped, inaccurately portrayed and fetishized people. Scott Lively “makes shit up,” and I believe that silence about that and the damage it causes is an unacceptable and culturally suicidal acquiescence to the brutality of hatred.
Whatever else hatred is, this video (one of three found on the Box Turtle site), shows that the sheer arrogance of entitlement and self-aggrandizing “expertness” on something you’re not speaks to a failure of empathy, at the very least, that appears to be a necessary early step in the development of hatred. It must be a Divine act of pity that enables these experts to be so blind to the fact that they are totally dependent on the existence of a marginalized populace for their “content.” Without us, they’ve got no job. Nothing to say. Nothing to “make shit up” about. There’s a lesson in here, but it’s not really about Scott Lively: he’s a transparent liar; some of our own and some of our supporters are liars, too, but less transparently.
I think we’re seeing a lot of that lately. Scott Lively is an ugly blueprint of a self-proclaimed “expert” on what it means to be us. We can see more and more examples of other straight people openly advising us on all things Gay—Gay love, Gay sex, Gay parenting, Gay fiction, Gay fiction awards, Gay homeowners, Gay couture, Gay hair, Gay decorating, Gay cars–oh just Gay anything! (If you have to ask what Gay hair or Gay cars are, then, maybe, you’re not really Gay…you may “feel” Gay, you may “look” Gay and your parents might “think” you’re Gay, but trust me, you’re probably not Gay, but even if you are, I’m sure you’re not “really” Gay, or to paraphrase Whoopi, you’re not Gay Gay). Nevertheless, if you think that bothers you, think about the parents who think their children are Gay. In 2009, another expert, former Vice President Dick Cheney, said at The National Press Club, “As many of you know, one of my daughters is Gay…something that we’ve lived with for a long time in our family.”
Therefore—-WHAT? No, really, WHAT?!?
Here’s the thing: A self-appointed “expert” isn’t. Giving yourself an accolade for being an “expert” is basically telling us you are really good at being us. If you are straight, can you be good at representing us, portraying us, capturing some elemental essence of us in words or pictures (literature, film, the visual arts)—sure. Some of you can be very, very good. Is the best of you better than the best of us at those same activities (representing, portraying, capturing, etc)? Absolutely not. Get over yourselves.
We regret that we’ve done or said or written or felt anything that has led you to the mistaken conclusion that you know more about being us than we do or that the best of you is better than the best of us at representing us, portraying us or capturing some element of the essence of us. If we’ve been too grateful for your support and too polite to mention a few things, it’s time for the GLBT communities of the world to come clean. Time to make amends. So, hey, thanks for your support and attention; we regret that we’ve been so utterly devoid of individual and community self-esteem that we may have kissed your ass a few times too many in an embarrassing display of abject ass-kissing gratefulness just because (maybe) you don’t completely hate us, and we know we’ve already said Thank You twice or three times or dozens or millions because we’re always saying Thank You, so do you mind terribly much FUCKING OFF NOW? We don’t fucking need you to be us; we need you to know you aren’t, and all that that implies.
See how it feels?
OK, one more time: If you aren’t Gay (GLBT), then, amazing as this may seem, you are NOT an expert on being GAY. You can speak from sensitivity, you can speak from enlightened study, you can write with an abundance of accuracy, you can come close to “feeling our pain” and getting our humor, and you can support our civil rights, etcetera; you can hate us, ignore us, capitalize on us, marginalize us, stereotype us, attack us, and try to kill us. In any case, though, you are not us. There’s something about inauthenticity that authenticity recognizes, if not always initially, then always, always ultimately.
The stuff that started out as some wacky Holocaust denier’s rabid anti-Gay comments morphed into a book that basically blames Gays for Hitler’s rise to power and has continued with Scott Lively going to Africa to stir up the shit he’s made up, thus proving that making shit up can get Gay people killed.