Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Dan Savage to CNN: Stop the Hate

“We need a cultural reckoning.”

This is Dan Savage’s response to a CNN reporter’s question of how mainstream society can increase acceptance for gays and lesbians. Savage goes on to make his point even more unequivocally: Stop providing hate groups like the Family Research Council to spew hate under the guise of impartial journalism. Said Savage:

“There are no ‘two sides’ to the issue of LGBT rights. Right now one side is really using dehumanizing rhetoric. The Southern Poverty Law Center labels these groups as hate groups and yet the leaders of these groups, people like Tony Perkins, are welcomed onto networks like CNN to espouse hate directed at gays and lesbians. And similarly hateful people who are targeting Jews or people of color or anyone else would not be welcome to spew their bile on CNN.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently added 13 virulently anti-gay organizations to its list of “hate groups”–a designation based on each group’s propagation of lies against the minorities it wishes to demonize.

Savage lambasts CNN for its seemingly innocuous journalism. Why shouldn’t the cable network question the anti-gay–now officially categorized as hate-mongering–“experts” that it regularly provides a megaphone for?

Filed under: hate, media, , , , , , , , , ,

Removing a Gay Joke Isn’t Censorship

Ron Howard says he won’t cut a derisive joke from his new film, The Dilemma, just because protesters want him to. Last month more than 2,700 people signed a petition seeking to cut the gay joke from the film’s trailer.

Lead actor Vince Vaughn has also defended the joke:

Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together.

“Electric cars are gay,” says Vaughn’s character in the film.

I wonder if the gay kid and the school bully watching the film in Idaho realize that the joke’s meant to break any tension and bring them happily together.

How do we measure the impact of a careless quip like “That’s gay”? Dan Savage and Margaret Cho put in their two cents on gay jokes in The Daily Beast.

 

 

Filed under: censorship, film, gay rights, , , , , , , , , , ,

Homosexuality: Like Terrorism, A Disease, “Spreading Like Wild Fire”

Ugandan newspaper editor Giles Muhami has some pretty horrendous things to say about homosexuality: that it’s similar to terrorism, that it’s a disease, and that it’s “spreading like wild fire.” Be sure to protect your kids.

Muhami recently printed a newspaper article in his Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone (not to be affiliated with the U.S. magazine of the same name) that calls for gays and lesbians to be hanged.

For mainstream media to promote hatred and violence against any human is deplorable. In my travels through central and western Africa, I have listened to hatred and ignorant ideas about gays and lesbians; it’s even worse to see anti-gay opinions published in African newspapers as fact, irresponsible journalism unconcerned with the privacy of the gay and lesbian Africans named in these articles.

But even more than privacy or social ill, the negative reporting is a matter of safety for gay and lesbians. At least four people have been attacked since the article was published:

Carrying the headline “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos,” the article came out just days before the one year anniversary of the introduction of a controversial bill in parliament that would make homosexuality, which is illegal in Uganda, punishable by death in some cases.

I had thought the Bahati Bill–anti-gay legislation introduced by David Bahati, a member of the Ugandan parliament–had died down. Apparently, the hate against LGBT Ugandans (and supported by evangelical churches in the U.S.) is as present as ever.

Filed under: gay rights, hate, homophobia, world, , , , , , ,

Fort Worth Councilman: “It Gets Better”

Likely you’ve seen this clip from Forth Worth City Councilman Joel Burns (it’s been a crazy week, and I’m just catching up now).

In a public meeting earlier this week, Burns told a personal story of bullying: cornered at school by bullies and being called a “faggot” and that he should die. What’s particularly moving is Burns’ emotion, tear-filled, genuine, in the midst of an otherwise humdrum city meeting.

Ten teenagers have committed suicide in the past few months. Hanging themselves in garages, using guns in their own homes, jumping off the GW bridge out of fear and embarassment. This is an epidemic.

Our collective burden, as educated adults who care about our young people, is to be honest and straightforward with the kids we counsel and love. Dan Savage started a moving campaign; President Obama addressed cyberbullying at a town hall meeting on MTV; ordinary folks around the country have uploaded their own stories of being bullied and posted them on the Web.

In Massachusetts, where I live, we passed strongly-worded anti-bullying legislation last May. Though a concrete, enforceable measure, the law still relies on adults in the community to become standard-bearers: the school principals, the teachers, and the parents themselves.

Let’s hope that kids out there who might feel alone–called perhaps the ugliest names imaginable by insecure, ignorant jerks–might hear all the voices, those that have lived through it, calling in unison that it gets better.

It really does.

Filed under: gay life, gay rights, government, homophobia, , , , , , , , , ,

Gay Couple in Malawi Pardoned

Heartening news from eastern Africa: the president of Malawi has pardoned the gay couple who were sentenced to 14 years of hard labor.

The BBC reports that President Bingu Wu Mutharika announced the pardon during a visit by UN head Ban ki-Moon. Mutharika seemed to enact the pardon with a sense of duty and under international pressure, still hewing to his country’s discriminatory culture:

“These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws,” he said after meeting Mr Ban.

“However, as the head of state I hereby pardon them and therefore ask for their immediate release with no conditions.”

Whether a political move or out of humanitarian largesse, the release of Monjeza and Chimbalanga is welcome news. Perhaps the win for human rights in Malawi will affect the virulently homophobic culture in other African nations.

On a related note, Current television broadcast a fantastic documentary about the anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda called Missionaries of Hate. A thorough, well-researched piece of investigative journalism that I highly recommend.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Filed under: africa, gay rights, global justice, world, , , , , , , , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
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