End Homophobia

(Been here before? Wouldn't you rather skip most of this and go to the mailform or whatever has taken its place? No? OK, you had your chance, turning rant mode on with a clear conscience ...) Maybe you're reading the name on this profile and thinking "yes! another progressive person I can recruit for my protest group"? If so, cool your jets, slick. I have little use for liberalism or political correctness.

Let's get something straight. When a man says that he doesn't want to accept backrubs from another man, that's not homophobia, even if somebody else is self-absorbed enough to think that he has the right to take offense at that. If a straight guy turns a gay guy down for a date, that's not homophobia, no matter how cute the gay guy thinks that the straight guy's backside is. When an old roommate of mine started getting death threats because of his sexual orientation, and our poor excuse for a resident assistant thought that it was funny that somebody had put a pink triangle on our door (the badge the nazis put on gay death camp prisoners), that was homophobia. Oh, and for those of you who think that I need to stop being such a grumpy old sourpuss about the subject, let's share a few images for you to enjoy. Yes, there are some subjects on which I have no sense of humor, and don't want one.

Prisoners at Auschwitz. Image courtesy of the World War Two archives at www.interet-general.info

A "redneck two-fer", as some would put it; of the two residents in our room, one (me) was Jewish and the other was gay. I guess the theory was that if my roommate didn't get the reference, I'd be able to explain it to him? But the worst thing that you could say about the guy was that ... you know what? I can't think of anything bad to say about him. He was a cool guy, and here he was in this miserable redneck college town, getting threatened with a hate crime because of something that was nobody else's (expletitive deleted) business. How exactly does it become an imposition on somebody else if he and his consenting boyfriend choose to pursue a relationship? However "conservative" the offending parties might have wanted to pretend that they were being, they were being nothing of the sort. The idea that one is entitled to be left alone in the privacy of one's home lies close to the core of why this country was founded in the first place; the suggestion that one is not is as un-American a notion as any that one might ask for.

Gate into Auschwitz prison camp. Image courtesy of Vigrid. One of those who found himself walking in through that gate. This was one of the lucky ones - he lived long enough to see liberation. Image courtesy of Tiscali reference. They, however, were not quite as lucky. This is what somebody thought that he had the right to 'joke' about, with that little triangle of his - getting the support of a university staff member in this, no less. Image courtesy of secondeguerre.net.

That's the point of the webring id you see. It's not an affirmation of political correctness, it's an angry denunciation of something that irritation with PCers can make some of us forget - that sometimes the "non-mainstream" person is the one who is in the right, and that sometimes we improverish ourselves by forgetting this. One could note just how restricted a life a Midwestern boy has to live just to avoid the suspicion that he doesn't like girls. Forget about taking theater lessons, or admitting that one enjoys poetry, or acknowledging that one is partially of French (or worse, Greek) ancestry; one isn't even "allowed" to know how to cook - leaving one on a steady, malnourishing diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, when one is between girlfriends and can't afford to eat out. Not that one would ever dare to eat out by oneself at a place that doesn't serve rib tips, mind you. Or be heard using the phrase "mind you". And one's clothes had better be faded and shrunken - no "real man" knows anything about some "effeminate" thing like "separating laundry", or "coordinating colors". Or would dream of saying that he's more interested in listening to Beethoven than in watching the Bears lose again, or ...

The life that one is allowed to live on these terms, just to avoid the fixations of a reactionary bigot, becomes so constrictive as to preclude, not merely the possibility of an interesting life, but even a competent one. How stupid does it get? Let me give you an example. I'm bringing some books back to the library, a good large stack of them, some of them much older than my grandparents, and relatively fragile. I pick this precious cargo up as common sense would dictate - from below, leaning the stack into me, as securely as I can transport them now that my usual bag has torn. I get stopped. "Joe, you aren't going to carry them like that, are you?", I get asked. "Uh, yeah, why not?", I respond. Somebody explains to me that I mustn't do that, because boys carry their books by their sides, under their arms; the way I was carrying them was 'girly'. "Uh, if I do it that way, they'll come tumbling out. I have too many books for that". Doesn't matter, as far as our nosy friend is concerned. The one right way is the one right way, and I'd better start doing it that way if I don't want people to talk, I'm told, by somebody who seems greatly upset that I've started ignoring him.

"Blow it out your posterior" doesn't even begin to cover this one. What we are asked to give up, for the sake of proving our manhoods to this reactionary crowd, is much the same as what their politically correct counterparts on the Left expect us to give up - the capacity to be anything more than an automaton, with all decisions down to the tiniest detail made for us by convention. We are asked to give up our sense of initiative, our minds and ultimately our souls, and in either case based on the same bad premise - that the responsibility for a bad attitude lies with the one that it is directed against, not with the one holding it.

Have I wandered off the topic into a pet peeve? Not at all. To the amusement of people like Mr.Cherry, I have observed that while "my own personal ox is not the one being gored" when the Gay community is libeled by such absurd accusations as the one that all homosexuals are pro-pedophilia, I do take it personally because it's clearly morally wrong for one person to defame others in such coarse terms, and because when my friends are attacked, I should take that personally. Much snickering then will often follow, usually from the aforementioned willfully malnourished people in ill coordinated clothes. "So, you are gay?" No, but I find the lack of emphasis on mindless notions of what masculinity should be more than slightly refreshing and oh, by the way, so have my girlfriends, none of whom seem to have had any problems with the fact that I was able to clean my own home without adult supervision.

My interests are mostly found in the arts and sciences, in areas that don't fit into stereotyped ideas of what the male sex role should be. Heterosexual males, often intimidated by those ideas, will often back away from those interests; homosexual males seldom seem to care, and good for them. Their indifference to this mindless fashion opens doors for them that those who feel that they have something to prove often close for themselves, quite foolishly. As for myself, I'd rather live life as a man than as a robot, and if that should mean than unusually many of my friends should turn out to not share my sexual preferences, so what? That's the significance of that Webring ID - not in what I seek, but in what I have the sense to not throw away.

For those wishing to join "Fred Cherry and Friends", a ring about "the life and times" of one of the Internet's more infamous homophobes and those who have followed in his footsteps, contact information is available, including a link to my site update list.Yes, there is more material to come. As the proposition of passage eight in California showed, homophobia is far from being a dead issue in the United States. One of the reasons why this page is no longer a webring.com profile - one page about this subject doesn't come close to being enough.

Those wishing to return to their rings may do so here.