Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Yes Mr. Stanton, there IS an LGBT community

Glenn Stanton
Today, Glenn Stanton who is employed by Focus on the Family writes “Is There an LGBT ‘Community?” at First Things. It is a rhetorical question and the entire point of Stanton's polemic is to denigrate LGBT people. The Focus on the Family constituency allows Stanton to get away with intellectually dishonest junk but the real world is more discerning.

Before I get into specifics I will answer Stanton's question. Yes there is an LGBT community. It consists, not only of LGBT people, but our allies, families, students, co-workers, employers and others. It is, in effect, a society that demands that LGBT citizens enjoy equal protection under law. It is an association of people who think that Mr. Madison meant exactly what the Establishment Clause says. It is a community that agrees with American jurisprudence that Free Exercise does not mean imposing one's religious beliefs on others, in the true spirit of our founding fathers. Finally, it is a community that does not judge people based upon their sexuality. Shame is not our currency, sir.

Stanton begins:
Today’s most important acronym expands and contracts like an accordion with seemingly no rhyme or reason. From LGBT, the inclusive train of letters has now swelled to LGBTTQQIAAP2S. The two Ts stand for transgender and transsexual and the double Qs represent both “queer” and “questioning”. The I is for intersex; the twin As for “asexual” and “ally” …
The initials are irrelevant. We are people whose sexuality Mr. Stanton (a conservative Christian) does not approve of.
Is anyone left out? It is curious we don’t usually find the two Ps here: the polyamorists and the polygamists. …
Trying to confuse sexual orientation and sexual identity with plural marriage is amateurish. It resonates with no one.
Not a few leading gay and lesbian activists cast derision upon the alphabet soup ridiculousness, deciding to just toss the whole senseless effort to include everyone. One young gay journalist explained, “We’ve had to start using Sanskrit because we’ve run out of letters.”
The quote is obviously out of context (it is low-grade rhetoric) and our activists are very much a part of the community whose existence Stanton questions.
But does this string of letters refer to an actual group of people like the terms African-American, Native Alaskan, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic and others do? Can we reasonably speak of someone as an LGBT person? One gay activist writing a few years ago in The New York Times says certainly not:
I’m amused whenever I hear someone say “as an L.G.B.T. person.…” Nobody is an L.G.B.T. person. You can have two, maybe three letters maximum [apply to you] at any moment (three could be a bisexual trans man in a gay relationship).
Stanton fails to understand what the unnamed person quoted in the Times was trying to say. I am a gay man and I am part of the LGBT community. Pretty simple really.
Nor does there seem to be an LGBT community. It’s certainly not all peace, love, and understanding in the soup bowl. The Ls and the Gs don’t really get along so well and they both have their problems with the Bs and the Ts. One very blunt lesbian writer/activist speaks for many when she notes:
The gay establishment has always taken “L.G.B.T.” to mean “gay, with lesbian in parentheses, throw out the bisexuals, and put trans on for a little bit of window dressing.”
The unnamed person does not speak for the community (nor do I). The quote is also undated and out of context to suit Stanton's purposes. Our unity in fighting for transgender rights demonstrates that it is far more than window dressing.
The Ls can’t understand how the Gs can go in for so much anonymous or casual sex and the Gs joke that a second date for the Ls is called a house-warming party. Neither of them can figure out why the Bs can’t just pick a side already and the Ts are a curiosity to them all …
A judgment from selective observation. Stanton has an undergraduate degree in history from a third-rate university, He is not a social scientist. This is nothing more than a call to stereotype. And why is he so interested in my sex life?
I am skipping over some repetitive nonsense. Stanton arrives at:
The intentional alienation of the Ts is not confined to parade day. Less than a decade ago, during the national debate on ENDA (The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act), a major beach-head in the gay movement, 68 percent of respondents in a poll of gays and lesbians commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said it was acceptable to exclude their T colleagues from the protections sought in this legislation. Only 16% of the LG respondents said the Ts should indeed be included. Numbers like these could motivate major corporations and Bruce Springsteen to call for angry boycotts against the LGB movement if reason and consistency were applied to such things.
And that was how many years ago? We are not excluding transgender people — far from it. Because of religious inspired ignorance it is harder to get a nondiscrimination bill passed if it includes sexual identity but we have been committed to the harder struggle for all people whose sexuality does not conform to biblical approval standards.
More recently, as same-sex marriage advocates assembled in demonstration before the Supreme Court as it took up the issue, a large and seemingly inclusive pro-gay coalition of mainstream groups—including HRC, the nation’s largest pro-gay advocacy—told trans activists that their participation was not welcome and to remove their flags from the gathering. They were told their presence would produce bad optics for the evening news. The outcry from the Ts at being muzzled and marginalized at this supposed “pro-equality” rally was such that it prompted a dramatic apology from the LGB coalition.
An episode that I am unaware of. The specifics of exactly who said what to whom are missing — as is the date. 2013 or 2015?
Is there any such thing as an LGBT community?
Yes there is. We have achieved national marriage equality and the federal government is including transgender access in Title IX. Same-sex parenting is no longer an issue and we have achieved respectability from America's largest companies. The largest corporation in the world is run by an openly gay man. More transgender achievement is on the foreseeable horizon. We have beaten back some challenges in the Bible Belt and lost some as well. My money is on continuing progress by a very committed community!

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