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May 04, 2009

Comments

Eh. I grew up in Seattle, and as I recall the 1988 Republican platform for the state of Washington denounced Witchcraft and Yoga.

Note that when I say "as I recall" I'm quite certain about the denunciations, but I could be off by four years. It may be relevant that Washington was the only state won by Pat Robertson in his 1988 quest for the Republican nomination, providing more proof that caucuses reward the candidate able to inspire strong loyalties among the party's base, a phenomenon that I was quite happy with last year.

Similarly, in 1996 the Republicans (from a crowded field) nominated for Governor one Ellen Craswell, who was born again when her husband hallucinated a thirty-foot-tall Jesus by the side of the road, and who announced before her run that Jesus had cured her cancer (it came back). During the 1996 campaign, Craswell announced that she would, in office, appoint only Wise And Godly people to her administration (her flack later clarified that they would have to be Wise Or Godly); suggested that the state sell its universities, with no idea of who would buy them and for how much; and proposed to cut taxes by a third without touching the education or law enforcement budgets, which happen to be two thirds of state spending. Ms. Craswell won all the usual Republican endorsements (including for example the usual business lobbies that in theory were interested in having a sane governor), and won 40% of the vote in a two-way race.

I guess what I'm saying here is that while disturbing and hateful, the passages you cite are not isolated incidents and do not constitute evidence that the Republicans are getting any crazier. Plus, from a position of near-total ignorance about the state I'm inclined to suspect that this idiocy will not hurt them in Oklahoma, and that few or no people outside the state will hear of it to hurt their national brand.

You are right, of course, that every little bit counts, and that this sort of hatefulness in a small and relatively conservative contributes to a national Republican party unable to reach beyond its shrinking demographic base. Still, the places to watch are more likely to be states where such obsessive cultivation of the party's current base cannot work, and the national stage, where the party had better find some way to increase its ability to hold on to the few remaining moderates they've got.

2. We believe that homosexuality is not a genetic trait but a chosen lifestyle....

The question of what human behaviour has its roots in genetics, and which arises as a result of a conscious choice, belongs to the broad category of facts which empirical observation can determine, or at least suggest. This category of fact starts with Peano's axioms: two plus two equals four, and if the party disputes this, the party does so in error. The humbling of politics (both secular and religious politics) before the empirical facts forms one of the keystones of the enlightenment, and an essential foundation for a successful advanced economy. You can't have an advanced economy in a state where the legislature (or the Party) insists it has the right to define the value of PI as 4, or the value of two plus two as five, or the role of genetics as any old thing their platform requires.

It's worth noting that the Oklahoma GOP is very much a party on the rise.

Registered Democrats still outnumber registered Republicans by about eleven points in my adoptive state. But the electorate is voting more and more Republican. We are the only state in which not a single county went for Obama. And the GOP controls both houses of the state legislature for the first time in the state's history.

Lord help us if the Republicans also capture the governor's mansion next year!

The godfather of the twenty-first century Republican Party never himself identified as a Republican, but the kind of hatefest that Publius describes has its roots in the 1968 presidential campaign of George Corley Wallace. Wallace planted, Nixon and Reagan [At]watered, but Satan gave the increase.

The essence of the Republican appeal since Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy aped Governor Wallace's race-based populist appeal has been to appeal to some voters' fear of the other. As Lyndon Johnson said while still a Senator, "Give [a poor white man] somebody to look down on, he'll empty his pockets for you."

Overt race-baiting has since become socially unacceptable--for example, radio talk show hosts now rant about the "illegal immigration" status of brown folks rather than forthrightly mentioning their brown skin.

Homosexuals, however, are to today's Republicans what the Negroes (the term then used by the more polite Southerners of the civil rights era) were to the Southerners (and white, urban Yankees) whom the Wallace/Nixon/Reagan campaigns courted.

To Governor Wallace's credit, he later repented of his racial demagoguery. One wonders whether the Sarah Palins, Ann Coulters and Michele Bachmanns of today's Republican Party will ever do likewise.

I am reminded of Abbie Hoffman's remark in Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture, something like, "the FBI had 5 agents on my case at this point (all crime in America having been solved)."

Clearly, our politicians need to keep laser-like focus on the true problem of our time: Americans are not wearing enough hats.

abandoning the gold standard

ITYM "restoring".

thx mike - fixed

It's not the same kind of crazy, but Warren Terra's stories remind me of my favorite campaign ever, the MA gubernatorial primary of 1987. Dukakis was governor then, and quite popular, so the GOP had trouble finding someone to run against him. They finally settled on someone whose name I forget, so I'll call him A. It turned out that A was somewhat crazy: the specific allegation I recall best was his sitting in his office, completely naked, talking on the phone to no one at all. (As in, he had just picked up the receiver and started talking.) Also, he turned out to have forged his ballot signatures, but the MA sec. of state, a Democrat, disqualified only enough to leave him eligible to run.

Eventually, somehow, they got him to withdraw, and nominated someone else, B, a rather reasonable GOP state rep. But oops! It turned out that while he had given several speeches about his experiences fighting in Vietnam, he had not actually been there. (Possibly he had never been in the Army at all.) So he had to withdraw, and so it was back to A.

More and more stuff kept coming out. The final blow was that he turned out to have gone into business with a mob-connected loan shark who ran a company that was actually called "Piranha, Inc."

It was a comedic marvel, and it lasted for months. ;)

"those **promoting** homosexuality or other aberrant lifestyles, should not be allowed to hold responsible positions over children which are not their own or over other vulnerable persons."

How does this not go beyond gay and lesbian individuals to friends, supports of sexual equality, relatives who have not shunned gay or lesbian children?

This sounds like a lawyer word employed to push for as extreme an outcome as can be managed.

This sentence leads to "homosexual sympathizers".

Bank on it.

The homophobes prefer "homosexuals" because it sounds nastier/more clinical (Orson Scott Card, who belongs in the Texan Republican Party even if he lives in South Carolina, still laments the removal of "homosexuality" from the list of mental disorders in 1973). But there's no reason to adopt their language. You can say "gay", which is friendlier, "GLBT", which is perfectly correct, or spell it out as "lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and trans people".

"Those promoting homosexuality or other aberrant lifestyles" ...

Perhaps this refers to the Oklahoma GOP, itself. I've never seen so much (admittedly negative) promotion of homosexuality as this platform, and their lifestyle, or at least their thinking is certainly abberant.

"...should not be allowed to hold responsible positions over children which are not their own or over other vulnerable persons."

In light of this platform, other vulnerable persons most certainly include those who are gay or those who support or defend them. Since these are still regarded as citizens in the state, the GOP have just argued that they should never be elected to any office, since that would put "Those promoting aberrant lifestyles" "in responsible positions over" "other vulnerable persons"

Makes sense to me....

As John Spragge noted above, one of the creepy things about the platform (in addition to its obsession with homosexuality) is its politicization of empirical facts:

"Neither homosexual nor extramarital sexual activity shall be presented as safe, nor shall they be presented as morally or socially acceptable behaviors."

Why can't homosexual and extramarital sexual activity be safe? The platform clearly distinguishes the claim that it is unsafe from the claim that it is immoral. It is bad enough that their hatred of homosexuality leads them to make the second claim. But the fact that it leads them to make the first adds a whole new layer of creepiness.

"Why can't homosexual and extramarital sexual activity be safe?l"

Speaking as somebody who doesn't think homosexuality is particularly immoral, nor sex outside marriage for the unmarried: Male homosexual sex is pretty well established to be unsafe for fundamental medical reasons, the fact that the AIDS epidemic first showed up, and mostly stayed in, the male homosexual community, was no accident. Tab A is not 'designed' to be inserted in slot C.

The women are another matter, that's actually safer than heterosexual sex.

And having multiple sexual partners has an obvious relationship to the spread of STD.

Don't let the creepiness get in the way of recognizing the biology.

Jes, they object to "gay" because it means something, and something they don't think is particularly applicable to male homosexuals as a group.

It's entirely understandable that male homosexuals would want to be referred to as "gay": It's a public relations campaign, the word has (had) positive connotations. But why should anybody else feel obligated go along with it?

I mean, if evangelical Christians decided they wanted to be called "ethicals", would you go along with it? Would you have some obligation to?

It's a shared language, Jes, just because one group decides to appropriate an existing term with an established meaning, doesn't mean that other people have to go along with the gag.

Brett Bellmore:

Speaking as somebody who doesn't think homosexuality is particularly immoral,

It's not immoral, full stop. It's a common, naturally occurring trait. It's not any more immoral than having blue eyes.

Don't let the creepiness get in the way of recognizing the biology.

Recognizing the biology? How about we start here?

2. We believe that homosexuality is not a genetic trait but a chosen lifestyle....

Now, that's immoral.

Brett,

"The women are another matter, that's actually safer than heterosexual sex."

So you agree that homosexual sex can be safe. That means that you agree with me, and not with the Oklahoma GOP. They're committed to the view that all homosexual sex -- whether between men or women, whether condoms are used or not, etc. -- is unsafe. So, as you might put it, they fail to "recognize the biology". Doesn't that strike you as creepy?

"And having multiple sexual partners has an obvious relationship to the spread of STD."

Quite so. But "extramarital sex" and "having multiple sexual partners" are not the same thing. You can be in a committed relationship without being married. And although things are beginning to change, most homosexuals in a committed relationship are unmarried, for obvious reasons.


It's entirely understandable that male homosexuals would want to be referred to as "gay": It's a public relations campaign, the word has (had) positive connotations. But why should anybody else feel obligated go along with it?

It wasn't even a week ago that I schooled you on this. In fact, it was only four days ago that I had to explain to you, as if you were a grade schooler, that "gay" is not a label gays chose for themselves, or at least not because of any positive connotations; and that "gay" as a synonym for carefree sexual libertinism, and therefore as something that it was bad for "normal" people to be, far predates its use a near-exclusive term for homosexual men.

Why would you want to embarrass yourself in this manner, Brett? What is it that possesses you to behave this way? I mean, you're certainly free to believe whatever you want, and you're certainly free to be as much of a bigot as you want; but you just are not free to make up your own set of facts in complete opposition to the real world, then use them in an attempt to cudgel others.

And this: It's a shared language, Jes, just because one group decides to appropriate an existing term with an established meaning, doesn't mean that other people have to go along with the gag.

Coming from the spokesperson for the "Oppressed" White Males Club, all I can say to that is "Bitch, please."

Male homosexual sex is pretty well established to be unsafe for fundamental medical reasons

You've perhaps heard of these things called "condoms," and these other things called "blowjobs?" It may come as a surprise to you, Brett, but there are male homosexuals out there who don't even like anal sex.

Without really trying to defend (or, heck, even parse) Brett's comments, I thought Jes was a little unfair in stating that homophobes tend to prefer the word "homosexual" to "gay" or other options (which may well be true) as if this then meant that it was illegitimate for non-homophobes to use the word "homosexual". I'm not really well informed about the social mores involved, but I'm not aware that the term "homosexual", used by persons of goodwill, is offensive or even inferior.

2. We believe that homosexuality is not a genetic trait but a chosen lifestyle....

It's kind of picking a nit, but the fact is that homosexuality isn't necessarily entirely genetic. There are genetic influences to be sure, but also, as with most traits, probably some influences from e.g., womb environment (there's some pretty good research on first vs. second children, womb hormone levels, and homosexuality, IIRC), and I wouldn't rule out some factors even in early childhood development.

Of course, the Oklahoma GOP is still ignorantly, evilly wrong, and obviously, whether "genetic" or not, orientation is determined waaay before we could reasonably call it a "choice".

But I just wouldn't be so quick to jump on "genetic" or "predetermined" as the key moral question here. I don't know how "genetic" or "predetermined" my own preference for brunettes is, for example, but it would still be a human rights violation to tell me it was against the law to marry anyone but blondes.

(Hat tip to someone over at Pandagon for that eloquent phrasing.)

Warren: as if this then meant that it was illegitimate for non-homophobes to use the word "homosexual".

It's not that it's illegitimate, Warren. There are circumstance where "homosexual" or "homosexuality" are the appropriate words to use: in a scientific or clinical context, for example.

I wouldn't quarrel with someone over the word "homosexual". But why would you want to use a word that, to a lesbian or gay person, is a clear signal that the person speaking may well not be a friendly? What's wrong with using a group's preferred term to identify them? I refer to pro-lifers as pro-lifers, even while finding their term for themselves deeply ironic, because, well, that's what they call themselves.

"It wasn't even a week ago that I schooled you on this."

Count me confused: If "gay" was indeed forced upon the male homosexual community by oppresive straights, why would anybody get testy over the refusal of straights to use the term? Theoretically, it ought to be like a feminist getting mad because some patriarchal male insisted on calling her a "woman" instead of a "bitch", right?

I think I have reason to be dubious about your account.

One question I have is how does one arrive at the conclusion that Cheney is responsible for directing these activities that are under scutiny for their legality when the only function of his office is to vote to break senatorial ties? Who took their marching orders from him and how do we know this?

If you're honestly interested in the answer to this question, read Jane Mayer's The Dark Side. We know these things thanks to good, old fashioned reporting, though many of them were pretty clear to anyone simply paying attention during the last eight years.

Incidentally, Dick Cheney had a rather more expansive understanding of the powers of the Vice Presidency than your perfectly fair description of the constitutional powers of that office. For the sake of argument, I'll assume you're writing out of good-faith ignorance.

BTW, your ad hominem speculations about "Hilzoy's (and others')" motivations are irrelevant to this discussion.

Ooops...that got in the wrong thread. Sorry!

Stephen Fry had a fine line: "Yes, we stole the word gay from the English language, but we returned the word queer to the English language, at a net gain to the English language of two letters."

(This worked better as a line before LGBT activists reclaimed "queer" for self-identity, too, I admit: but the people who object to "lesbian" and "gay" seldom complain about queer.)

As for dyke:

I am the wall at the lip of the water
I am the rock that refused to be battered
I am the dyke in the matter, the other
I am the wall with the womanly swagger
And I have been many a wicked grandmother
and I shall be many a wicked daughter.

Count me confused: If "gay" was indeed forced upon the male homosexual community by oppresive straights, why would anybody get testy over the refusal of straights to use the term? Theoretically, it ought to be like a feminist getting mad because some patriarchal male insisted on calling her a "woman" instead of a "bitch", right?

You claim to have an engineering degree from someplace, so you cannot possibly be this stupid, which leads me to believe you're being deliberately provocative for reasons known only to you.

I think I have reason to be dubious about your account.

It's not my account. Take it up with the linguists and philologists.

And, you know, the fact that despite the reclamation of the word for a positive cultural identity over the past 75 years or so by homosexuals, people still find ways to use "gay" in a derogatory manner ("Oh, god, that is so gay.") might lead you to step back and question your premise that homosexuals somehow "stole" or "hijacked" the word. If you were at all interested in learning things about the world.

Male homosexual sex is pretty well established to be unsafe for fundamental medical reasons, the fact that the AIDS epidemic first showed up, and mostly stayed in, the male homosexual community, was no accident.

Except in all the places this isn't the case, like Africa. And before reliable contraception and modern medicine, heterosexual intercourse was potentially very dangerous for women. (Or doesn't it count if married women get syphillis or die in childbirth?)

I think that homosexual is the most neutral term (aprt from 'same-sex')and includes both sexes. Although 'gay' is also used by lesbians (Rachel Maddow speaks of herself as gay for example), most people will asscociate it primarily with male persons.
I assume that the homophobes typically think of homsexuals as male unless there is an explicit mention of females (the same way that the Bible does not mention lesbians at all). They also seem to see lesbianism as a result of emancipation, a view shared by some feminists (Germany's most prominent feminist, Alicer Schwarzer, actually campaigned for all women becoming lesbians except for procreative purposes). Over here there are mainly two noxious cliches about lesbians. Either they have not found the right guy (which some men see as a license for raping them) or they are victims of male sexual abuse (solution of course: find them the right type of guy). The main target of the homophobe remains the male homosexual.
Btw, 'lesbian'* is also a rather modern use while the (scientific) literature in the past usually used 'sapphic' to describe female homosexuality.


*I was surprised when I first read Homer's Iliad in the classic prose version by Schwab (mid-19th century) and found 'Lesbians' mentioned in several places and wondered why Agamemnon used that as a special sales argument. The rather prude Schwab would definitely not have used the word (instead of 'women from Lesbos'), if the sexual connotation had been common then.

Hartmut: I think that homosexual is the most neutral term (aprt from 'same-sex')and includes both sexes.

No, the most neutral term that includes both sexes and doesn't make bi people invisible is LGBT, or GLBT.

But, if you have trouble saying LGBT, gay is just fine. (Unless by "neutral" you mean "I don't want to indicate I actually like gay people, but neither do I wish to sound like I hate gay people.")

Yeah, but see, around the time that "gay" began to narrow in scope to mean "homosexual man," "homosexual" was still listed in the DSM as a mental illness.

If you're a gay man in, say, 1940, and you have a choice between being described as immorally libertine or mentally ill, which of the two are you going to pick?

The women are another matter

Shorter Brett: Homosexual men are vile because, ew, butt sex and AIDS. Lesbians on the other hand - hot, as suns are hot.

Plenty of heterosexuals have anal sex, and plenty of homosexual men do not. "Sodomy" includes oral sex between any two people. You have to snicker about people who are so oppressed that they think it should be illegal for a married man to perform oral sex on his wife.

a mob-connected loan shark who ran a company that was actually called "Piranha, Inc."

Did he use ... sarcasm?

HIV shall be presented as incurable and fatal. . . .

Um, no one is going to point at this one? You might be able to argue that AIDS is fatal, but there are drugs to help treat it now. Isn't this getting close to the AIDS denier conspiracy levels?

Did he use ... sarcasm?

Do not cross the threads!

[/Egon]

Taliban-like intrusions on all matters related to sex (e.g., abortion, pornography, indecency regulation, no-fault divorces, Gardasil vaccinations).

Nitpick: abortion has what to do with sex? Ditto, divorce?

Well, see, when a mommy and daddy hate each other very, very much . . .

It is one of those documents that makes you think "Don't you have anything better to talk about? I mean I know you live in Oklahoma, an unusually rich state, with very few economic difficulties, and no social problems unrelated to homosexuality. But STILL?!?"

"Shorter Brett: Homosexual men are vile because, ew, butt sex and AIDS. Lesbians on the other hand - hot, as suns are hot."

You know, I'm quite capable of writing what I mean. As capable as the next guy, anyway. And if I'd meant that, I'd have written that.

Well, see, when a mommy and daddy hate each other very, very much . . .

Phil wins the thread!

Sebastian: and no social problems unrelated to homosexuality

So, no social problems at all, then? Amazing. What a state. (Yes, Sebastian, the Republican party really does hate you that much. Learn.)

Today in Oklahoma Wingnuttery:

State Senate Republicans held a news conference today touting their accomplishments since taking over the chamber in January.

Among the items: healthcare reform.

The example: a bill banning sex-selection abortions in Oklahoma.

I'm sure that "reform" addresses our state's most pressing healthcare need.

Jesurgislac, I'm not a Republican anymore. Thanks for noticing. ;)

Couple of thoughts:
-I agree with Phil, there are a great many gay people who don't like, or participate in, anal sex. (Glancing at hetero porn on the internet, straight guys seem rather mad for it however.)

- I realized I was gay before I knew what sex was. I just knew I was attracted to guys,but the feelings were there before awareness of any acts.

-When the right wing continually insists that being gay is a "lifestyle choice", well, they're saying we're liars as well as perverts and sinners. I have never met, nor heard of, anyone who "chose' to be gay. Such a person must be rarer than a unicorn.

- I don't particularly get upset when people say "homosexual" instead of "gay". That doesn't mean it's a neutral term though. Most gay people dislike it, because the people who tend to use it are using such language negatively, and intentionally disrespectfully. "Negro(id)" is also "correct" in terms of anthropological classification, but a person who insisted on using that term to describe black people would hardly get away with claiming it's merely a neutral, scientific term.

Like when Republicans deliberately say, "the Democrat Party", again and again in that taunting way, when someone says "homosexual", in a party platform, it's a signifier of hostility and bad faith.

Gosh, to think how much gay people have done for that state, immortalizing it in "Oklahoma!"! Lol.

On the internet I tend to use lgbt, but since I mentally pronounce it "legib′it", it's not really appropriate (or comprehensible) in airspace. What I want to say out loud is "queer", but that's *also* proved a source of confusion, so I just fall back on "homosexuals" when I want to be moderately clear and moderately inclusive without spending too many syllables on it.

On the internet I tend to use lgbt, but since I mentally pronounce it "legib′it", it's not really appropriate (or comprehensible) in airspace.

*g* When politicians have to make speeches about matters affecting LGBT people, you can always tell the ones who are actually used to saying "LGBT" out loud: they don't stutter. (In the UK, it's pronounced ell-gee-bee-tee, FWIW. It's not a particularly good acronym for saying aloud.)

I always correct people who say "homosexual" out loud, but it's quite easy to tell by tone whether someone's saying it because they don't know any better or if they're intending to be offensive: I've heard both "lesbian" and "gay", which are perfectly polite words, used in tones which indicate that the speaker thinks they're being really, really insulting.

In the UK, it's pronounced ell-gee-bee-tee, FWIW.

That tends to be standard in the US, too, but I find it tongue-tangling. Do you say "ell-gee-bee-tee" in your mind, or "legibit", or something else?

Do you say "ell-gee-bee-tee" in your mind

Yes.

It is tongue-tangling, no doubt about it. Takes practice. Gay is easier to say, and a lot friendlier than "homosexual".

"I never met a dyke I didn't like" - Lenny Bruce

'gay' it is if I have to reference. But it happens less and less these days. Now I meet people. Some become friends. Some closer than others and sexual orientation hardly ever comes up. I have some friends, some are gay some are not. I can't even remember how I know they are gay. It's usually is revealed in a poltical conversation, like this.

The Oklahoma GOP recently held their state convention. And judging by the party platform they adopted, it seems the GOP rebranding effort has a long road ahead.

I read no further, since Oklahoma is one of the most Republican states in the country and its GOP was already just about the furthest right among the state parties.

When the GOP in a large, more diverse state in which Democrats actually compete for power has a similar result at its convention, get back to us. Until then, this is a(nother) pointless fish-in-a-barrel post.

...homosexuality isn't necessarily entirely genetic.
Obligatory disclaimer: when I asserted that empirical assertions have no place in a political platform, as in the claim by the Oklahoma Republicans that "homosexuality is not a genetic trait", I did not mean to stake out a position on the underlying scientific research. I disagree with any attempt to make empirical reality subject to political manipulation or popular vote, and I hope I would do so whether I agreed with the underlying position or not.

Actually, Hilzoy, a few corrections about the MA race:

--It was 1986, not 1987;
--They DIDN'T go back to A (Gregory Hyatt) after B imploded. They chose an utterly unknown former Democrat, George Kariotis, who lost the general by 35 points.
--The story about talking on the phone naked was probably an exaggeration. He was still loony, loony, loony, but he was a MODEST loony.

Nitpick: abortion has what to do with sex? Ditto, divorce?

That was a joke, right?

No, the most neutral term that includes both sexes and doesn't make bi people invisible is LGBT, or GLBT.

Both of which are terms I uniformly loathe--speaking as a bi man who's a lot more bent than I generally let on.

If I absolutely have to refer to sexuality and gender in a way that encompasses gay men and women, bi men and women and transgendered men and women all at once, I will reluctantly use the term LGBT. But I generally don't. Not only because unpronounceable acronyms have no place being shoehorned into spoken language out of political correctness, but because I find the categorization in gender and sexual politics intensely annoying, to say nothing of more confusing than helpful.

I just don't see a good reason for lumping transgendered people--whose concerns primarily revolve around gender identity--in the same bucket as people whose issues concern sexual orientation. They're not the same thing, and lumping them all in the same bucket perpetuates a lot of misconceptions about the transgendered (e.g. treating a M2F attracted to men as a gay man rather than as a straight woman) and makes it hard for them to agitate for the rights and concerns that are very specific to their situation.

And while I realize I'm on shakier ground with the next objection, I find the distinction between G/L and bi to be largely arbitrary and artificial. Am I bi because I can be attracted to and have been involved with men, or straight because I'm mostly attracted to and in relationships with women? Does the distinction turn on current practice, past practice, leaning, simple attraction, or something else? Does bi only describe people who are Kinsey 3.0?

So yeah, chalk me up as someone who simply says "gay" and sometimes "bi" when describing anyone who doesn't self-identify as het. In all my years I have yet to meet anyone who takes offense.

Catsy: I just don't see a good reason for lumping transgendered people--whose concerns primarily revolve around gender identity--in the same bucket as people whose issues concern sexual orientation.

Because discrimination against transgendered people is so intimately linked with discrimination against LGB people.

"I didn't fire her because she was a lesbian, I don't care who she has sex with! I fired her because she looks like she's trying to be a man!"

"I didn't beat him up because he's a gay man, I'm not homophobic! I beat him up because he looked like he was trying to be a girl!"

Transgendered people have been part of the LGBT movement for civil rights since there was a movement for civil rights.

"legib′it"?

If the acronym were GBLT, would it be pronouced "giblet"? Or would that create confusion at Thanksgiving dinner?

I prefer GLIBT.

LGBT sounds horrible.

Throw in intersex, and it's almost pronounceable.

And you'd expect gay people to be so good at creative branding!

That was a joke, right?

No. I just think it's really odd to group "sex" and "abortion" together. But I think it's really odd to group "sex" and "childbirth" together, too. Not that one doesn't have anything to do with another, but there's normally a fair displacement in time, place, intimacy and pleasure between the two.

Normally. I'd think. Other people (most, probably) have a different notion of what constitutes normal, so I have no expectation that others would agree.

Ditto, divorce.

I read no further, since Oklahoma is one of the most Republican states in the country and its GOP was already just about the furthest right among the state parties.

When the GOP in a large, more diverse state in which Democrats actually compete for power has a similar result at its convention, get back to us. Until then, this is a(nother) pointless fish-in-a-barrel post.

This is really incorrect. Here in Oklahoma, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by about eleven percentage points. In state (as opposed to national) races, the Democrats are quite competitive. Democrats control every statewide constitutional office except the Corporation Commission (including Governor, Lt. Gov, and Atty General among others). Our Democratic Governor has approval ratings in the high 60s. Republicans now control both houses of the state legislature, but this year is the first time in state history that they have done so.

Don't get me wrong. Oklahoma politics suck. Much of the leadership of our Democratic Party looks like other states' Republicans (think Dan Boren). Our Republican Party is as scary as any in the country. And in federal elections (with the exception of Congressional races in Dan Boren's CD), Democrats have been utterly uncompetitive for over a decade.

But it's simply not the case that this is a one-party state. Democrats very much compete for power at the state level in Oklahoma. Next year's governor's race will likely be very competitive. Gov. Brad Henry (D) is term-limited out of office, and both major parties have multiple candidates with high name recognition and lots of electoral experience. There's even a chance if Tom Coburn decides not to seek reelection that we'll have a somewhat competitive U.S. Senate race in 2010, as Henry might compete for an open Senate seat.

See, as a gay man, this annoys me immensely. In a discussion of gay rights, no, I won't automatically say "el-tee-bee-gee" in the politically correct manner, and I feel very bad for our allies who have to parse all this linguistic bullshit.

And while I have sympathy for the transgendered and wish them every safety and right, I don't appreciate the immense complications their automatic inclusion in any discussion of gay rights brings up.

I have never met a truly bisexual man in my life. I have no idea of what it's like to surgically change one's sex, or dream of this endlessly and expensively, and go through with it. I have sympathy.

But not much patience anymore when the issues for gay people get clogged with something else 99 percent lf us gay people don't understand. It's odd to us too. I'm not worried about "bisexuals" believe me.

But I also am at my limits of patience at the equation of surgical gender reassignment, with a lifetime of medical hormones, and PC types saying it's the same thing as my liking guys.

No, it isn't. I heartily resent my being gay being grouped with people who want to change gender and surgically alter their bodies as well as maintain a lifetime cocktail of drugs and hormones. Fuck that- it's NOT the same goddamned thing.

GLTB- a well-meaning slogan, but no. I don't want to wait for society to accept gender reassignment so I can have some rights as a gay person. I don't buy that being gay is the same as a man who wants to surgically become a woman. Fuck no.
Sorry.

Because discrimination against transgendered people is so intimately linked with discrimination against LGB people.

"I didn't fire her because she was a lesbian, I don't care who she has sex with! I fired her because she looks like she's trying to be a man!"

"I didn't beat him up because he's a gay man, I'm not homophobic! I beat him up because he looked like he was trying to be a girl!"

Transgendered people have been part of the LGBT movement for civil rights since there was a movement for civil rights.

Which is all fair and accurate, but still doesn't make it sensible to insist people lump them together whenever they're talking about these disparate groups in the name of political correctness. If I want to refer to a gay friend in a way that notes their sexuality, I'm not going to call them my LGBT friend or my GLBT friend or even my BLT friend, no matter how much I might like them in a sandwich. They're gay. Not transgendered, not bi, gay. By the same token, the sexual orientation of my transgendered friends is a separate item from their gender identity.

And separately, while I can sympathize with Arundel's POV, I feel compelled to point out that a little more empathy for other sexual minorities might be in order. Trust me, transgendered people aren't holding back your rights. People who cheerfully equate homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia don't need transgendered people as an excuse to hate gays and deny you rights. They hate us all more or less equally.

Arundel, your post is really just a more aggrieved way of saying that you're happy to throw people under the bus if it puts you first.

Lord help us if the Republicans also capture the governor's mansion next year!

Yes, Ben, a Republican could sign a bill making it illegal for OK to issue or honor a birth certificate describing a same-sex couple as parents. Thus preventing some unlucky children born in or living in or passing through Oklahoma from having any parents at all.

Boy that would be disastrous...but wait. http://www.gaylawyer.com/News/U-S-Court-of-Appeals-Upholds-Decision-Striking-Down-Oklahomas-Adoption-Invalidation-Law-in-Lawsuit-Brought-by-Lambda-Legal.cfm>Brad Henry already did that! Thank the 5th Circuit for knowing what part of the Constitution that violates. But ask yourself, Who decided to appeal this after a federal district court ruled on it? Someone whose judgment was obscured by a blinder of bigotry.

This is an example of why the ignorance of 'get your equality at the ballot box (like no one else has), because judges shouldn't interpret equal protection!' makes my hair burn with frustration.

They hate us, they really really hate us, and both parties send sample haters into the executive and legislative branches with alarming regularity. Relatively smart and sane appointments to the federal courts are Oklahoma's best bet.

Also, state party platforms are worth the paper they're printed on only when rolled and smoked.

Catsy: If I want to refer to a gay friend in a way that notes their sexuality, I'm not going to call them my LGBT friend or my GLBT friend or even my BLT friend, no matter how much I might like them in a sandwich. They're gay.

Of course not. Individually (as a friend noted to me) it's fairly impossible for anyone to be LGBT or GLBT (dunno about BLT, I'm vegetarian). But, which would you rather, as a bi man, when people are talking about people - not individuals, but groups whose sexual orientation or whose gender identity don't match what the Republican Party at prayer like to think of as "normal": those who are affected by discrimination, social or legal, as a result: would you prefer to be identified as "homosexual"; to be ignored because, as Arundel demonstrates, many people assume your sexual orientation can't exist; or to be assumed "normal" because you're currently in a relationship with a woman, and therefore unless you're unfaithful your bisexuality must just have gone away?

...actually I suppose most American GLBT people would prefer politicians and the like just to quit insulting them and discriminating against them. I'm sorry: I'm speaking from a relatively privileged position where we have room to care whether a politician says "LGBT" or "homosexual"...

Be grateful not just to be called Homos (with an extra-long first o)as over here. On the other hand 'Homo-Ehe' (=gay marriage) is considered the neutral term when discussing the topic. Don't expect any logic in either language use or thought.

it's fairly impossible for anyone to be LGBT or GLBT

Well, some can cover most of the bases. I had a HS teammate that wound up getting a sex change, hanging out with guys for a while, and then deciding: really, girls are where it's at for me.

IIRC; it all started to blur together after a while. But sure: probably not possible to be the whole alphabet soup, all at once.

Folks need to stop saying that folks that know homoseual behavior is wrong are spouting hate.It's not hate to tell the truth,but its quite hateful to lie , knowing that your are pushhing false truthes like the idea that gay is ok.To then only twist truth into hate.Truth in love is that gay is NOT ok.

Hater.

Folks need to stop saying that folks that know homoseual behavior is wrong are spouting hate.It's not hate to tell the truth,but its quite hateful to lie , knowing that your are pushhing false truthes like the idea that gay is ok.To then only twist truth into hate.Truth in love is that gay is NOT ok.

“I believe that the tendency to classify all persons who oppose [gay] marriage as ‘prejudiced’ is in itself a prejudice,” claimed a noted psychologist.

In denying the appeal of this type of couple that had tried unsuccessfully to marry, a Georgia court wrote that such unions are “not only unnatural, but … always productive of deplorable results,” such as increased effeminate behavior in the population. “They are productive of evil, and evil only, without any corresponding good … (in accordance with) the God of nature.”

Whoops, that wasn't gay marriage they were talking about. That was interracial marriage.

Dress up your hate in whatever self-righteous language you like. It's still hate, a collection of long-discredited arguments against equality whitewashed and given a new name. Your bigotry hasn't changed, just its target.

The question of what human behaviour has its roots in genetics, and which arises as a result of a conscious choice, belongs to the broad category of facts which empirical observation can determine, or at least suggest

The science is suggestive, but not unambiguous. It is not irrational or anti-scientific to believe, as a tentative conclusion, that sexual orientation is primarily a "lifestyle choice" or, perhaps, culturally influenced.

As a longtime supporter of gay rights, I remain puzzled by my compatriots enthusiastic support of the genetically deterministic model of sexual orientation. First and foremost, it seems to me to be a underwhelming defense of homosexuality—"nature made me do it" is pretty weak compared to "I decided to do it and there's nothing wrong with doing it". Not to mention that the history of racism, for example, strongly implies that biology is no impediment against bigotry. The bigots will be just as happy punishing genetic homosexuals as they would homosexuals-by-choice.

I vastly prefer not to implicitly cede the moral territory to the bigots by avoiding the question of choice. I say that there's nothing wrong with homosexuality or gay sex, regardless of why someone is gay.

Secondly, biologically determinist arguments are typically associated with the right, not the left. It's the bigots who enthusiastically endorse naturist explanations of human behavior—sex and race are two good examples. Why is the dominant thinking on the left that culture and choice determines sexual and racial differences yet somehow it's enlightened to explain sexual orientation by genetics?

I suspect the answer to this is that even among large swaths of the supposedly tolerant left, there is still a significant amount of homophobia and it's much more comfortable for everyone concerned to say that their child or sibling or friend was "made that way".

But if being "made that way" is the primary justification for the social acceptance of non-traditional sexual orientation, then what of those who were not made that way? I'm straight, but I've experimented with gay sex. I guess there's no defense for me, huh?

I have gay friends who are certain they were born gay but, more to the point, I also have gay friends who are not. And it simply doesn't matter. Either it's morally acceptable, or it's not. Those of us supporting gay rights should assert that it's acceptable, without qualification, without regard to biological or cultural origins.

And with regard to science and empiricism, the overwhelming body of evidence regarding genetics and human behavior is that neither a pure naturist nor a pure nurturist explanation is usually sufficient. Human behavior is complexly interdependent upon many variables and it's almost certain that sexual orientation, like sexually dimorphic behavior, arises through the interplay between genes, environment, and choice. It is not scientifically accurate to blithely assert that sexual orientation is genetic in origin.

Catsy, seriously, have you ever heard of anyone insisting on calling an individual person LGBT? I haven't, and I hang with plenty of people who are pretty insistent on these language points.

Any term is a compromise (and like Slart said, there are always people for whom some extra letters would be appropriate) but the point isn't to get at the one ultimate truth, it's just to have a term that's useful and respectful when talking about groups and politics, where it really does make sense to lump some people together sometimes. It's a constructive lump, if it's used constructively.

You know, I kind of feel the OK republican's pain.

You can't hate the blacks anymore, it's just not done. At least not in public.

It's been a long time since you could hate the Jews.

Used to be you could hate on the Mexicans, but there are too many of them now, and they won't go away.

If they can't hate the gays, who's left? Who are they going to hate on, Albanians?

Re Arundel, far, far above: please note that "Negroi[id]" is NOT correct "in terms of anthropological classification"; nor for that matter is "Caucasian". These groupings do not correspond to any physiologically meaningful underlying reality. (Forensic anthropologists do sometimes use physiological data to figure out which of these culturally constructed groups a body would probably have been assigned to in life -- but the terms aren't helpful for analyzing the characteristics of bodies as bodies.)

I’ll have you know that when my Jewish-Mexican landscape artist quit for a better paying job that Americans won’t do he was replaced by a black gay Albanian. And that guy – totally doesn’t listen about not mowing over the flower beds. You’d think that being gay and all he would understand….

(I suppose I have to label this as snark just because someone will likely take offense.)

"Taliban-like intrusions on all matters related to sex (e.g., abortion, pornography, indecency regulation, no-fault divorces, Gardasil vaccinations)."

You're better than this, Publius.

I suppose I have to label this as snark just because someone will likely take offense.

Actually OC I thought it was pretty funny.

Well, of course it has to be Albania. No PC death squad would allow hate on Montenegro.

"Why is the dominant thinking on the left that culture and choice determines sexual and racial differences yet somehow it's enlightened to explain sexual orientation by genetics?"

I think that you can explain the first part of that on the basis that a large portion of the liberal program is simply DOOMED if people aren't infinitely manipulable. If you can't mold a human into anything you want, you'll never create the New Soviet Man. As somebody once said of communism, "Nice theory, wrong species." Some people just don't want to admit that species matters.

While the latter part is based on the notion that if homosexuals don't have any choice in the matter, they obviously aren't blameworthy.

Which is obviously true, we don't blame people for having birth defects. OTOH, we don't celebrate them, either.

I think that you can explain the first part of that on the basis that a large portion of the liberal program is simply DOOMED if people aren't infinitely manipulable. If you can't mold a human into anything you want, you'll never create the New Soviet Man.

liberal != Soviet. Hope that helps.

OTOH, we don't celebrate them, either.

Sure, but we try not to refer to folks who had the misfortune to be borne minus some ability or other that we all tend to take for granted "cripples".

Also, viewing homosexuality as a "birth defect" has just got to be deeply insulting. As deeply insulting, I'd imagine, as it would be for a woman to refer to your maleness as a "birth defect". See, one of your chromosomes is malformed...

Well, the right used to believe the same thing: Give me a child until it is 5 years old and it will be ours forever (paraphrased Ignatius of Loyola). Similar statements came from Hitler. It's also a standard argument from (usually RW/religious*) homeschoolers: message control until the beliefs have become indelible. In the past** conservatives even openly proclaimed that their idea of education was the destruction of the will of the child in order for it to be replaced by the proper (and obedient) thoughts.

*liberal homeschool propronents usually cite quality not ideology issues
**but becoming popular again given some education manuals puplished in the past few years (and that imo should be enough to take away the authors' children and to file charges of child abuse)

I know Hitler is who I look to for guidance when making parenting decisions.

While the latter part is based on the notion that if homosexuals don't have any choice in the matter, they obviously aren't blameworthy.

And what good is life if we can't be blaming people different from us for their failings, amirite guys?

Well, Sebastian, Jesurgislac, JanieM, Catsy, et al., at least you all know what Brett REALLY thinks of you now: You have a birth defect.

"I think that you can explain the first part of that on the basis that a large portion of the liberal program is simply DOOMED if people aren't infinitely manipulable. If you can't mold a human into anything you want, you'll never create the New Soviet Man."

* blinks *
* shakes head *

A little unclear about the distinction between what I think about a person, and what I think about a condition they happen to have, are we? Sebastian isn't "a homosexual", he's a person who happens to be a homosexual. What do you think, he's a cardboard cutout, all you need to know is his sexual orientiation, and you've got him pegged?

Why should the fact that I view homosexuality as a birth defect have any bearing at all on my opinion of people? You think I'm a bigot who hates people with birth defects?

We've already established what you are, miss. Now we're just haggling over price.

This gives me a chuckle as an echo of what one of the Maine House members said yesterday. He spoke at length in educating us all about the science of the matter, explaining about genes and DNA and all that, and his bottom line was that homosexuality was a "genetic aberition [sic]," and that's why this marriage thing was a bad idea that he couldn't support.

Even granting for the sake of discussion that there may be a genetic component to sexual orientation, though I don't give two figs about it one way or the other in real life, I do wonder how much of the population has to have a certain combination of genes for that combination to be elevated from the status of "defect" to "normal variant." One percent? Five percent? Fifty-one percent? Hmmmmm.

/snark

And not one hundred percent off topic: Governon Baldacci of Maine just signed the marriage bill, no conditions attached.

We will still have a signature campaign in an attempt to force a people's veto referendum. One could still hold out some small hope that "they" won't get enough signatures. But that doesn't seem likely. Either way, the circus is on.

"Why should the fact that I view homosexuality as a birth defect have any bearing at all on my opinion of people?"

If you see homosexuality as a "defect" then yes I would think that would have some bearing on your subsequent opinions of "those" people.

"You think I'm a bigot who hates people with birth defects?"

Brett, I don't know that you hate anyone. However, if you view people who are no less physically and mentally able, but who have different sexual preferences as being defective, are you not implying that they are in some way inferior?

From a standpoint of reproductive fitness, which is the only objective standpoint for measuring superiority vs inferiority for organisms? Yes. I might add that, since I myself was so pathologically shy, (Possibly also with a genetic basis.) that I only reproduced a few months short of 50, that's a judgement I'd apply to myself. Nearly ended up a complete loser on that score.

Let's not conflate biological fitness and moral worth here. A behavioral trait which interferes with reproduction IS a defect in an organism, every bit as much as a missing limb or poor vision.

From a standpoint of reproductive fitness, which is the only objective standpoint for measuring superiority vs inferiority for organisms?

You have a cite for this?

If reproductive fitness is all that counts, the Ebola virus is WAY superior to humans.

It also ignores away the fact that gay people reproduce all the time.

"You have a cite for this?"

Yeah, Darwin.

And people with one leg hop, so I suppose we can't really call being one legged a defect.

Yeah, Darwin.

Descent of Man? Origin of the Species? His autobiography?

Chapter, please. A snippet of text might be in order, too.

IANAS(cientist), but it seems quite a stretch to suggest that nature is so simple we can analyze it and draw sweeping conclusions in one step using single-variable analysis of a concept like "reproductive fitness."

More in the direction of real life, see e.g. sickle-cell trait, just for starters. And that's still fairly simple compared to something like sexuality, or let's say sexuality embedded in the context of the life of a social species.

A behavioral trait which interferes with reproduction IS a defect in an organism, every bit as much as a missing limb or poor vision.

Ah. That explains why worker bees are so much rarer than queen bees....

Brett, speaking as a biologist, although not a population geneticist, I rather suspect that you have too constrained a view of selection and of reproductive fitness. If for example you contribute towards the building of a robust and successful society, your close or distant kin can gain an advantage that effectively validates your genes even if you haven't passed any on directly. The classic example is the social insect, where most workers cannot reproduce and never do so; or for that matter the human body, where very few cells can contribute directly to offspring and to genetic immortality, but other cells that comprise your brains, or even the one leg that your hopper retains, give those few germ cells the opportunity.
And there are any number of traits that may appear to superficially interfere with reproduction but that wind up having a net positive effect, or that in fact do not significantly interfere with reproduction on a larger scale but do have a small positive effect that matters; otherwise we'd all be perfectly selfish monsters.

Guys, there has been a paradigm shift in the science. There is no such thing as nature or nature-- everything is _epigenetics_. This means the environment changes your gene expression, though not the underlying DNA.

All the evidence still implicates genes (probably a dozen 'switch' genes controlling 100s of genes involved in perception). There is NO current evidence or hypothesis implicating 'choice' or 'my Mommy babied me and turned me gay' or 'my Daddy didn't love me so I seek other men' whatsoever. We can make fruit flies gay with the switch of a gene. We're just way more complicated.

reproductive fitness, which is the only objective standpoint for measuring superiority vs inferiority for organisms?

Like JanieM, IANAS, but IIRC Darwin gives the edge to adaptability.

Aw, Brett, don't go there. It's a sloppy use of science (because it shows no understanding of the science). For example, reproductive fitness is a property of POPULATIONS, not individuals.

"From a standpoint of reproductive fitness, which is the only objective standpoint for measuring superiority vs inferiority for organisms?"

Brett, you're not qualified to play a geneticist on the internets.

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