How Not To React To Gay People

From Craigslist (in a post has since been flagged and taken down, so I’m glad I took the liberty of reproducing it unedited here), comes a humorous lesson in the form of a likely apocryphal story:

A mutual friend of ours threw a big party for her 30th birthday, tons of people were there and it was a lot of fun. Somewhere along the line you and I ended up on the balcony for some fresh air at the same time. We started chatting; we talked about sports, books, tv – discovered we both are about to start our masters degrees and spent some time debating the pro’s and con’s of the educational system. We talked about hanging out sometime, and you wanted to meet my girlfriend.

I understand how upsetting it was for you when I blinked mildly in surprise and said I was here with my husband. I know it was a shock to your system, if your face had turned any paler I might have called 911. You made a good recovery though – that hurried mutter of “I’m not like that” was very polite and you only knocked over two drinks and one vase in your hurry to rush to anywhere other than near me. I can’t blame you – I forgot how delicate you straight boys are. So I wanted to give you a few helpful hints about where you went wrong last night.

1) As a general rule we don’t walk around with big signs around our neck proclaiming our sexuality. No scarlet letters, no scent of hellfire and brimstone… sorry about that.

2) We do not generally assume that everyone within 5 feet of us must also be homosexual – it was nice of you to immediately reassure me that you are hetero, but it was really unnecessary.

3) Homosexuality is not infectious. While I am sure you meant no disrespect with your hasty departure; in the future you can rest assured that taking a few extra seconds in your mad dash for safety will not result in you being turned gay. It will however keep you from destroying expensive vases and knocking over senior citizens.

4) This next one may come as a surprise; but you are not, in fact, irresistible. The fact that you have a dick does not instantly turn me into a bundle of uncontrolled lust. Contrary to popular opinion, being in the same room with a straight man does not cause a gay man to instantly lose all common sense and basic common courtesy. Though I am not so sure about the reverse.

5) Homosexuals in general get a little irked when people treat us like some sort of leper. Rushing to another mutual friend of ours and advising him of my sexuality, so he could be “forewarned” was really uncalled for.

6) Upon being told (by said mutual friend) to stop being an idiot and that you were not my type anyway… it generally confuses the issue when you then proceed to become upset that I DON’T find you attractive. Three seconds ago you were running through a crowd of people with your hands cupped protectively over your junk as if I might attack you at any moment with a blowjob. See hint number 4.

7) We homosexuals have an odd sense of humor – I can’t help that. Something about watching you freak out as if all the demons of hell were after you just struck me as vastly amusing.

8 ) While being pissed at me for dissolving into uncontrollable laughter might be understandable… gathering a couple guys together to “teach the fag a lesson” is not.

9) You might also want to drink a little less and be a little more careful about the guys you approach for your little proto-hate-mob

10) Assuming the two tall muscle-bound bruisers must be uber-hetero and just as appalled by my presence as you was your first mistake. It was an understandable one though. How were you to know that pflag tshirt the first guy was wearing wasn’t a sports team? Also the rainbow ring the second guy was wearing could have meant anything I am sure.

11) In retrospect I suppose that upon hearing your not very subtle hate-talk and seeing who you were heading for; I could have said something instead of just laughing harder. I apologize for that. I should have just introduced you to my husband instead of letting you walk up to him and ask him if he wanted to help you teach “that fag over there” a lesson. I hope that broken nose heals up cleanly.

Thanks to Claudia and Daxx for the great find.

Cathartic stories about homophobes getting their due comeuppance aside, if you want to see a (very long) vigorous and rigorous defense of gay marriage in philosophical and ethical terms, please read this post.

Shorter than that post, here is a list of the best original posts on gay issues from Camels With Hammers:

Why “Loving The Sinner But Hating The Sin” Is Not An Option When Dealing With Gay People

Bishop of Church of England Doesn’t “Share Same Faith” As Those Who Accept Homosexuality

A Follow Up Post On Gays And Christianity

Confronting Conservative Christians With The Consequences Of Their Homophobia

Happy National Coming Out Day 2009!

Gays and Christianity 3: If God Exists and Is Good, He Cannot Oppose Gay Love

No Gay Kissing On Modern Family?

Contortions Of Catholic Philosophy: Eve Tushnet Argues Gay Sex Is Not OK But Sex Changes Are

Unreal Discrimination?

On The Incoherence Of Divine Command Theory And Why Even If God DID Make Things Good And Bad, Faith-Based Religions Would Still Be Irrelevant

Leviticus, Biblical literalism, and it’s all drivel propagated by delusional bigots who need something, anything to validate their beliefs

Some of the most interesting LGBT relevant material aggregated on Camels With Hammers:

The Problem of Muslim Homophobia In Britain

Sam Brinton On Coming Out At 10 And Going Into Aversion Therapy

Zach Wahls, Son Of Lesbians, Testifies To Iowa Legislature

Techniques Meant To “Cure” Homosexuality

David Hyde Pierce On His Marriage And Prop 8

Dan Savage On Gay Adoption

Louis C.K. Shreds Homophobia

Andrew Sullivan Making The Case For Gay Marriage Back In 1997

Should Gays Have Kids?

No “No Homo”

Inequality Is Okay If It Makes You Not Gay

Blaming The Victims Of Anti-Gay Violence

Give To Save Gay Teens’ Lives

What It Really Means To Tell Gays To “Resist Their Temptation”

David Boies Discusses The Prop 8 Overruling

Gay Sex And Reality

LGBT Teens Often Kicked Out Of Homes, End Up In Detention, And Are Abused

Gay Rights Advocate Decapitated In Uganda

On Caring For Our Transsexual Friends

On The “Compassion” In The Catholic Bishops’ Letter To Congress Against Gay Rights

Daily Hilarity: The Perils Of Lesbianity

Rejecting The Ex-Gay Movement

A Gay Blogger Undercover At “Love Won Out”

On The “Compassion” In The Catholic Bishops’ Letter To Congress Against Gay Rights

Gay Marriage = Religious Freedom

Man Fired For Telling Coworker Her Homosexuality Was “Bad Stuff”

Scott Lively, American Who Fomented Ugandan Homophobia

Missionaries of Hate

Bill O’Reilly Compares Gays To Al-Qaeda

Should Religions Be Exempt From Laws Otherwise Applicable To Others?

Maggie Gallagher Gloats About Maine

Two American Heroes Weigh In On Same-Sex Marriage

Bishop Spong Releases Manifesto Resolving Not To Legitimize Homophobia By Debating It

Iraq Has Become The “Worst Place On Earth For Homosexuals”

Love, Religious Style

Silent Partners

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://www.raywhiting.com/MyLife Raytheist

    Lovely! :-) thank you for sharing (and yes, it’s already gone from Craigslist–dead linky).

  • http://atheists-and-christians.blogspot.com/ Mike AKA MonolithTMA

    It may be apocryphal, but it’s believable.

  • James Andrew Morriso

    Funny isn’t it how preist say homosexuality is evil as it says so in the bible but disregard the section on how its also evil to eat pork lol which is in the same part of the old testement (which is pre christ) funny religion christianity

  • eLMORRIS

    Yeah, yeah… drama queen that gay guy.

  • taryn

    i just lol’ed at work and embarrassed myself. totally worth it.

  • http://www.algdfa.com/vb algdfa

    Thanks man this is very usefull

    • Daniel Fincke

      you were going to make a lot of those mistakes? ;)

  • PHiL

    I stopped reading after number 1.

    I’m sure the whole thing was charming and hilarious, but the opposite is true, IMO. If I can’t distinguish someone homosexual at a glance, I’m pleasantly surprised.

    It’s always about forcing it onto people until they just deal with it. I can never have a serious or thoughtful conversation with a gay person, because everything they do is so attention-whoringly over the top.

    I don’t have a problem with homosexuality until they MAKE it my problem. (inb4 homophobes = homosex)

    • BubBubsBounce

      If that’s your experience with gay people, you obviously don’t get out much.

    • Anthony

      No. I get out lots. And as a homosexual male myself, I can tell you that most of my experiences with the gay community as a whole is about the same.

    • Tom

      Or, he has not had good experiences with gay people.

    • Mike

      “I can never have a serious or thoughtful conversation with a gay person, because everything they do is so attention-whoringly over the top.”

      You may well have had many. It’s a bit too presumptive to assume that you’ve known every gay person you’ve ever actually conversed with.

  • http://Yahoo the Rabbit

    To each their own. People do not become gay. Contrary to popular belief. A gay person is someone’s child, they are human. Buddha teaches tolerance for all living things. The only philosophy / religion that does.

    • DJ

      not true you obviously haven’t done your research

    • Lenah

      @ Rabbit, its not just Buddhism. Hinduism also has similar beliefs so it was an error on your behalf to say that “Buddha teaches tolerance for all living things. The only philosophy / religion that does”. Also did you know that Buddhism was created from Hinduism?

  • Tom

    This was a bit to gay really.

  • eric

    All of these things I have found to be true BECAUSE it’s really hard to meet gay guys being myself a very low-key, straight-acting gay guy. If gays hit-on all men, gay or straight, hot or not, I’d be able to subtly reciprocate without breaking my character and acting “gay.” But considering gays don’t even bother with straight men (the way it should be), I get glanced over :/

    • Alberto

      “Glad” to find I’m not the only one in that situation…

  • GP

    Homophobia is an extereme expression, but one common reaction of many straight people towards homosexuals is one of confusion. When encountering a member of the opposite gender, there are reasonably understood rules governing conduct so that one’s intentions are not misinterpreted by the other person. In a world of straight people, one can make a gesture of affection towards a person of the same gender without it being mistaken for it being a sexual advance. However when dealing with a person of the opposite gender one may be more careful. Homosexuality throws these learned traits into confusion.

    Do homosexuals have the capacity to identify the sexual orientation of the people of their gender and distinguish non-sexual affection/interest from a sexual advance/interest? If so, the straight people don’t have to learn any new rules governing their behaviour. If not, they have to be just as careful when dealing with people of their own gender as they do the opposite gender and this leads to resentment.

    • http://www.unindoctrinated.com/ LogicKillsGods

      I hope it was that you simply couldn’t think of the right word rather than you actually think Homosexuality is a separate gender.

    • http://ethicalrealism.wordpress.com James Gray

      I agree that there is no reason to think homosexuality is wrong. The link to the discussion on homophobia doesn’t really argue that homosexuality isn’t wrong as much as speculate about psychological reasons that people are against homosexuality. Of course, it isn’t too hard to argue that homosexuality isn’t wrong (in part) because all the arguments against it are horrible.

      It should also be noted that “gay marriage” is not new. It has existed in various cultures for a very long time:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage#Ancient

  • Jack

    funny because all you can do is shout or parade around the fact that you are a homo while every hetro does not do this at all wanna be accepted and seen as real well learn also from nature male and female make babies not male and male or female and female oh but you say artificial insemination again think about that male and female again the only thing i can think that reproduces itself with neither is a cockroach dont lower yourself to that and most homos are so desuusting that what they do to each other should be exterminated and the fact is sodom met that fate

    • Skreeran

      Lol, what?

      a) No group of humans should be exterminated because of something as trivial as sexuality.

      b) Cockroaches reproduce sexually. I think that you are saying that they reproduce asexually, what many other creatures do, such as bacteria, sponges, and other, more basic forms of life. Other creatures can be either genders, like earthworms, clownfish, wrasses, and certain types of lizard. But that is beside the point. If homosexual humans reproduce, they do so by sexual means. Humans cannot reproduce any other way.

      c) Who says Sodom was destroyed for homosexuality? I thought it was because the town was allegedly filled with rapists and killers? Besides, the existance of Sodom and Gomorrah is still in dispute by modern archaeologists.

      d) Las Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles can be viewed as filled with many other same types of “sin” as Sodom and Gomorrah, and yet both of them are still standing. Your threats are hollow.

    • Natasha

      I’m a straight female and as someone’s already dissected your points id just like to add that there’d be no way in hell id be making ANY babies with someone who is A)So shockingly intolerant and B)Unable to use basic punctuation.

      Your lack of intellect does nothing for the gene pool.

    • Grammar Godwin

      While I agree with your sentiments, can I take this opportunity to point out that your own punctuation is, ironically, somewhat lacking?

      I’d argue that there should be a comma after the first “and” and another after the word “points”. More importantly, you use the word “id”, twice, where you should have “I’d”. Freud is not amused. Back on to the minor issues, I’d suggest a colon at the head of the adumbration (i.e. after the “is”), and that using lowercase for both the adumbration letters and the initial letter of the adumbrated sentences.

      I am scheduled for an auto-anal extraction procedure a week next Thursday.

      Oh, and to reierate, your point still stands; “Jack” is an idiot.

    • http://www.unindoctrinated.com/ LogicKillsGods

      You are an excellent example of what is wrong with humanity.

  • Sabby

    You know my brother is gay. while i find it hard to accept the face that he feels the need to share every aspect of his life with me i never found it hard to accept the fact that he was gay. I think its funny how most straight people are so misunderstanding of gays/lesbians and judge thm as though they are merely a type of disease with a cure. when in fact most straight people have had a thought or feeling about someone in the same gender. i also find it hilaious that they feel the need to distinguish yourself from homosexuals because most homosexuals can tell a gay/lesbian person as soon as they walk in the room. im going to end this it my brother is not an insect or a disease he is a HUMAN. He has every right to be who he wants to.

  • LegumeOfDoom

    Shouldn’t you gay people be busy dying of AIDS?

    • A.

      We are. This is just what we do in the meantime.

  • Fran

    Possibly the best thing ever. Love it.

  • cornfused

    No commas after “and” because that is the function of the “and.”

    People are so silly.

  • Augustine

    I love this and I totally agree with #4 all the way.

  • http://thesavagepen.blogspot.com Bull Slam

    How true! I, too, agree emphatically with Number 4.

    At Democratic Headquarters tonight, I saw my favorite new bumper sticker:

    “The only thing marriage needs protection from is the marriage of church and state!”

  • MrsJ

    It’s been my experiance that guys who react to someone being gay in such a manner are, in fact, deeply in the closet.

  • A7X

    Newsflash, LegumeOfDoom: us straight folk can contract HIV/AIDs, too.
    Sorry if I blew your mind.

    And, honestly, dear, it’s not so much the AIDs that does that killing.
    It’s usually the pneumonia.
    But I’m sure you realise it’s a cause & effect, thing, really.

    In other news: this post is literally the best thing I’ve read in the last 24 hours.
    A. had the best response EVAR :)


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