Cheering for the punter, ‘fraught masculinity,’ and bending toward justice

Chis Kluwe had five punts for an average of 48.4 yards on Sunday in the Vikings’ 26-23 overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

‘Adam y Steve,’ by Tony De Carlo

I mention these statistics because the Minnesota punter is now my most favorite NFL player.

* * * * * * * * *

Kristine Haglund discusses “Why Mormon Men Love ‘Church Ball’ and Are Scared of Homosexuality.”

A look at this fraught masculinity may offer a glimpse into what drives the LDS Church, and Mormon politicians like Mitt Romney, to insist on the defense of traditional gender roles in the family. The unique contours of Mormon masculinity can also help answer the question: Why are (many) Mormons so vehemently opposed to gay marriage and any other overt expression of homosexuality?

The short answer to that question is that the unique mix of ritualized homosociality and patriarchal authority — the bedrocks of Mormon masculinity — means that many Mormon men are nervous about permitting even the idea that there might be more than a platonic “bromance” in the post-Church Ball game sweaty hug.

Morgan Guyton confirms that I’m not the only evangelical who thinks this sketch of “fraught masculinity” sounds awfully familiar.

* * * * * * * * *

I’m encouraged by consistent polling showing a big generational divide on attitudes toward LGBT people. The children of anti-gay evangelicals and other Republicans do not share the views of their parents. That’s a hopeful sign.

But I also remember that America once entertained the same hope when it came to racial prejudice. My generation, born after the triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement, was supposed to grow up without the racism that had previously shaped American society. That didn’t happen — and as this post from Ari Kohen shows, it’s not happening with the next generation either.

I cautiously share William Lindsey’s hope that the arc of the universe is bending toward justice for LGBT people. As Lindsey writes:

As Kluwe (who’s straight) tells Ed Schultz, the struggle for gay rights is the defining civil rights issue of our time, and straight allies of gays seeking their rights at this point in history will one day, years down the road, be asked how they behaved as some groups in American society were assaulting the rights of a targeted minority when the 21st century began: Whose side were you on?, Kluwe tells Schultz younger people will ask their elders when this battle is over and done with, and when it becomes widely known which was the right and which the wrong side in this cultural battle.

But I’d feel more hopeful if I didn’t see so many young people, more than a generation after the Civil Rights Movement, who still believe that the wrong side of that battle was right.

* * * * * * * * *

• Gary Bauer learns that not hiring professional actors, like not hiring professional plumbers, can result in a lot of wasted money. But then I suppose it’s not easy to find talented actors who are also enthusiastic anti-gay bigots. (And now I’m wondering if these are professional actors and the ad is a work of deliberate sabotage.)

• Bauer’s ad is horribly written, acted and produced, but it’s immensely improved in this edit.

One year after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and we’re still waiting for the sky to fall just like all those anti-gay activists predicted it would.

Artist Tony De Carlo has produced a series of religious paintings involving two of the most important figures in American Christianity: Adam and Steve.

• (See earlier: “Who made Steve?”)

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  • Jurgan

    I think you worry too much, Fred.  Yes, there is still racism, but it’s much more marginalized than it once was.  There will always be bigots, but I think history has shown that every generation is less bigoted than the one before.

  • tiredofit

     When I was born women could only get jobs as secretaries and teachers, and African Americans had a glass ceiling at early management if they were truly exceptional.

    By my late 20s I was working for a major multi-national semiconductor manufacturer and my VP — who reported to the CEO — was a black woman.

    Oh, yeah.  Any the president of the United States is black.

    Things are not perfect, nor will they ever be.  But they are much, much better.

  • AnonymousSam

    Too bad the consequence to that is politicians trying to block African Americans from voting. Well, not really a consequence so much as a reminder that they need to go back to upholding their fathers’ virtues of white supremacy.

  • http://tobascodagama.com Tobasco da Gama

     That’s an easy assumption to make, but personally I’m not so sure. I recently returned to university for a second degree, and… well, granted, that also involved a move from Massachusetts to Florida, but the kids in school right now definitely seem a lot more racist than the kids I went to school with before. I’m in computer science, so I don’t have to run into it much, but my partner is taking a lot of anthropology courses, and not a day goes by that she doesn’t have a story about some horribly racist/sexist/homophobic thing somebody said in class.

  • Alan Bean

    Really, Jurgan.  Why then has our prison population increased by a factor of six over the past thirty years, and why does the national attitude toward undocumented immigrants get harsher with every passing year?  There are many forms of bigotry, but by every objective measure, America was a more forgiving and compassionate country thirty years ago than it is today.  The LGBT  issue is the one great exception.

  • Carstonio

    Pro athletes, particularly in football, have a great deal to lose by speaking out in favor of marriage equality. All-male environments tend to be homophobic, and football has long had ties to evangelical Christianity in many parts of the country. So Ayanbadejo and Klume will probably receive some grief from teammates, some questioning their heterosexuality and some questioning the destiny of their souls. Two very brave individuals.

  • Lori

    Pro athletes, particularly in football, have a great deal to lose by
    speaking out in favor of marriage equality. All-male environments tend
    to be homophobic, and football has long had ties to evangelical
    Christianity in many parts of the country. So Ayanbadejo and Klume will
    probably receive some grief from teammates, some questioning their
    heterosexuality and some questioning the destiny of their souls. Two
    very brave individuals. 

    I was just talking to me ex and he told me he heard an interview with Ayanbadejo and who said that he hasn’t gotten any bad reaction from his teammates. He expected to, but has been pleasantly surprised that he hasn’t.

    I had two reactions: First, cool. Things really have changed. Second, my respect for Ayanbadejo is just immense. He expected to get negative reaction from his teammates and he spoke out any way. 

  • tiredofit

    You might consider the Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbadejo who has been making advertisements for marriage equality in Maryland and caused the whole kerfluffle.  Plus he’s a linebacker, not just a punter (says the guy who never played and if he had would have been a punter since I played soccer).

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Kluwe’s letter was actually on behalf of 
    Ayanbadejo. 

  • tiredofit

     I know that.  It’s why I noted that Ayanbadejo started the kerfluffle.

  • Nathaniel

    There is a difference between race and sexuality that I think is being ignored here. Simply put, no bigot will ever suddenly discover that their child is black.

    And for better or for worse, I think that factor will lead to a much more firm extinguishment of homophobia than racism.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that the online atheist community
    definitely has problems with sexism and, if perhaps not quite so
    blatantly*, with racism, but seems to have no problem at all with
    homophobia**. I don’t know why this is. I don’t even have any half-baked ideas why this might be.

    I’m not sure how well developments in the online atheist community tie into developments in the culture at large, but it is a perhaps-interesting data point.

    Nathaniel says that no bigot will ever suddenly discover that their child is black. Equally, though from an opposite direction, they’re unlikely to ever suddenly discover that their child is cisfemale. Sexism is still with us nonetheless.

    I actually suspect that homophobia and perhaps even transphobia will die out well before racism. I don’t know where sexism fits into that picture. But that’s just my guesses.

    TRiG.

    * By which I mean that I personally haven’t noticed it as much.

    ** Though they are by no means free of transphobia.

  • Carstonio

    Never noticed any homophobia in those communities myself, but I did notice sexism. Some posters pushed the falsehood that women are naturally more emotional than men and claimed that this explained why polls show more adherence to religions from women.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I actually suspect that homophobia and perhaps even transphobia will die out well before racism. I don’t know where sexism fits into that picture. But that’s just my guesses.

    Gloria Steinem quote from the end of V for Vendetta (the movie):

    Sex and race, because they are easy, visible differences, have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior
    groups

    Elvira Kurt quote on one possible reason many straight people are freaked out by everyone else:

    We look like you. I know it would be a lot easier if we were purple or had horns but this way we can walk freely among you, and so, many straight people don’t know unless gay people specifically tell them, and it’s always a shock!

    The end of homophobia doesn’t require accepting people who don’t look like you, really the end of transphobia doesn’t either, but in some cases it might require you to accept that there’s more variation in what cis people look like than you’d been previously willing to admit.

    The end of racism and sexism both require the potential bigots to instead accept that someone who is, at a glance, clearly not like them is their equal.

  • Carstonio

     

    Elvira Kurt quote on one possible reason many straight people are freaked out by everyone else:

    So for homophobes, it’s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers or They Live?

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Something like that.

    It’s just one theory though.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a
    chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone. Instead,
    it’s worse for African Americans in almost every way. The unemployment
    rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, and median family
    wealth are all worse for the black community. In June, while the
    overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent, the
    unemployment rate for African Americans actually went up, from 13.6
    percent to 14.4 percent…. If equal
    opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, black families could
    send their sons and daughters to public schools that truly offer the
    hope of a better life. Instead, for generations, the African-American
    community has been waiting and waiting for that promise to be kept.
    Today, black children are 17 percent of students nationwide – but they
    are 42 percent of the students in our worst-performing schools.

    Mitt Romney admitted this.

    If a Republican can admit this, then I want it no longer said that discrimination is somehow vanished from the face of the earth.

  • wall flower

    I’m a regular reader of the blog and so I was happily surprised to find the link to this from my Google News Feed!  

  • Kiba

    I’m not a sports fan but Mr. Kluwe might just change that. I’ve read that letter a few times, once to my 86 year-old grandmother (she laughed out loud and loved it), and my admiration for Mr. Kluwe and his fellow like minded players continues to grow with each reading. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I’d feel more hopeful if I didn’t see so many young people, more than a
    generation after the Civil Rights Movement, who still believe that the
    wrong side of that battle was right.

    Here’s what I know about extinguishing behavior. Short version: it’s easy to not notice it while it’s happening.

    I was talking yesterday with a friend of mine, a woman in her twenties who works as a teacher, and she was telling me a story about visiting her old high-school and discovering that the Gay-Straight Alliance that had been disbanded when she was a student there had since then been reinstated, and how that was making her feel a little better about heteronormative bigotry in high schools.

    And I commented that I remembered how utterly blown away I was, a couple of years after I graduated from college, to learn that one of the freshmen who was rushing my college living group that year had been out in high school. Because that was pretty much unheard of when I was a high-school student.

    And she genuinely had that “really?” reaction.

    Which, of course, made me feel incredibly old. But also reminded me that sometimes things move faster than I could ever have expected. The same heteronormative bigotry that so upsets her when she sees it in her schools was simply business as usual in high school when I was a student. And I’m not actually all that old.

    The poor in spirit will be with us always, and their works also. And hatred and bigotry are among their works. But they are losing power, and they will not inherit the future.
     

  • Lori

     

    Which, of course, made me feel incredibly old. But also reminded me that
    sometimes things move faster than I could ever have expected. The same
    heteronormative bigotry that so upsets her when she sees it in her
    schools was simply business as usual in high school when I was a
    student. And I’m not actually all that old.  

    I am getting old, but otherwise I know what you mean. The idea of someone being out in high school was a total shocker to me. When I was growing up that not only didn’t happen, it didn’t occur to me that it could happen and that wasn’t just me being clueless. I still have trouble wrapping my head around the idea of people being out in middle school. Middle school was a total nightmare. The idea of being out in the that and surviving it just mind-boggling to me. I know that all too many kids don’t survive it and that has to change, but the fact that any do is proof that the world has changed a lot since I was that age.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    (nods)
    The real shocker for me was when my niece came out in high school. I thought a bit about whether I ought to have the “hey, so, I’m your supportive uncle” conversation with her, but it rather quickly became clear that she just took that for granted; explicitly declaring my support for her being out about her sexual identity would have been just about as weird as declaring my support for her going to college  despite being female.
    Different world.
    I like living in the future.

    None of which is to dismiss the very real suffering that still goes on due to heteronormative bigotry. (And racist bigotry, and sexist bigotry, and all kinds of other crap.) Merely to take delight in its diminishment.

  • friendly reader

    Speaking of Gay Straight Alliances… when we had a visiting Sister Cities exchange group from Japan come to my town, I served as one of the chaperones/liaisons/sort of translator. And when we toured one of the high schools, the themselves high-school aged students asked me what a GSA was when they saw a sign. I explained as best as I could, trying to also note that they were a little controvertial with some Americans.

    The reaction I got: “People come out in high school?!”

    My response: “Some do, yes.”

    Their reply: “America sugoi!! (“America’s amazing!”*)

    Because yeah, coming out in high school in Japan would be a guaranteed bullied-until-you-kill-yourself choice. Having GSAs really is sugoi.

    *sugoi is actually a bitch to translate, as context is important. It can serve as an intensifier to another adjective or adverb, where the positive or negative connotation of the adjective or adverb gives it either a positive or negative meaning. On it’s own, however, it generally means something amazing or remarkable, like you’ve never seen before.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     That’s delightful.
    I’m now reminded of the movie Heathers, which coined the slang phrase “that’s so very,” which seemed to work a lot like sugoi.

  • Twig

    Also, as the world continues to change, racism will change as the demographics shift.  We won’t think of it along the same lines in a hundred years, the same way we didn’t a hundred years ago.

    Not that this will necessarily be better or worse, but at least it’ll be different.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Isabel-Kunkle/536930634 Isabel Kunkle

    Sexism in particular also has a couple of extra things going for it, alas:

    1) It’s possible to cloak it behind pseudo-scientific studies and Mars-Venus bullshit. “I’m not sexist, but women really *are* more emotional!” blah blah blah. You can sort of do that with race, too, but people buy that less often, I think.

    2) A lot of the current manifestations, at least, are very tied to sexual/romantic entitlement issues on the part of some men. Nice Guys and pick-up artists don’t think of themselves as sexist, and will freak the fuck out endlessly when you call them on it: they don’t think women are inferior! They love women! And how dare women not love them back!

    I still have hope, but neither of those factors help anything. 

  • hidden_urchin

    It looks like Burns got hit with the Kluwe bat. 

  • LL

    I did enjoy the Kluwe letter. I doubt the clueless old dipshit it was directed at  read it, I feel certain an aide or intern intercepted it before it got anywhere near their boss. But it’s public now (thanks, Internet!), so we can all laugh and point at the moron (who still got elected, so good job there, Maryland). 

  • Carstonio

     I would have enjoyed the Kluwe letter more if it had been directed at a different kind of marriage equality opponent, like a Dobson or a Perkins. But Burns is a ultimately a saddening case. He grew up in Mississippi during the waning days of Jim Crow, so he knows damn well what it’s like to face discrimination based on a  personal characteristic. He’s a former NAACP director and he led the move to rename BWI for Thurgood Marshall, one of the great heroes of the 20th century.  But he seems to have this massive blind spot where LGBT people are concerned. The principle of common humanity and protection of minorities from the tyranny of the majority is the same whether the minority is based in skin color or sexual orientation.

  • Lori

     

      I would have enjoyed the Kluwe letter more if it had been directed at a
    different kind of marriage equality opponent, like a Dobson or a
    Perkins.  

    Dobson wasn’t the one trying to cause problems with Ayanbadejo’s job due to his pro-equality statement and saying that he didn’t know of any other NFL player who had done anything similar. Kluwe wasn’t making a general pro-equality statement (he as before, but that wasn’t what he was doing this time). He was responding to a specific statement made by Burns.

  • Carstonio

     Excellent point. Burns deserves all the criticism and ridicule that he’s received. I just think it’s far more rewarding to turn that ridicule on someone who makes a career of pushing hatred.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     Fortunately, criticism and ridicule are renewable resources.  We don’t have to treat this as an either/or situation.  ;)

  • Lori

     What Emcee, cubed said. Burns was using his office to try to abridge Ayanbadejo’s free speech rights. That shit needs to be called out in the strongest possible terms. The fact that Burns’ homophobia and abuse of his office seems more sad than infuriating doesn’t change that.

  • Carstonio

    In the case of Burns, I feel BOTH sad and infuriated. They’re not opposites. Emcee is exactly right that Burns should know better, and no question that he deserves to be bounced from office for abusing his power that way.

    My point is that ridiculing his type of homophobia doesn’t feel as satisfying as the type of ridicule heaped on, say, Rick Perry. His TV ad that launched a thousand parodies was blatant demagoguery, and the funny part was his Brokeback Mountain jacket. Similarly, the NOM Gathering Storm ad was so over-the-top that the Colbert Report’s parody was all the more hilarious. The fact that Burns refrains from such demagoguery doesn’t make his crimes less heinous, just less funny. He reminds me somewhat of Johnny Smith’s mother in The Dead Zone, who lost touch with reality during her son’s coma.

  • LL

    My two cents: I think sexism continues (though I don’t think it’s as bad as it used to be) because men (and some women) still benefit from it. Most people don’t really benefit from homophobia. I think most straight dudes (the younger ones,  mostly) figure, “Well, if he’s gay, whatever, less competition for me.” But men still see women as either competition (for employment) or potential sex partners, sex being fraught with all kinds of conflict. Likewise with race. White people feel threatened by black people in a way most don’t feel threatened by via gay people. The gay guy down the street keeps a nice yard, he has a cute dog, he’s an accountant or a lawyer, he’s just like the rest of us, he’s just into dudes. 

    (shrug) My theories, anyway. So yeah, I think homophobia is probably going to diminish more quickly than either sexism or racism. Good for the gay community, not so good for women and non-white people. Sad. It’s the 21st century. Have to keep reminding myself of that. 

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     I’m inclined to disagree.  The commonalities and links between homophobia and sexism are too prevalent.  For example, look at the fact that many marriage equality opponents fall back on appeals to complementarianism and gender essentialism for their arguments, such as the attempts to frame marriage as “the uniting of two halves of humanity.”  Same sex marriage and even the very existence of LGBT people stand in stark — and to some, threatening — contrast to the insistence that men and women are “inherently different” in ways that makes relationships work.  The scariest thing to many anti-gay people is that more women may look at same sex relationships, realize they’re successful despite the fact that they involve the bucking of traditional gender roles, and start getting ideas about how their own relationships can and should work.

  • vsm

    I think you two are talking about different kinds of sexism. Complementarian arguments are more likely to appeal to religious people, while younger secular sexists seem more likely to plain hate women and assume relationships with them are unlikely to be very fulfilling. Thus, on places like 4chan, you encounter relatively little homophobia, at least compared to the vast amounts of sexism and racism. They even have boards for gay content, which are not targets for raids any more than the other boards. Anti-gay slurs are used frequently, but I’m inclined to believe they’ve lost a great deal of their original meaning in that context. I once saw gay Anons calling a homophobic troll a normalfag.

  • The_L1985

     “I once saw gay Anons calling a homophobic troll a normalfag.”

    And the 4chan Cycle of Insults is complete.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    TW: rape

    Within their own circles, anti-marriage equality opponents also regularly use the argument that if gay marriage is legalized, women will be at the mercy of rape gangs.

    The “logic”: men are uncontrolled animals. If they don’t “have” to marry women, which they won’t if traditional marriage is destroyed by gay marriage (I wish),  men won’t marry women. Without someone owning her, a woman is at the mercy of random men raping her. The only safe place for male sexuality is within marriage to a woman whom he owns and therefore feels some measure of protection toward.

    The base state for men in this equation is as rampaging monsters whose monstrosity is only controlled within marriage to a woman. The base state for women is completely helpless in the face of male sexuality, which is inherently violent and vicious. The only place for women to be safe enough to do anything at all — work outside the home, vote, etc. — is to be the slave (they call it “wife”) of one man. Men apparently magically respect the property rights of other men. But of course they don’t respect the woman’s own consent or lack thereof, because consent is not a thing a woman can exercise. (I have to do a bit more reading, but it looks to me like, in that culture, consent is not a thing anyone can exercise about their own bodies.)

    When anti-marriage equality jackasses bray that gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage, they’re wrong. But gay marriage will deal yet another blow to traditional marriage, that institution in which the woman is the property of a man. When they say that a woman needs to be married to a man for protection and guidance, and we point to those women who are in companionate marriages with men, they can pretend that the men are still really in charge in some way. When we point to women who are married to each other, they’re stuck. 

  • Carstonio

    Haven’t encountered the gangs claim before, but I have definitely encountered the mentality behind it. Apparently most abstinence-only sex education programs teach the uncontrolled-animal concept of male sexuality in one form or another. The Terri Schiavo and stem cells issues were attempts to pander to pro-lifers, so it’s reasonable to suspect that DOMA and the movement behind it similarly originated as a dog-whistle issue, pandering to sexists and their barbaric ideas about gender roles without explicitly bashing women.

  • AnonymousSam

    *Nods* I’ve heard more than a few women recall sentiments from their upbringing that their virginity was one of the few tools they had to lure a prospective husband and convince him to marry them. If they “gave that all away,” then no man would have any incentive to stick around until the nuptials. Only through maintaining chastity until after the vows were said could a husband be assured of staying.

    The whole idea seems to hinge around a very curious contradiction: that men are slaves to their sexuality and have no other interest in a woman other than getting between her legs, but refuse to impugn their honor by reneging on a vow or committing rape. Imagine the kind of relationship this sets up for a woman, growing up thinking that men are only interested in one thing and that the only reason their husband would remain with them is because of a few words said in church.

  • The_L1985

     I’ve heard it a lot.  For example, consider the difference between these:

    “Don’t be the girl who has sex so her boyfriend won’t leave her.  If he says that, he’s going to leave you anyway.”

    and “People should only have sex with other people who also want sex.  If you’re not interested, just say no.  If someone says no to you, you must accept that ‘no.'”

  • hidden_urchin

    If they “gave that all away,” then no man would have any incentive to stick around until the nuptials.

    *nods* The phrase my grandmother and mother taught me was “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

    Yeah. 

  • Tricksterson

    It’s MAGIC!

  • The_L1985

    “Apparently most abstinence-only sex education programs teach the
    uncontrolled-animal concept of male sexuality in one form or another.”

    Very much yes.  The implication, over and over, was “men always want sex, but women never do.”  This was never explicitly stated, but every single Abstinence Rally and “why abstinence == good and sex == bad” pamphlet was based on the idea that premarital sex happens because Horny Male coerces Helpless Female into doing something she definitely does not want to do.

  • banancat

    Thank you for saying this. I have been making this point for awhile and I am glad to see the idea is spreading. When conservatives talk about favoring traditional marriage, we should take them at their word. They don’t want marriages to be an equal partnership of one man and one woman; they want it to be a contract with one person fulfilling the role of husband and one fulfilling the role of wife. And marriage equality does threaten that for the reasons you described. I even know of one fundamentalist blogger who lamented all the marriages where the wife is not submissive because they are basically like gay marriages.

  • Amaryllis

    many marriage equality opponents fall back on appeals to complementarianism and gender essentialism for their arguments
    Yep.

    Delegate Burns himself,  as quoted in a Sun article two years ago:

    “So, who makes all the decisions in the house?” Burns asked. “Who is in the man’s role?”
    “I
    told him in our relationship we make decisions together,” Gutro wrote.
    “He said, ‘Someone MUST say ‘No!’ … He didn’t seem to get that mutual
    respect thing, as he said that he is the man of his house.”

    In a
    phone interview, Burns elaborated: “In a heterosexual relationship,
    normally the protector, the provider for the family, is the male. …
    And in that role, he is a partner with his wife, and 99.9 percent of the
    time they will agree on whatever the issue is. But there are always
    times when there are disagreements. And that one-tenth of 1 percent the
    time, the decision is made by the provider and the protector.”

  • Carstonio

     Thanks for finding that. It would be inaccurate to say that opponents “fall back” on complementarianism and gender essentialism, because those attitudes are the drivers. To them, I might sound like a bomb-throwing radical when I say that societies shouldn’t have gender-based requirements or norms for behavior in the first place. By that I mean that societies shouldn’t tell, say, a woman that it’s wrong for her to act a certain way because of her sex.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I am fairly supportive of the idea that homophobia and sexism are intimately related… that men who are attracted to women and abuse women or view women as less-than-human will naturally expect to be abused or seen as less-than-human by men who are attracted to them, so gay men will always be a threat to them. Increasingly so as we gain power.

  • Emcee, cubed

    I know that.  It’s why I noted that Ayanbadejo started the kerfluffle.

    Um. No. The “kerfluffle” was started by Burns when he decided to use his power as a government official (his letter to the Ravens owner was on State House letterhead, so it was sent as official, not as a private citizen) to try and threaten an employer to get them to abridge an employee’s freedom of speech. Saying it was started by Ayanbadejo, who did nothing wrong, is like saying that a gay man “started” a gay bashing by leaving a gay bar late at night.

    And this is part of why I can’t have any sympathy for Burns. He actually went far beyond just expressing an opinion. He actually broke his oath of office by actively trying to use the government to curtail a person rights rather than protecting them. And coming from someone who should especially know better? Sorry, major problem.

  • Lori

    So, on the issue of fraught masculinity:  Christian men need to look to the military. I mean talk about an atmosphere of fraught masculinity. There are any number of things that go or have gone on in the military that, for an outsider, produces the reaction, “Um, yeah…” And yet, the repeal of DADT did not result in massive loss of unit cohesion, resulting in the entire US military flying apart. If the military can deal with the ghays, without succumbing to overwhelming identity insecurity so can Mormons playing “church ball” and Evangelical dudes playing whatever the current Evangelical game of choice is.

    I find myself wanting to go to these people and teach them the phrase, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”, but I don’t suppose they’d get the joke.

  • Tricksterson

    Never mind church ball, what about the missions where they are paired up with another young man and sent, often to foreign lands where their partner (and take that any way you want) is the person their likely to become closest to?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Sent to a foreign countyr to alienate people and thereby be brought more tightly into the firm grasp of the fold, no less.

  • Emcee, cubed

    The fact that Burns’ homophobia and abuse of his office seems more sad than infuriating doesn’t change that.

    In fact, I think it makes me want to call it out even stronger. It’s the “You are right about so many good things, HOW CAN YOU BE SO BRAIN-DEAD STUPID ABOUT THIS?!?!” reaction I have. I expect this sort of thing from Perkins or Barton, so it’s hard to get too angry sometimes.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Nathaniel’s right.

    Also, homophobia is much less thoroughly entrenched than racism. Anti-lesbian sentiment is a modern invention. Victorians happily published romantic, sexually-charged letters their mothers sent to very close female friends. It was considered absolutely normal for a woman to have a close female friend with whom she often shared a bed, and an adolescent girl who didn’t have a crush on another (probably slightly older) girl would have been considered slightly odd. Anti-gay male sentiment has deeper roots, as it is entangled with the idea that a man should never be “feminine”, but it also didn’t really take hold until the modern era.*

    *”Modern” doesn’t mean “contemporary” in this context; it means slightly before and especially after World War One, until about the late 1960s.


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