Saturday, January 04, 2014

Internalized Homophobia Still Plagues Some in the LGBT Community

Click image to enlarge
When I came out in mid-life one of the biggest hurdles I faced was overcoming the homophobia I had internalized from my religious upbringing and the larger society.  Thankfully, by leaving the Roman Catholic Church and seeing two exceptional therapists, I was able to let go of the religious brainwashing and the associated self-hatred that went with it.  Many in the LGBT community, including some friends I know, however, have not been able to let go of their internalized homophobia.  These individuals continue to be plagued by religious based guilt, some refuse to enter into committed relationships, and others go out of their way to avoid being around other gays out of fear that their "secret" might be discovered.  It is a soul killing phenomenon.  A piece in the Dallas Voice looks at the issue.  Here are excerpts:
Scott and Alan agreed to interview with Dallas Voice on the condition of anonymity, and during three meetings, they discussed their secret relationship and Alan’s closeted status and internalized homophobia, which he denies harboring. The contact was made through a mutual acquaintance, a Marine Corps officer, who has known Alan for three years.

“I don’t think I had ever heard of internalized homophobia until now,” Alan said. “It’s not something I have, so I don’t agree that’s the problem. I’m not out simply because of my job. Coming out would probably ruin my career.”

An executive with a Dallas-based professional sports organization, 32-year-old Alan has never been to a gay bar, has never attended a social event with a same-sex date and will only do things publicly with Scott that won’t be interpreted as a couple’s thing.

“We can go to a sports bar and have a beer, but we can’t go for a walk together,” Scott said. “I live with a long list of rules.”

Mental health professionals who treat LGBT issues would stamp Alan with one of the signs of internalized homophobia, regardless of his thoughts about it. In Beyond The Closet: The Transformation of Gay and Lesbian Life, author Steven Seidman describes being in the closet as a “life-shaping pattern of concealment.” Seidman writes that the closet seems to be on the wane, but it’s not gone, and its profound effects, including shame and homophobia, linger.

“Alan doesn’t realize it, but he’s put me in the closet, too,” Scott said. “I can’t go on a date with him because no one can see us out together like that, but I can’t go on a date with anyone else, either, because I’m with Alan, which makes no sense. This isn’t the way I want to live. I don’t do well with concealment.”

Sociologists and mental health professionals who treat and write about internalized homophobia say gay men and lesbians often use the demands of their jobs as an excuse not to pursue romantic involvements. They believe it keeps them safe from the toils of dealing with who they are.

“Most of us are concerned at one time or another with feeling bad about being gay or lesbian,” said Candy Marcum, a community counselor and president of Stonewall Behavioral Health. “It has to do with incorporating messages that say it’s not good or it’s even bad to be gay or lesbian. Those messages come from our families, the church, friends and the media, and they can linger into adulthood.”

Internalized homophobia takes root in those messages and leads to being closeted and a profusion of other traits that ravage a person’s self-esteem, among them contempt for the more open members of the LGBT community.  

The issue also is complicated by the LGBT community’s many facets. Tension between gay men and lesbians sometimes surfaces, and there are individuals in both camps who are opposed to drag queens and trans people. In that regard, gays and lesbians are no different than the heterosexuals who burden the community with hate, counselors say.

“Internalized homophobia leads to gay-on-gay acts of meanness and rudeness,” Marcum said. “Those people tend to hurt other gays and lesbians.”

The development of a scale to measure that internalized homophobia, written about in the Oxford Journals, suggests four dimensions to the issue: public identification with being gay, perception of stigma associated with being gay, degree of “social comfort” with other gay men and beliefs regarding the religious or moral acceptability of homosexuality.

One high-profile woman can relate to both Scott and Alan. Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the case that led the U.S. Supreme Court to rule parts of DOMA unconstitutional, spoke publicly shortly after the decision, explaining her own struggle to speak honestly about her marriage with colleagues.  “Internalized homophobia is a big bitch,” she said.
One additional thing I will note is that the longer that I have been totally out socially and professionally, the easier it has become to simply be who I am.  No excuses, not pretense.  If some do not like me, that's their loss.   But over all, I have found that most people could care less - this includes my Hindu and Muslim clients and some of the old money crowd at the yacht club we joined last February.

Utah Nutcase Vows To Starve Self Until Gays Can No Longer Marry

As studies have shown, the loudest homophobes are the ones most aroused by gay porn.  That said, one has to wonder how big of a self-loathing closet case Utah resident Trestin Meacham (pictured at right) is in light of his announced self-starvation over gay marriages taking places in Utah.  Other explanations for Meacham's behavior in my view are (i) he is psychologically disturbed if gays marrying is so frightening to him, or (ii) his claimed religious faith is not very strong if gays marrying is such a terrifying prospect.  It is also noteworthy how Meacham - like most Christofascists and far right Mormons - has no regard for the concept of religious freedom for all.  Like most such selfish, self-centered individuals he wants it for himself, but anyone with differing beliefs can basically go f*ck themselves.    I also find Meacham's claim that he "doesn't hate gays" to be disingenuous.  You do not (a) call people evil or (b) seek to deprive individuals of civil rights if you like them.  The Bilerico Project looks at this latest batshitery from one of the "godly folk":
Trestin Meacham, a 35-year-old unhinged whackjob former Constitution Party candidate for the Utah State Senate, says he is fasting to stop same-sex marriage in Utah.
Meacham, who claims to have begun his fast on the day that U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled Utah's marriage discrimination amendment unconstitutional, says he's lost 25 pounds so far.
His goal is to draw attention to the discredited legal theory of "nullification." This bogus theory holds that states -- not the federal government -- hold supreme authority and have the right to invalidate any federal law they like.
Of course, the Supreme Court has repeatedly dismissed the notion that states have the power to unilaterally overrule federal law, and the country fought a nasty 19th-century skirmish called the Civil War that should have put nullification to bed permanently. However, many southern states cited the concept in the 1950s in their racist effort to prevent public school integration before the Supremes smacked it down again in their 1958 Cooper v. Aaron decision.
But these details don't concern Meacham. "[The state] can end this tomorrow," Meacham told ABC 4 Utah. "They don't have to go through legal court battles and waste our money. They can end it tomorrow with the act of nullification."

Trestin Meacham, a 35-year-old unhinged whackjob former Constitution Party candidate for the Utah State Senate, says he is fasting to stop same-sex marriage in Utah.

Meacham, who claims to have begun his fast on the day that U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled Utah's marriage discrimination amendment unconstitutional, says he's lost 25 pounds so far.

His goal is to draw attention to the discredited legal theory of "nullification." This bogus theory holds that states -- not the federal government -- hold supreme authority and have the right to invalidate any federal law they like.

Of course, the Supreme Court has repeatedly dismissed the notion that states have the power to unilaterally overrule federal law, and the country fought a nasty 19th-century skirmish called the Civil War that should have put nullification to bed permanently. However, many southern states cited the concept in the 1950s in their racist effort to prevent public school integration before the Supremes smacked it down again in their 1958 Cooper v. Aaron decision.

But these details don't concern Meacham. "[The state] can end this tomorrow," Meacham told ABC 4 Utah. "They don't have to go through legal court battles and waste our money. They can end it tomorrow with the act of nullification."

In a December 21 Facebook posting announcing his fast, Meacham frames his struggle in heroic terms:

I cannot stand by and do nothing while this evil takes root in my home. Some things in life are worth sacrificing one's heath and even life if necessary. I am but a man, and do not have the money and power to make any noticeable influence in our corrupt system. Never the less, I can do something that people in power cannot ignore.
He continued on Facebook, writing: "Let's be clear about something. Just because you disagree with someone's lifestyle [sic] does not mean you hate them. And standing up to evil does not make you unchristian. Do we not remember how He drove the moneychangers from the temple?"

Riiiiight. In Trestin Meacham's world, the fact that he's willing to literally starve himself to protest others' happiness -- that he's that committed to preventing same-sex couples from legally pledging their lives to one another and blocking them from realizing our nation's promise of equal justice under the law -- doesn't make him a hateful, bigoted extremist. It's all about the "Constitution," silly!

Indoctrinating GOP Religious Warriors

I've already looked at the troubling increase in the percentage of Republicans who do not accept the theory of evolution.  As noted, much of the increase may be the result of the rise of the Christofascists within the GOP and the current flight of moderates and sane individuals from the GOP - e.g., all of my family has fled the GOP.  But there has been a troubling pandering to the ignorance embracing element of the GOP by those who should have known better.  The motivation? Short term gain by mobilizing the ignorant and religious extremists.  The longer term result has been, as noted, the exodus from sane and educated people from the party and the now ongoing civil war for the soul of the GOP.  A piece in the New York Times looks at the growing ignorance of the GOP and the use of religion to win allegiance to the party.  Here are excerpts:

In 2009, the gap between the share of Republicans and Democrats who believed in evolution was just 10 percentage points, 54 percent and 64 percent, respectively. 

Last year, that gap widened to a whopping 24 points because as the percentage of Democrats who believed in evolution inched up to 67 percent, the percentage of Republicans believing so plummeted to 43 percent. Now, more Republicans believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time” than believe in evolution.  

This sad news comes via a survey released this week by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. 

In fact, this isn’t only sad; it’s embarrassing.  I don’t personally have a problem with religious faith, even in the extreme, as long as it doesn’t supersede science and it’s not used to impose outdated mores on others. 

But I believe that something else is also at play here, something more cynical. I believe this is a natural result of a long-running ploy by Republican party leaders to play on the most base convictions of conservative voters in order to solidify their support. Convince people that they’re fighting a religious war for religious freedom, a war in which passion and devotion are one’s weapons against doubt and confusion, and you make loyal soldiers. 

There has been anti-science propagandizing running unchecked on the right for years, from anti-gay-equality misinformation to climate change denials. 

When you look at white evangelical Protestants, the evolution denialism gets even worse. Only 27 percent of that group believes in evolution.  . . . .  while white evangelical Protestants make up only 18 percent of the population overall, they “make up 43 percent of Republicans who fall into the category of staunch conservatives.” 

Pew found that most staunch conservatives were regular viewers of Fox News, preferring the network to any other news source.  Fox has helped to ingrain the idea that Republicanism and religiosity are embattled and oppressed, fighting for survival against the forces of secular extremists. 

But Fox is not alone. The Christians-on-the-defensive stance was front and center in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries.

Last year, the Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council released an updated, 189-page version of a book called “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America.” 

This is a tactic to keep the Republican rank-and-file riled up, to divert their attention from areas of common sense and the common good. After all, infidels are deserving of your enmity, not your empathy.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Did CBS Journalist Just "Out" Homophobic GOP Rep. Aaron Schock?

While some in the LGBT community disagree with me, I am strongly in favor of outing closeted Republicans who vote against LGBT people and our equality under the nation's civil laws.  That's why I assisted Michael Rogers in "outing" former GOP Congressman Ed Schrock (pictured at right) who represented Virginia's 2nd District.  Schrock had one of the most anti-gay voting records in Congress yet was secretly seeking gay trysts.  The hypocrisy was stunning.  Now, CBS anchor Itay Hod has seemingly "outed" Republican Congressman Aaron Schock on the grounds of hypocrisy as I did with Schrock (it's ironic that the names are so similar). Queerty has details.  Here are highlights:
In a long Facebook post, gay CBS anchor Itay Hod has essentially outed Republican Congressman Aaron Schock on the grounds of hypocrisy. While Hod frames the post as a hypothetical exploration of when outing is appropriate, he provides lots of details and concludes with an ostentatiously “unrelated” link to the 7 gayest Instagram Photos of Aaron Schock from 2013

Hod is clearly fed up with Schock and perhaps just as much with his colleagues in the media who knowingly play along with closet cases.
what if you know a certain GOP congressman, let’s just say from Illinois, is gay… and you know this because one of your friends, a journalist for a reputable network, told you in no uncertain terms that he caught that GOP congressman and his male roommate in the shower… together. now they could have been good friends just trying to conserve water. but there’s more. what if this congressman has also been caught by tmz cameras trolling gay bars. now what if you know that this very same guy, the darling of the gop, has also voted against repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, opposed the repeal of doma, is against gay marriage; and for the federal marriage amendment, which would add language to the us constitution banning gay marriage and would likely strike down every gay rights law and ordinance in the country?
Are we still not allowed to out him?
let me ask another question… doesn’t the media have an OBLIGATION to expose his hypocrisy? if he had done something so hypocritical and he wasn’t gay, wouldn’t we demand journalists do their job? but they can’t… because we won’t let them. you’re not allowed to out ANYONE, we tell them.
Schock has long been the subject of rumors about his sexual orientation. He has always claimed he is straight (although his wardrobe is not). Schock didn’t boost his heterosexual cred any by posing for a series of shirtless images showing off his abs for Men’s Health.
Just to show he straight he is, Schock has accumulated an antigay record that ranks with the best of the homophobes. He has opposed marriage equality, protections for same-sex bi-national couples, and repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, just to name a few, earning him a stellar 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign.

At the same time that he’s voting to deny the LGBT community its rights, Schock has, as AmericaBlog points out, created one of the gayest Instagram accounts ever. Although he follows only 71 people on Instagram, one of them is 19-year-old Olympic diver Tom Daley, presumably so that Schock can solicit his views on Midwest agricultural policy. Openly gay conservative Josh Barro tweeted that fact without comment. None is needed.

It will be interesting to see what impact the post will have on Hod  . . . .it will be even more interesting to see what happens to Schock. Sometimes an open secret just stops being secret. If that’s the case, Schock may have a lot of explaining to do, and also a lot of apologizing.
Personally, I hope the GOP base turns on Schock.  He deserves it.

Republicans Are Their Own Worse Enemy

Columnist Kathleen Parker once again is speaking truths that will not be well received by the lunatic Christofascist/Tea Party elements of the GOP base.  The GOP base continues to push for candidates who openly support a Christofascist theocracy and the kicking of the curb of those who are poor and in need, especially, of course, if those poor individuals are non-white.  Meanwhile, come the general election, sane and rational people - and those who actual put the Gospel message into practice rather than thumping on their Bibles and then ignoring the message in practice - will view the GOP base's preferred candidates with revulsion.  As argued many times on this blog, the Christofascists/Tea Party will be the death of the GOP.  Here are excerpts from Parker's column:

If you happen to be one of those who enjoy politics as a blood sport, 2014’s midterm election promises to be a carnival of gore.  And that’s just in the Republican Party. Democrats must be giddy.

After ending 2013 with tails tucked, thanks to a series of errors, blunders, glitches and misstatements of true-ish-ness, Democrats were poised to lose control of the Senate. Instead, tea party Republicans seem bent on helping Democrats win. 

The formula is familiar by now: Republicans who aren’t conservative enough, meaning they might deign to work with Democrats, are targeted for primary challenges by folks who often couldn’t win a staring contest, much less a statewide election.

One need think back only to Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, who is not a witch (because she said so) and who in 2010 defeated the primary favorite, then-Rep. Mike Castle, and handed the Senate seat to Democrat Chris Coons, a relatively unknown county executive.

And then there are the 20 or so House members who, applying the brakes to any tactic considered winnable, cover their ears whenever Speaker John Boehner speaks and sing, “La-la-la-la-la-la . . . we can’t hear you!

This year presents a rare — undeserved, some would say — opportunity for Republicans. It is a make-or-break moment in the crucial debate about where this country is heading and who is going to lead it. Let’s just say, the fat lady is tuning up.

What smart Republicans are aiming for are candidates who can win both a primary and a general election, actual human beings who can appeal to a wide swath of the electorate, not just the purity-proof hard-liners on the right. 

But recruiting and training good candidates may not be enough for a Republican Party still dogged by the purity plank. Tea party organizers have vowed to take on more-mainstream candidates, including seven of the 12 Republican incumbents. If a Republican failed to support Cruz’s procedural motion to defund Obamacare (beware, John Cornyn), it’s outsville.

Capito could be Exhibit A when it comes to a winning candidate undermined by her own party. . . . She is a strong advocate for the coal industry and should have no trouble securing her party’s nomination. She is also favored to win the general election against Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.Except. Guess who doesn’t like Capito?

The conservative Club for Growth and the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC), which calls itself the “conscience of the Republican Party.”
Despite having tailwinds at their back, Republicans stand to lose to proud purists while Democrats, feet up, admire the shine on their shoes. To put it kindly, pride in losing does little to contradict Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s observation that the GOP needs to “stop being the stupid party.”

Wayne Coleman - A Ken Cuccinelli Clone?

Another Cuccinelli?
The special election to fill the Virginia Senate seat vacated by Lt. Governor elect Ralph Northam is on Tuesday, January 7, 2014.  The race pits Democrat Lynwood Lewis against GOP newcomer Wayne Coleman.  Coleman is trying to depict himself as a new kind of Republican and a "different kind of candidate", but from his ads and the positions on his website, he is sadly just a warmed over version of the same old anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-minority Virginia Republican that voters rejected in November.  The world and Virginia are changing, yet Coleman wants to continue the same failed GOP policies that have placed a "Not Welcome" sign on Virginia for anyone who isn't a white, evangelical Christian, heterosexual.  Don't believe me?

First, most of Coleman's campaign ads sound as if they were pulled directly from Ken Cuccinelli's failed campaign, especially those attacking Lynwood Lewis on "Obamacare." These ads are little more than a dog whistle for the racists in the GOP base who cannot countenance a black man in the White House.  Why do I say this?  Because Coleman's ads ignore the fact that the Affordable Health Care Act is a FEDERAL LAW.  A Virginia state senator can do NOTHING to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, yet Coleman dishonestly plays this dog whistle meme. The only thing a Virginia state senator can vote on is whether or not Virginia expands Medicaid and accepts federal funds that will otherwise go to other states.  Oh, and did I mention that Medicaid expansion would bring health care coverage to 400,000 Virginians and create thousands of health care industry jobs?

Second, Coleman's ads claim that Lewis is pursuing a "radical agenda."  This supposedly radical agenda is resisting GOP voter suppression efforts, ending the state sponsored GOP jihad against gays, and getting Republicans out of women's vaginas.  It is Coleman, not Lewis who is pushing the radical agenda.

For the record, Coleman's daughter has contacted me and she seems like a lovely person.  She claims that her father isn't a racist and the ad in which she is featured depicts Coleman as a good father.  Unfortunately, being a good father and person in his personal life doesn't carry over into the public policies that Coleman is espousing: God, guns, gay bashing - and voter disenfranchisement. I've offered to meet with Coleman and be proven wrong on my analysis, but he has not taken up the offer.

I encourage voters in the 6th District to get out and vote for Lynwood Lewis on Tuesday, January 7, 2014.  We need to block the GOP effort to take control of the Virginia Senate in order that the GOP's failed, backward in time facing agenda can be forced on all Virginians.

Pope Francis: Same-Sex Marriage Is "Anthropological Regression"

All those in the gay community busy fawning over Pope Francis - e.g., Andrew Sullivan - need to get a reality check.  NOTHING has really changed under Francis other than perhaps a change of tone that represents little better than a pope less tone deaf than his predecessor.  And we got a reminder of this reality when Francis reaffirmed his view that gay marriage is an "anthropological regression."  In short, in Francis' mind, we gays are still inherently disordered and inclined towards evil.  Slicker PR does not equate to a change in dogma.  The New Civil Rights Movement reminds us that to the Catholic Church, gays are still not really welcome.  At least not if we refuse to accept who we are and who we love.  Here are highlights:

Pope Francis may have won millions of hearts, including many from the LGBT community, but his positions on church doctrine have not changed. In the almost ten months since Cardinal Bergoglio became Pope Francis I, he has reached out to many communities and garnered support worldwide.
But Pope Francis is still the Pope, and church doctrine is still church doctrine.

So it should come as a surprise to no one that, according to Charles J. Scicluna, the Auxiliary Bishop of Malta, Pope Francis is vehemently against same-sex marriage, and sees it as “regression” for humankind.

Malta, a small European country of less than a half-million people, is currently debating a civil unions bill which includes the right of same-sex couples to adopt. Malta is a predominantly Roman Catholic country.

Scicluna reportedly says that in a discussion last month with the 77-year old pontiff, Francis repeated his comments from 2010: same-sex marriage is an “anthropological regression” — a step back for humankind.

“In 2010, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio called same-sex marriage an ‘anti-value and an anthropological regression,’ . . . . Last week, the Times of Malta reported that the Pope was “shocked” by the Civil Unions Bill, “which will allow gay couples to adopt children, Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna has told The Sunday Times of Malta.”
 Gays need to wake up and smell the coffee - NOTHING has changed under Pope Francis.   And as noted before on this blog, he has done NOTHING to rid the Church hierarchy of the bishops and cardinals who aided, abetted and covered up for predator priests who preyed on children and youths.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Friday Morning Male Beauty

The GOP’s ‘Jobs’ Hypocrisy

One of the main goals of this blog is to expose hypocrisy, particularly in the political realm and in the realm of religion.  Both areas provide plenty of topics for review.  And in the political realm, the Republican Party provides an endless stream of rank hypocrisy, including its claimed honoring of Christian values even as it pursues policies diametrically the opposite of the Gospel message.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at the GOP's hypocrisy on job creation.  Here are some highlights:

I bring good news this new year! Conservatives have a jobs agenda, one that isn’t built around merely cutting taxes and regulations and getting the government out of the way so the free market can strut its stuff.

No—this includes… are you ready?… infrastructure investment, and a monetary policy less obsessed with keeping inflation under 2 percent. It’s new, it’s exhilarating, it’s brilliant! And it’s the same stuff that Barack Obama and most liberal Democrats have favored for years.

When David Frum, whom I respect a great deal, tweets that a new article should be thought of as “a ‘95 theses’ moment for the reformist right,” he gets my attention. So I clicked immediately and read through “A Jobs Agenda for the Right,” by Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute, from the new issue of National Affairs

[R]reading it was far more infuriating than reading something by a conservative and disagreeing with every syllable, because articles like Strain’s refuse to acknowledge, let alone try to grapple with, the central and indisputable fact that the contemporary Republican Partyhis presumed vehicle for all this pro-jobs reformhas opposed many of these initiatives tooth and nail.

The first big measure Strain touts in his essay is infrastructure. . . . There are people who’ve been trying to do just that. . . . . Their attempts to fund a modest infrastructure bank were supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But it could never get anywhere because of rock-solid GOP opposition. Does Strain not even know this? Or is he pretending it never existed so he doesn’t have to deal with the political reality of Republican obduracy?

From there, Strain turns to monetary policy, and this is even more comic. The Federal Reserve, he writes, should relax the 2 percent inflation target to get the unemployment numbers down. Uh, yes. It should. But it’s not as if Strain just originally thought of this. Liberals have been saying this ever since 2009, or 2008 even. And in response, conservatives have been saying that doing so will produce galloping inflation and destroy our economy. You’ve seen Ben Bernanke get badgered about inflation by Republicans from Paul Ryan on down for years.

As I said, I agree with Strain. I agree when he writes: “In short, conservatives should see that there is a role for macroeconomic stimulus in getting the labor market back on its feet” and that “monetary policy with its eye on enabling growth can make a big difference.” Yes, they should. Well… how are they going to see that? Does Strain have some special pixie dust?

It’s astonishing that he can write this way, but it’s what they all do on the right. They maintain the fiction that their party is a party of rational people who will listen to rational argument and isn’t simply dug into a state of psychotic opposition to anything Barack Obama wants to do. Everyone watching our politics for the last five years knows that if Obama is for it, the Republicans will oppose it.

[W]ith regard to jobs and wage stagnation and poverty and so on, the problem is that conservatives deny empirical reality. This gives us people like Paul Ryan, for example, who genuinely seems to believe, in the face of the mountains of evidence about how the social safety net and federal entitlements have saved millions from lives of far worse destitution, that all government can do is make slaves of people. That’s bad enough.

But now, we have conservatives who accept enough empirical reality to agree that public investment is not a crime against nature, but who deny the political reality that the Republican Party stands in the way of progress.

If conservative intellectuals keep pretending this isn’t a problem, there is no hope that it will change.