Monday, December 22, 2008

One Voice Doesn't Fit All: How the Media Promotes Gay Stereotypes

Guest Post by Genia Stevens

Recently, the HRC bashed President Obama for choosing anti-gay Rick Warren as an inauguration speaker.The HRC stated that Obama had insulted gay Americans everywhere by choosing someone like Rick Warren to be the opening speaker at his inuaguration. The media jumped on the HRC's open letter and falsely stated that gays everywhere were upset with Obama. That wasn't true. I'm a gay American and I wasn't upset with Obama. In addition, the gay Catholic organization Rainbow Sash released a counter statement that said:

While we respect the wonderful work the Human Rights Campaign Fund and Equality California has done on the part of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Community, we must voice a different opinion. We echo Obama's call that we must all come together even when we disagree on social issues. Obama said "That dialogue is part of what my campaign is about". The call for "Common Ground" is deeply felt and understood among members of the Rainbow Sash Movement and our allies.
Several weeks ago a Black lesbian blogger made statements to the media that were repurposed and presented as two generalizations: (a) all Black gays hate white gays and (b) marriage equality is an issue that only white gays care about. Those generalizations are false. I am a Black lesbian and I don't hate white gays. I am a Black lesbian and I believe marriage rights are an important issue - not just for me, but for a lot of other Black gays and lesbians.
The LGBT community is full of diverse people who have diverse opinions and deal with diverse issues. When the media chooses one person's opinion to present as the opinion of an entire community, I am deeply offended and troubled by that. A lot of straight white women don't want radical Jew-hatin' Ann Coulter speaking on their behalf - just because she's a straight white woman. A lot of Christians don't want Fred Phelps, the founder of GodHatesFags.com, speaking on their behalf - just because he calls himself a Christian.
The HRC does not speak for me. One radical, anti-white, Black lesbian blogger doesn't speak for me either. If you want to know how I feel about something, you should probably just ask me.
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About the author: Genia Stevens is a lesbian mom of two teenage boys. For 6 years, she's authored the blog SistersTalk, which she describes as a lesbian blog with liberal tendencies. She's the founder of GayWallet.com - a social network that consists of LGBT people and straight supporters who all agree that the LGBT community deserves full equality.

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