Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Straight folks and their sainted opinions

This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.  

It’s time for another fun game of Straight Folks reaction, folks. Every now and then a BIG GAY STORY happens and I see lots of straight folks bless us with their sainted opinions. Now, the booze cabinet is empty and I’ve run out of original ideas for new profanity, so I’m left with poking them.

So, the story. After many many months of playing the denial and the “neutrality” game, the president of fast-food chain, Chick-fil-a has finally openly admitted that they are homophobic bigots. Like we didn’t know that, still in many spaces we have discussed this and spread the word. Now for some of the unfortunate reactions.

But Their Food Tastes so Goooood!

I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s not relevant. We’re taking about a homophobic company, not commenting on the quality of their food.

Ugh I wouldn’t Eat There Anyway, Their Food is so Gross/Unhealthy/Full of X

Again, the quality of their food is irrelevant. Look, I know that the idea is that since we’re criticising a company for its badness, it seems right to heap insult on it, right? Well, wrong, because it’s irrelevant badness. And the fact you comment on this rather than their homophobia suggests that, if the food were better, you’d eat there. Which impresses no-one and is irrelevant

But I Simply Can’t Live Without It! It’s going to be so Hard!

If you’re seriously agonising over the choice between fast food and our human rights then it might not be a good idea to share that with us, no-one’s going to be impressed. It’s fried chicken – just one of a gazillion vendors of fried chicken –  if choosing a different provider or *gasp* giving up on chicken altogether is going to be sooo difficult and such a horrendous hardship then you might want check your privilege levels, and keep your whining to yourself.

I Eat There, but I Feel Guilty

And what damn good is your bloody guilt? What do you expect for this? A cookie? “Yeah straightie, you put money towards the battle against our human rights but at least you felt guilty!” Your guilt does nothing, it achieves nothing. Your guilt doesn’t absolve you, it doesn’t make you an ally, it doesn’t make you a good person. Why even tell people this? Do you expect GBLT people to pat you on the head and say it’s ok? Do you want praise for doing fuck all for GBLT people but at least you were think about it?

Keep your guilt to yourself. If it makes you feel bad enough, then don’t do it again. If it doesn’t, then you aren’t that guilty. Either way, no-one cares about your oh-so-precious “Straight Ally” guilt.

Convoluted Reason why they simply MUST Eat There.

Y’know, we’re not going to send round the rainbow squad to break your legs for eating there. No-one will know if you’re not boycotting, no-one is forcing you to boycott. Your choice, your life and if you want to put money in the pockets of homophobes fighting against human rights then that’s your choice.

But why are you telling people this? Why are you explaining this, often to a forum full of GBLT people? Do you expect someone to come round and say “that’s ok, here’s an official pass from the Gay Agenda saying you’re a special straight person”?

Well The Way They Treat The Chickens is Just AWWWFUL

Do you know what I hear when you say that? I hear “screw GBLT rights, WHAT ABOUT THE CHICKENS!?!” I hate factory farming as well – but you’re derailing and it’s all kinds of skeevy

I’m a Vegan and Would Never Eat at Such a Place

Excuse me a moment, I am going to find a fuzzy animal, kill it, fry it, eat it and wear its skin as a hat. Aha, right now I have my new fuzzy skin hat, let us address that.

We’re talking about homophobia and a company that is actively opposing the human rights of GBLT people. Why are you talking about being vegan? If the company served nothing but leafy green vegetables, out points would stand. You’re taking a topic about our human rights and the fight to achieve them and instead making it about your dietary choices

Do you Boycott X for Y Reasons?

Are we talking about X? Are we talking about Y? No? Then why are you talking about them? Ahh, it’s another straight derail, of course! I forgot we’d committed the cardinal sin of not talking about you, forgive us, please, and we’ll put you back in the centre where you belong, oh Lord Straightie.

Of course, it’s not limited to Chick-fil-a. When talking about JC Penny’s gay-inclusive advertising,  people decided to talk about whether they liked the clothes. When talking about EA Games’ gay-inclusive games, people decided to talk about the evils of DRM.

In short, it’s amazing the lengths people go to to make it about them. It’s stunning how quick and how determined they are to derail. And it’s depressing how resistant they are to allow the conversation to actually be about GBLT rights. Alas, such is privilege.