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.
Homophobic bigots come in all shapes and sizes.
There’s the Violent Bigot we know too
well and his closely related Frothing Bigot (often found in radio stations),
ready to foam at the mouth and rant extreme obscenities at the slightest
opportunity. You have the Storytime Bigot who will make up ANYTHING
to try and demonise us. You have the Credulous Bigot, moving in vast
herds, willing to believe everything the Storytime Bigot tells them.
You’ve got the Terrified Bigot who is convinced we’re going to do
terribad, awful things to him. You’ve got the Religious Bigots telling
us the moral rightness of hate, the LoveJoy Bigots who always always
always Think of the Children and you’ve got the Perpetually Horrified
Bigot who just saw an advert with 2 ladies kissing and are now well
and truly Shocked and Appalled.
We probably need a full documentary series
with David Attenborough narrating to properly categorise all the bigots.
But recently the ones most giving me grey hairs are the Apologetic Bigots.
Usually liberal and “progressive”
(for a given definition of both), the Apologetic Bigot wants you to
know why their bigotry really really really really isn’t bigotry.
Or why their bigotry is so very very very necessary. Or why they really
hate it and wish it wasn’t so and look at their wringing hands, precious,
but they had to!
Then they look at you and expect you to accept
their bigotry/forgive their bigotry. So let’s tackle this monster.
Firstly, I am really really really uninterested
in how much of a “struggle” you found accepting my humanity. Really.
Am I supposed to be impressed that you had to have such an epic internal
tussle to decide “actually, GBLT people are totally deserving respect”?
I boggle at the number of people who present this as some kind of achievement
that I should be HAPPY about. My existence is so repugnant to you that
you had to have a massive internal war that you still struggle with
over whether or not I get to be treated like a decent person? Well let
me get the confetti, we need a parade in your honour for that feat of
You can also see this with people in authority
and power making grand speeches of what big supporters of our rights
they are – when they don’t have to do anything. Pretty speech on
matters that are not up for the vote! But when there is a vote? Echoing
silence. Delay. Or, if you’re really lucky, you can get the “now
is not the time” speech followed by lots of apologetics and hand wringing
while they turn your back on you.
And then make a pretty speech on some issue they’re not expected to
actually do anything about. Or on something that’s already going forward
without them. Yay, progress! Behold the Apologetic Bigot in power, always
ready for a pretty speech to cover their homophobic arses, the complete
void where actual effort would stand. But they’re allies, honest!
Look they said nice things! Sorry, are you having trouble hearing the
speeches from under the bus? They’ll have to shout their support louder.
The next step up is to make big pretty speeches
about how they support gay rights, really – and then vote against
us! Yes, vote against gay rights while assuring us how much they love
us really but they just HAD to vote against us. Sarah Teather MP is
a master of this kind of apologetics, but “Straight Choice” Simon
Hughes MP is pretty good as well. Totally on our side guys! Totally
not homophobic – oh, wait vote for marriage equality? No... they just
couldn’t do it! Oh they have very long soul searching speeches about
why they couldn’t do it. Lots of apologies. Lots of long explanations
about how they agonised – AGONISED – over their decision
I almost WEEP for the pain they suffered deciding that I’m not a full
person! WEEP I tell you! It must be so hard to be a straight bigot deciding
I’m not due full human rights, really, it must.
Of course, those are apologetic bigots who
have power, but there’s no shortage of them further down the rungs.
There’s many a Handwringing apologetic for people telling me why they
simply must must must support a certain religious leader or politician
– yes they think I’m scum under their shoes but they just have to!
Or they just CAN’T support this right, I have to understand and there
so very very very very sorry but my full humanity is just too much!
No, they just CAN’T use that inclusive language, no they just CAN’T!
They’re sorry but it’s just soooo hard!
Truly, seeing them suffer moves my heart.
And by “moves my heart” I mean “turns my stomach”. Hey
you got one organ moving at least.
And, classic of all, they’re really really
sorry and feel so guilty and I must understand – but they simply can’t
give up Chick-fil-a! But they feel really guilty eating those waffle
Ah that feeling you get when you rank somewhere
below fried chicken in someone’s priorities.
Ultimately, your guilt has no value
Your handwringing doesn’t help me
And no matter how much you beg and plead and apologise, I’m not going
to sign off on your bigotry
Your struggle to accept my humanity doesn’t
The pain you feel trying to treat me like
a real person doesn’t invoke my sympathy.
Your throwing us under the bus is inexcusable
– no matter how many excuses you make. Your voting against our rights
is bigoted and unforgiveable, no matter what pretty speeches you make
asking us to forgive.
Your empty speeches do not fill the void left
by your inaction. Your passionate rhetoric on issues you are expected
to do little or nothing about means little when there is echoing silence
or weaselling excuses when you are called to act.
Your token gestures don’t bridge the gap
of injustice, your pretty speeches don’t sweeten the stench of your
bigotry and your words will never remove the sting of your betrayal.