“The Gay Community” is Homophobic

BOO! HISS!

One thing that struck me this last week after reading all the articles about how Prime Minister Stephen Harper was destroying Canada  everyone misread and misinterpreted a minor news story was the use of a very specific term: “the gay community.”

In essence, “the gay community” was up in arms about the non-existent potential of gay marriage being eradicated in Canada. According to Canadian law, a marriage is only valid if it is also recognized in the jurisdiction in which the married couple live. Thus, a gay marriage recognized in Canada not recognized in a particular jurisdiction in the United States or the Middle East or wherever technically is also not recognized in Canada. This fact was revealed to the public as a result of a couple who were seeking to dissolve their gay marriage. Also according to Canadian law, there is a residency requirement of twelve months before a divorce can be granted. Thus, if you are married in Canada and decide to leave the country, you need to live in Canada a year before you can get a divorce. The argument by the federal prosecutor was that because the couple’s marriage is not valid in their home state, the marriage doesn’t exist, and thus a divorce would be superfluous to say the least.

Once this hit, the newspapers screamed. Dan Savage reached for the nearest flag and soapbox, stood as high as he could, and began yelling (though, to his credit, he did count the possibility of this being a huge overreaction… but then started pontificating and digging a hole). The internets caught fire as so many tweets and Facebook posts, linking to sites such as Unicorn Booty that reported Stephen Harper was shitting on marriage (hilariously enough, they have not only refused to acknowledge their mistake, but have posted another article further perpetuating the lie). The Globe and Mail reported this in full force just like everyone else, but was quick to announce that the government had “reversed its policy” and was going to fix everything, and that because of action taken by the conservative government, those marriages wouldn’t be dissolved. But they never were at risk; the issue was that it would be impossible for a foreign gay couple to divorce! What we’re talking about is not the right for gays to marry, but the right for gays to divorce. Hilarious!

The argument that the lawyer is making before the courts, re: their marriage never existed, anyway, is an argument that a lawyer could have made the minute gay marriage was established in Canada. Nothing — I repeat — nothing has changed. All that has changed is that a lawyer was actively making the case — I say was because, well, now that gay divorce will be legal, she’s won through politics rather than the court (which, if done intentionally, is really savvy of her). Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said a number of times as prime minister that he would not re-open gay marriage and confirmed that yesterday (along with Justice Minister Rob Nicholson). Instead of taking either politicians at their word, the internet screamed. As Andrew Coyne writes, the whole event was “disgraceful” and the result of “a toxic mix of shrewd lawyering, shoddy reporting and partisan opportunism, all without the slightest reference to the relevant, and easily obtainable, facts.” And that’s really what it was and is: it’s bullshit journalism. I mean, let’s face it. It’s January in Canada. Today on the news there was a story about how much snow there was, including an interview with a man expressing his shock at the amount of snow and advising the news team that people would need to be busy with snow shovels this morning. January is the slowest month for news, political and otherwise, so it’s no surprise that Canadian news outlets would make a big deal out of nothing.

Back on track: the term “the gay community” is the single most homophobic term to exist in common parlance. It masquerades as anything but, yet suggests there is this homogeneous group of homosexuals who agree on certain topics. It was “the gay community” that was up in arms; several outlets also suggested that “the gay community” would be outraged once they found out, suggesting that gays in Florida, Massachusetts, Alberta, British Columbia, Mexico, and so on, would be pissed and, more importantly, that they all belonged to the same group. But it’s garbage! There is no such thing as “the gay community”. I have gay friends who claim to not belong to it, but they’re constantly lumped in. I know gays who think other gays are too gay. There is no gay community in the same way that there is no straight community. The term “gay community” is used as a synonym for “gays”, period. When someone says “the gay community values x“,  they’re essentially saying “gays value x“, as though there is a unified position taken up by the gays about a certain topic. I know gays and straights alike who did not care about the “homogate” kerfuffle that dominated Canadian politics this last week.

What bugs me the most, I guess, is that the term “gay community” masquerades as a legitimate thing, when it is anything but. You would be laughed at if you suggested there was a “straight community”, because, well, there is only one thing that I (as a heterosexual) have in common with every other heterosexual on the planet: we like members of the opposite sex. And the same applies to the gay community. Some dudes like bears or leather or whatever, but every homosexual is different from another aside from that one thing they have in common. And to suggest otherwise is just homophobic and, well, two-faced.

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2 Comments on ““The Gay Community” is Homophobic”

  1. Thank you!

    I’m glad someone else sees it this way. The only thing I have in common, in general, with the “gay community” is that I am only attracted to the same sex. That’s it. Our “community” acts as anything but. They shun and attack those that don’t have the same ideas as them, if you aren’t marching in pride parades and wearing rainbows everywhere and insisting that “gay rights” are the end all be all of political discourse, then you might as well never try to take part in the “gay community”.

    That term is just another way of shoving people into a box and it annoys me.

  2. James says:

    Thanks for your comment.

    Yeah, and I think that’s the point a lot of people miss, that a “gay” community (or a “straight” community, which even at a glance, looks ridiculous) really only has that one thing in common and to characterise someone (or a group of people) based on who they have sex with alone is, well, homo(/hetero)phobic.

    I have friends on Facebook who have said to me that they found this claim “offensive” and that “their gay friends” would likely disagree — conversely, I’ve spoken with gay friends who’ve agreed with me. It reminds me kind of that old rhetorical ploy that people use, either prefacing a sentence with “I don’t mean to be sexist/racist/etc, but…” or by hilariously claiming that they “can’t be racist/homophobic because I have black/gay friends…”

    I think this whole debacle, and maybe even the gay rights movement itself, has been taken up by meddling “straights” who think they’re enlightened by doing so, and it’s a little more than pathetic. Yes, we all have the right to be offended by homophobia, racism, sexism, and so on, but when we start talking for other people we walk a dangerous line.


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