Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Let's Talk About the Gayness

(note: this column was written when F-Bomb Café was sponsored by Swakker and called Swakker Café -- hence the references to Swakker)

At the risk of alienating a good portion of our readers, I’d like to begin this week’s column with a little math. Oh, yes. Fractions and decimals and percents, oh my! Are you excited? I know I am! Here we go: In the “Props” section of Swakker Café, there are currently 49 items in the archives. Of those 49 items, 12 celebrate moments of progress in the gay rights movement. So, 25% of the posts in “Props” are, for lack of a better term, “gay-related.” Also in the “Props” archives are 119 reader comments. Forty-six of those comments are in response to the afore-mentioned “gay” posts – that’s 39%. If you are still with me – and I have nothing but respect for those of you who have already gone to a happier place – you might wonder why one-quarter of the posts have generated a significantly larger portion of the comments. I’ll tell you why: a lot of our commenters, to quote one of them, “do not like gays.” In fact, my “pro-gay” posting is causing actual distress. Recently, a reader commented, “It pains me that Swakker is so pro-gay.” Oh, no! Pain? We’re not trying to hurt anybody here, people. And in fact these posts aren’t really “pro-gay.” They are pro-love. And in case you aren’t into all that hippie crap, one can also say that they are anti-discrimination, pro-civil rights, and, well, pro-making sense.

Before anyone gets his or her knickers in a twist, let me quickly add that I am not asserting that anyone who opposes gay marriage or “gayness” (thanks to another commenter for that) makes no sense. On the contrary. I am certain there are individuals out there who oppose gay marriage and make lots of sense and have well developed, articulate arguments to support their points. They just don’t leave comments on our website. And before I address these comments, I’d like to add that, as a general rule, I don’t respond to the comments. No one here at Swakker does. Rather, we want the comments section to be a place where you, the reader, can have a conversation with other readers about the topics we address. In fact, we want the comments to grow longer than the columns; we want to provide the content around which interesting, respectful discussions of important issues can happen. But where “gayness” is concerned, this is not at all what has been happening. Rather, the comments include the following:

“Why is it always the gays?”
“I don’t agree with gayness.”
“At least they can’t reproduce.”
“Just as vegetarians are lousy hunters, gays couldn’t get a date.”
“This is just wrong.”

I am going to respond to these, because, well, I can’t help myself. I’ll be quick. (1) It isn’t “always the gays.” One-quarter of the least frequently updated section of the website is not “always.” (2) Okay. That’s fine. WHY? (3) Wow. That’s just mean. (4) Okay, that doesn’t make any sense. Really. With all due respect, that’s just silly. (5) Again, fair enough, but WHY??? This is only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve had to delete at least ten comments because the language was too offensive – and always these comments were about the gayness. So, what’s up out there? Why so angry? And why so anti-gay? I know there are debates to be had, and we pro-gay people want to have them! But no one can argue with “I don’t agree with gayness.” I mean, fine. But all these hollow disagreements do is embolden us on the pro-gay side, because there is no reason behind them.

I’m not trying to make any point about the pro-gay side versus the anti-gay side -- or, alternatively, the pro-love side versus the anti-love side (just saying). Really, this is about conversation, about dialogue, and about progress. As in, let’s have some. I’ll show you my reasons if you show me yours.

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