Thursday, March 01, 2007

Queer 101: A Guide for Heteros

From Cameron Scott, senior editorial fellow at Mother Jones, writes:

"Many in Middle America have come to believe homosexual values must be abhorrent, based on the right's insistence that all homosexuals are radical perverts.

Blindness to difference has allowed the right wing to invent a sinister stereotype of "homosexuals" that has only tenuous links to reality. Radical right groups generate bogus statistics by conflating gay men and lesbians (the claim that homosexuals are more likely to have STDs should more accurately say that lesbians have the lowest rates of STDs of any group) and gay men and men who molest boys (imagine if they consistently referred to men who molest girls as "straight men"). The right gets away with their smears because they have persuaded Americans that sex and desire have no role in polite society.

Queers understand that desire, like hunger, is inexorable and beyond reasoning with. Policy should work with that assumption, not against it or it will always fail. And as the good clean fun of bootlicking at the Folsom Street Fair demonstrates, the only aspect of sexual behavior that is subject to moral judgment is consent. What would happen if every minute and every dollar spent limiting the rights of gays and lesbians was instead spent on prosecuting sexual harassment, rape and child molestation?

But before we can even begin to think about policy changes, the public needs to become much more educated about queer culture -- a difficult task considering that even San Franciscans, who are tolerant of queers, often don't understand the nuances of their lifestyles."

Read more on the AlterNet.


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