Presentation on theme: "Discrimination and Prejudice in the US - Homophobia."— Presentation transcript:
Discrimination and Prejudice in the US - Homophobia
Which famous American said this? I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say, in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And in as much as the cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. (cited in Dawkin 2006, pp 302-3)
Does this sound familiar? The purity of public morals," the court declared, "the moral and physical development of both races….require that they should be kept distinct and separate… that connections and alliances so unnatural that God and nature seem to forbid them, should be prohibited by positive law, and be subject to no evasion. Supreme Court of Virginia, 1878 http://hnn.us/articles/4708.html
Homosexuality in the US: A Short History Under state-based Sodomy laws, Homosexuality was illegal. Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male by Alfred Kinsey is the first work to really examine human sexuality, and he devised the figure that is still widely quoted, that roughly 10% of men (and 5% of women by his count) lived as homosexuals May 28th, 1969 The Stonewall Riots begin, lasting several days Movements like the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance were established, eventually paving the way for organisations such as GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays). October 14th, 1979, the first gay rights march occurred, attracting approx. 100,000 participants.
A Short History continued AIDS crisis – early 1980s, identified 'gay cancer' Under Reagan, policy of 'ignore' – refusal to acknowledge either AIDS crisis or the group it most affected. As of Feb 2008, 550,394 AIDS-related deaths in the US, with a total of 988,376 diagnoses since its discovery. Gays are no longer the most-affected group, with 44% of current sufferers being African- American. However, stigma means that this remains a 'gay disease' and the rhetoric from conservative groups usually also reflects that.
Important Decisions concerning Homosexuals Supreme Court decisions relating to Gay Rights have tended to be fairly conservative Bowers vs. Hardwick (1986) – upholding the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law, where anal and oral sex between consenting adults was made illegal. The decision put forward the notion that homosexual citizens had no right to privacy. Boy Scouts of America vs. Dale (2000) – the BSA were challenged based on policies excluding gays from membership. The court upheld their right to discriminate. Lawrence vs. Texas (2003) – a 6 year battle after two Texas men were arrested and held overnight for consensual sex. The matter eventually moved to the Supreme Court after the highest court in Texas refused to take the case. The landmark victory (6-3) overturned Bowers precedent, and all anti-sodomy laws in the Union. (Lambda Legal 2008 - http://www.lambdalegal.org/our-work/in- court/cases/landmark-cases.html)
Important Legislation Concerning Homosexuals Don't Ask, Don't Tell (1993) - 'Sexual orientation will not be a bar to service unless manifested by homosexual conduct. The military will discharge members who engage in homosexual conduct, which is defined as a homosexual act, a statement that the member is homosexual or bisexual, or a marriage or attempted marriage to someone of the same gender.' ("The Pentagon's New Policy Guidelines on Homosexuals in the Military", The New York Times, July 20, 1993) Defense of Marriage Act (1996) 1. No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need recognize a marriage between persons of the same sex, even if the marriage was concluded or recognized in another state. 2. The Federal Government may not recognize same-sex or polygamous marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.
Important Legislation - continued Marriage – 12 states have enacted legislation allowing Gay Marriage (Massachusetts), Civil Unions (Vermont) or Domestic Partnerships (California). 14 states have enacted legislation banning gay marriage (or, for example, Ohio and Michigan where all partnerships that mimic marriage are included) or the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. Discrimination – Discrimination based on sexuality is not prevented under Federal Law, so it varies state-by-state. 20 States have included discrimination on the grounds of sexuality in their Anti-Discrimination Acts, but this means that 30 have no protections against it. Hate Crimes – Hate Crime Laws exist in 45 states, and sexuality is included in 32 of them The Matthew Shepard Act passed both houses last year, but is still in a process of review after repeated threats of a Bush veto.
Matthew Shepard 1976-1998 On the night of October 6, 1998, 21-yr-old Matthew Shepard was offered a ride in by Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney who posed as gay men bar in Laramie, Wyoming. He took it, and was then robbed, tortured and left tied to a fence on a remote country road. He was severely injured, including with major head injuries, and was not discovered for 18 hours. He was in a coma on discovery, and was officially pronounced dead on October 12th.
Westboro Baptist Church Rose to notoriety for picketing the funeral of Matthew Shepard. Headed by Fred Phelps, with strong family involvement. From their own website: Since 1955, Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has taken forth the precious from the vile, and is therefore as the mouth of God (Jer. 15:19). In 1991, WBC took her ministry to the streets, conducting over 34,000 peaceful demonstrations (to date) opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation- destroying filth. In response, america bombed WBC. Now, God is america's enemy, dashing your soldiers to pieces.4,010 dead. 29,314 wounded. America crossed the line on June 26, 2003, when the Supreme Court (the conscience of the nation) ruled that we must respect sodomy. WBC believes her gospel message to be this world's last hope. (www.godhatesfags.com) Last year, a federal jury in Maryland granted $10.9m in damages to the father of a soldier (Matthew Snyder) whose funeral was picketed. It is unexpected that it will be paid, but it is a strong message to these people who spread such hatred.
Family Research Council Founded by prominent Evangelical James Dobson in 1983 to protect the sanctity of marriage and human life. Opposes all gay rights and recognitions of same-sex relationships. Calls gay rights 'special rights'. Consistently links homosexuality with pedophilia. Often uses the terms 'homophile' and 'homophilia'. Members are often interviewed when discussing gay rights issues to promote 'a balanced array of viewpoints'. In a recent discussion on a bill to allow same-sex partners to be eligible for green cards and immigrant visas, said:
Mike Huckabee In 1992, Huckabee claimed that homosexuality posed a great public health risk, and sufferers of AIDS should be in full isolation from the general public. He opposed AIDS research. "If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague." Completely opposed gay marriage, and did not support gay rights. http://www.time.com/time/politic s/article/0,8599,1692878,00.htm l
Oklahoma Republican Sally Kern Oklahoma State Senator recently made highly controversial statements regarding gays:
Lawrence King Feb. 12, 2008, Lawrence King was shot in the head in his classroom in Oxnard, California, by one of his classmates. He was 15 years-old.
Abuse on the Internet – Taking homophobia to new levels? 'No one deserves to be killed.I will also say that an eighth grade boy who goes to school in makeup and wearing high heels is, in my opinion, mentally ill. His parent(s) ought to be really second- guessing themselves on how they allowed him to engage in behavior which led to his death. Had they raised him differently, he'd still be alive. Fact.' 'No one should die.The little hommo should have just had a good ass kicking instead.' 'The slaying of the 15-year-old boy has alarmed conservatives and led to demands that middle schools do more to educate youngsters about the dangers of homosexuality, boys wearing women's clothing, and "flirting" with other young, aggressive males who find such behavior repulsive.' 'You forgot — right or wrong, one of them got what he/she/it was asking for' 'And why wasn't the school stopping these unwanted sexual advances from the sicko kid?' http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1993844/posts
The Future of Discrimination A Gallup poll in 1999 asked Americans if they would vote for a qualified American who was: Female – 95% Roman Catholic – 94% Jewish – 92% African-American – 92% Mormon - 79% Homosexual – 79% Atheist – 49% Cited in Dawkins 2006
More Sources Dawkins, R. 2006, The God Delusion, Transworld Publishers: London Franken, A 2003, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, Plume: New York Beemyn, Brett. The Silence Is Broken: A History of the First Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual College Student Groups, Ohio State University, found at http://www.jstor.org/cgi- bin/jstor/logon?S1=c0a84867.12070351120&T=1&config=jstorhttp://www.jstor.org/cgi- bin/jstor/logon?S1=c0a84867.12070351120&T=1&config=jstor Northern Star, 2008, Responding to Hate: A Message about the Hate Protests at Northern Illinois University, published at: http://www.northernstar.info/article/2372/ http://www.northernstar.info/article/2372/ Jacobs, A. 2008, For Gay Democrats, a Primary Where Rights Are Not an Issue, This Time, published at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/us/politics/28gay.html?_r=1&scp=9 &sq=homophobia&st=nyt&oref=slogin http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/us/politics/28gay.html?_r=1&scp=9 &sq=homophobia&st=nyt&oref=slogin Anti-Defamation League, 2001, Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online, published at: http://www.adl.org/poisoning_web/homophobia.asp http://www.democrats.com/node/6277
On a Lighter Note: 1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning. 2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall. 3) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans. 4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal. 5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed. 6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children. 7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children. 8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America. 9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children. 10) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.