Posts Tagged ‘homophobia’
Every political leader has can’t-miss events, occasions whose significance are such that they simply must show up. Sometimes, they do it reluctantly. Sometimes, they do it out of obligation. Perhaps some politicians who go to Pride do so only because they feel they must. Perhaps some of them are homophobic and hate every minute.
They should—and yes, this is a controversial position to stake out—show up anyway, and be supportive when they do.
The only way we make progress, collectively, is by normalizing certain attitudes and holding others unacceptable.
It is unacceptable for Toronto to have a mayor who either is or acts—and these are not the same thing—homophobic. But we have to start with the visible signs of action. We do not know what is in Rob Ford’s heart. His feelings about the queer communities in Toronto may be simple or complex, fully known to him or largely subconscious. (“I think the mayor is shy. I think the mayor is insecure,” councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam told NOW today, and it’s certainly a plausible theory.) We are not the thought police and we cannot, nor do we want to, monitor his mind. But we cannot tolerate this kind of action.
And it is an action. Ford isn’t skipping the parade this year, he didn’t skip all of Pride last year, out of forgetfulness or busyness or getting the dates wrong in his calendar. Large numbers of people, including many of his council colleagues, invited him to attend. Columnists asked him to attend. No doubt many of his advisers pointed out the political backlash he would risk by staying home. This did not just slip his mind. It was a decision, and it was indefensible.
Go to the Torontoist site and read the debate. It’s noteworthy that the distinction Dotan makes between feeling something and acting as if one feels something–in this case, homophobia by intent or by accident–is controversial. I disagree with this criticism, inasmuch as first principles are actually pretty critical in resolving many situations and their outcomes.
A LJ friend of mine has wondered whether HIV-negative gay/bisexual men need more support networks. HIV positive gay and bisexual men, upon recieving their diagnosis, often can access quite extensive support networks, helping them with day-to-day living, medical treatment, socialization and dating, and so on. HIV-negative men don’t. William I. Johnston’s online book on the subject, 1995’s HIV-Negative: How the Uninfected Are Affected by AIDS, is probably the most readily available analysis of this question of isolation, though the work of psychologist and writer Walt Odets is also worth examination. I’m somewhat wary of the idea of constructing an identity around HIV seronegativity, particularly since the equation of epidemiology and morality is pernicious in the context of HIV/AIDS as with other plagues, but there is something to the arguments of Johnston and Odets that HIV negative men do need help in getting to access the broader context of GLBT society, to construct more positive self-identities and avoid infection in the first place. I was lucky enough to get help from friends over the Internet, lucky since PEI isn’t exactly the most GLBT-friendly of Canadian provinces. For other people, education would be key, the earlier the better. Alas, this is wrongly controversial.
I wonder: How many people suffered or even died thanks to Britain’s Claude 28 and its ilk?