Gay marriage foes sure are clever!
For so long this fine nation’s homophobes and other narrow-minded baddies have been associated with stodgy, wholly unfashionable leaders like James Dobson, Phyllis Schlafly and the ne’er done-up Shirley Phelps. None of these people speak to the youth of America.
So, in an effort to make themselves more youth-friendly, California’s anti-gay marriage activists have established a new site, iProtect Marriage, a spin-off of the more staid Protect Marriage.
Like its sister site, iProtect urges voters to vote “yes” on Proposition 8, a ballot measure aimed at overturning this year’s gay marriage win. Unlike its sister site, however, iProtect has a decidedly youth-oriented outlook, complete with fresh, concerned faces. See that guy above? He’s so young! His pensiveness really speaks to us.
And no spry site would be complete without to popular sites like Facebook and MySpace. How hip! How media-savvy! Even the intentionally lower-case “i” seems eager to suck the teat of Apple’s ubiquitous iPod and iPhone.
Despite these juvenile measures, iProtect’s inherited the tried and largely untrue tactics employed by their right-wing forefathers. We do some dissecting, after the jump. It’s scary stuff…
1. Assumptions: We’re positively sick and tired of right-wing activists acting as if they know what it’s like to be gay. No, being gay is not like being black – not technically, although there are some similarities between racism and homophobia. That said, no straight social conservative can even pretend to know that homosexuality is a choice. They can’t act as if they have felt the inexplicable alienation millions of same-sex lovers endured while growing up in a society that assumes one to be straight. It’s absolutely one-sided and, more importantly, represents a severe lack of communication with queer communities. Don’t come at us acting like you “love the sinner,” but absolutely to refuse to acknowledge endless years of lived experience. It’s patronizing.
2. Shamefully Short-Sighted Statistics: Too often anti-gay groups use HIV/AIDS statistics against the gays. And iProtect Marriage is no exception:
On Aug. 8, 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that 53% of new HIV infections in 2006 occurred in gay or bisexual men. More infections occurred among young people under 30 (aged 13-29) than any other age group (34%, or 19,200). African Americans, while comprising 13% of the US population, accounted for 45% of the new HIV infections in 2006.
Factually, the movement’s right on the money. Gay folk do acquire HIV more often than their straight counterparts, but iProtect and their ilk fail to recognize some of the most important reasons for these startling statistics.
First, there’s the whole issue of mainstream shaming, which creates an inhospitable environment that can lead people – hello, Larry Craig! – down unsafe carnal paths. If society normalized gay acceptance, there would likely be a drop in such behaviors. Further, if gay relationships were incorporated into the larger fold, gay people may be more inclined to settle down.
Another important factor: a lack of safer sex education, another anathema to the right wing, many of whom think teaching about sex will lead to an entire generation of sexual deviants. They’re wrong. Teens will always have sex. It’s only natural, right Bristol? Without the proper education, of course, these kids won’t know how to protect themselves, thus a higher infection rate.