Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More on the absurdities of the "Homonationalism and Pinkwashing" conference

Elder of Ziyon quotes from an announcement about the upcoming CUNY conference on "homonationalism and pinkwashing" that does not appear to be on the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies website, and it contains even more outrageous statements about how gay people in the US have gained "full equality." (Note: it's available on the Internet Wayback machine). To quote:
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all configurations around the world have always experienced dramatic differences in representation and power. Today, after generations of sacrifice and organization, some LGBT people have won full legal rights with different degrees of implementation. Once hard to imagine, protection from discrimination, full relationship recognition, and inclusion in representation are now daily possibilities for some. In the United States, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have been invited into an equality defined, not by rights, but by the ability to participate openly in immoral wars.
I would like to know which LGBT people, where, have won "full legal rights." This is certainly not true in the United States. Even in those states which have legalized same-sex marriage, same-sex couples are not able to gain the full advantages afforded to heterosexual couples. The Defense of Marriage Act forbids federal recognition of same sex marriages, and has been a particular barrier to married gay people in the military. Once again, the authors of this announcement do not seem to countenance the idea that belonging to the US military is anything but "participating in immoral wars." I wonder if the authors think that any of the wars that the US or other countries have ever participated in can be defined as justifiable.

The announcement continues:
The co-opting of some LGBT people by anti-immigrant and in particular anti-Muslim political forces is widespread and growing. Rutgers Professor Jasbir Puar has coined the term “Homonationalism” to define collusion between LGBT people and identification with the nation state, re-enforcement of racial and national boundary, and systems of supremacy ideology no longer interrupted by homophobia. 
I wish I knew what Professor Puar is talking about. Which LGBT people in the US have been co-opted by "anti-immigrant and in particular anti-Muslim political forces"? Do the likes of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer really welcome the participation of gay people in their anti-Muslim crusade?

From looking at Geller's website, Atlas Shrugs, it seems that she condemns Muslims when they oppress gays, but isn't particularly supportive of gay people in other contexts. One article that I found, from May 9, 2011, starts,
"HOMOSEXUAL SENSITIVITY TRAINING" AND GAY MARRIAGE IN THE MILITARY" Why would this become a priority of the military? Frankly, I don't care what two consenting adults do behind closed doors or when it doesn't affect anyone but oneself, but this is something else entirely.
She then quotes from a letter sent to her by a Marine. It's not grossly homophobic, but it's clear he opposes equal status for gays and lesbians in the Marines.

In a June 7, 2009 article she castigates the Obama administration for appointing Kevin Jennings, the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, to run the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools in the US Department of Education. The source she uses (Mass Resistance) claims that GLSEN ran a workshop in 2000 for teens (at Tufts University in Somerville) that taught various techniques of gay sex. Mass Resistance says about him, "He supports promoting homosexuailty and gender confusion as normative to even young students."

Geller comments:
You can't make this stuff up. Obama has appointed this radical to head up our "safe schools"? But who is going to keep kids safe from him? I have said this before: I don't care what you do in the bedroom - whatever rocks your boat, as long as it's two consenting adults, but don't bring it into the classroom. The left will twist this into some homophobic charge. I am not, and that is a fallacious argument. This is another terrible Obama choice. Do not traumatize children. Why can't the schools just teach reading, writing, arithmetic and civics? There is radical in every Obama appointee.
In a column entitled, "I am not a homophobe," published on May 19, 2005, Geller gets upset about sex education for teenagers that includes references to gay sex. She posts a brochure from the Massachusetts HIV/AIDS STD hotline that describes various gay sex acts and the possible risks of getting various STDs from them. The point of the brochure is to protect people engaged in these practices, not to advocate that people do them. She writes, "But this is ridiculous. When is this poisoning of the childhood waters going to stop? Can't kids be kids? Must we rip the veil of childhood oblivion  from our children's psyches?"

Geller seems to be particularly exercised when the idea of educating children about homosexuality (alongside heterosexuality) is raised - which to me certainly doesn't indicate a pro-gay rights stance.

On August 16, 2012, Geller also went along with the condemnation of the Southern Poverty Law Center by right wing groups, for its labeling as hate groups the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, among others. The "Mass Resistance" group that Geller quotes from is also on this list. The SPLC lists these criteria for including a group: "Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups." The SPLC doesn't condemn traditional religious disapproval of homosexuality.

Geller writes:
More research and exposure of the subversive, communist organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center. AFDI has long warned Americans about the disinformation and antisemitic propaganda that the SPLC was manufacturing. Last year the SPLC was named to the AFDI Threat to Freedom Index.
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) defames and attempts to marginalize conservative, pro-freedom organizations as “hate groups.” It uses its listing of “hate groups” to try to stigmatize, and ultimately criminalize, love of country and patriotism. It works to systematically destroy voices that are speaking out against oppression and persecution.
Contrary to what we might expect from reading the views of the organizers of the Homonationalism and Pinkwashing conference, gay people are not welcomed with open arms into the anti-Muslim movement by Geller, one of the most prominent anti-Muslim activists in the United States.

The Jihad Watch site of Robert Spencer also has many articles condemning Muslims oppressing gays, but as far as I can tell does not otherwise comment on gays and lesbians or on gay rights.

David Yerushalmi, who has spearheaded the creation of laws banning shari'a or Islamic law, is one of the most prominent anti-Muslim activists in the United States. Yerushalmi is also a white supremacist - in an essay named "On Race: A Tentative Discussion," he argues that whites are superior to blacks.

In an article posted to the website of Yerushalmi's organization, SANE (Society of Americans for National Existence), from the email update of September 23, 2009, he argues against the legalization of gay marriage. He writes, "Given the [Supreme] Court’s rejection of morality standing alone as a valid basis for criminalizing what most would consider aberrant or even deviant sexual conduct [in this case, sodomy between men], what does the future hold for the most “immoral” of sexual perversions, i.e., pedophilia?" He then proceeds to argue that reasoning used in the Supreme Court decision which lifted the ban on gay sodomy in Texas can (and will) be used to permit pedophilia. This rhetorical slippage between consensual sex between adults of the same sex and pedophilia is a favorite of anti-gay arguments, although in this case Yerushalmi does not single out same sex pedophilia. He ends his article by saying,
And, it is not hard to predict the future. Today, to speak in public of the moral abomination of homosexual conduct is to be set up for ridicule and, in some jurisdictions in Europe, possibly an indictment for hate-speech. But this was not always the case. Just a few years ago, it was a crime to engage in such behavior. As was the case with adultery and other such “moral offenses”. But in the science-democracy political order, we embrace “scientific advancement” as a measure of both time and social-political progress. In our new world order, we view technological advancement as human advancement simply. We have reduced “being” in human being to a historical ontology based upon the movement of matter. In a word, we have rid ourselves of what it means to be Man and replaced it with literally nothing.
It is hard to imagine gay people feeling particularly comfortable working alongside Yerushalmi in his anti-Muslim crusade. He certainly is not inviting gay people to work with him.

I haven't examined all of the anti-Muslim activists or groups in the United States for this blogpost, but this sampling of three of the most prominent anti-Muslim leaders reveals that two out of three could in no way be described as pro-gay rights, and thus it is hard to imagine that very many gay or lesbian people are involved in their anti-Muslim crusade. The authors of the Homonationalism and Pinkwashing conference's announcement have hardly proved their point that gay people who have gained "full legal rights" are flocking to join anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim groups because of their new-won social tolerance.


  1. "...the veil of childhood oblivion..."? I stopped there, awestruck that she is on the national stage.

  2. I know, her command of the English language is underwhelming....