kind of vile vitriol is spewed out every time a religious leader states
their uneducated opinion about homosexuality, marriage equality or the
LGBT community. But does it further our cause? It
probably does nothing more than reinforce the existing stereotype in
conservative Christian circles that gays and lesbians are an angry,
militant bunch who have no respect for others opinions.
a debate on marriage equality was planned for Tasmania in July, Jim
Wallace from the Australian Christian Lobby and Australian Family
Association spokeswoman Terri Kelleher withdrew, citing the amount of
“gay hate” they had received as one of the reasons.
Gay rights champion, Rodney Croome, said he was disappointed about the withdrawal as he was “looking
forward to an opportunity to reassure Jim Wallace, and Terri Kelleher
that marriage equality advocates like myself want a mature and
respectful public discussion about this issue."
candidate for Family First, Wendy Francis, experienced verbal attacks
when she made inappropriate comments about the children of same sex
couples and was involved in a campaign to remove Adshel's safe sex
posters featuring a male gay couple holding each other.
When British journalist Melanie Phillips suggested that “some
gay people were in danger of turning into the new McCarthyites by
demonising and attempting to silence all who disagreed with the gay
rights agenda” she received similar treatment. Tweets suggested that
she should be killed. ‘Someone just kill Melanie Phillips please”;
“your homophobic rant equals that which comes out of a dog’s rectum.
Kill yourself you ****”. She gave an example of an email of similar vein
“people like you should be silenced as you insight (sic) bigotry and
fear. Go and suck a tail pipe, get cancer, GET RAN OVER BY A TRAIN. I
hope your ******* house burns down”.
We seem too quick to label any opinion that is not gay affirming or accepting as “hate speech”…..or label them “homophobic”.
don’t like the dualistic approaches such as male/female yet often we
promote a “you either hate us or accept us” ultimatum. But it isn’t that
There is a continuum that societies and individuals move along concerning LGBT issues; consisting of seven different stages.
For decades homosexuality was not accepted in Australian society. Did
they all hate us? Some did but not all. Others were approving, some
nonchalant and others uncomfortable about the topic.
continuum works like this. On the left hand extreme we have hatred. On
the right hand we have advocacy. In between we find another five stages
such as dislike, discomfort, tolerance and acceptance. Some
people who share a different opinion are not haters….and to label them
as such reinforces their current opinion and holds up progress.
of the major contributing factors to people moving along the continuum
and becoming more, tolerant, accepting or pro-gay is that they have come
to know gay and lesbian people or that a friend or family member has
come out. This challenges their pre-conceived ideas, prejudices and
stereotyping creating the possibility of a change in understanding and
Of course it is not hard to understand the source of vitriol expressed by some in the gay community. Research shows
that 40% of gay men and 25% of lesbians experience physical assault and
80% of men and 72% of women experience verbal abuse. The statistics are
Why have they been the targets of physical or verbal abuse? Not because of anything they have done but simply being who are. Add to this years of oppression, discrimination and rejection by friends, family and church and
you are bound to have some very angry people, and when triggered, will
project the hurt back on to those perceived to be the source of the
are those within religious circles who desperately need to be educated
about sexual orientation and gender identity, but possibly there are
some within our community who need a good dose of therapy or training in
So next time you feel like retaliating; think before you respond. As I’ve said in my article 15 things I've learnt about discussing homosexuality and Christianity
“Winning is not the goal, communicating effectively is. To speak
intelligently, rationally and graciously requires skill and patience”. To shoot of a quick angry response doesn’t require intelligence; emotion is the driving force.
There is a proverb I have found helpful to live by. “A
gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a
temper-fire. When wise people speak, they make knowledge attractive, but
stupid people spout nonsense.”
Or as Martin Luther King Jnr. said, "Returning
hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night
already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light
can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
Back to the Madden video. I thought this simple comment was the most profound amongst the thousands.
“At first I laughed. I thought it was a joke. Then I cried a little inside”. jadey1928.
Thanks jadey 1928 (whoever you are) …..in 16 words you got to the heart of the matter.
Please leave your comments, thoughts and additional insights below.