Making cultural norms catch up with laws (or, why straight allies matter so much)

April 24, 2011 at 10:06 am 98 comments

By Adam Bink

I had the privilege (and terrifying experience) of going to a Buffalo Sabres/Philadelphia Flyers game the other night in Philadelphia. Having been to an Eagles game and having several Philadelphia sports fans I can call friends, I knew the scene can be rather, well, unwelcoming for opposing fans. Nevertheless, me and two friends donned our Sabres gear and made the trek. I won’t go into all the details of how rough it was, but I will put it this way: the arena had to have security guards tail us when we went to the bathroom. My Sabres with our all-world goaltender Ryan Miller won in overtime, so it was all worth it, though.

The reason I’m writing is because it really was a case study of how far we have to go culturally. I and my two straight friends were called “fag” or “faggot” around two dozen times; male fans in our section would shout “Ryan Miller loves penis!” “Ryan Miller hit on me!” “Are you guys in a three-way relationship or what?” “I heard Buffalo has more fag bars than straight bars!” and other epithets along that general theme. This went on for about three hours or so. It was interesting because one fan also kept shouting “Go back to Canada, Buffalo fans! Canada sucks!” until one fellow Flyers fan turned to him to point out that he was from Canada, as were most of the players on the ice. We all got a good laugh at him, and he replied “darn, now I got no ammo left!” Apparently his “ammo” left was targeting gay people.

We let it roll off us, but during the second intermission one of the louder Philly fans sat down and put his hand on my shoulder to say “hey, it’s all in good fun… I would never do anything like what happened at that Dodgers game” (where a fan ended up in a medically-induced coma because of attacks). I wanted to turn to him and ask why he would slander gays with that kind of language if he wouldn’t do the same because someone were a different race, or a woman. I wanted to ask the Philly fans around me (several of whom quietly apologized to us for their fellow fans’ behavior) why they didn’t tell him to lay off the gays like they told him to lay off Canada.

I bet some of the fans screaming at us actually support making it illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation, probably support basic access to rights like hospital visitation, and maybe even marriage. But when it comes to singling out people, gays still make an easy target.

I’m not surprised or naive. My brother-in-law has season tickets to the Buffalo Bills and has long told me it’s the same there (even in my hometown), and it’s probably true at many other sporting events. I’m sure it’s true for others of different races, religions, what have you.  But it shows how far we have to go to make cultural norms catch up with laws (the two are tied together) and to get to a point where that behavior is taboo and people will have our back.

Last thing is that it all comes back to the value and importance of straight allies, including many of you reading out there. If we had a moment where one of the 50 fans in our section who could hear all this turned and said “hey, I’m not gay, but that’s uncool” or “my brother is gay and he could put you on your back. Knock it off”, it would have sent a message to everyone else listening. It’s a message that, because of where it happens and who says it, is worth more than any TV ad or polling figure. For the sake of our community, I hope it happens a lot more often.

Entry filed under: Community/Meta.

NCLR responds to LA Times editorial on DOMA and Paul Clement King and Spaulding file motion to withdraw from DOMA defense; Clement resigns from firm

98 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alan E.  |  April 24, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Subscribing for now. Need to do a lot today.

    Reply
    • 2. Kathleen  |  April 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Reply
      • 3. Ann S.  |  April 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

        §

        Reply
  • 4. Alan E.  |  April 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

    After reading through this quickly, all it takes is one person. It’s unfortunate that this still goes on within the arena, and hasn’t gotten the same attention that other locations like the Yankees stadium incident have received. I would send a letter to the owners expressing your concerns, Adam. You are taking the passive way of handling this instead of practicing what you have been preaching here. You can be that single individual.

    Reply
    • 5. Richard Doran  |  April 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      You are absolutely correct! Be the single person that makes the stand! I would never put up with that sort of name calling in any event..

      Reply
    • 6. Lora  |  April 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      This got me thinking about a story I heard the other day: There’s a video going around that shows 2 girls/women beating up another woman at a McDonalds…to the point of continued kicking even when it seems she was unconscious, with no one coming to her aid.
      Comments on the video were calling for people to step in and beat the 2 that were doing the beating….until….it was found that the victim was transgender…then it turned to, “well, what did they expect?”
      Sickening!!

      Reply
      • 7. Michelle Evans  |  April 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm

        Unfortunately a very typical reaction when it comes to transgender people. I’ve experienced very similar, if not as violent situations myself. Although I guess maybe that’s not quite true. When I had a guy chasing me around my bank parking lot in his pickup truck and calling me very derogatory things, no one else nearby tried to stop what he was doing. He eventually tired of what he was doing and just drove off with no repercussions.

        Reply
        • 8. Michelle Evans  |  April 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm

          Here is a link to the story about the transgender woman who was beaten at McDonalds:

          http://tinyurl.com/3zqaz8n

          Reply
          • 9. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 25, 2011 at 5:33 am

            OMG! Chrissy looks darling…yet they beat her and treated her as a freak and not work defending. Grrrrrrrrrrr!

            I like they are holding a rally to raise awareness and SO VERY grateful we have media and the internet to report such crimes. thank you for sharing this story.

    • 10. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 25, 2011 at 6:33 am

      I must a live a sheltered life…or fans in Utah are not so rabid. I’ve never heard of such nonsense!

      Agree send a letter to the owner expressing concerns

      Reply
  • 11. Judy  |  April 24, 2011 at 10:30 am

    There is a known technique to influence a large group by seating 4 loudmouths in a diamond pattern on the perimeter of the group, who will immediately speak up all in favor of one idea, loudly. This is known to subdue the entire group. People find it hard to go against what they perceive as the general flow.

    If you’re a little older, you will remember never telling a smoker that the smoke bothered you. It took decades of people speaking up before this was acceptable.

    Same with this movement. I agree whole heartedly that we must be known and speak up. I think that’s why the public is quickly siding with acceptance of gays – because there has been a shift not in general opinion, but a shift in what is perceived as general opinion.

    Scary that things work this way, but probably necessary for some element of evolution, I suppose.

    Reply
    • 12. adambink  |  April 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      A very apt comparison with regard to smoking.

      Reply
      • 13. Bob  |  April 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm

        agreed smoking is a very good comparison,,, and a great example of how smoking was regulated heavily by laws,,,which helped turn the general opinion,,,

        I remember intense discussions in our workplace when the bans where beginning to be enforced,,,, eventually smokers had to take it to the curb,,, and know they are working on a new phase, no smoking in public parks,,,,,

        laws do help change peoples attitudes and behaviors,,,

        Reply
    • 14. Greg  |  April 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      I’m reminded what Michael Huffington (Arianna’s ex) said when he came out, that anti-gay sentiment was the “last great prejudice.” He meant that it was the last prejudice that one could openly profess – and still be socially acceptable.

      Could it be that the times are finally changing?

      Reply
      • 15. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm

        They do seem to be, thank goodness.

        Reply
        • 16. Bob  |  April 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm

          yes the times are changing,,,,,,,

          I remember when they first made an issue of drinking and driving,,, back then no one gave it a second thought,,, our first reaction was fing cops,,, and we tried to get away with it,,, it was a game,,, go partying and if you did get caught, ya paid the fine,,, it pissed ya off,, eventually it wasn’t only a fine, but you got points on your license and it cost you more for insurance,,,, along with that was heavy education,,, lot’s of t.v. ads,,, defining the behavior and it’s harms,,,
          it took a lot but I wouldn’t think of doing that now,,, and neither would majority of people,,,

          same with seat belt laws, the province I lived in at the time, Alberta was a rogue kinda cowboy country Texas style rugged individualism,,, they were one of the last to enforce the seat belt laws,,, I used to think I didn’t have to obey them,,, problem is I had a boyfriend in B.C.,,, and near every weekend I crossed over to visit,,,,, know the B.C. mountinies had no problem filling their quota of tickets,,, right around the corner from the welcome to B.C. sign,,, they would stop all us rogues,,, and finally one cop said to me how long is it going to take you,, how many tickets to figure out you have to buckle up here,,,,,

          eventually I would buckle up the minute I saw the welcome to B.C. sign, duhhh how dumb is that,,, finally it was law in Alberta,,, who would think of driving without a seat belt now,,, (I know the odd person)

          thing is they put laws around unwanted behavior, which was considered unhealthy,,,, same with smoking,,,,,

          it takes a while for some of us,,, but the law does help changing atttitudes, cause after you finish blaming the law for interfering in your life, and costing you money,, you begin to figure it out,,,,

          I have seen these changes and internalized them personally,,,,

          anti-gay sentiment has been undergoing the same transformation,,,, here the Human Rights Comission is struggling with policing speech,,, we all know the difficulties inherent in that from our experience on this site, and the challenges it presents for Adam,,,

          eventually we will progess to the place where Adam’s experience in the hockey arena will be dealt with by those security guards, rather than following them on trips to the washroom , would simply go over to the rabble rousers and say tone it down or you will be escorted out!!!! and if you need to be escorted out you will also be fined…..

          seems we as people need to go through that process to get it!!!!

          Reply
  • 17. Bob  |  April 24, 2011 at 10:42 am

    “but it shows how far we have to go to make cultural norms catch up with laws (the two are tied together)”

    I think you mean laws catch up with cultural norms,,,, you don’t have laws protecting LGBT’s in the U.S. those guys were just expressing their freedom of speech!!!!!!!!

    Yeah to the Canadian, who spoke up and announced his presence ,,,,

    Reply
    • 18. BK  |  April 24, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Well, without getting into the details… Canada is awesome!

      Reply
      • 19. grod  |  April 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm

        @BK While Canadians’ civil rights to free speech is restricted by laws prohibiting hate speech – e.g.offensive public speech because its targets identifiable characteristics such as race, sexual orientation; in the USA, free speech is unrestricted. G

        Reply
    • 20. Richard Doran  |  April 24, 2011 at 7:53 pm

      while we don’t have any restrictions we do have laws that protect LGBT.. only if something physical comes of the verbal taunts.. we’re making progress though, I think….

      Reply
  • 21. Rhie  |  April 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Watching

    Reply
    • 22. Straight for Equality  |  April 24, 2011 at 11:26 am

      Reply
  • 23. Alan K. Chan  |  April 24, 2011 at 11:03 am

    May you have the courage that I lack in standing up for myself as gay when someone uses it in a pejorative way. That’s the inside-out piece of the equation that LGBT folks need to work on besides also working on the bottom-up piece (activism). Camp Courage!!!

    Reply
  • 24. Alan K. Chan  |  April 24, 2011 at 11:04 am

    [IMG]http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww200/twendot/nnn-kurt-blaine-text-gay-courage-bullying-glee.jpg[/IMG]

    Reply
  • 25. the lone ranger  |  April 24, 2011 at 11:30 am

    It’s not clear from the article if you or one of your friends told any of these guys that you’re gay and/or that their anti-gay taunts to the players were out of line.

    From “I wanted to turn to him…”, it implies you didn’t.

    Nonetheless, it seemed several of the other fans realized such behavior was indeed inappropriate.

    Reply
    • 26. Alan K. Chan  |  April 24, 2011 at 11:41 am

      “If we had a moment where one of the 50 fans in our section…” implies that other fans did NOT realize that their behavior was inappropriate either. Only the wish that they even one did.

      Reply
      • 27. the lone ranger  |  April 24, 2011 at 11:50 am

        that’s true, but Adam did write that several of them quietly apologized to him (although presumably because he was a Sabres fan, and not because they thought he or his friends might be gay). So while those more thoughtful fans didn’t have the cajones to publicly call out their more rowdy brethren for homophobic taunting, at least they had the kindness to quietly apologize for them.

        Reply
        • 28. Alan K. Chan  |  April 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm

          “hey, it’s all in good fun…” may be somewhat of an apology but it can also be an excuse for others. Let me ask you this, do you think there should be a line that the people who apologize but allow others to behave like that should intervene? Is it only after someone gets hurt?

          Reply
      • 29. Jenny  |  April 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm

        Just because they didn’t speak up doesn’t mean they didn’t think it was inappropriate. Many people would be too afraid, too timid, etc to actively call someone out like that; especially to such a large and obnoxious group.

        Reply
    • 30. adambink  |  April 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      I didn’t. My whole strategy was to ignore every taunt because I wanted them to realize they weren’t getting under our skin and so not bother wasting their breath. It worked, as the entire 3rd period went by without so much as a holler. But it might not work all the time, and I probably should.

      Reply
      • 31. the lone ranger  |  April 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm

        OK, but I take it those rowdy fans assumed you and your friends were str8 (and indeed, from your post, your friends are). So what I’m curious about is how they would have behaved if they knew you were gay: “Hey guys… I’m gay, and that’s pretty offensive… tone down the ‘fag’ language”.

        Because being gay is often an “invisible” trait, that’s where the race or gender analogy is somewhat misleading, since there’s no hiding those traits.

        If being called a “fag” for 2/3 of a hockey game wasn’t getting under your skin, then wow, you have thick skin. I’ll admit… it’s not an easy thing to do stand up to a whole herd of bullies, especially in hostile territory. But then, I guess I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of this thread was. We all know there are there are plenty of homophobes out there, and while racial-, religious-, ethnic- and gender-based epithets may seem less socially acceptable, just look at Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, George Allen and many others as evidence of their continued widespread use. And as the recent Kobe Bryant incident showed us, there can indeed be negative consequences for those who use homophobic slurs. Incidentally, apparently at Russian soccer matches, racial epithets are the preferred slurs:

        http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3110504/Racist-fans-hurt-Russias-Cup-bid.html

        So yes, we and everyone else have a lot further to go culturally. Of course, if there were laws to protect my rights in employment, housing, marriage, etc., I might not be so concerned about some ignorant oaf yelling homophobic or other slurs at some sporting event.

        Reply
  • 32. Sagesse  |  April 24, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Just my observation. Many things will change before guys stop expressing their solidarity by picking on those who are outsiders. Fraternal male bonding whatnot. Not all men do it, and not all men do it in sports bars and and ballparks and arenas.

    Reply
  • 33. Bob  |  April 24, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Sagesse, your statement applies equally to gals,,,,, (pit bull hockey mom’s)

    Reply
    • 34. Sagesse  |  April 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      I have led a sheltered life. I was a karate mom. I guess we’re more civilized :).

      Reply
      • 35. Bob  |  April 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

        gottcha, yes karate is a much more disciplined sport,,,

        Reply
  • 36. Don in Texas  |  April 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Gays are the only group that still is discriminated against by law. That is why it is so vitally important that Prop8 and similar laws in other states, ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and DOMA must be eradicated from the law books while ENDA is enacted into law.

    Eight years have passed since Lawrence v. Texas overruled <I. Bowers v. Hardwick, and criminalization of “being gay” was declared unconstitutional — but the catcalls and the bullying persist.

    We must combat this and, as Adam points out, we need the support and active participation of our straight family and friends to help us end discrimination against us for good.

    Reply
  • 37. Russell  |  April 24, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    On the hockey side of things, go Ducks!

    Reply
  • 38. Knowledge is Power  |  April 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    http://www.livescience.com/13409-myths-gay-people-debunked-sexual-orientation.html

    Reply
  • 39. Joe  |  April 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    As a straight supporter, I don’t get into that kind of situation often (can’t remember the last time) but I do understand why it can be hard to do the right thing and stand up for someone for a difference in them that you don’t share, or even that you do. It’s hard to be the lone voice, make yourself noticed when you aren’t being attacked. I would like to think the next time something like that happens around me I would stand up like I do when it’s more of a one on one situation.

    Reply
  • 40. Knowledge is Power  |  April 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/42209405#42209405

    Reply
  • 41. Knowledge is Power  |  April 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/03/my-kids-would-neverbully-_n_831086.html

    Reply
    • 42. Alan K. Chan  |  April 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      Where’s the like button?

      Reply
  • 43. Sagesse  |  April 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Catching up on my reading.

    “Under the court’s logic, Congress could order the president to declare the United States a Christian nation – and no one could challenge it in court…”

    Americans United Criticizes Appeals Court Ruling Dismissing Challenge To National Day Of Prayer

    http://www.au.org/media/press-releases/archives/2011/04/au-criticizes-appeals-court.html

    Reply
  • 44. Alan E.  |  April 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Read the latest blog post by Louis (Hi!) that compares the marriage rights battle now to that of the 1960’s.

    Fifty years later: Same core issue, same core problem

    Reply
  • 45. Louis  |  April 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Buffalo is my hometown!

    Reply
    • 46. grod  |  April 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      @Louis Well written blog. Thanks G

      Reply
    • 47. adambink  |  April 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      Let’s go Buffalo!

      Reply
      • 48. Rev. Will Fisher  |  April 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm

        Game Seven!?!

        Reply
        • 49. adambink  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:50 am

          Unfortunately. They really need to put these games away. Of course, I’m willing to bet the Flyers would have won in six if they had halfway decent goaltending.

          Reply
    • 50. DazedWheels  |  April 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Louis. OT, but also congratulations to your girlfriend for obtaining a visitor visa to the U.S..

      Reply
  • 51. Richard Doran  |  April 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I know this much.. I’m a 310 pound weightlifter, if someone started yelling “faggot” at me, I would practice a stretch of diplomacy first but if blow comes to blow ( no pun intended ) I wouldn’t back down! I haven’t met a man who hasn’t said to me ” I’d hate to cross your path in a dark alley”

    Just say’n.

    Reply
  • 52. Michael Herman  |  April 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Proud straight ally here. :)

    Reply
  • 53. Lodi Gal  |  April 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I stood up. I’m sharing this story to let straight allies know that standing up makes a big difference.

    I teach at a public school. This year for the first time, I heard a half dozen teachers using the pejorative, “That’s so Gay!” and sometimes within earshot of students. It was making me crazy. At the same time, there was concern for increasing bullying on campus. I stood up at a staff meeting, spoke my piece, at length, and ended by saying that none of the teachers in that room would even think about replacing the word “gay” in that sentence with a racial or religious identifier. Possibly ten percent of the children in our classes may identify as LGBT and they needed to stop this kind of bigoted bullying. A couple of people thanked me privately for speaking up. Some of the worst offenders steered clear for awhile, but a month later, the “That’s so gay!” comments had ended and our working relationships were back to normal.

    Stand up. Please.

    Reply
    • 54. Kate  |  April 25, 2011 at 6:27 am

      I love you, Lodi Gal!

      Reply
    • 55. Sheryl Carver  |  April 25, 2011 at 9:17 am

      Thank you, Lodi Gal!

      The world needs more people with your moral sense AND your courage.

      Reply
    • 56. StraightGrandmother  |  April 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      Thank YOU Lodi gal. Thank YOU! Not only what you wrote, but consider the fact that there possibly are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender teachers at your school as well, who are not comfortable being out at your school. You spoke up for them as well. There is someone here who gives awards, I think you are deserving of one.

      Reply
  • 57. Sheryl, Mormon Mother of a wonderful son who just happens to be gay  |  April 24, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Okay, I need enlightened. The only place I’ve heard/seen “That’s so Gay” is on this blog. I take that it is a negative thing but could someone explain just what is means since it seems not to be directed at gays when used.

    Thanks.

    And Lodi Gal, thanks for speaking up.

    Reply
    • 58. the lone ranger  |  April 25, 2011 at 12:24 am

      It’s common usage among kids and young adults, and it effectively means “that’s so lame” or “that’s so stupid” (but sometimes more explicitly, “that’s so girly”).

      Reply
    • 59. Kevin S.  |  April 25, 2011 at 12:29 am

      It’s used as a generic put-down in high schools a lot, and most of it comes from parroting other people using it. That’s why actions like Lodi’s are so important. One can’t control what kids are hearing outside of school, but having it re-inforced by authority figures in school just makes it worse. Conversely, teachers getting on students’ cases about it can help the issue. Sure, many students will just ignore the teachers, but some will listen. I know it sounds kind of corny, but I broke a couple of my friends from the habit of everything they didn’t like being “gay” by asking them how the offending item/action/idea was engaged in same-sex relations and why that was such a bad thing even if it was. Eventually, they stopped using it.

      Reply
  • 60. Ronnie  |  April 25, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Subscribing & sharing…..Here is how my mom & I spent our Easter Sunday….. With Queer Rising & Connecting Rainbows in a procession within the 5th Avenue Easter Parade ending at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to honor those who have been victims of homophobia & hate. 2 of us who are openly gay catholics were allowed to go inside the church & light 2candles. 1 for the lives lost to homophobia & hate, the other for Equality.

    LGBT ACTIVIST GROUPS MEMORIALIZE HATE CRIME VICTIMS AT NEW YORK CITY’S EASTER PARADE
    http://www.towleroad.com/2011/04/easterparade.html

    From the NYT:
    This small group of about 25 people stood while temperatures soared near 80 degrees, holding white placards bearing the pictures of eight members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who had recently committed suicide. They were demonstrating against a recent spate of hate crimes and against the Roman Catholic Church’s position on same-sex marriage.

    “We’re not here as an aggressive protest,” said Scott Wooledge, 44, of Brooklyn Heights. “We’re here to reach out to people to make them understand that homophobia kills.”

    Dan Choi, a former lieutenant with the New York Army National Guard who was discharged under the now-repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” law after announcing on national television that he is gay, stood somewhat anonymously with the group in a black suit and tie.

    “I want to give voice to these people,” he said, pointing to the signs, whose pictures included one of the Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, whose suicide has drawn national attention.

    (me) I was carrying the Lawrence King sign. The 15yo boy who was murdered in 2008 by his classmate for being gay the day after Lawrence gave him a Valentine. My mom handed out flyers. It was a beautiful day. One little girl came up to me & one of our straight allies & asked how could she help. What could she do. She was so sweet. We handed her a flyer & told her that all the information can be found through the website & since she expressed that she would like to donate I told her about the Trevor Project, It Gets Better, & NO H8 Campaign. She smiled & said thank you then went off with her father. After the speech was given, we all sang “This Little Light of Mine” while the names of those on the posters were read out.

    Videos on the other end of the link above.

    More photos here
    http://javiersoriano.com/blog/2011/04/24/lgbt-civil-rights-walk-easter-parade-nyc-2011/

    “Protect the Sanctity of Our Lives. Full Civil Rights NOW!”

    <3….Ronnie

    Reply
    • 61. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 25, 2011 at 7:55 am

      tx for sharing…and for participating! : )

      Reply
      • 62. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:00 am

        I see Dan Choi made appearance : )

        Reply
    • 63. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2011 at 7:58 am

      That is lovely Ronnie… thanks for sharing.

      Kudos to the father who brought his little girl and let her ask for more information. It is stories like that, touching one person at a time, that are so heartening!

      And kudos to you and your mom (tell her I said HI MOM!) as always for everything you do Ronnie!!!

      Smooches and hugs!!

      Reply
    • 64. StraightGrandmother  |  April 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      You know Ronnie, I do not post that often any more but I want to let you know that you make me cry frequently with what you post. Some how you really know how to make my heart hurt with what you bring here.
      I didn’t comment when you posted that link to the transgender woman being beaten up at McDonalds in New York. I did watch that video twice. Yesterday I took my parents to their church for Easter, Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, and I thought during Easer Service of that video you posted. I was very disquieted during church thinking of her. The part of the video that sticks in my mind the most, and has been re-playing in my mind, is the end of the video where the woman is on the floor having convulsions and the manager walks back into McDonalds from the outside, and walks right past her and does not immediatly kneel down next to her to check on her. It is such a coincidence that I was thinking of you and her and at the very same time you also were in church, honoring the victims of homophobia.

      I cannot thank you enough, or raise you and your mother up high enough, for all that you do taking your activism to the streets. You and your mother continue to inspire me, you give me Hope Ronnie, you really do.

      Reply
  • 65. rf  |  April 25, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Did King and Spaulding drop the DOMA case 4 Realz?

    In a real victory for supporters of same-sex marriage — and marking what seems like real marginalization for its foes — a major law firm has reversed course and will refuse to represent the House of Representatives in defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

    King and Spalding Chairman Robert D. Hays, Jr., whose partner Paul Clement was to lead the defense, said in a statement through a spokesman, Les Zuke:

    Today the firm filed a motion to withdraw from its engagement to represent the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Last week we worked diligently through the process required for withdrawal.

    In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate. Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created.

    The statement is silent on the reasons for the decision, but the firm faced protests at its Atlanta office and a national campaign against it. And now the House majority is looking for a new lawyer.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0411/Clement_firm_drops_DOMA_case.html?showall

    Reply
    • 66. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:02 am

      WOW!!!!!!!!

      Well this IS a good day!!!!!!

      Let’s make sure we give props to King and Spalding for making the right decision! And to everyone who spoke up to tell them that they were making a bad choice in the first place.

      Reply
      • 67. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:17 am

        WWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTT!!!!! fist-pump in the air : D

        Reply
    • 68. Ed  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:05 am

      I *cannot* wait to see NOM’s spin on this :)

      Reply
      • 69. Leo  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

        “Evil homosexual activists don’t believe in legal representation for everyone. They have once again bullied and intimidated defenders of traditional marriage and of people’s will. This proves they are not powerless and don’t deserve to be a protected class.”
        How’s that?

        Reply
        • 70. Ed  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:22 am

          Sad, but thats *exactly* how they will do it

          Reply
        • 71. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:43 am

          On the other hand… we can say “It is obvious from the outcry involved that the WILL OF THE PEOPLE is that this discriminatory act be 1) NOT defended at our expense, and 2) overturned. Sorry NOM, but you don’t represent the will of the people now, (nor did you ever, but that is another story)”

          It won’t make a dent in their thinking, but it is the truth.

          Reply
    • 72. rf  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

      Its hit the other papers so it must be true. I think its almost better that they took the case only to throw it away. Seems like a good strong statement against DOMA that we wouldn’t have gotten if K&S weren’t involved at all. Also, apologize, I spelled Spalding wrong. I must have been thinking of Pam Spaulding from Pam’s House Blend. lol

      Reply
  • 73. Ed  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Not sure why I can’t post anything…

    Reply
    • 74. Ed  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:03 am

      Oh ok lol. there we go.

      This is awesome news for us!! Regarding King and Spaulding!! :)

      Reply
  • 75. fiona64  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:44 am

    As someone who has stood up to family members (I’ve written about it before here) and strangers for using “gay” as an epithet, and for using homophobic language … I must say I’m shocked that fewer people do so.

    When my husband’s (ignorant jerk of a) nephew said “How are we supposed to motivate people in basic training if we can’t call them faggots and pussies,” my response was “Gosh, I don’t know, James. How about by using encouragement instead of implying that being gay or having female anatomy makes you weak?”

    I don’t tolerate hate speech in my home, on my Facebook wall … or when I hear it. I tell people that I find it offensive, even if I’m not the group targeted. I wonder at people who remain silent in the face of obvious wrongdoing.

    :-/

    Reply
    • 76. AnonyGrl  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:50 am

      Somedays we really need a “LIKE” button around here, Fiona. :)

      Reply
    • 77. Lodi Gal  |  April 25, 2011 at 8:55 am

      Thumbs up, Fiona. I feel exactly the same way.

      Reply
  • 78. karen in kalifornia  |  April 25, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Thanks to all the straight allies here and elsewheres notwithstanding, I consider calls of f*agggot etc with out being called on to stop as no different than slightly over half the voters in California in 2008 voting to rescind the civil rights of gays and lesbians when they voted for Prop8 as no less than gay bashing also..
    Same goes for the gay bashing rescind equality in Maine the following year.
    Thanks again to all the straight allies. Recruit more of them.

    Reply
  • 79. Straight Dave  |  April 26, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    OK, I’m guilty, and now feeling somewhat embarrassed.
    I had an opportunity to stand up but I chickened out.

    I belong to a fantasy football league where I work. Last year one of the young new employees created a team with what I considered to be a derogatory (anti-gay) name, slogan, and avatar. He might have thought he was just being cute and clever, not necessarily bigoted in his eyes.

    I wrestled with my conscience all season long, thinking I ought to take him aside and quietly explain why I thought this was not a good idea, and that maybe he should consider changing his team’s identification. Sometimes I wondered if I was being too picky, overly sensitive, sticking my nose into someone else’s business, etc. In the end, I frittered away my chances week after week until the season was over. Then I felt really bad because I knew I had wimped out. it wasn’t like I had much to lose, since I was twice his age and had been at the company 5 times as long. I had a little status that insulated me.

    I’m not sure why this was so difficult for me, since I’m usually outspoken and tend to stand up for the little guy. In this case, there was no obvious person directly affected (that I knew of). It was more like an idea and principle to be defended. I finally concluded that this would have been a straight ally’s equivalent of “coming out”. I know that our closet isn’t within a million miles of what our LGBT friends experience, but the concept of an ally’s closet does exist. I am old enough to remember when being a so-called “fag lover” was just as bad as being a so-called fag. Maybe being old carries some baggage like that. I believe its intent was to suppress support, thus indirectly undermining gay rights.

    I have been an LGBT supporter primarily because I thought it simply was the right thing to do, and because I have a strong aversion to bigotry and the ignorance that is often behind it. But I can’t say I ever fully understood or appreciated how and why allies were so valued. The comments on this thread have opened my eyes a lot more and helped me realize that even small steps can make a difference. Every word or action can help shift the balance between what is considered publicly acceptable or unacceptable. Over time, these can add up to large scale cultural changes.

    This year I promise to correct my weak-kneed sin of omission and add one more small stone to the growing tower of tolerance I see emerging in this country. I am very glad to have you all as a part of my life. Your presence on this site helps me to help you, and helps me become a better person at the same time. If there are other specific suggestions anyone has about how allies can be helpful, please let us know.

    <3 and peace.

    Reply
    • 80. Ann S.  |  April 26, 2011 at 8:25 pm

      Dave, you’re doing great. Hugs from another straight ally.

      Ann

      Reply
    • 81. AnonyGrl  |  April 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      Sometimes it is tough to stand up, easier to let something pass… but if you can say “Hey, that’s really not cool… ” at the right time, that helps, it really does.

      And what else can you do? Well, if the gentle reprimand allows a conversation to open on the subject, you can tell people that you are an ally. Just that much, just knowing that someone they like SUPPORTS marriage equality can be eye opening for some people, and get them thinking in the right direction.

      And it is good to have you as a part of our lives too!

      Reply
    • 82. Straight Dave  |  April 26, 2011 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks, girls. This has jump-started my brain again. There’s another guy in our group that I get along with well. He lives in RI but works across the border in MA, with me. Given the current RI marriage situation being in the news a lot here, that may give me the opening to bring it up over lunch.

      Here’s where that damn closet thing kicks in for me again – it really is a nuisance until I break through it. Once I make it safely through to the other side, I’m sure I’ll feel a lot more comfortable. I “came out” to my wife and kids last summer after the Prop 8 trial had ended. I had to explain why I was ranting and raving at my computer one day, reading some of the [**very impolite words**] responses on this site. Home is a very safe place for us to open up, and I knew I could expect tolerance if not active support. But it still was uncomfortable. Work is even worse because this is not a regular topic of conversation, at least not yet.

      Anyway, back to the main point. Maybe I can convince this one guy to prod his legislators, Now that I think of it, my soon-to-be-divorced ex-son-in-law also lives in RI. Conversation is a bit chilly right now, but I really got nothing to lose with him.

      OK, I got my agenda set now. This will make me feel good, regardless of the results.
      1.
      2.
      3.

      just bleepin do it!

      Reply
      • 83. Ann S.  |  April 27, 2011 at 9:21 am

        You go, Dave!

        (PS — most of us here on this site are women)

        Reply
        • 84. Ann S.  |  April 27, 2011 at 9:21 am

          (Those of us who are female, that is.)

          Reply
          • 85. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 27, 2011 at 4:43 pm

            Your mentioning that you are a “woman” (vs. a “girl”) got me thinking…. One of my *3* professional occupations often involves helping medical staff with computer issues via the telephone. Often I hear things like “none of the girls can print today” or “send one of the guys to come fix our computer…” despite there are at least 2 genders in each case. Sometimes I challenge them by saying “you only have females working in your dept?” or “So you don’t wan’t Maria or Sheila to come help…only guys?” I really know what they mean….. I sometimes question if I’m being helpful or just obnoxious…or overly sensitive. We are often the only “males” in a large Zumba class of non-males and the teacher’s comments are often directed only to the “ladies” of the class….

            Currently I’m reading a textbook gem called “The Gendered Society” by Michael Kimmel. (lent to my by my hubby). Its is astounding how many ways gender ideologies persist! I suppose society get’s too confused when we insist that gender is just a socialized concept…and even sex is not always static. Does it help to try educate others about gender? Is there an effective way to go about it? Should I even try?

          • 86. Ann S.  |  April 27, 2011 at 5:45 pm

            Greg, your Zumba teacher should, of course, do better. As to how to tell the teacher — that’s tricky. Humor usually helps. I think you’re doing well in your workplace by trying to humorously raise the issue once in a while.

            Just my two cents.

        • 87. Straight Dave  |  April 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm

          Oh I just knew somebody would call me out on that, even in a friendly manner. But that’s not why I did it. “Girls” was the first thing that popped into my mind. Then I started to edit myself. Then i decided there was nothing wrong with it, nor my attitude, nor my intent.

          My wife, who is a new grandmother, and her 2 friends go out to dinner about once a month. She often reminds with something like “remember I’m going out with the girls tonight”. It would seem very awkward and unnatural for her to say “with the women” or “with the ladies”. In my culture, girls tends to connote casual female friends, and has nothing to do with age. It really is used as a parallel to “the guys”.

          I am fully aware that in some places, and some times, this really did reflect derogatory feelings. But I thought that society had largely moved past that now, to the point where women, themselves, now feel comfortable using the term. Maybe there’s some nuance I’m missing, or I’m just living on an island. BTW, my daughter still refers to me and my son as “the boys”, particularly when we’re up to some traditionally masculine pursuit. They’re both in their 20’s and I’m much older.

          I apologize for any inadvertant offense. Learn something new every day.

          still <3

          Reply
          • 88. Kathleen  |  April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm

            Love you, Dave. :)

          • 89. Ann S.  |  April 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm

            Dave, like so many things I suppose it’s all a matter of context. I wish there were a female equivalent of “guys” — I sometimes use “gals” but it’s not quite the same.

            If someone has a “girls’ night out” or an “outing with the boys”, that’s fine.

            What bothers me is the lack of equivalency — many people refer to a group of males as “men” and a group of females as “girls”, and that really bugs me.

            Anyway, that was just a friendly reminder — some of us prefer to be called women. I think that I’d even prefer “guys”, which is IMO becoming somewhat unisex. Or “folks” or “my friends” or something neutral.

            Just my two cents. Thanks for the dialog.

          • 90. Bob  |  April 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm

            Dave, you’re definetly off to a good start being an ally, with the girls v.s women thing,,,,,,

            just to add confusion,,, as a gay man, I often refer to really close gay male friends as girls,,,, and we have girls night out…
            and call each other sister,,,,

            welcome to the club,,, and thanks for coming out as an ally,

          • 91. Sagesse  |  April 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm

            @Ann S

            I’ve used ‘guys’ as a generic term in groups of women or mixed groups for thirty years. People don’t find it offensive, and not as cumbersome or offensive as some of the alternatives.

          • 92. Ann S.  |  April 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm

            @Sagesse, I often do that, too. I also use “folks” sometimes.

            “Everyone” and “everybody” work well too, when appropriate.

          • 93. Straight Dave  |  April 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm

            @Ann
            This has gotten interesting. Now you’re making me really think about how I subconsciously think, which is probably a good thing. I’ve never examined this closely before, but now I realize that I *always* refer to “a group of women buying GS cookies outside the supermarket today”, “that customer service woman on the phone”, or other generic and anonymous encounters. I tend to reserve “girls” for someone specific I personally know, and with whom I feel some social equivalence or connection. It’s my version of informality. (Of course, that begs the question of how personally you can know someone at the other end of a 3000 mile internet wire, but …..)

            So my crime, by my standards, is over-informality with a [oxymoron warning!] quasi total stranger. You’re right, we lack a female “guy” word, but I know plenty of women who say to other women “where do you guys want to go for lunch today”.

            And just so you know, I am bugged by the same thing you are bugged by – referring to strangers in the 3rd person as “girls” feels derogatory to me.

            It’s very nice when discussions like this don’t degenerate into a food fight. Thank you for sharing the female perspective in a helpful way.

          • 94. Ann S.  |  April 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm

            @Dave,

            And thank you for sharing your perspective. Language is fascinating, isn’t it? I understand the nuances of friendship implicit in your thinking. For me (and this is neither better nor worse than your way, just different) I have to know someone much better to refer to someone as “you girls” or “you boys”.

            I think “guy” is a much more all-purpose term — you can say “that guyæ in such a way as to imply that you’re angry at him, amused by him, and various other reactions, without the implicit put-down that there would be in referring angrily to someone as “that girl“.

            Ah, language.

            Hugs from the left coast.

          • 95. Straight for Equality  |  April 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm

            I think one should use “girls” only where one would use “boys”. If you wouldn’t refer to “the boys in finance”, then don’t say “the girls in finance”. Informally and familiarly, “boys” and “girls” are both used for adults, but not in a business setting, etc.

          • 96. Straight Dave  |  April 27, 2011 at 9:40 pm

            I think I see girl, when used in the wrong context and with the wrong tone, as being along the same lines as referring to a black man as a boy 50 years ago. Maybe they don’t weigh exactly the same, but I consider both to be insulting and degrading. It’s not the words, per se, but how and when they’re applied.

            Now I’ll have to ask some of my long-term female friends how they react to the word.

      • 97. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm

        Thank you for being a straight ally Dave–you are important!

        Reply
  • […] Making cultural norms catch up with laws (or, why straight allies … […]

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