The past couple of weeks have been difficult for gay people to deal with. There have been at least seven reports of gay suicides in the news, most of which were due to bullying, these past two weeks alone. A national discussion of gay bullying has taken place, mostly without the media’s help. They’ve tried to get rid of the gay aspects of gay suicides so they can act like there’s not a problem.
You’d think, with an election coming up soon, the Democratic Party would see the bullying and would do everything they could to appear to be pro-gay and anti-bullying. You’d think they’d be supportive and respectful. You’d be wrong. The new strategy for the election, it seems, is to bash progressive groups, including gay groups, as irrational and stupid.
First, there are the good guys, GetEqual. They started a campaign, "We’ll Give When We GetEqual" and were targeted by the DNC for it. GetEqual has been an excellent counter to the Human Rights Campaign, which, as John Aravosis says, is basically functioning now as a subsidiary of the Obama campaign. GetEqual has been the only group so far who has gained us the minuscule rights we have gotten from this administration. In return for their policy-based action, this happened:
I was surprised earlier this week, while checking our info@ email account, to see an email from an official within the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The message came in within half an hour of launching the campaign, and I was completely shocked by the response of yet another political insider, trying to pin the broken promises of his party on those who have been loyal for decades.
The short email reads:
Did Karl Rove right (sic) this letter for you? It is sickening and thankfully not working. I am raising more LGBT dollars this year than ever before!
A DNC Vice Chair sent that email! Can you believe that? And the bullying tactics are very apparent. The email basically implies "no one is listening to you, you small oppressed minority, scream as loud as you like." How is that not bullying? How is that not an attack on LGBT Americans?
Then, Alex Nicholson of Servicemembers United wrote a piece in the Huffington Post that was mildly critical of the Obama administration.
The HRC, backing up the administration – who is, by the way, still defending the government’s punishment of gays by taking our rights away – replied to Nicholson’s criticisms. They said:
"These latest hijinks by Nicholson are part of a troubling pattern of irrational, unprofessional, and unproductive behavior," Sainz said. "[Nicholson's] rant is also without substance. The Administration helped to craft the legislation that was successfully voted on by the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Never before has a Defense Secretary or a Joint Chiefs chairman publicly supported repeal. This president got them there, and for that, he deserves our gratitude."
Sainz added that the target of ire "should be Senate Republicans who will no doubt once again try to scuttle this issue during the lame duck session."
When you are writing a reply to a gay person, you need to recognize that phrases like "irrational" and "rant" are dog-whistles to gays. It is a way to silence us, the same way the phrase "drama queen" is. It minimizes our complaints and puts them on the level of a whiny, ten year old girl. Instead of attacking the substance of Nicholson’s words, the HRC basically just attacked and bullied him personally with this response, on behalf of the government, which is already oppressing us.
The HRC knows this. That makes the attack even more hurtful. They’d rather defend the administration that be advocates for gay people.
I will ask again this time: how is this not bullying? ‘Do what I say or you’re irrational and nobody will listen to you’? Sure, it’s more subtle than overt, but it is bullying nonetheless. People who have complaints against politicians are not whiny, irrational, and they’re not just going on a rant.
As I said above, this tactic is being used against all progressive groups this cycle, so at least gays don’t have to feel alone.
Scottie Thomaston (indiemcemopants) is a 26-year-old Alabama blogger who has written about politics on various blogs since age seventeen. A disabled, ‘out’ gay man, his principal themes have been LGBT rights, torture, NSA spying and the challenges of disability. His pieces have appeared on Daily Kos (where he also moderates a community series on disability), Firedoglake; and on his own blog, "Ignorance is…" The quality of his writing earned him a 2010 Netroots Nation scholarship from Democracy For America and a citation in the New York Times Opinionator column. He is actively building his career as a professional new media journalist.
You can find him on Twitter: @indiemcemopants