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Hate By Any Other Name

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Hate By Any Other Name

Patricia Goldsmith

Larry Kramer was one of the very first people to recognize the AIDS epidemic for what it was. While the Reagan administration refused to acknowledge the burgeoning epidemic and gay men didn't want to believe it, Kramer helped found the legendary group ACT-UP, whose motto was Silence=Death.

Twenty years later, Larry Kramer has re-ignited ACT-UP to wake us up to another grim reality we'd rather not face. "The needs are different now. Then it was AIDS, and now" he says, "it is utter sheer hate hurled at us right and left."

As blunt and confrontational as ever, Kramer began an open letter to straight people in the Los Angeles Times with the question, "Why do you hate gay people so much?" Put another way, why do those who claim to hate the sin but love the sinner often seem, instead, to love the hate but hate the h word.

For example, when former NBA player Tim Hardaway came right out and said, "I hate gay people," Concerned Women for America immediately issued a press release condemning not his bigotry but his language:

Hardaway's comments are both unfortunate and inappropriate. They provide political fodder for those who wish to paint all opposition to the homosexual lifestyle as being rooted in "hate." It's important to note that Hardaway's words represent the feelings of Hardaway. His words do not represent the feelings of the vast majority of people opposed to the homosexual agenda. . . . Thousands of former homosexuals have been freed from the homosexual lifestyle through acts of love. Hardaway's comments only serve to foment misperceptions of widespread homosexual "victimhood" which the homosexual lobby has craftily manufactured. [from Matt Barber of Concerned Women for America in a press release dated 2-16-07, as quoted in The Advocate, March 27, 2007, print edition, page 52]

 

It's funny how much "hate" feels like the real thing when you're on the receiving end.

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Maintaining an emotional disconnect from the pain they inflict is crucial to the anti-gay project. It's a hard balancing act to pull off, particularly these days, when it seems that the right is running on nothing but fumes and hate. The media seem to think it's enough to ban the use of the word f*ggot.

By that reckoning, General Peter Pace's recent statement that gays should not be allowed to serve in the military because homosexuality is immoral should be no big deal; after all, he didn't use any naughty words. And yet somehow one feels the hate is there. Former Senator Alan Simpson, Republican from Wyoming, lays it out in a piece for the Washington Post entitled "Bigotry That Hurts Our Military":

According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 300 language experts have been fired under "don't ask, don't tell," including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. This when even Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice recently acknowledged the nation's "foreign language deficit" and how much our government needs Farsi and Arabic speakers. Is there a "straight" way to translate Arabic? Is there a "gay" Farsi? My God, we'd better start talking sense before it is too late. . . .

 

. . .

To fill its needs, the Army is granting a record number of "moral waivers," allowing even felons to enlist. Yet we turn away patriotic gay and lesbian citizens.

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Peter Pace would rather recruit criminals who would otherwise be sitting in prison than retain highly qualified-even indispensable-LGBT personnel under his command. You can call that General Pace's religion or his personal opinion. You can even call it love if you have the nerve, but it's hatred all the same.

Pace's bigotry has proved somewhat awkward, since it lays him open, at the very least, to charges of serious managerial incompetence, but it's exactly the kind of divisiveness the rightwing political blogosphere glories in. Consider, for example, this posting by Mike Adams on Townhall.com, regarding the suggestion that, as with the n word, only gay people can use the word f*ggot without giving offense:

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Patricia Goldsmith is a member of Long Island Media Watch, a grassroots free media and democracy watchdog group. She can be reached at plgoldsmith@optonline.net.

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