Culture

In Case You Missed It: Bigotry’s Last Stand

laura jane

Hours after I finished last week’s I.C.Y.M.I., two huge news stories happened. So I spent most of the week crossing my fingers, waiting for some huge news to break that would overshadow my original interests. Once the president got involved, the preferred topic was secured in relevance.

North Carolina voters passed the gay marriage ban, and I phrase it like that because it forces you to remember that people got into a booth, picked up the punch pen, got drunk off the power of democracy, said “not today, gays” and then took a big gulp out of their confederate flag flasks before mumble-coughing “Not togay, days.” Much like N.C., the anti-gay marriage sentiment is outdated.  Even if North Carolina legalized gay marriage, it doesn’t change the long-standing “missionary position only” law. The upshot of this is that Barack Obama’s pro-gay marriage stance was outed by Joe Biden, letting the conversation linger on the national stage. All the attention has also proved to be a useful way to weed out any Facebook friends who answered “What’s on your mind” with “Vanquish the gay devil.”

On the same night, the lead singer from punk band Against Me!, Tom Gabel, publicly came out as transgender and will go by the name Laura Jane Grace. High school wouldn’t have been the same without AM!. I listened to As the Eternal Cowboy while sitting out of swim class freshman year of high school, and I reviewed Searching for a Former Clarity for the newspaper as a senior. Tom Gabel authored the words my friends and I screamed in solidarity. So, of course, the only proper response is full support, even if it’s a confused and cautious “good for…her?” In my personal experience, every conversation about someone well-known being transgender focuses on the pronoun panic. It’s a very small fraction in a huge, confusing struggle that is unfathomable to anyone who doesn’t know how to talk about it or understand it.

What I can glean from both of these stories is something incredibly positive, which is a famous change of pace for I.C.Y.M.I. The brouhaha over gay marriage is bigotry’s last stand. LGBT rights are appearing to be the last of the huge civil and social victories. That must be absolutely terrifying to haters, being on the losing team again. It’s like there is one final push: “Ban gay marriage or sit on our porches leering until we’re dead.” There will be people who are dedicated hate machines, but there are also people that just don’t know, and these are the people that are daunted by the pronoun panic, the accidental homophobic or racist who doesn’t realize what they said was wrong. As I’ve said before, “fuck the haters,” but those who actually mean well end up distanced because they don’t know to speak the language. Here’s hoping that Laura helps translate.

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Other stories from the week

Confession: As a kid, I sought out the pop-culture jeremiads of Christian websites, warning parents that their kids might be getting possessed by Sum 41. Even though it’s a satire site, go check out Christwire for an overanalysis of Adventure Time, but stay for the delicious “are they real people?” comments.

All the music from Animal Crossing, set up to your computer’s clock. They save the best jam for 2 A.M.

New York Magazine ran a great article on Patrice O’Neal.