Brad Smith (jesus_h_biscuit) wrote,
Brad Smith
jesus_h_biscuit

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Read This Post, Please - All Of You.

Earlier I posted a link to Pam's House Blend, a blog I read. The link was "Mary Cheney is a great big self loathing dyke, so fuck her - fuck her in the ear, the bitch!" I got a response that I wanted to reply to in detail, and figured this was the best venue to do that. In part because I wanted to answer this person, and in part because I want others to see my point of view on something very important to me. Here is the initial response I got from posting the link, followed by my own response. I'm making this public because I want the entire world to read it. Repost it if you want to, as a matter of fact I'd like that very much. I ask that if you choose to comment that you do so in a respectful manner and not just deliberately flame the user that commented, I don't want that dramatic bullshit in my blog. Comments are welcomed, snark is even welcomed, but let's not be meanspirited about it.
Commenter: On the subject of Mary Cheney...

I honestly do not fault her for choosing her particular path. She has been forced into becoming a political pawn of gay activists, obviously against her will. Hurl insults at her all you want, call her an uncle tom...

What is the fallout when each of us as individuals chooses to be less political than we could be. We all pick our battles. When that guy yelled 'fag' out of the car window, did you walk up to him at the red light, make him roll his window down and give him a piece of your mind? When the CEO of your company told an off color joke at an awards ceremony, did you call him to task when it was your turn to speak? Did you cut off all communication with your parents when you learned that they voted republican in the last election?

How fucking lucky you are that the only person who is going to call your bullshit is your own concience. Imagine if you were Mary Cheney and you had a pack of rabid queer activists hanging on your every word. Every time you blew your nose, they judged as to how much it "helped the cause" or "hurt the cause".

How many friends of yours are less out than you would have them be? Maybe their situation is unique, maybe their parents are fundies, nearing the end of their lives, and coming out to them would serve no useful purpose. Do you spit vitriol in their face every time you see them, calling them a hypocrite and an uncle tom?

Mary Cheney is not a hypocrite, she hasnt taken a public stance and then acted in a contrary way to the way she spoke. Maybe her participation in the republican party and her dads political race is because... I dont know... she loves her dad.
My Response: Well, since you asked...
I have no sympathy for Mary Cheney, no matter how hard her choices have been, and her hypocrisy is precisely why. She actively chose to be part of her father's campaign, and her parents' collective disagreement with the FMA was empty posturing and nothing more. She was given an alleged opportunity by Bush himself to give a public statement in dissention, and not only did she not take that opportunity, her 'supportive parents' who disagreed so very much with this issue had nothing more to say on the matter. To the end's progression, this one issue was what galvanized the Right and won the election. Had it not been for the hysterical fear generated, it would never have happened the way it did. Mary Cheney had countless opportunities to bow out and simply do the right thing by making a declaration on how very wrong it all was, and she did nothing. I give a damn that she was thrust into this spotlight against her will, I certainly didn't ask to be put into many situations I've been put in either - but I do the best with the hand I get dealt.

To answer this specifically, I need to make myself crystal clear. I believe there is a big responsibility on those of us who are out of the closet to be catalysts for change and role models for our younger queer brothers and sisters through our actions and our words. There is too much shame put on us all by straight people, and I am sick and tired of having my identity as a queer man decided by people so out of touch with their own realities that they think they have the right to dictate mine. Mary Cheney might not have a problem with that, but I draw the line with myself and those who aren't afforded an opportunity to be a voice for themselves because these right-wing assholes have paralyzed them into fear, shame, and self loathing. Make no mistake, Mary Cheney was forced into being a political pawn when her father chose to let her be whipping boy and didn't choose her over his own political aspirations, so pinning that on queer activism is not exactly fair. All queer activism has done is throw light on it and declare it for what it is. We all have choices on how we're going to live, we all have battles to pick, you're absolutely right. Personally, I prefer to pick real battles and not back down to pressure when I know I'm right, and I do so as honorably as I can. I believe that being a strong person and a voice for change is important, and I do feel a responsibility for the people who aren't as evolved as I am into being out and vocal - because I don't want anyone to have to feel the same kind of self hatred and shame that gets dumped on them so unfairly, and the only way to fight that sort of thing is to stand up and be who you know you are unapologetically, and to call out a wrong as loudly as you can, every opportunity you get. Now I'll answer the specifics.

When that guy yelled 'fag' out of the car window, did you walk up to him at the red light, make him roll his window down and give him a piece of your mind?
Actually, no - I didn't. It was a truck with 5 rednecks in it, and it's a great story. The guy in the passenger's seat was a guy I went to school with who taunted me for being queer. One day I got tired of it and when he passsed me in the hallway, pushing me and loudly saying "Yew fuckin' homo-sex-u--al!" I steadied myself and in front of half the student body and all of his redneck-jock-asshole friends and decided I'd had enough being victimized. I yelled back to him "Hey - SPELL IT!" He couldn't and everyone pointed and laughed at him, then high fived me and congratulated me on my defense of myself. Several months later I was walking down a sidewalk in the evening when his best friend's truck came whizzing past. The two of them were in the cab and three other apes were in the truck bed, and all eyes were on me. The asshole in the passenger's seat yelled out "FUCKING FAGGOT!", and without missing a beat I yelled back "FUCKING REDNECK!" The truck stopped, they all jumped out, and proceeded to jump me. I had five guys beating the sht out of me, and I gave back everything I had to give in me. I didn't give in to them until I was knocked to the ground, and even then I kicked everyone I could. Sure, I took a beating - but those motherfuckers DID NOT get the best of me, they DID NOT victimize me, and I learned that no matter what it costs you, blood, bruises, cuts, maybe even a broken bone - as long as you stand up for yourself and what you believe to be fair, there are worse things in life than taking a beating. Worse things like having your choices taken away, losing your civil rights, and being a pussy. Just because it's hard to do doesn't mean we all shouldn't do it.

When the CEO of your company told an off color joke at an awards ceremony, did you call him to task when it was your turn to speak?
It was nothing that grandiose, and there were no speaking engagements, but a supervisor once made a misogynistic reference to a female subordinate and I called him out on it in a meeting with management. There was also the time I complained to HR about another coworker who was making inappropriate sexual advances. Given the opportunity, I'd have no problem doing what you're suggesting, though. I don't need any incentive to call out bad behavior, all I need to know is it's wrong to do it in the first place and even more wrong to look the other way and not say anything. The example that sets is what breeds apathy for injustice and I'm not aboutto live that way. I take it all personally, because it diminishes me as a person.

Did you cut off all communication with your parents when you learned that they voted republican in the last election?
My mother told me many years ago that she would never forgive me if I ever voted Republican, and I never have. My father is a neoconservative, and we fight about political and social issues incessantly. I have not cut off communication with him, but I have also never backed down to him or disrespected myself by compromising my integrity and value as a man by capitulating to his strongarming.

How fucking lucky you are that the only person who is going to call your bullshit is your own concience. Imagine if you were Mary Cheney and you had a pack of rabid queer activists hanging on your every word. Every time you blew your nose, they judged as to how much it "helped the cause" or "hurt the cause".
I get called out often, and I meet my criticism head on instead of pretending it isn't there. It may or may not have influence on me, but I have the balls to face it. I'm hounded by religious right-wing fundamentalists in person, in emails, even on LJ now and then - and I make it clear that I have nothing to be ashamed of and I'll defend their right to believe whatever they choose, however much I may disagree with it. In the case of Mary Cheney, give me a break. She's a lesbian who worked on a Republican political campaign that actively works and lobbies to take away civil rights and deny any future possibility of legal equality! I'm supposed to sympathize with her for getting flak from her own people because she's a traitorous Uncle Tom, which is exactly what she is? That dog won't hunt, man - she asked for it. Consider Candace Gingrich and Chrissy Gephardt, lesbians with parents and family members in politics who refused to sell out their own lives for the sake of a family member's political aspirations and leanings, or whose family would never consider such bullshit in the first place. They have earned my sympathy and respect, Mary Cheney has not. What she did was lie down with the same dogs that villified her entire life, and got paid for it. She's not just a GOP pawn, she's a GOP whore to boot. My partner knows without question that I'd never allow him to be as cast off insignificantly by anyone for any reason, Mary Cheney's partner cannot say the same.

How many friends of yours are less out than you would have them be? Maybe their situation is unique, maybe their parents are fundies, nearing the end of their lives, and coming out to them would serve no useful purpose. Do you spit vitriol in their face every time you see them, calling them a hypocrite and an uncle tom?
Coming out is not easy, but it is necessary. I'd rather live the truth and deal with the fallout than live a lie, no matter who it may hurt. The bigger hurt would be on the closeted person, so in comparison there's no contest. I came out when I was 15 for this very reason. Any closeted friends I've ever had have gotten nothing but my full support and encouragement, and the only time I would ever call anyone out would be if they did something deliberately to hurt me or anyone I love. And I never call anyone a hypocrite or an Uncle Tom egregiously, but if that's what you represent then that's what the fuck you are - case closed.

Mary Cheney is not a hypocrite, she hasnt taken a public stance and then acted in a contrary way to the way she spoke. Maybe her participation in the republican party and her dads political race is because... I dont know... she loves her dad.
I love my Dad too, even when I think he's 100% in the wrong. I even post examples of it, as evidenced here and here with my brothers. I hold everyone equally to the same standard of human decency, I am a liberal afterall. I believe that there is fair and there is unfair and that sometimes the choices you have to make to be on the side of fairness are difficult - but no matter how difficult, they are worth it. Matter of fact, it is a given and there is no question - you always stay on the side of fairness, regardless what it costs you. I don't know how to live any other way, and no matter what choice anyone else decides to make I will not ever be complacent.


No matter what you or anyone else thinks of me and my convictions, I'll die before I let anyone shit on me or try and victimize me ever again. I know what it's like to get my ass kicked so I have no fear of that - there's nothing anyone will ever do that will intimidate me enough to tuck tail and run. I don't really care what anyone thinks of me or how I live, I'm generally too busy living to bother - but I can guarantee you this, the day anyone tries to go toe to toe with me on issues of fairness, justice, and equality, they'd better be ready for me. I've spent more than half a lifetime on this stuff, and I'm not giving in anytime soon. If I'm lucky, someone not unlike Mary Cheney will be directed to this post, or some closeted, fearful young gay/lesbian/bi/transgendered teenager - they'll read this and decide for themselves that the entire world can kiss their asses, because they're going to live and be unafraid and unapologetic for it - they'll live without guilt, shame, and fear imposed on them by heterosexual assholes. They'll live with or without acceptance and respect from anyone but themselves, because that's more than enough. Mary Cheney won't set that example or standard, but I sure as fuck will.
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