I have to admit with some shame that more often than I would care to acknowledge, my anger at stupid people gets the best of me. Instead of trying to be patient and reasonable I more often than not choose the less constructive path of angrily expressing condescending insults at people and ideas I find offensive.
I did it again yesterday. I read an article on Advocate.com about a Tennessee law-maker who seems to put a lot of time and effort into being a homophobic bigot. The fact that Tennessee has one of the highest suicide rates of LGBT teenagers in the country suggests that the kind of intolerant culture that this legislator promotes is all to prevalent in that state.
Rep. John Ragan recently sponsored a “license to bully” bill that protects violent thugs who want to verbally and physically harass LGBT people based on “religious and moral grounds.” If this isn’t reminiscent of the kind of laws the Nazis passed in the 1930’s against Jews, nothing is. A German Gentile living in the Third Reich was permitted legally to accuse a Jewish person of almost any crime imaginable without any corroborating evidence or other witnesses. My beloved grandfather, never went took the family trash down to the basement at night in the city of Mannheim where he lived with my Mom and grandmother out of fear that an anti-Semitic woman could accuse him of molestation or rape without any proof or corroboration.
If Ragan’s license to bully bill isn’t outrageous enough, consider if you will that just one day after 14-year-old Philip Parker, a gay teen in Tennessee committed suicide, Ragan, had the unmitigated chutzpah to publicly declare that gay people are “not mentally healthy adult human beings.”
Actually, he may have a point. If many LBGT people suffer from emotional instability it is not the result of their sexual orientation, it comes from years of being subjected to the hate of stupid people who need to demonize others to validate their pathetic lives.
A middle school lesbian student in Tennessee, Kristin M. Johnson, wrote a respectful reasonable letter to Ragan to object to his license to bully bill. In response, Ragan replied that homosexuality is just another bad choice that people make like: “murder, rape, overeating and prostitution.”
After reading this article, it took me all of a minute to dig up an email address for the learned legislator: firstname.lastname@example.org
I know, I could have politely told him how disappointed I was with his proposed legislation and unkind rhetoric. I could have nicely told him that as gay man myself, I understand that it can be very challenging for some people to accept that LGBT people do not choose their sexual orientation. But I was too angry. Instead, I wrote the Tennessean:
“Why do southern red-necks open their mouths and advertise to the world how incredibly simple, bigoted and foolish they are?”
If I had any remorse about lowering myself to childish name-calling, it was quickly extinguished upon reading the meandering, unbelievably inane response I got back.
Dear Mr. Gilbert,
I find it amazing that those who demand tolerance from others are so intolerant toward others.
A person is a heterosexual because of the presence of genitalia of one sex or the other. No one except a very few with an exceedingly rare congenital deformity have both kinds of genitalia.
The term, “sexual orientation” is based entirely upon “feelings” according to the American Psychological Association definition. I went to great lengths with multiple examples and illustrations to point out that “feelings” do not “control” behavior. I also went to similar lengths to point out that descriptors based upon behavior do not apply to those who may “feel,” be “oriented,” a certain way but do not engage the behavior of the applicable descriptor.
Given that everyone born without the previously mentioned birth defect is heterosexual, the defining characteristic of homosexuality (not sexual orientation) is behavior. Behavior is a choice, as I am sure you agree. Therefore, one chooses to engage in homosexual behavior or not. if one chooses not to engage in homosexual behavior, then the descriptor of that behavior is not applicable regardless how that person may “feel” or be “oriented.”
I trust this exposition has clarified the issue for you.
John D. Ragan
I’m so glad Ragan cleared all this up for the world! I now get it; I don’t know how all of us missed that obvious fact previously. Genitalia determine our sexual orientation. And all those “feelings” we have, don’t mean a darn thing.
If obvious “facts” like genitalia play such a decisive role in determining human identity, does overt stupidity indicate that someone has a pea-size brain? I stand by my original missive to Ragan.