Photo courtesy of transgriot.blogspot.com
Over the past few weeks, gay rights and gay marriage have been hot topics of contention and debate in the United States. With North Carolina's recent ban same-sex marriage and Obama coming out as the first President of the United States to announce his support for gay marriage, the LGBT community has become a key political issue for the upcoming 2012 election.
Although Joe Biden jumped the gun and announced his support for gay marriage a few days before Obama's official announcement, it was inevitable that the Democrats would eventually have to take sides and out of the safe zone of tentativeness that Obama had maintained surrounding the issue. According to the New York Times, this move will have been financially lucrative for Obama in Hollywood.
As a college student in Maine, a state that repealed its gay marriage law six months after the legislature was passed in 2009, I've been exposed to varying viewpoints on homosexuality and normative terms of sexuality on a college campus. This week, Bates College is hosting Pride Week during which gay-friendly programming is shared on campus. Today, the college screened a showing of Training Views, a documentary on Rene Portland, the former Penn State basketball coach who had three rules for her team: 1. No drugs 2. No drinking 3. No lesbians.
Rene Portland, former women's basketball coach at Penn State, forbade lesbian activity among athletes. Photo courtesy of moviecritic.com.au
Views and acceptance on gay marriage and homosexuality are most definitely generational with older generations holding more conservative opinions and younger generations gravitating towards increased support for the gay rights movement. Much of my generation grew up exposed to gay marriage and couples depicted in popular media.
That's why it is sometimes a tad bit shocking to be reminded that not everyone is necessarily on the same spectrum. The other day, I stumbled upon North Carolina pastor Sean Harris' speech to a church congregation urging parents to use violence to curb their sons' 'effeminate' tendencies. In a very hateful speech full of spite, Harris says:
So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, 'Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,' you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed....Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.
Photo courtesy of tmz.com
While most people focused on Harris anti-effeminate attitudes towards young boys, I was surprised to see that there wasn't too much of an uproar on his attitudes towards young girls. He told dads to make sure that their little girls don't get "too butch" and to dress them up and perfume them "like girls" and make them objects of attraction. I'm pretty sure that it's 2012, Sean Harris. Taking femininity back to the 1900s is not what American suffragettes fought for.
Overall, what left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth was that no one in the congregation stood up to defy this man or to question his backwards and potentially harmful notions.
At least it's good to know that the administration in this country is changing.