Skip to main content

For those of us who took courses in college studying oppressed social groups or gender studies you might remember the professor standing at the front of the class trying to explain that there was a connection between sexism and homophobia.

There are gay men, some of them progressive, who are not entirely comfortable with that line of thinking. The protest against that line of thinking usually emanates from an insecurity with gay male masculinity. If sexism and gender issues are also a gay male issues then aren't we conceding ground on the fight for gay male masculinity?

Anyone who has read my diaries know that I am not too enthusiastic about the trait of masculinity in the first place, and I reject its privilege in our society. So, clearly I don't believe that interpretations of homophobia as an extension of sexism are any kind of threat. In fact, I think it clarifies the matter. Follow me below the Great Orange Squiggly for further discussion.

Usually the connection between homophobia to sexism goes in this direction: hostility towards women is expressed towards men who are perceived as relinquishing their manhood through homosexual behavior and identification. But what if that construction is reversed. What if now we see hostility towards gay men being expressed towards women who seek their liberation from male control and dominance? What if the war on gays through countless ballot initiatives is really a proxy war against women?

Now pardon me for discussing this through a gay male lens. I've pointed out in another diary that the political fight against gay rights has been predominantly waged through perceptions about gay male behavior: proposals to protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment opportunities have been fought by the radical right through scary messages and insinuations about a purported threat of gay men and their sexual behaviors and supposed (and disproved) connection between gay men and pedophilia. The fight to maintain the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was largely waged through a campaign of fear about gay men raping straight soldiers in the showers. The fight to maintain unequal marriage laws has been waged on purported gay male promiscuity. It is gay male unworthiness that has been the impetus for most anti-gay policies and laws.

But there is another reason that I discuss this from a gay male point of view: that it is gay men who are least likely to fully comprehend the nexus of misogyny and homophobia. What I intend to do in this diary is to show that the war on gays (particularly gay male behavior) is, once and for all, a proxy war on women and female behavior. But the relationship between the conditions of women and gay men aren't simply negative, it's positive as well.

One of the reasons Rick Santorum seems like such an oddball today is because of the success of the gay rights movement. I don't think that Rick Santorum and the radical right understands just how successful that the gay rights movement has been. I don't think they understand that their success in California and Prop 8 was merely a pyrrhic victory. And I think that's why they felt emboldened to expand their cultural war to any extreme. Before we go further, let's re-tell the story of Prop 8 and its aftermath.

Prop 8 was seen by the right not merely as referendum battle in a single state. Because Prop 8 was in "liberal" California they saw it as means to kill the marriage equality movement nationally. If they could win in California, they figured they could crush the move towards marriage equality. If even "liberal" California rejected marriage equality it would send a message that, without doubt, marriage equality was clearly too radical for anyone anywhere in the United States. If marriage equality was rejected by California hippies then clearly the battle to deny gay people their rights would be won.

So, the radical right spent millions of dollars in California to pass Proposition 8 and enshrine discrimination in the California Constitution. They ran a campaign filled with vicious homophobic insinuation and innuendo not unlike the campaigns described above. According to them, gays were going to teach your children homosexuality if Prop 8 failed.

On November 4, 2008 as much of the country, and indeed the world, celebrated the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States, making him the first African-American President in the country's history, LGBT people in California were dealt a devastating blow to their civil rights: Proposition 8, an amendment to California's constitution to ban equal marriage passed. While bad news for LGBT people , the radical right celebrated. They clearly won this battle.

But what they didn't expect was that Prop 8's passage would create a backlash across the country. Gay rights activist mobilized like they hadn't since the AIDS crisis in the late 80s and early 90s. Boycotts and protests ensued. People who were silent about their support went public. New media campaigns took off. Prop 8 didn't have the effect of marginalizing the marriage equality movement. Instead, Prop 8 became a rallying cry. It became motivation.

The gay rights movement became more confrontational, and people who were on the fence felt impelled to pick a side. Since Prop 8's passage, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland, Washington, and the District of Columbia have all granted marriage equality rights, and New Jersey's legislature passed marriage equality, although that effort ran into the veto pen of Governor Chris Christie. Today, polls show that, in the very least, a plurality of Americans support marriage equality, and opposition to marriage equality has declined.

But the lesson that the radical right has taken on the expansion of marriage equality in the US is that these states are aberrations. They believe that they are winning their culture war, and now they expanded it with laws aimed to humiliate women who seek abortions, and efforts through so-called "personhood" laws to end contraception. And every Republican presidential candidate has signed pledges to continue these efforts on the federal level. And Republicans in Congress recently attempted to amend healthcare law to allow employers to deny contraception to women.

Many people are trying to figure out "how we got here?" Why are we talking about contraception in the 21st century? Since 82% of women use contraception, why would the radical right take on this issue? If you see the war on LGBT people as a proxy war for the war on women, then suddenly it all makes sense.

It makes sense if you understand homophobia as an extension of misogyny. Why is there such a focus on the sex lives of gay men? If homophobia against males is the hostility towards men who are seen as relinquishing their manhood and male status, then we would expect that the sex lives of gay men to be exploited for political gain and social shame much the way the sex lives of women are exploited for political gain and social shame.

But what if the marriage equality fight was a proxy war for a fight against contraception? The slut-shaming of gay men is a central theme in the radical right's assault on marriage equality efforts. One of the key right wing arguments against marriage equality is that same sex relations don't result in procreation. You see? Sex without procreation is slutty. Marital relations without procreation are inauthentic. Those of us who support marriage equality usually mock those arguments "well if you ban gay marriage on those grounds then you'd have to ban all these other marriages." Why? Because that's what logically follows. If marital and sexual relations are only legitimate when the aim is procreation --- Do you see that? It's tautological: banning relations that aren't procreative leads to a ban on relations that aren't procreative. Therefore, contraception must be made illegal.

While the same argument applies to lesbian relationships, there's a reason the right has largely exploited gay male sexual behavior for political gain instead of lesbian sexual behavior. And that's because homophobia against gay men is rooted in misogyny (whereas lesbians are already covered by regular misogyny). Gay men are seen as relinquishing male status. In that sense gay men, even the butchest of gay men, become a proxy in the misogynistic mind for women.

In this sense, we aren't simply in a war against LGBT people or a war against women. What we are in is a war against non-procreative sexuality. Gay male promiscuity must be highlighted by the right, because THAT promiscuity is what happens when you don't have the "consequence" of procreation. To the extent that gay males are a proxy for women then pointing out the supposed promiscuity of gay men shows the "dangers" to society when women are free of procreative "consequences" of sex. What will happen is that women will become sluts, and that ultimately means that straight males have less control of them.

In this sense, Prop 8, and the ballot initiatives before them were both proxy and prequel to the current war on women. It was the logical extension of a fight based on delegitimizing the relations of people who can't procreate. But here's the good news: it's clear now that Prop 8 was pyrrhic victory for the radical right and they simply haven't realized that. Just as support is growing for marriage equality across the country, so we see that the radical right's attacks on women is leading to a vicious but well-deserved backlash against their leaders on the campaign trail and on talk radio.

11:42 AM PT: Thanks to Angry Gays and LGBT Kos Community for the Republish

5:33 PM PT: Thanks to Community Spotlight for the republish.

Originally posted to RfrancisR on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 10:32 AM PST.

Also republished by Angry Gays, LGBT Kos Community, Sluts, and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  See also todays "This is War" diary (12+ / 0-)

    Why does the war still have to be fought?  Well, it only takes on side to start a fight.

    •  I left the comments last night (10+ / 0-)

      to read this and though I haven't finished it yet, I can say kudos--it's compelling. The author tells how lesbian-baiting occurs in the world of battered women and is directed both at the battered women by their batterers as well as at the workers and battered women organizations. If there is ever an issue exemplifying the extremes of male dominance the battering of women is it. To accuse a battered woman who wants to resist of not being a real woman or of being a dyke; to accuse an organization defending and protecting such women as driven by lesbian issues is absolutely to equate the issue of homophobia with sexism. And that is what happens.

      Thanks rserven for the link and thanks to the diarist for a thought-provoking piece.

      Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. Marx

      by Marihilda on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:19:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gay People Are Born Through Procreation: (12+ / 0-)

    That is the insanity of Homophobia.  Oh, wait, I forgot, they're the "Spawn of Satan!"

  •  I've thought about that connection (24+ / 0-)

    For a long time.  I once had a guy in authority say to me, "Why would any guy want to become a broad?".    I was just dumbstruck.

    I do not like thee, Doctor Fell, The reason why I cannot tell; But this I know, and know full well, I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

    by opinionated on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 11:02:26 AM PST

    •  And yet... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RfrancisR, fumie, sb, Chi

      Many hetero men enjoy anal penetration.  The "how-to" video for hetero couples "Bend Over, Boyfriend" is a bestseller.

      (That sound you are hearing is a paradigm being shifted at Warp Factor Infinity using no clutch.)

      by homogenius on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:15:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is all interconnected....I was (10+ / 0-)

      on active duty in the Navy when Clinton proposed ending the ban on gays in the military.  I was totally stunned by the gross overreaction by most of my male colleagues.  Their horror at the idea seemed to mostly stem from the idea that another man might live in close proximity/share a shower/see them naked....and get sexually aroused.  I remember saying to one of what?  as long as you don't act on it, what's the big deal?  Women deal with this all the time.

      And that's when it hit me...yes, women deal with unwanted and/or unsolicited sexual attraction and overtures from men all the time....and that's why these guys hated the idea so much.  They saw it as making  them like a put them on the same footing in matters of sexual advances... and they couldn't deal with that because deep down, in places most of them wouldn't even admit, they internalized the idea that women are inferior to men.  To be made 'like a girl' in any way was something that could never be tolerated. Misogyny is deeply ingrained in our culture....boys use 'girl' and 'pussy' as insults to one another from an early age.  And this mysogyny gives rise to homophobia because LGBT people step outside the prescribed  gender roles and become a 'threat' to certain hetero men's self-perceived masculinity.

      However, some of the most misogynistic men I have every know were themselves gay.  I sometimes wonder if these guys were just lashing out at being told all their lives that they were 'abnormal' for not liking really hating women.

      "Going to church does not make us Christians any more than stepping into our garage makes us a car." --Rev R. Neville

      by catleigh on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:30:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another possibility (0+ / 0-)

      To het men, the gay man's "wanting to become a broad" and being doomed to always fail at it, a core aspect of their being, is off-putting and pathetic. Straight men who like women could see gay men who seem to mimic feminine behavior as wasting much of their lives on a useless effort. It's not so much "Why would a guy want to be a broad?" as "Why would a guy want to be a guy who wants to be a broad and can't be one?". Not necessarily misogynistic.

  •  "... Binding with briars my joys and desires." (9+ / 0-)

    William Blake (from The Garden of Love)

    Not gay, but I totally get what you're saying.  

    It's fear of joy.

  •  Brilliant! (16+ / 0-)

    Tipped, recced, and republished to the groups where I have control over the queue.  Gay liberation at its foundation in the late 1960s owed quite a bit to the theoretical platform of the women's movement, which was just getting off the ground itself,  so this brings our understanding of this link full circle.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 11:26:57 AM PST

  •  Very, very interesting analysis. (14+ / 0-)

    Thank you for delving into the weird world of mysogny and homophobia.  Now I'm going to have another cup of coffee and reread this.

  •  I find this premise very plausible (23+ / 0-)

    Here's another thought along the same lines to throw out there, something that came up in a conversation with my wife recently.

    There is a segment of the male population that enables rape by believing or purporting to believe that men can't control their sexuality (so it is somehow the victim's fault when it happens)

    If you have this belief honestly, then some of the really stupid stuff said about mixed genders or gays in the military follows.

    1.  If men can't control their sexuality, than you should expect women to be raped if they join the military
    2.  If men can't control their sexuality, gay men in the military will be raping straight men

    So again - an issue tied normally to a "woman issue" problem ties directly to a major "anti-gay" issue.

    I suspect there is near 100% overlap between those who want to control women and those who want to eliminate homosexuality from society.   The basic foundations of how they see the world are threatened equally by both free,strong women and open homosexuality.

    •  This whole men can't control thing... (10+ / 0-)

      especially in the military… hasn't it always been standard practice to rape women of the opposing side, and sometimes the defeated male warriors too?

      I find myself wondering if the crap they were saying about military rape wasn't formulated in the knowledge of the dirty ways sex gets used in war.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 07:23:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember malleus maleficarum? (12+ / 0-)

      I agree.

      In 1487, women were witches because they caused uncontrollable lust in men.  Women since Eve were keeping men from going to heaven because of doing the Devil's work: “all witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable.”  

      This is an old idea. Christianity has been trying to keep a lid on fornicators for a long time.   I don't know why they think men cannot be responsible for their own sexuality.  

      •  It seems like that idea (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Carol in San Antonio, fumie, sb, Cordyc

        is common in at least the extremist version of Christianity, Islam and Judaism -- women must be covered, kept away from men until married, etc. The first time I encountered that was as a little girl in Catholic school when I was told I couldn't wear patent leather shoes because they would reflect what was under my skirt. I remember thinking, "So what?" It took me a few more years to realize there was just too much BS associated with the church for me to stick with it. Great diary, RFrancisR, I think you're on to something here.

        "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." Anais Nin

        by SuWho on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:25:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Plausible and going even further... (0+ / 0-)

      I rather suspect that there are men who don't argue that they cannot control their sexuality, as in wanting sex - I suspect that what they really believe is that they shouldn't have to control wanting sex.

      That they should be able to have sex whenever they want with whoever they want because they live in the smug certainty that they are the be-all and end-all of all creation and as such shouldn't be denied.

      That sounds rather extreme and I don't actually think that this would be many men but probably quite a few more than I would like to believe.

      I would like to be wrong and that this kind of supremacy thinking is held by only a tiny minority of people, and preferably by no-one at all obviously. If someone can't respect others then why would they deserve any respect themselves?

  •  Recc'd and tipped. (11+ / 0-)

    I find the "psychology" behind gender discussions fascinating.

    I do take some issue with your premise of homophobia as a reaction to "relinquishing masculinity":  I can't say I disagree...perhaps I view it as incomplete?

    My eldest daughter and I were discussing related issues, yesterday.

    In some sense, I find the homophobic reaction to gay males as more of something rooted in fear; fear of the "sexual aggression" long associated with the role of the masculine in sexual relations.

    The fight to maintain the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was largely waged through a campaign of fear about gay men raping straight soldiers in the showers. The fight to maintain unequal marriage laws has been waged on purported gay male promiscuity. It is gay male unworthiness that has been the impetus for most anti-gay policies and laws.
    That's fear; fear of sexual aggression.  Fear that the stereotypical attributes of masculinity aren't forsaken and instead, practiced not "against" women, but "against" straight males...who then could become subject to their own practices...

    What I cannot wrap my head around is the homophobic reaction to "gay male promiscuity?"  If gay men are supposedly so promiscuous, dallying about with each other and not a care in the homophobes hate them because they're, essentially, jealous of the sexual freedom?

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 12:22:25 PM PST

    •  jealous & envious? (7+ / 0-)

      This is a question gay men have pondered many times. Are the haters angry at gays because gays seem to get sex so easy - whereas women, holders of the key to straight satisfaction make straight men pay & pay & pay just to get a little? The haters rant & rave out of envy & jealousy?

      One of the tenets of the anti-gay ideology is that homosexuality is a choice - thus the haters themselves could choose to get all that easy sex? In order to hold themselves back they must demonize the gay, make the gay choice so socially risky that the haters can't choose it themselves ... This seems to be the case, actually, with many a deeply closeted homophobe. Their opposition to glbt civil rights may stem from self-hatred; so long as no one can choose to be gay (choose easy, consequence-free sex?) then the closeted self-hater is safe from his own authentic self.

      This is all very weird. Internally inconsistent. Hypocritical. Very Republican?

    •  I've always thought that the complaints of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marjmar, commonmass, catleigh

      gay male promiscuity emanated from a place of jealousy on the part of heterosexual male homophobes.

    •  "who then could become subject to their own (10+ / 0-)


      This is what I am talking about above. There was a book I read about the Haitian uprising years ago which talked about how brutal the slave owners were, and how their horror of what the freed slaves would do to them was a direct result of the suppressed shame and guilt of the monstrosities they themselves engaged in.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 07:26:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, that's it then, isn't it. (7+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RfrancisR, Renee, nzanne, maf1029, commonmass, SuWho, sb

        RfrancisR has offered that homophobia and sexism go hand-n-hand; that homophobia is expressed towards men for "relinquishing their manhood."

        I think perhaps instead of the hate reaction being born out of disrespect for said "relinquishing"...the hate is a fear reaction and an insistence that said "manhood" be relinquished.  That gay men must be cast in(to) the less powerful gender space occupied by women.

        In this way, the straight male haters can (try) to retain the power role; the role of sexual aggressor.

        For women haters, the alleged promiscuity of gay men confronts the "good girls don't" directive most women are raised to adhere to.  Additionally, promiscuous gay men may also be perceived as presenting a challenge to the one "power" women have long held, that of sexual gate-keeper/activity regulator.

        LuvSet noted the belief that being gay is viewed as a "lifestyle choice" making the (presumed) choice to upend the gender-rules-of-being and present a challenge to the respective powers of "stereotypical" gender roles...

        Well, that's scary for the narrow and weak minded.

        Renee, thank you for helping me think through this.  Your comment was clarifying.

        "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

        by Marjmar on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 07:49:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, the "lifestyle choice" thing, I think came (7+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Marjmar, nzanne, maf1029, commonmass, catleigh, SuWho, sb

          out of a desire by "Christians" to be able to love the sinner and hate the sin. It came from our taunts of them being haters which stung.

          I agree with what you see, but I also think that this is the patriarchy at work in that there is a loathing of gay males giving up privilege. I've always seen that there is a tie between the distain towards gay men and towards women. And in my experience gay men get lots more hostility directed at them than lesbians.

          Poverty = politics.

          by Renee on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 08:30:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed. (6+ / 0-)

            But what of the nearly universal straight male response to the question of "What is the turn on about lesbians?" (And there is, undoubtedly) - they reply (almost universally, because I've "asked around" for 25+ yrs) "They need me."

            And I'm not kidding; that exact three word response is #1, far ahead of all others...

            And, I'm left scratching my head over that one...

            All I can figure is that answer is as unvarnished a primal lizard brained response from a straight male as you're likely to get.  But that doesn't mean I understand it.

            "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

            by Marjmar on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 08:47:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Because they can't see women as having (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Marjmar, dskoe, catleigh, Nina Katarina, sb, Chi

              our own agency. We are seen as … (a little anger here) receptacles. Also until recently our entire country defined glbt folk as solely our sexuality. Even now, the "Christian" right wants to pretend that if you are glb and you don't "act on it" then you aren't glb any more.

              So lesbians are just regarded as being for the satisfaction of these jerks.

              Poverty = politics.

              by Renee on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 09:07:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I've long assumed (13+ / 0-)

      straight men who fear homosexuals do so because they are afraid gay men will treat them the way the straight men treat women.

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 08:16:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The saddest thing is that Betty Friedan (24+ / 0-)

    (whose book The Feminist Mystique gave birth to my generation's wave of feminism) refused to see that gay rights and women's rights were  sides of the same coin. She urged straight women to avoid linking gay rights to women's rights (though last time I looked, lesbians are female) and referred to supporting gay women as "the lavender herring."  She was wrong then, and those with that PoV are wrong now. Because it's all inter-connected. The men who despise gay men also have problems with any women's issue and any woman who dares to differentiate herself from June Cleaver (who was actually a divorced single Mom in Real Life, as she pointed out many times--she didn't have time to do much vacuuming at home, let alone in pearls and heels).

    I firmly believe there are no hard and fast gender roles , other than those that are biological. Men can't give birth or carry a pregnancy to term. Women can't donate sperm at a sperm bank.  Other than that? If you can do it, you should be able to do so, whether it's welding or fan dancing.

    I had a really good friend in NYC who was mildly bisexual, msotly preferrign men.  She was a bicycle messenger, and a very curvy, striking woman. SHe played down her femininity t work, strapping down her breasts (38C), hiding her mane of curly red hair under a John Lennon cap, and wearing baggy men's clothes. She looked like a slightly pudgy guy. But I've seen her when the cap came off, the hair came down, and she wore clothes that showed off her body--and she was gorgeous. On the job she was butch. And she was proud of her physical strength--she could out-lift most men under 5'8"who weren't pro bodybuilders--and her ability to ride a bike. Does that make her less female than another friend who always dressed in feminine clothes and wore make-up and who could out-cuss a NYC cabbie and a Marine without breaking a sweat and who could order Chuck Yeager (the test pilot from The Right Stuff) to sit down and shut up and him do it? Who's the real woman? I say both.

    Same with men. My husband is a retired Navy Vet. Been in combat, and cusses like a sailor too.  When we went to goth and fetish events, he wore velvet an brocade 18th and 19th century coats, ruffled shirts and either leather pants or velvet leggings and thigh-high boots. Sometimes he wore eyeliner and lipstick. He danced with the guy who ran our performance troop, a deliciously gorgeous gay man who looked like Spike from Buffy and with our transitioning m-to-f friend.  Everyone knew we were married.  Yet rumors flew among the Neanderthals that he was gay--because he wasn't hard-edge masculine enough for soem of them,. Which I and a female friend found hysterical because this is a man who went into Kurdistan with the Marines on a Mission That Never Happened in the Clinton years, and who worked a flight deck for 6 years and who rode with biker club and still has the colors to prove it. But because he liked wearing Romantic Goth clothing, he must be gay--nothing else counted!

    Male and female exist on a wide spectrum and the sooner we admit that gender happens in our brains, not our genitalia, thigns will get better for everyone.

    I HAVE noticed that, in general, when I write women's issues diaries, I get more support from the gay Kossacks than the straight men. I think they recognize sexism is aprt of homophobia and that we're all in this together.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 02:07:50 PM PST

  •   From KO tonight--Wonderful! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RfrancisR, Alexandra Lynch, fumie, sb

    Maysoon Zayid was wonderful tonight! Her contributions are wonderful, and the fact that she has a minimal disability so irrelevant.

    Her comments on women and rights were so "right on" that I wanted to stand up and cheer.

  •  Follow the money! (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RfrancisR, Renee, maf1029, citizen dan, fumie, sb, Matt Z

    The major funder for the approval of Prop 8 were the Mormons. Who is the mysterious fund source for Romney? (Multiple choice question!)

    The long term future of anti-gay and anti-women legislation is dim; they are walking a very short plank.

    •  The Catholics also spent a lot along with some (0+ / 0-)

      Fundie groups.

      I know that Catholics are very clear that only procreative sex is OK, hence, the ban on birth control we are hearing so much about.

       For Catholic men they must not "spill the seed", meaning that leaving semen anyplace but a womans vagina is a mortal sin and must be confessed to the guy behind the curtain wearing the dress during Confession were Penance will be given.

      I don't know if Mormons ban birth control but its use is discouraged since a good Mormon woman is birthing and raising kids and obeying her husband who is her master.

      With the Fundies we have the Quiverfull movement that they also subscribe to.

      One last comment on Catholics.  Nuns have no power in the Church.  They are "allowed" to run schools and healthcare organizations but they are never part of the decision making process.

      Congressional elections have consequences!

      by Cordyc on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:43:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One quibble (18+ / 0-)

    It's not really a war on non-procreative sex; it's really a war in support of old-fashioned patriarchy.

    (Elitist, privileged men aren't really opposed to non-procreative sex that takes place between them and women who have no recourse to stand against them; they are against giving anybody else the rights and the position to stand against them.  That's why they don't really object when white male Republicans are caught having extra marital affairs, going to see prostitutes, or divorcing sick wives to marry their trophy secretaries).

    But otherwise, yes, the connections are pretty clear.  Thanks for spelling them out so deliberately.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 06:05:29 PM PST

  •  The privileged male elite (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, RfrancisR, Renee, a2nite, fumie, sb, Matt Z

    live in fear of women and gay men uniting to take over the world.

    The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

    by JenS on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 06:21:47 PM PST

  •  Agreed that homophobia and sexism are joined (20+ / 0-)

    I lived in MA when the first gay marriage fight was being fought, AND I lived about a block from the statehouse. I was having a VERY hard time understanding where the whole "gay marriage threatens straight marriage" argument was coming from--I mean, REALLY, gay marriage has nothing to do with straight marriage: were they just pulling that one out of their butt?--until I realized that their argument was that gay marriage threatened their gender roles. If you believe that marriage is a joining of two complementary gender roles, then having two people of the same gender in a marriage doesn't compute.

    Of course, understanding the argument doesn't mean I agree with it. The idea that all men and all women can somehow be forced into some preconceived roles (that coincidentally privilege men) is abhorrent to me, particularly since I have NEVER felt I fit the role women are supposed to take (subservience? Cha!) The fact that gay relationships bust open the locks and free the participants to define their OWN roles without social browbeating is a FEATURE, not a bug. If that frees straight couples to redefine their own roles, power to them. That will make everyone's lives better.

    The only people whose lives it won't make better will be conservative men who insist on an archaic view of gender roles that puts them at the head of the family/in charge/ gets their opinions and needs catered to by their subservient wives. Their whole world is threatened. And I say that's a good thing.

    •  So, right! (10+ / 0-)

      It absolutely has to do with gender roles. I have had arguments with some masculine gay men who want to hold themselves outside of this reality. They'll say "no being gay is NOT about gender roles." But what they don't understand is that anything other than male heterosexuality is seen as a challenge to traditional gender roles by homophobes.

      •  And that's what makes them bonkers (7+ / 0-)

        [Sorry, internet down last night, couldn't reply sooner.]
        The whole strong/commanding man and frail/soft/domestic woman construct is so unnatural (except for the chance  few naturally adapted to fit the construct) that everyone just busted out of it the first chance they got. Your masculine gay male friends can't even think in those terms, they're so far beyond it. Everyone nowadays (thanks feminist movement!) finds gender bipolarity to be archaic and irrelevant. It's gotten to the point where the neanderthals still clinging to their 1950s gender roles have to explain them first--and then insist that it's God's will that everyone should have to follow them. Meanwhile we all look at them with blank stares.

        As I said, I was completely baffled by the "gay marriage threatens straight marriage" argument at first, because it doesn't even make sense without that throwback understanding of gender roles.

    •  yeah, i recognized this as a straight married man (5+ / 0-)

      around 2004, when gay and lesbian couples were getting married in SF, that the right was battling against an entire left system of open, flexible gender roles, and equal marriage power relationships as much as anything else. from that point on, i have treated homophobic attacks on GBLT as deadly serious proxy attacks on me and my marriage/family. before that realization, i'd always sort of seen opposition to homophobia as garden variety liberal charity justice to help other people out, but afterwards, it hit home very personally.

      we are all in this fight together, whether we recognize it or not.

      •  That is awesome that you had that realization (0+ / 0-)

        And it's true, too. It's not enough for right-wingers for them to follow "traditional" gender roles in their own marriages. They want everyone else to have to follow them, too, or it makes theirs less valid. Sort of the democratization of truth, where the more people "vote" on your truth by believing it, the more "true" it becomes. Only problem is, they're losing the vote badly.

        I'm really happy that you saw the connection between gay rights and your own freedom to determine the course of your own marriage. That's what we're talking about!

  •  Well thought out argument. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluedust, sb

    Yea, all about Puritan Ethics against having a good time; goes clear back to the "Maypole at Merry Mount". if you are not familiar Google it. hmmm

  •  It's late. I am checking in for provocative (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RfrancisR, catleigh, SuWho, sb, Matt Z

    thoughts before I go to bed / slip off to sleep.

    What a wonderful diary, and what excellent comments. Personally, I've had my late eve brandy and shouldn't be trying to make sense, but I have to say this diary resonates with me very deeply, and I so appreciate all the comments made. Almost academic in nature, though much more useful. A delight to read and think about...and good knowledge to have moving forward.

    "I can't do it by myself. No president can. Remember: Change doesn't happen from the top. It happens because of you." B Obama, 2008

    by nzanne on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 09:13:10 PM PST

  •  Some gay activist (8+ / 0-)

    I think it was Richard Rodriguez, said the backlash against marriage equality was actually a backlash against feminism--in macho-land, you know.

    Women enjoy unprecedented economic advantages, relative to men, in recent decades. They leave bad intimate relationships in unprecedented droves. This doesn't sit well with everybody. Macho guys think, "It doesn't matter that I hit my wife; the real reason she's leaving me is these gays wanting to get married."

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 09:19:10 PM PST

  •  Well done (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, RfrancisR, sb, Matt Z

    Well done. Keep up the great work.

  •  As a good freind of mine has been saying... (11+ / 0-)

    ... since the late 90's:

    "Scratch a 'phobe, find a misogynist." -- Uncle Ward
    Excellent observation, splendid diary. :-)

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894.

    by maf1029 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 09:45:42 PM PST

  •  As a gay man, I have often argued (9+ / 0-)

    that male homosexuality is the ultimate expression of masculinity. That being said, I think there is a lot to say for the argument you lay out as this being an anti-feminist proxy war. I have never been a misogynist. Thank goodness. But I see the parallels you draw. I think you might be right.

    Just one correction: Maine passed marriage equality in 2008, the bill was signed by (former) Gov. Baldacci and the bill was recalled in a 2009 plebiscite. Good news: marriage equality is back on the ballot in November and current polls show it winning by 13 percent. Go Maine!

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

    by commonmass on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 09:49:47 PM PST

    •  I agree with you in part here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      male homosexuality can be the ultimate expression of masculinity, but I don't think the phobes and misogynist will ever see it that way.

      Also, good to see you again. After you invited me to Anglican Kossacks you said you'd send me a message explaining what I should do as a member of the group. I never got that message.

  •  interesting post (0+ / 0-)

    my wife and i have had similar conversations (among others) over the years. my theory (and it's just a theory, with no empirical data either way):

    the prejudice against gay males goes back even farther than you think, to the first bi-pedal humanoids. it's a prejudice based on a somewhat realistic pair of fears:

    1. gay males, being assumed not as masculine as straight males, would not be as able to help protect the tribe, against other tribes, or natural disaster.

    2. gay males, being not interested in sex with females, would not help contribute to the expansion of the tribe, by siring children.

    your theory about lesbians holds water here, because neither of these assumptions/fears would logically fall on them. they wouldn't be expected to defend the tribe either way, and they could always be forcibly impregnated.

    of course, as it turns out, the ancient greeks kind of put the lie to concern one, with entire army units comprised of gay males. that doesn't mean our lizard brains don't retain that primal concern.

    as well, gay males have fathered children (since probably the dawn of time), in an effort to fit in and hide their true natures.

    again, just a theory, with no empirical data to support or refute it.

    •  I'm not sure I agree. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      saluda, fumie, sb, Matt Z, Cassandra Waites

      does "not as masculine" have to do with what sexual partner one chooses?  I think any gay
      affect" we might be able to label as gay today is a cultural thing. I also doubt that early tribes paired off monogamously like we are used to, there was probably a lot of trading back and forth. And although we take it for granted that sex produces offspring, I am not sure at what point we figured this out.

      The "traditional male role" I think is more one of power. It is associated with violence and privilege. Homosexuality messes with that power structure. Two men joined together is more powerful than one man with a mate and possibly offspring. That would translate to physical strength as well as to our modern system where two men can earn more money without the encumbrances of having a wife and children. The traditional female role is subservient. It is all about control. Now women are able to work and have their own power.

      Conservatives are always about power/money, keeping it, getting more of it, being afraid of change, afraid of 'the other' taking it, talking about it etc., etc.,

  •  Beautifully written. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RfrancisR, SuWho, sb, Matt Z, Cassandra Waites

    I would add one thing about the anti-gay/misogynist movement--

    They are largely a "belief-based" culture, thus they must fit any facts to fit their ideology. Accordingly, if they are winning all these battles, they must be winning the war. The VRWNM tells them so. All their culture war leaders tell them it's a war and they're winning. This is reinforced over and over.

    They are incapable of considering any facts that contradict their worldview--not just from their opponents, but also within their own movements and, more importantly, within their own minds.  By this twisted logic, Nate Silver's analysis that support for marriage equality is increasing by 1-2% each year, even in the reddest states, is irrelevant. God is on their side and they are WINNING!!!

    (That sound you are hearing is a paradigm being shifted at Warp Factor Infinity using no clutch.)

    by homogenius on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:25:50 AM PST

    •  Agreed with so much that you've written (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sb, Cassandra Waites

      The right in this country, not just on this issue, has spent so much time lying in the name of God that their followers have become completely duped into believing falsehood after falsehood. In many ways Fox News is just a symptom of that reality more than a cause of it.

  •  Great article (5+ / 0-)

      I attended a TX protest re: defunding Women from using PP for Health screening because it also provides abortion.  Several people there were talking and handing out fliers:  Unite to End Sexism.  
       Hopefully this will become a greater part of the conversation.

  •  I like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RfrancisR, sb

    your theory.  Makes sense.  Great post.

    by jham710 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:52:04 AM PST

  •  Follow the law.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The right to contraception emerging from the SCOTUS decision in Griswold v. Connecticut was based on a constitutional right to privacy stated for the first time in case law.

    That same right to privacy was pivotal in the Lawrence v. Texas decision decriminalizing gay sex.

    So yes, they are very related subjects; women's rights are closer to gay civil rights than most people realize. Ultimately that which threatens one of us, threatens us all. If we haven't learned that from past civil rights battles we will be repeating those lessons soon enough.

    •  And of course the right wing spin has it all (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      metalgrid, Cassandra Waites

      backwards,  they claim that covering contraception will and allowing abortion will lead to a Communist China One Child type policy.

      It is the opposite.  If you let the government interfere with family planning decisions, by preventing abortions, preventing use of contraceptions, then that would also allow the government to institute a one-child policy.

      "Speak out, judge fairly, and defend the rights of oppressed and needy people." Proverbs 31:9

      by zdefender on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 03:33:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I saw Frothy say something about wanting to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      overturn the Right to Privacy in some video clip when he was asked about it.

      They know that legally they must get rid of Privacy to win their culture war.

      I think it is a good argument to use with folks who haven't really thought much about these issues one way or the other.

      Starting out with the Griswold case and BC around the privacy issue is a good intro for folks.  Once you decide you are all for Privacy as a fundamental Right the rest is a logical follow up.

      Congressional elections have consequences!

      by Cordyc on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:51:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thoughts on slut-shaming (0+ / 0-)

    I think you have a wonderfully powerful idea – that if you scratch a homophobe, you’ll find a sexist underneath. The more I think about it, the more it resonates. People who hate LGBT people often hate women, too. Here are a few thoughts about the origins of slut-shaming  – more psychological than political:

    Traditional sex roles (a societal thing). There’s a religious/societal idea that a man should be the boss in the marriage and the woman should be subservient. Traditionally, according to this view, men have a job, they take home the bacon, make the decisions… But women should have babies and cook dinner and just obey. Men run the Catholic Church (and several other churches I’m told). Men have traditionally been politicians and businessmen and physicians, etc. And if a woman wants to be independent or doesn’t want to get married, she’s called names. What happens with gay men? Either they’re called effeminate (“They act and dress and talk like women!”) or they’re seen as a threat (“A masculine gay soldier who lifts weights might rape a straight soldier!” or “What if I go in the bathroom and at the urinal I stand next to a gay guy who looks at my stuff and then he hits on me?”) For men who believe in traditional roles, feminists and gay men are threats to “the way things should be.”

    Toilet training (a psychological thing). Ten years ago I had a friend, Karl, with whom I’ve lost touch, and we both had lots of gay friends. Karl didn’t have any problems being friends with gay people. But one night when we had both had a few beers, he said to me, “I just don’t get the gay thing. I could never put my penis in another man’s poopy hole. Since I was a kid, I’ve known that’s a dirty place.” (I swear to the FSM he said “poopy hole.”) Another friend overheard this and said, “Wow, Karl. Your mom really did a number on you when she toilet trained you.” When we’re kids we’re taught that bodily fluids (spit, snot, shit, semen, menses, etc.) are disgusting and probably have germs. They’re yucky and gooey. And for some people it carries over to adulthood.

    Shame at their own desires. Sometimes the most homophobic people are closeted gay men like J. Edgar Hoover (or Republican politicians or church leaders who are gay and eventually get caught in an airport bathroom or hiring a rent-boy for a Caribbean cruise or doing meth with a prostitute in Colorado or whatever). There are straight men who get caught fooling around, too (Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich spring to mind). They hypocritically lecture their followers about men’s and women’s roles.

    The criminalization of and making rules about sex. Pretty much all teenagers want to have sex and their parents don’t want them to. So there are parental rules and lectures. Save your virginity. No masturbation or pornography. Just say no. Wait until you’re married. Be home at 10:00. You can’t go unless an adult will be there to chaperone. Promise me there will be no drinking or drugs or hanky panky. Then when the teenagers grow up and become parents, they forget what it was like to be a kid and make the same rules for their kids. Then parents get involved in eliminating sex education in the high school (don’t teach them anything except abstinence!) or they want laws to limit birth control or abortions. If your daughter gets pregnant, you send her out of town (or quietly get an abortion if you have the money). If your kid is gay, expel/excommunicate him or her from the family. And so on. The bizarre thing is that the people who want to pass laws about birth control or abortions or gay bars (or other things sexual) are the same people who complain that government regulations are bad and claim that freedom is good.

    Bullying. The idea of slut-shaming is really a form of bullying. If you’re a woman or a girl who doesn’t want to follow the traditional role of sexual relations only within a one-man-one-woman marriage, we’ll call you a slut. If you’re a gay man or a lesbian, we’ll call you a slut and maybe bash you.

    But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

    by Dbug on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:39:51 PM PST

  •  It is not so much about procreative sexuality... (0+ / 0-)

    I feel that homophobia is not so much about procreative sexuality but about fear of any "otherness".  They just can't cope, can't deal with a world that is made up of all sorts of people. They were taught that only those people are okay who are just like them. No uncertainties, everyone thinks, believes and behaves the same way. Never mind that this kind of thinking is a terrible straight jacket.

    I feel that misogyny is about control of keeping that world of sameness in check. Making sure that the straight, white men of this kind of normed thinking remain the elite - never mind that this is a fantasy and people like Rick Santorum and his ilk will get marginalised more and more with time.

    Most people realise that diversity is not the same as conflict (like Santorum said) and that the fact that people are quite different does not devalue either. (I had a couple more thoughts but it got too late)

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site