Earlier I wrote about the fact that I am pro-nature, even though I do not buy into the whole “Carbon = bad” theory. I’ve written a fair bit on the queer community recently, in light of the politics in Alberta at this time, so one should naturally ask if I am anti-gay.
And this question is all the more pressing because there are, in fact, some individuals and groups out there that are explicitly anti-gay. And I certainly don’t want to be lumped in with them.
There’s a bit of material to go through on this subject, so pull up a chair, grab a hot beverage and settle in for some rambling thoughts.
As I describe in my previous article on being pro-nature, there seems to be a mentality going around these days that if one is not explicitly, emphatically, whole-heartedly in absolute agreement with 100% of the message proposed by a certain group of people, then one is portrayed as being 100% opposed to absolutely everything that group stands for. And often opposed to the very people in the group; a hater of humanity. As I said in that article, I’ll say again here; such a mindset is not conducive to civil discourse. We need to put an end to such thinking. I can disagree with others without hating them; in fact my disagreement with them may be inspired by a concern for their well being.
(Shameless plug – my book, Arguing with Friends, might be helpful on this matter.)
As with the nature issue, so it will be with the queer issue; I find myself sympathetic to some elements of their cause, but by no means all of it. Yet I am certainly not “anti-gay” in the same hateful sense as those groups who shall remain nameless. I have known some gay people and I feel no antipathy toward them – nor “phobia” of them – whatsoever. And yet I cannot celebrate their behaviors nor their self-understanding.
Here are some areas where I find myself broadly in agreement with the queer community.
First things first, I do not support bullying. Nobody should get picked on for any reason. That bullying still exists is another reminder that we continue to live in an imperfect world. If I discovered that my kids had been perpetrators of bullying, regardless of who the victim was (even a queer kid), I can assure you there would be some serious consequences at home.
When I read stories about a transgender person being beaten in a washroom, and thrown out of a night club, my heart sincerely goes out to them. They should not have to endure that.
Second, laws banning homosexual behavior are a bad idea. Sending people to prison because they have engaged in homosexual behavior probably isn’t going to benefit society.
And I agree that the queer community should have all the same fundamental rights as the rest of us. They should be free to own property. They can find employment in any field. They can vote and run for office. They should enjoy the total equal protection under law of their life, property and so on.
Disagreement (with explanations)
My first point of disagreement with the queer community is their active efforts to reduce bullying. I do not disagree with the attempt to reduce bullying, per se – as I described earlier – but I do disagree with inexplicably giving so much extra attention to the queer kids who get bullied.
Let’s look at some numbers. Homosexuals represent less than 2% of the population in Canada and they represent the lion’s share of the queer community. For the sake of argument let’s assume absolutely every single queer kid gets bullied in school.
Depending on how you read / interpret the stats on bullying, up to 64% of kids have been bullied at school. Other sources at the same link give numbers as low as about 11%, some around 25%; clearly there is some ambiguity in the data. Let’s pick a rough average number; let’s assume 33% of kids get bullied.
So if 100 students were selected at random, 2 of them would be gay, and let’s assume they were both bullied. A total of 33 of those kids were bullied so 31 non-gay kids were bullied for various reasons.
That would mean that homosexual-motivated bullying only accounts for 2 / 33 – or about 6% – of all bullying.
But if we agree that nobody should be bullied, why in the world is so much attention being given to such a tiny sub-segment of the bullied-kids population? I got bullied in school because I was a scrawny nerd, isn’t my bullying a problem? Obesity is another motivator for bullying, but where is the legislation against “fat-kid” bullying? What about those with disabilities such as autism? I personally know a young child who is starting to get picked on at school because they struggle socially; is their bullying any less of a tragedy simply because they don’t happen to be gay?
For some inexplicable reason homosexual bullying, though a very small statistical minority, has been propped up as the centerpiece of attention. This is both bizarre and problematic; it treats everybody else as second-class citizens whose problems aren’t nearly as important. When a fat kid gets bullied it’s a problem, sure, but when a gay kid gets bullied it’s an earth-shattering tragedy deserving of government legislation, activism, sensitivity training and thought-police at every corner. What rubbish. All bullying is wrong whether it is directed at those in the queer community or those outside that community.
People frequently point out that getting bullied causes queer kids to consider suicide. This is true, but it is not the whole truth. According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, “Any participation in bullying increases risk of suicidal ideas in youth.” In fact, according to this site, “Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims.” In other words, the suicide problem is not specific to queer kids; any kid who gets bullied (even nerds, obese kids, or those with disabilities like autism) are more likely to consider suicide.
I want to end queer bullying not because I have a special concern for queer kids, but because I care for all humans equally. I would like to see all bullying end for all kids. With this perspective in mind it makes more sense to shift the focus away from the victim of bullying and focus our attention on the perpetrators. Let’s talk about the bullies for a change. If we can get them to stop bullying “in general” then we will also effectively reduce gay-bullying “in particular.” And an approach like this does not elevate certain people to an elite class and reduce the rest of us to the status of “common folk.”
[Side note: Did you know the suicide rate for men is roughly 3 times as high as the suicide rate for women? Even given that fact you won’t find me proposing we launch some initiative to end male suicide, for the simple reason that I’d prefer to end ALL suicide.]
While I agree that laws banning homosexual behavior were not a good idea, I hope people don’t misinterpret me; I am not claiming that homosexual behavior is in some way of equal value to heterosexual behavior. Heterosexual activity is actually essential to the survival of the human race; homosexual activity frankly is not. No homosexual act has ever brought a single human life into the world. You may not like this biological fact, but then your issue is not with me, it’s with science.
Because heterosexual activity is absolutely essential to the survival of the human race – in a way that no other sexual activity possibly could be – by its very nature it is inherently superior to every sexual alternative. It confers an absolutely unique, and indescribably important, benefit to humanity that cannot be duplicated any other sexual act, even by homosexuality.
Because of this fact, I see homosexual activity as ranging somewhere between “live and let live” and “not a good idea.” At best it is tolerable and at worst it is a sub-culture to be avoided. There is a tendency to blame the non-queer community for the problems of the queer community because they don’t get the affirmation they need, but many of the problems in the queer community are strictly internal. For instance “intimate partner violence” tends to be higher in the queer community than in the heterosexual community. As one example,
Forty-four percent of lesbian women, 61% of bisexual women, and 35% of heterosexual women experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Furthermore, according to another report, bisexual women are more than twice as likely to be raped by an intimate partner compared to heterosexual women, and both lesbian and bisexual women report higher rates of physical violence by an intimate partner compared to heterosexual women.
This Domestic Violence handbook produced by Alberta Justice contorts itself into bizarre pretzels to try and downplay the problem and/or find some way of blaming it on the non-queer community (starting on page 42). It begins by claiming, “incidents of domestic violence in GLBT relationships are comparable to those experienced in heterosexual relationships” and not one paragraph later informs us, “Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are more than twice as likely as heterosexuals to experience domestic violence.” By what strange twist of logic is “twice as likely” interchangeable with “comparable?”
And yet when I’m not completely supportive of the queer community it is said that I oppose them. I am accused of hating them. Supposedly I am not concerned for their well being. My affirmation of their activity is so important to their well being that if I would just affirm them and their behavior patterns then everything would be hunky-dory. On the contrary, there is something within the queer community that is inherently unhealthy, abusive and contrary to their well being (I didn’t even talk about the STD rates) so it is my sincere concern for their well being that inspires me to NOT affirm that world.
So no, I do not consider homosexuality to be “equal” to heterosexuality. Heterosexuality propagates the species and is far less prone to violence. Relative to the straight community, the queer community simply is not a healthy community.
However, just because something is unhealthy doesn’t mean we should outlaw it. Alcohol has torn many a family apart through alcoholism and drunk driving (my aunt was killed by a drunk driver many years ago), but an outright ban on alcohol probably isn’t the most pragmatic idea. Similarly, even though homosexuality isn’t exactly good for the human body, or the human soul – in large part because that’s not what we were designed for – doesn’t necessarily mean we should ban it.
For that reason I agree that homosexuality shouldn’t be outlawed, but I disagree that it should be affirmed and celebrated. Tolerated, yes, but not much more. In other words, I completely agree with the true meaning of the word “tolerance” and I exercise that virtue to the best of my ability.
So what about their rights? In this domain of life I am mostly in agreement with them, as I said before. As I launch my business I fully intend to give any queer applicants exactly the same opportunity to work for me (if there is a job opening they are interested in and qualified for) as any other applicant. And the reason they will have equal opportunity is because, frankly, their queerness is irrelevant to the success of the business. Depending on their role in the company it seems extremely unlikely that any person’s sexuality will in any way be a significant factor in how well they do their job.
But let’s consider “gay marriage” as one of the biggest rights battles of recent times. I cannot support for the simple reason I mentioned earlier; babies come from heterosexual parents. Despite the disproportionate emphasis that has been placed on sexuality since the 1960’s, sexuality is not primarily about our personal pleasure, happiness or fulfillment. It does not preclude these, of course, but to elevate the pleasure aspect of sex above its other purposes is to have a very skewed vision of sexuality.
First and foremost, sex exists so that the next generation of humans will exist. Again, if you don’t like this go talk to a biologist.
Second, sex exists so that the biological parents of a child form a life-long, stable, bond. Sex contributes to the well being of the marriage relationship that is ultimately responsible for the nurturing of the child. Healthy marriages are more likely to produce healthy children. We need strong, healthy, marriage relationships to both physically produce kids and then raise them in a stable family.
Somewhere further down the list, sex serves the purpose of personal gratification. But that gratification cannot undermine the first or second purposes of sex.
Given the preponderance of sociological data confirming the importance of stable married relationships between the biological parents of children (this is one extremely thorough study) this “gold standard” needs to be given special care and attention by society. The more we can encourage this gold standard the better off society will be. Thus for society to implicitly or explicitly treat the alternative arrangements (be they common-law, homosexual, single-parents, etc) as though they were equal to this gold standard, will inevitably lead to an increase in mental and physical health issues, substance abuse, run-ins with the law and so forth, in tomorrows kids.
Once again, it is actually my deep and sincere concern for the well being of others – in this case the next generation – that leads me to respectfully disagree with the damaging demands of the queer community. And if they truly cared about the mental and physical health of children they, too, would support the stability and health of the marriage between the biological parents of those children.
As strange as this may seem to the “politically correct” crowd, my lack of enthusiastic support for the full range of demands from the queer movement is actually inspired in large part by of my concern for the well being of my fellow humans (queer and otherwise). The queer community experiences higher levels of intimate partner violence than the heterosexual community. What morally sane person would “celebrate” that? Children in families with their married biological parents are most likely to enjoy a healthy childhood and adulthood. What morally sane person would NOT celebrate that?
Am I anti-gay? Not at all. But I am anti-rape. I am anti-violence. I am pro-healthy-children. If a concern for the well being of my fellow humans – including those in the queer community – makes me a bad person then I will wear that label as a badge of honour. I desire to see all people live long, healthy lives, free from disease, free from abuse, and enjoying all the mental and physical health benefits that are more commonly associated with intact biological families. This is not some kind of “anti-” anything view of reality, but a fundamentally positive, hopeful vision for the human race. I wish nothing but the best for all people, and therefore I find that I can only agree with certain aspects of the queer movement. And on other issues, based on the facts of the matter and the evidence at hand, I have no choice but to respectfully disagree.
Yet I can assure you that my disagreement with the queer community will always remain respectful. You will find no hatred from me.
A little frustration, on occasion, but not hatred.