WBEZ | gay http://www.wbez.org/tags/gay Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 'We're engaged!' http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/were-engaged-112636 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150807 Ashley Gordon Beth Howard bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Ashley Gordon and Elizabeth Howard met last year on the dating app Tinder. A few days after they started chatting, they met in person for the first time. It was a Thursday evening and they went to Buena Bar, a restaurant halfway between their two homes.</p><p><em>StoryCorps&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></p></p> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 14:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/were-engaged-112636 Transgender teenager named Prom Queen http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-teenager-named-prom-queen-111411 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150116 Reyna Ortiz A bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When he was 12, Ray Ortiz packed a blue duffel bag and prepared to leave home forever.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s just no way in hell that I&rsquo;m going to live a life that I&rsquo;m not happy with,&rdquo; Ortiz remembers thinking.</p><p>&ldquo;At the time I didn&rsquo;t know what transgender was,&rdquo; Ortiz says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. Kids at school called him &ldquo;Gay Ray,&rdquo; so he assumed that he was gay.</p><p>He wrote his mom a letter saying &ldquo;not only was I gay, but that I wanted to be a girl.&rdquo;<br />She was supportive and gradually Ray transitioned to living life as a female, going by the name Reyna and using female pronouns. &ldquo;I just made a mental decision like: I&rsquo;m going to do what I want. And I don&rsquo;t care what anybody else has to say.&rdquo;</p><p>Ortiz has three brothers, one older and two younger. And they provided a lot of support when it came time for her to attend Morton East High School in Cicero.</p><p>Other students were &ldquo;horrendous,&rdquo; Reyna said. She told her older brother and she says he went to her high school, into her classroom and confronted her bully. She says kids never bothered her again.</p><p>Ortiz became friends with the most beautiful girls in school. &ldquo;And they were willing to fight and slap somebody if they disrespected me,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But eventually people just got used to me. By my junior year, I can honestly say, I ruled that school.&rdquo;</p><p>Emmanuel&nbsp;Garcia was a sophomore at Morton East when Ortiz was a senior. Garcia was struggling to come to terms with his identity as a gay Latino man. &ldquo;Seeing someone who was so open and out with their gender identity, it was intimidating,&rdquo; Garcia said in an interview recently. &ldquo;She carried herself so fearlessly.&rdquo;</p><p>During Reyna&rsquo;s senior year, she was nominated for Prom Queen. She went without a date, and sat by herself when the court was announced.</p><p>Then, they announced the winner: &ldquo;&rsquo;And the winner of Prom Queen of 1998 - Ray Ortiz.&rsquo; And I just remember everybody coming to the stage. When I turned around it was just flashing lights and paparazzi. Pictures everywhere and people applauding.&ldquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We always hear that the Latino community is full of machismo and we never hear about a community embracing their own,&rdquo; Garcia said. &ldquo;To have this person kind of pioneer sexuality and gender identity in 1998 was unheard of.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 08:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-teenager-named-prom-queen-111411 HIV diagnosis leads two friends down different paths http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/hiv-diagnosis-leads-two-friends-down-different-paths-110823 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps-140919-Mark-Rick-bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;Drug addiction is really exhausting,&rdquo; Mark S. King says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, recorded at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago&rsquo;s Loop, in conjunction with the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association&rsquo;s annual convention. &ldquo;I was here in this very hotel maybe eight years ago, and was in a room upstairs for five days and never left my room.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Why&rsquo;s that?&rdquo; his friend Rick Guasco asks him.</p><p>&ldquo;Because I had a crystal meth pipe in my mouth and was smoking and injecting crystal meth for five days.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s kind of surprising to hear you say that,&rdquo; Guasco says. &ldquo;So how did you fall into it?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What happened to me&hellip;It was about 1996 and we had just gone through 15 years of pure hell in the gay community, with AIDS. And I had certainly seen that. I had lived through the &lsquo;80s as an HIV-positive person in West Hollywood. And in 1996, at long last, we had these medications that came out&hellip;and for the first time almost since the crisis began the dying seemed to almost stop in its tracks.</p><p>&ldquo;And It was kind of at that nexus of new medications beginning and gay men looking for a reason to celebrate. And it wasn&rsquo;t long until crystal meth started creeping into that equation, creeping into our community.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s where drug addiction takes you: It makes your world very, very small. You keep shutting out everything else and you&rsquo;re left in a small room, in a hotel room, with you and the drugs and nothing else.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Those of us who have lived with HIV for a longtime&hellip;We came out of it one or two ways: Either we came out of it with a strong sense of empathy and sadness and wanting to do our best to help and understand. Or you come out of it with a real sense of judgment and bitterness, as if this is a new phenomenon amongst young people.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I do feel a little sad and scared for younger gay men. I&rsquo;m not judgmental. I worry for them,&rdquo; Guasco says. &ldquo;I had developed Kaposi&rsquo;s Sarcoma&hellip;the spots. And there were more of them on my legs, and I started to get nervous, worried. And I fell into the sense of denial. The first spot came in May. I didn&rsquo;t get tested until December. And a week before Christmas that year, I found out that yes, indeed, I was HIV-positive.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We have two HIV warhorses here,&rdquo; King says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re learning as we go along. And that&rsquo;s what I try to keep in mind when we are speaking to other gay men, young or old, about how best to get a handle on this epidemic.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/hiv-diagnosis-leads-two-friends-down-different-paths-110823 Gay journalist battles Boy Scouts in court for 18 years http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/gay-journalist-battles-boy-scouts-court-18-years-110793 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 140905 Noel Tim bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Growing up in Berkeley, California in the 1970s, Tim Curran loved camping. When his best friend joined the Boy Scouts, Curran signed up too. He rose up through the ranks, achieving scouting&rsquo;s highest honor, Eagle Scout, during high school.</p><p>Curran, who is gay, came out when he was a teenager. His troop was supportive of him. But after his senior year, he was featured in a newspaper story with his prom date, who was also male. And the newspaper found its way into the hands of some higher-ups within the Boy Scouts, who decided to take action against Curran.</p><p>These days Curran works as a journalist with CNN, but three decades ago, he found himself in a very different position, as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America. Curran was in Chicago recently for a convention of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association, when he stopped by the StoryCorps booth with his partner, Noel Parks.</p><p>Curran was a freshman at UCLA, when he got a letter at his dorm. &ldquo;I opened it up and it was from the council executive, the head guy of the local scout council, the Mt. Diablo Council. And it said, &lsquo;Your application to attend the national jamboree is rejected. And we need to have a conversation about your future participation with scouting.&rsquo;</p><p>So I called the council executive from my dorm room and I said does this have something to do with the article in the [Oakland] Tribune? Does this have something to do with the fact that I&rsquo;m gay?&rdquo;</p><p>And he sort of hemmed and hawed and said &ldquo;Well, yes, and we can talk about it at Thanksgiving.&rdquo;</p><p>So that&rsquo;s what happened. My mother and my stepfather [and my troop leader] and I met with this council executive guy over Thanksgiving vacation and we had this lengthy conversation the gist of which was, &ldquo;Do you still espouse homosexuality?&rdquo; And I said: &ldquo;If by that are you asking whether I&rsquo;m still gay, the answer is yes.&rdquo;</p><p>And he said, &ldquo;Scouting does not believe that you have the moral qualifications to be a leader. And so we are revoking your registration in scouting, we&rsquo;re revoking your registration in your troop.&rdquo; And he said knowing that my troop knew that I was gay and was perfectly happy to have me. So that was the end of that.</p><p>I just remember shaking with anger at the injustice of it, but also sort of impotent to do anything about it. But also knowing that you&rsquo;re talking with this guy, it&rsquo;s a civilized conversation and you just have to keep cool and act like a scout would act.</p><p>And so in April of 1981, we filed suit against the Boy Scouts of America. We meaning myself and the ACLU of Southern California.<br />It was a trial with testimony, and both sides, my friends in scouting getting on the stand and me getting on the stand, and the council executive, all testifying.</p><p>And the judge at the trial ruled against us, so we appealed. And 18 years almost to the day after we filed that suit, I lost.</p><p>But I have to say that I think it&rsquo;s very much made me a better journalist.</p><p>Because unlike nearly all of the people I&rsquo;ve ever worked with in journalism, I know what it&rsquo;s like to be on the other side of the mic.<br />I volunteered for that. But it has very much informed the way that I treat others and the way that I concern myself with accuracy. Because I heard my story misreported a million times, and knew how the little details could be gotten wrong. And so I really struggled &ndash; much to the annoyance of my editors - to get those details, the nuances right, even though sometimes it takes more time to tell a story that way.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/gay-journalist-battles-boy-scouts-court-18-years-110793 Life in Northwest Indiana's steel closet http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/life-northwest-indianas-steel-closet-110264 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/steel.PNG" style="height: 470px; width: 325px; float: left;" title="" />As Illinois gears up for its first legal same-sex marriages, across the border in Indiana gay marriage is still officially banned.</p><p>Hoosiers say attitudes there are starting to soften, but some workplaces are still more closeted than others.</p><p>A new book reveals a little-known community of LGBT steelworkers who punch in every day at Northwest Indiana&rsquo;s huge steel mills.</p><p>&ldquo;Steel Closets&rdquo; by the author <a href="http://www.annebalay.com/" target="_blank">Anne Balay</a>, documents life in the macho environment of the steel mills where LGBT workers face discrimination and are often afraid to report it to the union.</p><p>Balay, a former English professor at Indiana University Northwest in Gary and the University of Illinois at Chicago, spent five years interviewing some 40 current and former steelworkers for her book.</p><p>She and retired lesbian steelworker Jan Gentry joined WBEZ&rsquo;s Michael Puente at our Crown Point bureau.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/life-northwest-indianas-steel-closet-110264 Morning Shift: Are private schools tipping the scales of educational equality? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-05/morning-shift-are-private-schools-tipping-scales <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Private School - Flickr - Chicago Architecture Today.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We discuss whether or not the private school system is impeding the progression of public schools by providing an alternative to fixing them. And we talk about the Chicago Fire and how their management, or lack thereof, may be sinking an already losing team.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-58/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-58.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-58" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Are private schools tipping the scales of educational equality?" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 08:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-05/morning-shift-are-private-schools-tipping-scales Gay advocacy group wants Chicago to suspend sister city program with Moscow http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-advocacy-group-wants-chicago-suspend-sister-city-program-moscow-108236 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Moscow Sister City_130731.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>LGBT advocacy group Equality Illinois wants Chicago to suspend its sister city program with the Russian capital of Moscow.</p><p>The <a href="http://chicagosistercities.com/sister-cities/moscow/">program</a> organizes local events, such as the Russia Day celebrations and the Russian-American Business Forum, to help strengthen cultural and commercial ties between the two cities.</p><p>Russia recently passed a law that bans people from holding gay pride rallies and informing minors about the LGBT community.</p><p>Equality Illinois also calls for Illinoisans to cancel business dealings with or travel plans to the eastern European country.</p><p>Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov says some local businesses have already stopped selling Russian products.</p><p>&ldquo;We live in a city that is very conscious of treating everyone with equal dignity and respect, and by us partnering with Moscow, a city that&rsquo;s... the opposite of where Chicago stands, I think we&rsquo;re going to send a strong message by saying that enough is enough.&rdquo; Cherkasov said.</p><p>Chicago Sister Cities International says they must continue the program so LGBT Russians might still feel welcome here. A statement from the organization also noted that it&rsquo;s important to keep the lines of communication open.</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/jclee89">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 30 Jul 2013 17:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-advocacy-group-wants-chicago-suspend-sister-city-program-moscow-108236 Morning Shift: Revamping Lake Shore Drive http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-30/morning-shift-revamping-lake-shore-drive-108220 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/LSD-Flickr- guanacux.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The city is planning to revamp Lake Shore Drive to make it more accommodating to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. What will this mean for your commute? How would you change Lake Shore Drive?</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-31.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-31" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Revamping Lake Shore Drive" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 30 Jul 2013 08:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-30/morning-shift-revamping-lake-shore-drive-108220 Construction begins on Midwest’s first affordable housing for LGBTQ seniors http://www.wbez.org/news/construction-begins-midwest%E2%80%99s-first-affordable-housing-lgbtq-seniors-107501 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/photo (1)(1).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Construction vehicles knocked down walls at a building in Lakeview Monday to prepare for what will soon become the region&rsquo;s first LGBTQ-friendly senior affordable housing development.</p><p>The $26 million dollar development will occupy a part of the old 23rd district Town Hall police station on Halsted and Addison streets, as well as the now-vacant space next to it. The building will be home to 79 studio and one-bedroom apartments, as well as a space for community programming run by <a href="http://www.centeronhalsted.org/" target="_blank">The Center on Halsted</a>.</p><p>The development has been in the works for a while. By Lakeview Ald. Tom Tunney&rsquo;s count, he&rsquo;s been working on the issue for at least 10 years. Tunney, one of the first openly gay Chicago aldermen, says the work won&rsquo;t stop once the center opens.</p><p>&ldquo;The selection process is going to be interesting because the demand is gonna be amazing,&rdquo; Tunney said. &ldquo;And getting it open and learning in general how to integrate the community center with the housing component, I think there&rsquo;s gonna be a few challenges there.&rdquo;</p><p>Some Chicagoans have already voiced interest in living in the building. Tom Genley said the senior center would be a safe zone, and thus he was eyeing one of the apartments.</p><p>&ldquo;Here, because I can be me, an out gay man. Here, because I do not have to hide my true self,&rdquo; Genley said. &ldquo;Here, because the closet is for clothes.&rdquo;</p><p>But alongside the celebration and hard-hat photo-ops was an air of disappointment over the Illinois House of Representatives&rsquo; decision not to call a vote on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. During her remarks about the housing project, Representative Sara Feigenholtz called the last weekend of the legislative session one where a lot of &ldquo;broken dreams happened.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We just didn&rsquo;t quite get it done yet,&rdquo; Feigenholtz said. &ldquo;But we&rsquo;re gonna go back and we&rsquo;re gonna get it done.&rdquo;</p><p>Democratic state Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago decided not to call a House floor vote on the bill that would&#39;ve made Illinois the 13th state to allow gay marriage. Harris said he didn&#39;t have the votes but also vowed to bring back the issue.</p><p>The Center on Halsted has been working with <a href="http://www.heartlandalliance.org/" target="_blank">The Heartland Alliance</a>, a local anti-poverty organization, state and city officials on the financing and construction for the affordable housing development.&nbsp; All 79 units will be subsidized, and will cost no more than 30 percent of a given resident&rsquo;s income. Construction on the building is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2014.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 03 Jun 2013 16:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/construction-begins-midwest%E2%80%99s-first-affordable-housing-lgbtq-seniors-107501 Heterophobia is not real http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/heterophobia-not-real-106263 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/89011.jpg" style="width: 601px; height: 260px;" title="(AP)" /></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Quiz question! What does heterophobia have in common with Manti Teo&rsquo;s girlfriend, Keyser Soze, Brontosauruses and &ldquo;Having It All?&rdquo; </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Answer: None of these things exist.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A debate about the existence of heterophobia -- spotted in the wild by scared hunters as it foraged for homosexual berries -- has been at the heart of a recent controversy on Tumblr.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In recent months, the heterophobia tag on Tumblr has turned into a space where heterosexual users can decry &ldquo;mean homosexuals&rdquo; who make them feel bad for being homophobic. Instead of looking at criticism as a moment of reflection and a learning opportunity, these folks would rather pull out the privilege card -- and the term &ldquo;<a href="http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/privilege-shaming">privilege shaming</a>&rdquo; has actually been coined. </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Yes, folks. People are now shaming people for shaming them for being narrow-minded, bigoted bags of phalluses. This is what happens on the internet. To think, some people just look at porn.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">To describe anti-anti-gay behavior, homophobes are using the term &ldquo;heterophobia&rdquo; to show those angry queers the error of their ways, and one post in particular has been circling the interwebs like a buzzard looking for rotting meat. It claims that &ldquo;heterophobia is just as bad as homophobia.&rdquo; I won&#39;t link to it here, because that&#39;s hits, so you should read this <a href="http://widowblacks.tumblr.com/post/45168796774/heterophobia-is-just-as-bad-as-homophobia-you">response</a> instead. Isn&#39;t that better?</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If you&rsquo;re upset about people just making up words now, a) don&rsquo;t go on Tumblr, ever and b) the term isn&rsquo;t new. According to Dr. Ray Noonan, the misnomer &ldquo;heterophobia&rdquo; was coined in the 80&rsquo;s and first graced the academic page in 1990 as a way to describe the feelings of distrust that queer people sometimes feel toward a society where they are marginalized and systemically abused. It&#39;s not bigotry in the way we think about homophobia. It&#39;s fear; it&#39;s angst; it&#39;s paranoia. It&#39;s that emotion you feel when a group of bros are walking down the street late at night, and you&#39;re unsure of whether you should be scared. It&#39;s learning to expect the worst from a society you think hates you.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">However, this version is not the same thing. The term elsewhere gained parlance as a way to discredit the growing equality movement and call their campaign for equal rights &ldquo;reverse discrimination.&rdquo; For homophobes, it&rsquo;s not heterosexuals that are the problem, but the gay agenda who sees a problem where one does not exist. Queer people simply <em>hate </em>straight people. Hate is hate, y&#39;all -- except that it&#39;s not the same thing at all.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Eminem used this argument on his 2000 album, </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The Marshall Mathers LP</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">. The record itself, like much of Slim Shady&rsquo;s early career, is stunningly homophobic -- for which Eminem was much criticized by queer listeners. (Remember the Elton John mea culpa performance? That was fun.) On &ldquo;Criminal,&rdquo; Eminem responded to his gay critics in the way only an immature, misogynistic wifebeater can -- by putting the onus on them. Em informed us, on this &ldquo;critically acclaimed&rdquo; track:</span></b></p><blockquote><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&ldquo;My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/That&#39;ll stab you in the head/Whether you&#39;re a fag or lez/Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest/Pants or dress - hate fags? The answer&#39;s &quot;yes&quot;/Homophobic? Nah, you&#39;re just heterophobic.&rdquo;</span></b></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Since then, Eminem has come a long way on bigotry, but at the time, the song helped &ldquo;bring back&rdquo; heterophobia as a word that people use and a nice &ldquo;Get Out of Bigotry Free&rdquo; Card. The term allows queer people to be dismissed for having an opinion, and the idea has hung around in popular culture, from preachers who use it to sanctify God&rsquo;s law to <a href="http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/06/cee-lo-green-tweets-homophobic-comments-following-negative-review/">Cee-Lo Green</a> blaming a female critic for not liking his show. Green responded to the negative review by saying: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m guessing ur gay? And my masculinity offended u? Well f--k u!&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">This rationale is similar to the one that <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/amyodell/daniel-tosh-has-been-making-rape-jokes-for-years">Daniel Tosh</a> infamously displayed last year by verbally assaulting a female attendee at his show. In his act, Tosh claimed that all rape jokes were funny because &ldquo;rape is hilarious,&rdquo; and one woman called him out for it. Tosh then replied: &#39;Wouldn&#39;t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her?&rdquo; Rather than taking responsibility for his comedy and the message it sends to women, Tosh blamed the victims.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">&ldquo;Heterophobia&rdquo; seeks to do the same thing as a rhetorical tool, but the problem is that it makes no sense. Even at a linguistic level, it means the opposite of what its heterosexual user thinks it means. &ldquo;Hetero&rdquo; means difference and &ldquo;phobia&rdquo; translates to fear, equaling &ldquo;fear of difference&rdquo; when you put them together. So, technically, heterosexuals are engaging in the exact kind of activity that they are attempting to shed light on. Call out fail, guys. You can do better.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">On top of being etymologically nonsensical, inciting heterophobia (to quote my friend, </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/gay-marriage-conservative-cause-argument-against-equality-106068">Yasmin Nair</a>)</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> is the &ldquo;most outrageous, insensitive, doltish, demeaning argument ever.&rdquo; To use the term at any time in any context ever makes you Glenn Beck levels of ignorant, stupid and awful. It&rsquo;s a disservice to linguistics, all argumentation ever (sorry, Socrates) and any dignity you have as a human being. Anyone who ever, <em>ever </em>believes that heterophobia and homophobia are even remotely equivalent should neuter themselves with a rusty paper clip, lest future generations mutate more clustercusses of stupidity.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Heterophobia, as straight people &quot;define it,&quot; is a queer person making you check your privilege. Heterophobia is walking into a space that you don&rsquo;t own and realizing that your rules might not apply here, and that you have to be mindful of your use of pronouns, chosen name and/or consent. Heterophobia is someone telling you that you need to be a better ally and pushing you to be more accountable and mindful in your relationships to others. Heterophobia isn&rsquo;t a phobia at all but a part of life, realizing that you don&rsquo;t know everything and that you have learning and growing to do. </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If forcing straight people not to erase my bisexuality and be respectful of my gender and the identities of those around me makes me a heterophobe, then sign me up for heterophobia. I&rsquo;m the biggest heterophobe the world has ever seen. I will march down the street waving my flag of heterophobia. I won&rsquo;t stop until my heterophobia is recognized as being valid. I will not rest until we don&#39;t call it heterophobia anymore. We can just call it demanding respect. </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I&rsquo;ll tell you what heterophobia isn&rsquo;t. Heterophobia is not equivalent to a systemic norm that bullies queer youth and tells them they aren&rsquo;t good enough to live. Heterophobia didn&rsquo;t push me down on the playground or throw my backpack in the garbage. Heterophobia didn&rsquo;t whisper behind my back or make me feel like no one would ever be friends with me, if they knew who I really was. Heterophobia didn&rsquo;t ignore me when I came out or ruin my relationship with my father or scream &ldquo;Hey, there&rsquo;s the f*g!&rdquo; in my high school hallway. Heterophobia didn&rsquo;t tell me I didn&rsquo;t belong in church. Heterophobia didn&rsquo;t tell me that God wanted me dead. </span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Because it doesn&rsquo;t exist. It&rsquo;s the tool of those want to believe that God is right but are too afraid to say it themselves. It&rsquo;s the tool of cowards who would rather feel vindicated in their hatred than recognize it for what it is. It&rsquo;s the tool of those who would rather keep the system the way it is, or refuse to recognize there&rsquo;s a system at all, than work to change it. Heterophobia says you are wrong and<em> irrational</em> for critiquing the system. Heterophobia says that good queers don&rsquo;t question their second class status, because their worth is conferred on them by agreeing with straight people. Heterophobia says that good queers stay quiet. Heterophobia says you shouldn&rsquo;t fight back.</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If there&rsquo;s any good that&rsquo;s come out of this, it&rsquo;s that Tumblr users banded together to drown out the Tumblr homophobes by <a href="http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/heterophobia">reclaiming th</a></span></b><a href="http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/heterophobia"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">e term </span></b></a><b style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">and taking it back from anyone who even remotely believes the term to be valid. A Tumblr user who goes by the catchy name of &ldquo;<a href="http://shutthefuckupstraightpeople.tumblr.com">Shut the F*ck Up Straight People</a>&rdquo; proposed that <a href="http://shutthefuckupstraightpeople.tumblr.com/post/45688137627/reclaim-the-heterophobia-tag">followers</a> &ldquo;write a post (or numerous posts) about heterophobia. Like, why it&rsquo;s not a thing or why it&rsquo;s amazing or why you are one or anything you like, really.&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In response, Tumblr has seen hundreds of users flood the dashboard with posts turning the table on the term, showing how hollow and meaningless the idea is. Here&rsquo;s a list of my personal favorite submissions:</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">1. From <a href="http://punkcub.tumblr.com/">PunkCub</a>: &ldquo;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">You don&rsquo;t go homo or bi or trans to hell. The expression is &lsquo;going </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">straight</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">to hell.&rsquo; Wake up America.&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">2. From <a href="http://purplebeards.tumblr.com">PurpleBeards</a>: &ldquo;W</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">ith all the oppression and heterophobia that&rsquo;s been occurring recently, I feel it would really help if I tell them to their face that I for one am very open-minded and have no problem at all with them being straight. In fact, I know quite a few straight people, and I&rsquo;ve never once had a problem with it. I&rsquo;ve been to some straight weddings too, I don&rsquo;t totally agree with it but I&rsquo;ll support their rights all the same. I&rsquo;m a gay ally.&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">3. From <a href="http://cookingpyro.tumblr.com">CookingPyro</a>: &ldquo;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Once someone pointed out a straight to me, but it was actually a pair of impeccably ironed slacks. One time, I tried starting a Straight-Straight Alliance club at my school to lure out the heteros, but all I got was a one piece swimsuit, a croissant, and a picture of Ben Stiller.&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">4. From <a href="http://howlsofexecution.tumblr.com">HowlsofExecution</a>: &ldquo;</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">So, heterophobia isn&rsquo;t a thing. Like, does everyone remember that time that show got boycotted and people were outraged over because a heterosexual couple kissed?! No? You don&rsquo;t remember that? Oh, right. That&rsquo;s because it never happened.&quot;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">5. From <a href="http://cleromancy.tumblr.com">Cleromanc</a>y: &ldquo;Making heterophobia jokes may not advance &lsquo;The Cause,&rsquo; but it sure as heck makes me feel better about the institutionalized oppression that I gotta deal with every day. So, how many heteros does it take to screw in a lightbulb?&rdquo;</span></b></p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><b id="internal-source-marker_0.6344994446262717" style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Georgia; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">We can&rsquo;t erase homophobia or mend decades of systemic oppression in one Tumblr post, but it feels a lot better when we fight back together.</span></b></p><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Nico Lang blogs about LGBTQ life in Chicago. You can follow Nico on Twitter @Nico_Lang or on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/NicoRLang">Facebook</a>.</em></div></p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 07:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/heterophobia-not-real-106263