Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
January 20, 2012
The Election Messages Perpetuate Homophobia
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
Politicians pander. They, or their staffs, do research, find out what a particular constituency wants to hear, and then package words in a message they hope will garner sufficient votes. Sometimes they fudge some facts and sometimes they outright lie. Nothing new here, but we want to draw attention to the impact of their messages.
What Are They Saying?
In the furious race for a republican presidential nominee, all candidates are pandering to an anti-LGBT constituency, with John Huntsman a possible exception. In a January 7 debate Newt Gingrich said that in Massachusetts the Catholic Charities preferred to close its adoption services rather than allow LGBT couples to adopt. Mitt Romney agreed with Newt Gingrich (yes he did!) and thought that everybody in the audience also agreed, then he went further: “Calling [same-sex marriage] a marriage creates a whole host of problems for families, for the law, for the practice of religion, for education.” In his 30-second spot Rick Perry, Man of Faith, Rick Perry said that there is “. . . something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military. . .” Rick Santorum said that allowing gays to raise children amounts to “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to.” He claims that children must have a father and a mother. And nobody beats Michelle Bachman’s harsh record of bashing LGBT people.
What They Are Saying Is Divisive
Their messages perpetuate a hierarchy of human beings based on individual identity characteristics, in this case being LGBT; an LGBT person is ranked lower in this hierarchy, is worth less, than a heterosexual person. Their messages sanction the continued denial of LGBT people’s access to rights and privileges given as a matter of course to people higher in the hierarchy. Their messages invoke a divisive cultural order of values that is now under attack but they feel compelled to preserve.
There may be laws against it, but the violence against LGBT people stems in part from the “so what, they’re not as good as we are anyway” mentality; it is all right to hurt them. The continued denial of equal rights also is based on this hierarchy of values of a person’s worth to society. The difficulty we face in changing this is the deeply rooted nature of this hierarchy and the appeals to God, history, and tradition to preserve it.
Our Task Is to Counter The False Message
API Family Pride works to keep families together. We have known for a while that behind the initial anguish of parents with an LGBT child is this notion: I tried my best to raise my child to be a worthy member of society and now he will never be that. Our task is to change that perception. That task is made more difficult during this election campaign when all around the message proclaims the opposite.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org