Thursday, June 15, 2006

Washington Blade homophobia & Ann Coulter

In a single article of over-exuberant attack on Ann Coulter the gay magazine, The Washington Blade, manages to show hatred for feminine gay men, straight women, lesbians and male to female transsexuals. The writer, Ryan Lee, attacks Ann Coulter, not on her ideology, but on her gender, “With such a pronounced Adam’s apple and soothing baritone voice, I always assumed she was a pre-op transsexual...She’s about as feminine as a linebacker for the Fulton County prison football team and if God is making female faces like Coulter’s these days — well, let’s just say that I’m even more glad to be gay.”

These kind of attacks are the familiar recourse of bigots when attacking lesbians and straight women when their actions or language are considered a threat to enforced gender roles; the challenger of gender norms is thus denied their gender at all; “imitation man”, “Half-man”, “shemale”. The best way to shut someone up is to shut them out; to deny that they have the right to speak at all. And as Ryan Lee continues his piece, referring to Ann Coulter as “he/she”, by emphasizing that without fitting into gender norms, you have no place in society at all, that is what he is trying to do.

I noticed the similarity to the butch lesbian Amy Groshek, who is leaving Alaska because of harassment and refusal to accept and let her live as she is, a butch woman:

"One of the male security workers posted in the hall must have seen me enter (the women’s bathroom), confused my gender and sent his female colleague in to rout me out...Both in Anchorage and in rural Wisconsin, where my family is from, I have been heckled on the street by boys in rusted pickups hollering “Faggot.” Most often I'm confused for a gay man...I remembered leaving the restroom at the intermission of an Anchorage Opera performance, walking past a long file of well-coifed women. Three of them had glared and gasped. One had pulled her child towards her as if to protect him. "

I am not a fan of the ideology or strange and stupid statements of Ann Coulter who responded to the question, “What would you do if your child came out as gay?” with “I’d say, ‘Did I ever tell you you’re adopted?” or who says about Canada: "[Canadians] better hope the United States does not roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent.” She says she hates Canadians because they speak French.

Often there is a bizarro world aspect to a lot of her statements but to hold her up as a target of attack based on perceptions of her meeting standards of femininity is intolerance passing as justification. Indeed, in many countries of Europe, calling someone “he/she” is hate speech, while in the US, a gay magazine uses it as “freedom of expression?”

Ryan continues on, “As such, she hates herself and doesn’t identify as a drag queen, and so people won’t blame our community for her ridiculous rants.” Ryan has decided that the only explanation for her offenses is to be branded a female presenting gay man. As we saw last week in the brutal and callous hate attack of the NY drag queen Aviance, men who visably deviate from gender norms receive an even more visceral reaction. Is this what Ryan wants for Ann Coulter? The blind hatred which causes attacks on visably feminine gay men?

Certainly many have reduced themselves to attacking Ann Coulter’s adams apple, perhaps not realizing they reveal their ignorance that ALL women have adams apples, just most are hidden under fat. I did not expect a gay writer in a gay magazine to display such homophobia as he reaches for the weapons bigots have used for the last two generations to try and put women and gay men “in their place.” And while I may not like or agree with a woman who states that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote if they don't vote republican, I will defend her right to do or say what she wishes without threats of “bad girls aren’t girls at all”. I support her as a feminist while I may personally think (like the opinions of many of my relatives, particularly when they have a bit to drink) that she is an embarressment. Neverless, shame on you Washington Blade, is there not enough homophobia and hatred around of LGBT people that you have to whip up a batch of your own?


GayProf said...

This is a great and fantastic post!

Anonymous said...

To quote Voltaire: I may not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.

yep, that sounds about right.

Shame on the Blade.

kathy wc

elizabeth said...

I had a friend once who was gay and his boyfriend went about destroying every gay friendship he had established in his lifetime. They were "too gay" you see. They might embarrass him. What an asshole.

Faith said...

Preach it, sister!

kathz said...

Well done! I remember years ago marching against Margaret Thatcher's policies and being worried by the marchers (male and female) who used her policies as an excuse for misogyny. I never expressed my concerns as articulately as you have done in this case - and often felt silenced or threatened by the misogyny in that context.

Texas Truth said...

Ann Coulter is only saying what many people feel. She is not only a voice for herself, but for all those who cannot express the same thoughts for fear of reprisals in the workplace, public gatherings, and their own lives.

She has enough clout as not to worry that she will be fired for expressing her views.

I have heard liberal democrats say far worse and never be held to the scrutiny and contempt that she has.

This is proof positive that liberals and conservatives are not held to the same standards. Liberals, for the most part, are given passes on their views and controversial statements.

To read my post about Ann’s appearance on Leno on Wednesday evening, visit We welcome all views and opinions, no matter how ridiculous they are.

Elizabeth McClung said...

I try not to engage in debates on American politics (you may see that as an ironic statment or not) as it is somewhat like playing russian roulette with an uzi and calling it "a debate" - I do however talk about women's rights, GLBT rights and human rights and as such often talk about aspects of American political culture - but also Canadian and European culture.

I don't doubt that when Ann coulter says: "My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that's because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism." or "I have to say I'm all for public flogging" or "I think [women] should be armed but should not vote...women have no capacity to understand how money is earned." is saying what many people, I am guess primarily men, feel.

But as I said, I will defend her right to say it as a woman.

piecesofeight said...

"I think [women] should be armed but should not vote...women have no capacity to understand how money is earned"

Wow. Just wow. Surely it's just a way to get publicity? (and to get conservative men on her side)

Sober @ Sundown said...

I have to agree with gayprof, this is a well written post.

I do believe in free speech, but what I don't understand is why the media gives these people so much air/print time. It is not difficult to be an asshole, nor is it difficult to stir things up with large groups. This type of behavior doesn't help find better solutions to solving our problems, or creating a better world to live in. It just gets everybody wound up.

Funchilde said...

i HATE that chic. but totally support her right to utter her dumb-ass statements all over the press. And lately doesn't she sound even crazier? I don't think she (or bill o'reilly) even believe half of the dumb shit she says. These asses are brilliant, b/c they are making money off of "rant politics" they take objectionist or oppositionist views and take them to the extreme to make the media froth at the mouth over the "issue at hand" And as long as I have the right to call her a dumbass, i want her to have the right to utter her bigoted, narrow-minded, non-sustainable opinions. As for the article (which I haven't read). This is how people have dealt with women and minorities forever, discredit, discount, disrespect.

elizabeth said...