Putting the Gays Back in the Closet

Putting the Gays Back in the Closet

by Collin Wynter

The following essay is a brief overview of actions and events that have occurred in the gay rights movement that have had the effect of silencing gay voices in an attempt to erase the gay.

Gay voices are being drowned out of their own movement. A pervasive myth exists that a “trans woman of colour” was the progenitor of the Stonewall Riots. Pride no longer has the moniker of gay attached to it. Sexual orientation is constantly associated with gender identity through the use of meaningless acronyms. Lesbian and gay organizations have changed their mandates to preclude their own needs. The ubiquitous Pride flag is no longer considered emblematic and is being made redundant. Same sex spaces are decried as being “exclusive”. Descriptive words are having their definitions changed to be “inclusive”. Voices from this new tribe include a constant stream of bullying and homophobic remarks.

The Stonewall Myth

The Stonewall Uprising of 1969 stands as a milestone in the gay rights movement. This is not the only moment of import in the history of gay rights; arguably the most iconic. At some point, a myth developed around this event in particular. A fantasy was envisioned that it was a “trans woman of colour” who instigated the riots. This identity was bequeathed upon Martha P Johnson. Martin Duberman records the events of the riots in his book Stonewall. It is stated explicitly that Johnson was not in attendance at the time the of the raid.

Be that as it may, the myth persists and provides trans ideologues an attempt to purloin history in their favour. Although trans history is well documented, there is nothing quite as emblematic as the spark that day leading to the formation of Pride. Some believe that truth is less necessary than the story that weaves its way through gay culture and its imagination. Even if that leads to ones erasure from it?

Pride without a Name

A year after the uprising, on June 28, 1970, known as Christopher Street Liberation Day, gays marched for their rights in New York City. This occurred in tandem with protests in several other cities in the United States. These marches are what metamorphosed into the Lesbian and Gay Pride parade. As battles for gay rights were slowly won in western countries, the movement shifted focus from grass roots activism into a public display of celebration. The message was that anyone could be proud of who they are. In an act of inclusion for other groups, slowly over time, Lesbian and Gay Prides became known simply as Pride.

With the raison d’être removed from the name, the influence of gays within Pride itself seems to be diminished. So much so, that when a group identifying as QTBIPOC [Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour] imparted demands upon Boston Pride, the organization chose to dissolve itself, rather than continue to fight, after a few failed attempts at reconciliation. Now, one of the oldest Prides in the United States is no more. Their first march was in 1971. 

GLAAD and Stonewall UK

GLAAD was founded in 1985 in the United States, by a small group of journalists and writers to combat the derogatory coverage of gay men in light of the AIDS crisis. Their activism focused on same sex rights, with a nod to bisexual and transgender issues.

However, after a brief 30 years, in 2013, GLAAD formally dropped its founding name “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation” in favour of just the acronym. This was done to “affirm” their commitment to bisexual and transgender individuals. Although a noble endeavour, it is an act such as this that contributes to the diminution of the gay identity in favour of something more boorishly generic. They still do work towards lesbian and gay rights. What is not clear, is how much of the resources at their disposal are redistributed to projects that were not originally meant for their mandate.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, Simon Callow, actor and gay rights activist, is sounding the alarm about Stonewall. In the Times, he is quoted as saying that the organization has become an “extraordinarily unproductive militancy” and what they are enacting is “tyranny.” His concerns reside around the topics of women’s, children and gay rights being infringed upon in favour of promulgating gender identity. Since his admonishments, there have been a multitude of scandals surrounding stonewall. Particularly in regards to its influence within the UK government and the BBC.

Alphabet Soup

As the lesbian and gay rights movement expanded to include bisexual and transgender, the descriptor became far too lengthy, so the acronym LGBT was born- and continues to grow. One of the many iterations now found in the public sphere is 2SLGBTQIAP+. Glossaries have been written to explain the myriad of letters.

In the longer form, one may see how lesbian and gay appear to be washed out in the encompassing barrage of letters. How many in the public sphere know what the other letters represent? Some may assume that since they are conjoined to the “L” and “G” that they must mean something equivalent. This is factually untrue. For example, “T” refers to trans identity that is based off of gender ideology and is not the same as sexual orientation. Many gays categorically reject gender ideology (see LGB Alliance or the Lesbian and Gay Liberation Front, of whom I am a member). 

Another odd addition is “Q” for queer. Considered to be a “reclaimed” word for the gays, it is in actuality heterosexuals who have been using it to express their association with the rainbow community. To define oneself as a word that was used as a slur against homosexuals demonstrates either complete ignorance of history or blatant homophobia rampaging subliminally. Surprisingly, even GLAAD includes the Q in their version: LGBTQ.

The acronym has become so long and unwieldy that there have been new umbrella terms devised to try and unite all these identities. Gender and Sexual Relationship Diverse, is one (GSRD). Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) another. Again, you can see the intentional marriage of sexual orientation with gender. It is obvious that there is a concerted effort for gender identity to be linked with sexual orientation, at the cost of blinding gay rights behind a wall of letters.

Flagging the Activism

Even the ubiquitous rainbow flag has been redesigned. Awarded the moniker “progressive” this new emblem is emblazoned with a multi-coloured chevron intersecting the six original striped.

Designed by Daniel Quasar, it’s black and brown stripes represent people of colour; pink and baby blue to represent trans/non-binary. Its intent is to:

“shift focus and emphasis to what is important in our current community climate.” [italics added]

This is social justice “activism” using the gay rights movement specifically for another cause. The above makes it expressly salient that this is not about adding another flag to the series, but an attempt to replace it.

In a piece entitled New, inclusive Pride flag raised at Winnipeg school, by CBC News (no author credited), Chantal Shivanna Ramraj, middle school educator who identifies as “non-binary” states:

“By raising this flag, we are intentionally giving support to those who need it the most and we’re acknowledging that there are inequities in our society that are built into our political, economic and social systems.”

Ramraj carries on by noting that she is willing to educate other schools on the use of this flag.

Sex Segregated Spaces

Part of Get the L Out’s mission is to remove the “L” from the “GBT”, so as to be able to provide “autonomous” spaces for women that provide “uncompromising lesbian visibility.” They feel that “transactivism” is erasing and demonizing lesbians for being who they are.

A prime example of “transactivism” occurred when Giggle, a lesbian social app that was designed for biological women only, had their Kickstarter campaign suspended for not being inclusive to men identifying as women. They considered Giggle to be promoting:

“[h]ateful or offensive content that fails to meet Kickstarter’s spirit of inclusivity by promoting discrimination, bigotry or intolerance towards marginalized groups”.

Attempts of men to invade women’s spaces and to coerce them into sex is not confined to social apps. It is recently reported in the BBC that lesbians have felt pressure to have sex with men identifying as women for some time. Included in the article was a comment from a survey conducted by Get the L Out:

“I thought I would be called a transphobe or that it would be wrong of me to turn down a trans woman who wanted to exchange nude pictures. Young women feel pressured to sleep with trans women ‘to prove I am not a terf’.”

Trans men, women who identify as men, are also receiving instructions on whether or not they should disclose their natural biology when entering men’s only spaces. In a document entitled Primed2: A Sex Guide for Trans Men Into Men they state:

“As gay, bi or queer trans men, we often need to decide if we want to tell the men with whom we have sex that we’re trans.”

And that:

“In disclosing you are trans, some of the factors you should consider include whom you’re with, how well you know each other, what kind of sex you want to have, where you are, and how comfortable and safe you feel.”

Misrepresenting who you are, invalidates another’s ability to consent.

Definitions Denied 

Homosexual, a definitive word for gay rights, is now purported to be a slur. GLAAD defines it as an “[o]utdated clinical term considered derogatory and offensive” on their glossary page. Back in 1987, they even persuaded the New York Times to stop using the word “homosexual” in favour for “gay,” which had a more normative sound for the public.

In the National Sex Education Standards (NSES) 2nd ed. they do not even refer to homosexuality. They also altered the definition of gay from “same sex attraction” to “same gender attraction”, which is something they consider to be socially constructed. Oddly, while choosing not to define homosexual, they do so for homophobia as the following: 

prejudice against individuals who are or are perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, or queer.” [italics added]

It appears NSES left out “irrational fear” that is normally part of homophobia.

Another perspective is from the LGBTQIA Resource Center Glossary of UC Davis, where they are moving away from terms such as homophobia or transphobia because:

(1) they inaccurately describe systems of oppression as irrational fears, and (2) for some people, phobias are a very distressing part of their lived experience and co-opting this language is disrespectful to their experiences and perpetuates ableism.  

The needs of homosexuals are being nullified in the name of social justice.

Bullied from within Pride

Under the rainbow banner, from the ranks of the acronym, voices of harassment and bullying have been heard to shout slanderous hateful comments. This has escalated in public spaces, sometimes caught on film. In one particularly disturbing event, a man dressed as a woman and using a walker screamed repeatedly that the women protesting for their rights were “witches”.

Get the L Out was defamed by London Pride in 2018. Demanding their right to march in the Pride parade directly behind the Pride flag, they were condemned for “bigotry”. One may argue that there is a way to go about things, but if a group of women from the very movement it purports to represent, are acting in such radical manner, the organizers may wish to pay attention. Instead Pride London stated they found their behaviour ”shocking and disgusting”. They then turned the conversation to trans rights:

“We are proud of our trans volunteers, proud of the trans groups that are in our parade, proud of our trans speakers at events and proud of the trans people who take part in our campaigns and proud of those who cheered even louder for them yesterday.”

Just this year, at the Manchester Pride Parade, a gay man was verbally harassed and intimated into leaving the event because he was a member of the LGB Alliance. Advertising his affiliation via the schwag he adorned (tee-shirt and beenie) he became an obvious target for TRAs:

“As [Alex] Bramham recalls, he ‘was approached by a young man who was extremely threatening, loud, invading my personal space, rude and shouting abuse.’ Bramham is clear that he was not removed from the protest. He remained calm and requested police assistance. They were amiable and did not appear to take sides.”

Clouds, or will it be a Rainbow?

There is much more to the story. The use of Pride for kink. Adding identities to the acronym that gays have fought hard to be dissociated from. Homosexual desires being likened to a genital fetish. If none of the above is able to drive the gay community to action, one can only hope that this final point will. The effects of gender clinics in “transing” the gay away:

“It feels like conversion therapy for gay children. I frequently had cases where people started identifying as trans after months of horrendous bullying for being gay.”

Gay identity is under threat. We need to stand together and speak out once more.

Published by Collin Wynter

Exploring rights of our freedom of expression and justice

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