Social Equity

Regarding: “Gay Is Not The New Black”

By: Rachel Womek

Normally I don’t respond to this sort of nonsense but this blog was recommended to me by a Christian friend of mine and I couldn’t resist penning a response. This blog is so offensive and rife with inaccuracies I don’t even know where to begin. At the beginning seems the rational choice…In this rebuttal I will examine and refute the following arguments made by the author of this essay. The first claim I will address is that there is no historical basis for same-sex marriage (Baucham, 2012). in fact there is. The second argument presented in this piece that  I will refute is that the fight for same sex marriage is not a civil rights issue (Baucham, 2012). The third fallacy presented in this panoply of misinformation is that members of the LGBTQ community are ineligible for minority status due to the richness of human sexuality that defies simple definition (Baucham, 2012). Baucham’s fourth argument is nothing more that absurd semantics, a desperate attempt to skirt around the entire issue (2012). In his fifth argument the author further entangles himself in garbled and unintelligible reasoning. He repeatedly refers to logic without seeming to grasp the concept in any of its forms (Baucham, 2012). Finally he surrenders any shred of credibility he may have otherwise clung to with that infamous Christian Right argument (Baucham, 2012). Gay marriage is a Civil Right and I will demonstrate that fact conclusively.

 

According to Baucham the struggle for marriage equality is a strategy the purpose of which, among other things, is to “ undermine thousands of years of human history” (2012, para 1). This statement could not be more inaccurate, from both a historical and an anthropological perspective. Michael G Peletz of the American Anthropological Association Elaborates:

 

Heterosexual monogamy, though statistically common (at least as an ideal) both historically and cross-culturally, is by no means the only form of marriage that human societies have seen as viable, legitimate, or sacred. The historical and ethnographic record is replete with evidence documenting the existence of heterosexual marriages entailing polygyny, polyandry and what are sometimes referred to as polygyandrous arrangements (such as used to exist among the Nayar), as contributors to this AN series noted last May. Also well documented for many societies in the world are same-sex marriages that enjoy sanctified legitimacy and occur “alongside” heterosexual unions that they neither threaten nor undermine (2006. para 2).

This author is therefore uncertain what portion of human history Baucham is referring to. Perhaps, post-Catholic European history? Considering the enormity of human history one can only guess that some extreme historical localization has taken place, either that or Baucham is simply ignorant of history beyond that of industrialized North America and Europe. Regardless, there is simply no basis for his historical precedence claim.

Next Baucham goes on to claim that marriage equality is not a civil rights issue (2012). According to the Oxford-English Dictionary the definition of Civil Rights are: “the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality”. Is Baucham’s claim therefore that members of the LGBTQ community are not citizens? Is marriage not a political and social freedom? Would the right to marriage not give same-sex couples a footing of equality with different-sex couples? There is no interpretation of this definition that allows same-sex marriage to fall outside the net of a civil rights claim. Citizens, Homo sapiens, are being denied something. That something is the right for their union to be recognized by the government and access to the benefits that recognition entails. Same-sex marriage is a Civil Right, to deny it one must redefine the term. Perhaps add the word heterosexual in front of the word citizen?

The next inane argument presented by Baucham is that there is no test for gayness. In his own words:”The first problem with the idea of conflating ‘sexual orientation’ and race is that homosexuality is undetectable apart from self identification” (2012, para 5).May I point out the obvious? Neither is heterosexuality. I for one feel a great relief that humans don’t walk around with signs on our foreheads that say: Hetero, Homo, Bi, Trans…etcetera.(Although that might expedite the mating process…) May I point out something else? Sexuality is a biological construct, race is a social construct. While homosexuality and bisexuality are rampant across the animal kingdom “race” is unique to humanity. The American Anthropological Association has this to say about the concept of race:

Historical research has shown that the idea of “race” has always carried more meanings than mere physical differences; indeed, physical variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them. Today scholars in many fields argue that “race” as it is understood in the United States of America was a social mechanism invented during the 18th century to refer to those populations brought together in colonial America: the English and other European settlers, the conquered Indian peoples, and those peoples of Africa brought in to provide slave labor (1998, para 3).


Contrary to Baucham’s claim it isn’t so easy to determine what “race” any given individual belongs to. Our interpretation of phenotype may have little or nothing to do with an individual’s genotype, ancestry, ethnicity, or identity. That humans have a tendency to consider individuals with a different phenotype than their own as Other is a great barrier to human equality. As is the current tendency to view those with different sexualities as Other. No matter how you swing it the result is social disparity. Absurdly enough Baucham goes on to state:  “Should a man who isn’t a homosexual (assuming we could determine such a thing) but tries to enter a same-sex union be treated the same as a woman who isn’t Native American but tries to claim it to win sympathy, or casino rights, or votes?” (2012, para 7). This psuedo-argument represents such convoluted reasoning and misdirection this author feels she would be remiss not to mention it. The obvious difference is that the hypothetical woman claiming to be Native American would be motivated because she perceives some sort of benefit from the deception. What would be the benefit of maintaining a deception of homosexuality?

And, really? The ol’ Pedephilia argument? Really? Pedophiles can rape the same sex, they can rape the opposite sex. Does it really matter? Nobody is condoning pedophilia. Rape is rape is rape. The rape of a child is a truly horrific thing and has nothing to do with consensual sexual behaviors between morally conscious adults; absolutely nothing.

The next set of arguments presented in this argument are so ridiculous that they would be laughable did they not highlight a deep seated bias against all non-heterosexual people.

An additional problem with the “gay is the new black” argument is the complete disconnect between same-sex “marriage” and anti-miscegenation laws. First, there is a categorical disconnect. Miscegenation literally means “the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types.” Ironically, the fact that homosexuals cannot “interbreed” shines a spotlight on the problem inherent in their logic (Baucham, 2012, para 8).


Once again Baucham, seems to be missing the point entirely and throwing in a few nonsensical assumptions to boot. The parallel is that inter-”racial” marriages used to be illegal based on an irrelevant factor, the “race” of the individuals in question, today same-sex marriage is illegal in many states due to an irrelevant factor, the sex of the individuals in question. See the comparison? The nonsensical assumption is that the purpose of marriage is to breed. People reproduce all the time and they seem to manage it just fine without marriage. Conversely many married couples never reproduce. While reproduction can be one purpose for marriage the primary purpose in industrialized Western society seems to be that combination of affinity and sexual attraction commonly labeled romantic love. With romantic love as the primary purpose of marriage there is no logical (ah, there it is and notice the correct usage under the Oxford-English dictionary definition: “reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity”) reason why it should be encompass only different-sex couples.

Oh, no wait, there is a reason…because the Bible says so. Must I illuminate the glaring flaws in this line..I hesitate to say reasoning…let’s just say the flaws in this thought process. It is just fine to be a Theist, it is just fine to be a Christian…lots of people manage to be Christians without promoting prejudice and regulating other, morally conscious, non-violent, human beings to second-class citizens who don’t deserve the same rights as us heterosexuals on our religious high-ground do. The Bible says a lot of stuff…and guess what? A lot of it is shit that not even the most hard-core Christians follow. Here’s some sage Biblical advice not many Christians are lining up to follow:

Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish, Proverbs 31:6 (NIV).  If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity. Deuteronomy 25:11-12 (NIV). Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. Leviticus 19:27 (NIV).

Get the picture? I could go on but I think I’ve made my point.

The case presented by Baucham in his essay: Gay Is Not The New Black is riddled with misdirection, convoluted interpretations of logic, and blatant inaccuracies. His argument has no legitimate basis in either global history or science. Neither does it have a basis in a religion that holds the texts that are attributed to what Jesus is said to have taught as the ultimate word of God: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12 (NIV).

References

American anthropological association. (1998). American anthropological association statement on “race”. Retrieved from http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm

 

Baucham, V. (2012) Gay is not the new black. Retrieved from http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/19/gay-is-not-the-new-black/

 

Civil rights. (n.d). In Oxford-English dictionary online. Retrieved from http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/civil+rights

 

Logic. (n.d.). In Oxford-English dictionary online. Retrieved from http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/logic

 

Peletz, M, G. (2006).Discourse of opposition to marriage equality.Retrieved from http://www.aaanet.org/press/an/infocus/marriage/peletz.htm

Categories: Bull, Free Speech, GLBT, Life, Social Equity | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Musings on Life, Liberty and The Pursuit Of The Higgs Boson Plus World News

By: Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

We hope that you Constant Reader’s had a happy Higg’s Boson Day. I know I (Rachel) did! Kiki was apathetic. If you haven’t seen the story and video of the researchers announcing that they have discovered a particle consistent with a Higg’s Boson it can be seen here. What an amazing breakthrough in the advancement of our understanding of the Universe! Congratulations to Peter Higgs and all the researchers at the LHC! This is truly a momentous historical occasion and a great prize to anyone with the wonder and curiosity to explore our reality.

It was also the Fourth of July, once my (Kiki’s) favorite holiday. Fireworks were awesome when I was a kid. But, like Christmas and Halloween, Independence Day has lost its sparkle with the onset of adulthood. Actually, I had forgotten that it was the Fourth of July until my friend called to see if I wanted to go to the city show. I realized at that moment that I was drinking English Breakfast Tea and watching British mysteries. Apparently, somewhere in my twenties, I turned loyalist.

I, Rachel, haven’t been patriotic in years and I intend to keep it that way. In my opinion slavish dedication to demarcated portions of land creates great boundary to equal human rights, and while I’m proud that our Forefathers stood up against an oppressive government today our so called Independence Day has become in fact a celebration of oppressive government. Can’t we instead celebrate something like the discovery of the Higg’s Boson, a testament to the beautiful aspects of human nature that can resonate throughout the world? Here, Kiki roles her eyes, not out of disagreement, exactly, but because Rachel is literature made real–she is Fanny Price made flesh, but without the whole marrying her cousin thing. No mindlessness for this gal! Unless of course, it’s in Skyrim…

Here’s some news:

Iran says it can attack Israel and US military bases minutes after an attack.

Pakistan supply rout reopened.

Here are some cool words people don’t really use anymore and they are nicely illustrated.

Here is a Smithsonian post about a really weird, decades old, unsolved death (they don’t even know how the guy died).

We had plenty more to blog about, but there is a man here who is insanely distracting and not in a good way, so we are ending this here and blog more tomorrow.

Categories: Celebration, Free Speech, Life, Nerd, Social Equity, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

All Day Road Trip, Eternal Soapbox

By: Rachel Womek

Good News! Kiki and I have started our vaccination process! We will both need to get a few more shots in a month or two but it is nice to know that things are underway. My right arm is very sore and I’m feeling a little lethergic but otherwise O.K. While I’m not really a fan of vaccinations (and by that I mean the vaccine itself, Kiki is the one who doesn’t like needles)  Typhoid Fever doesn’t sound very fun. It was also worth the eight hours of travel to the ABQ and back if it means us getting one step closer to Cairo.

My head’s a bit groggy but I’ll attempt to write something comprehensive.

Today I am going to talk about briefly human sexuality, gender identity, and cultural perspectives on these topics. Today, in industrial western society, people are struggling to comprehend and categorize human sexuality, gender identities and gender roles. The answer is: There is no easy answer. These things are as diverse as individuals are, I would venture to say that each person has their own personal brand of sexuality and that no two are identical. In the words of Spock: “Infinite diversity, in infinite combinations”. There tend to be different categories that sexuality can fall into which can be helpful, to an extent, but of course these categories are very generalized . In Red blood, Red state, Red meat America only two forms of sexuality are recognized as acceptable: hetrosexual females who identify as females and hetrosexual males who identify as males. The rest of us recognize more although the number of varieties we recognize vary widely.

The practice of only recognizing heterosexual males and females only is actually rather new.  Many cultures today and historically have recognized different sexuality and different behaviors. Many cultures historically, and some today, recognize multiple genders, 3-5 rather than the two recognized in our western industrial society. Now gender identity and sexuality are not the same thing, although they can be interconnected, so it is important to also note that in different cultures a wide variety of sexual behaviors are accepted and practiced…what’s socially acceptable may vary.

Some places  that recognize 3 or more genders are: India, Pakistan, Thailand and Nepal. Many indigenous groups the world over also recognize  multiple genders. Historically Mayans, Egyptians, and Isrealis have also recognized gender diversity. In ancient Israel 6 genders were recognized!

Varied sexuality has also been recognized. In ancient Greece it was believed that originally there had been three sexes, each person was comprised of two individuals: either two males, two females, or one of each. Zeus grew angry because they were too prideful and punished them by splitting them in two. The two halves of one whole were forced to spend their lives searching for each other. This myth was the basic foundation of  belief regarding human sexuality.

One myth surrounding American culture is that America is built on the premise that “all ‘men’ are endowed…with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”.  Unfortunately this myth apparently doesn’t apply to those who don’t fit into the boxes conveniently provided by conservative society.

Off the soapbox (for now).

By the way the views expressed in this blog are not journalistic in nature and should not be interpreted as such. They represent my personal opinion.

Categories: Adventure, Free Speech, GLBT, Life, Social Equity | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Got Privilege?

By: Rachel Womek

Whew! What a trip! I am glad to be back, although at this moment I am exhausted. Las Cruces seems so much smaller than Albuquerque. The WPC conference was fantastic. For those of you who don’t know WPC is The White Privilege Conference: A conference addressing social disparity and the unconscious privilege that comes with being white which damages equity in America. This is the 13nth annual WPC conference and people from all over the country came of every race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and economic status. I had a great time and learned a great deal about social inequality. For instance I learned that there are 1018 active hate groups in America and that nearly half of those hate groups have only sprung up in the last 10 years. During the three days that I was at the conference I was able to attend three keynote speeches and 6 workshops.  The workshops covered a wide range of social equity issues including: “White America and Islamophobia” and “Misuse of Indigenous Land”. I was also able to watch a documentary film: Ann Braden Southern Patriot.

Unfortunately because of privacy I wasn’t able to get any photos of the actual conference. I did, however, get some random photos in the ABQ.

Where the WPC was held

Categories: Free Speech, Media, Photography, Social Equity, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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