Bil Browning

Gay holocaust?

Filed By Bil Browning | May 18, 2005 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Nazi, World War II

Leonard Pitts, Jr. recently wrote an extremely interesting article entitled, "Anti-gay laws are inhumane." His article was sparked when a friend of his sent him an e-mail comparing the plight of gays and lesbians today to the jews of Nazi Germany.
I've long felt the current spate of laws -- you can't do this because you're gay, can't have that because you're lesbian -- bears a discomfiting resemblance to Germany in the 1930s.

Both spring from a mindset that says a given people is so offensive to our sensibilities, that we are obliged to place them outside the circle of normal human compassion. We don't have to hear their cries, don't have to respect their humanity, because they are less than we -- and are responsible for everything that scares or threatens us.

Isn't it nice to see that some people do get it? That while our rights are being trampled by ShrubCo's top-down fascist-lite theocracy, there are at least a couple other human beings out there who care what's happening to us?

And you can't blame all of this on George W. He's not the one sponsoring anti-gay bills in Indiana like the ones introduced this year:

#1) Outlawing gay adoptions and foster parenting - Sen John Waterman
#2) Outlawing domestic partnership benefits for state universities - Sen John Waterman
#3) Amending the state constitution to ban same-sex civil marriage - Sen Brandt Hershmann and Rep Eric Turner

While comparing the atrocities the Nazi's perpetrated on the jewish people to the injustices being visited on our community may seem extreme, I find the similarities to also be striking. Around the country, in the year 2005, religous extremists are trying to take away our children, our ability to live peacefully with our partners, our inheritances, our right to visit sick and ailing loved ones in the hospital, and the legal contracts we already have in place to protect our families. No trains full of queers are running to the death camps yet, but as Pitts concludes, "How many would if they could?"

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AUTHOR: Seth Kreigh

DATE: 5/18/2005 08:17:28 PM

Bil, do you have the links to Waterman's bills online or the wording of the bills that he introduced?

AUTHOR: Marla R. Stevens

DATE: 5/19/2005 01:46:34 AM

On Access Indiana you can look up bills in many ways, one of which is by legislator. Waterman's page for the 2004-5 session is bill numbers are SB0541 and SB0585 and there are links to the bills that include the text on his page.Whenever I communicate with a legislator I try not only to review as much of the legislator's biography/c.v. as possible, but to review the list of legislation s/he's sponsoring and has sponsored. It gives me another way to get an accurate sense of the legislator. Knowing what matters to a legislator can lead to who matters to the legislator politically -- and some of those may be or may become allies who will help the legislator understand my issues in a way that perhaps I cannot.

AUTHOR: Marla R. Stevens

DATE: 5/19/2005 02:02:48 AM

An important thing any gay person -- and, in these dark days, perhaps any American -- should do is spend at least one whole day at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. At least all of the morning (and perhaps even longer) should be spent studying the exhibits on the fourth floor -- the exhibits of the years leading up to the mass murders.Then, when you've finished all the museum's other exhibits and spent some time honoring the dead in the peaceful place that's provided for that, go to the research library and read more of the Shoah biographies, particularly the gay ones, knowing how easily we could become any of them.Forewarned is forearmed. If you're aware of the political world today, you'll see too many too similar things from those old days beginning over seventy years ago for you to remain in comfortable ignorance or denial. But that will be a good thing.

AUTHOR: Tracy Elliott

DATE: 5/19/2005 01:31:48 PM

While there is plenty-enough fascism in the anti-gay theocratic movement, we need to be careful about comparisons to the holocaust. In that awful time, Jews did not have the power and place we possess to utilize to defend ourselves. They didn't have the infrastructure of law and due process at their disposal. While they possessed some rights that were taken from them, the guarantees of life and liberty that we can claim and demand were not there for them.And, 6 million of them were murdered. We cannot minimize the daunting challenges we face and the ferocity of the efforts to marginalize us, but in comparing our plight to the Jews in Europe in the 1930's we dull the edge of that horror and inadvertently dishonor the memory of those 6 million victims.


DATE: 5/19/2005 02:13:35 PM

The comparison with the Nazis cannot usefully be to the final solution, the six million dead Jews, and the millions of others. The more appropriate comparison is to their beginnings.The Nazis started by persecuting gays before they put the final solution into full swing. Before the Nazis rose to power, Germany was considered by most educated people, including German Jews, as the most civilized country, the best educated, in the world. German Jews, for the most part, were completely assimilated and could not imagine that they could be singled out for scapegoating. They were completely convinced, long after the evidence to the contrary was clear, that "it couldn't happen here, Germans would not allow such a thing." (One of the most moving war memorials I have seen is in Berlin-Steglitz; it is a small inverted trapezoidal monolith about three or four feet high, shaded by a willow tree. The inscription, in translation, is: "To the dead, 1929-1945".) One reason that the persecution of gays under the Nazis is underreported is that it continued, albeit in somewhat muted form, after their defeat. In other words, while the Allies, after turning a blind eye to the impending fate of the Jews before the war, tried to atone afterwards, they continued to turn a blind eye to continued oppression of gays after their victory and thus did not publicize the crimes.

AUTHOR: Bil Browning

DATE: 5/19/2005 03:07:25 PM

Thanks for the link Marla. I just linked to their IAN "Wanted" posters.I agree that comparing the Holocaust to what's happening isn't the best comparison. I think Ed hit it right on the mark when he said it was more like the early days of the Nazis. What makes me shudder though, is the realization that it didn't take long for the Nazi's philosophy to continue to it's bitter end. How long will it be before ShrubCo's diabolical theories of world domination and genocide become realized on an even more massive scale than Iraq and Afghanistan? When does he turn viciously on his own people like Hitler did?