The right's in overdrive to construct an image of queer people that's a violent threat to anyone who would cross our paths. It was the most obvious in that full-page "No Mob Veto" ad put out by a group of not-just-anti-gay bigots, and it's growing in its volume. They want for the first thing people think of when they think of queer participation in politics is violence. It's a silencing technique, because deep in their authoritarian lizard brains is an impulse to get anyone who disagrees with them to STFU.
I was going to write up a response to Steve Lopez's recent LA Times column on the protests of El Coyote restaurant (whose owner, Margie Christoffersen, donated $100 to the Yes on 8 campaign), but Jim Burroway already responded to the facts. The column is absolutely ridiculous, mentioning that Christoffersen is crying because of the mean gays about a dozen times. One gets the impression that she's a frail woman (who has owned and operated a difficult business for decades and donates to contentious political causes) who's in shambles because she exercised her right to participate in democracy.
It's easy to get sarcastic here, because Lopez changes some real facts (saying that cops were showing up in riot gear, which Jim disputes) to make the situation more dramatic and presents Christoffersen as such an incredibly weak person one wonders how she even manages to stand up each morning. But Lopez got his point through: the gays made a girl cry.
What wonders what sort of protest would be acceptable to Lopez, since he seems at points to take issue with the very idea of not supporting businesses that are materially fighting people's rights. Lopez, in that way, dips into a very common traditional media columnist trope: we should all be able to disagree about fundamental issues without actually taking any sort of action. It's not like any of this is real. Christoffersen even said she likes gay people! Would someone who's really homophobic ever say something like that?
But Lopez thinks that Christoffersen was just voting her conscience and donating money to a cause she thought was necessary. It's not really homophobic, you see, because her heart was in it. Or something. With gay-supportive columnists like Lopez, who needs homophobes?
Speaking of people who couldn't possibly be homophobic, no matter what they want the government to do to punish queers, because they have gay friends, Sarah Palin's church was the target of an arsonist. No one was hurt. The AP is blaming the gays based on the fact that we had the gall to speak out against ex-gay camps:
The 1,000-member evangelical church was the subject of intense scrutiny after Palin was named John McCain's running mate. Early in Palin's campaign, the church was criticized for promoting in a Sunday bulletin a Focus on the Family "Love Won Out Conference" in Anchorage. The conference promised to "help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome."
Besides the fact that that church was criticized for a number of things, advertising the LWO conference being one of the smallest issues people took, the AP shouldn't just be throwing the blame around when there's absolutely no evidence that the attack took place because of the gays. No wonder so many papers are ending their AP subscription - it's a crappy product.
But it should be expected that the traditional media would turn against us if we effectively speak out against homophobia. Newspaper columnists, for as bad-ass as they like to think of themselves for speaking the truth no one wants to hear, are in reality quite adverse to conflict. Plus, most of their readership isn't gay, and considering the aging of the population who still reads dead-tree publications, probably not that gay-friendly either.
That definitely does not mean that we should stop. It just means it's getting good.