In the middle part of the last decade, Columbia’s Alvin McEwen was in the process of writing a book. He’d wanted to track the actions and movements of the anti-LGBT religious right and document them. The book publishing was slow, and a friend, he said, suggested he start a blog. And so, his blog, Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters, launched in 2006.
McEwen, 43, poured his heart into tracking statements and actions from well-known right-wing leaders.
“I was looking at how anti-gay groups distorted information,” McEwen explains. “Looking at their tactics and their history of cherry-picking science and relying on junk science.”
He soon attracted attention and support from gay blogosphere powerhouses Jeremy Hooper of GoodAsYou.org and Pam Spaulding of the now-retired Pam’s House Blend.
“Pam Spaulding, she pretty much embraced me and helped me along,” he recalls.
McEwen’s work, along with that of Hooper, Spaulding and others, came during a time when few other LGBT leaders or organizations were so forcefully countering rightwing, anti-LGBT narratives. McEwen said he thought it was crucial that LGBT people and straight allies have an understanding of the patterns of lies and falsehoods repeatedly pushed by the anti-gay right.
“People are so nonchalant about it, particularly our own people,” McEwen said. “That’s a big mistake.”
McEwen believes — and has often been able to prove or link together — deliberate attempts by rightwing groups to twist facts, mischaracterize scientific studies and malign LGBT people in the process.
“They say they are standing on God’s principles and God’s law,” he said. “Okay, if you’re doing that, why do you have to lie? Why do you have to do all these other things?”
Exposing the right’s hypocrisy and their intentional efforts at discrimination defines nearly all of McEwen’s passion and citizen journalism. He’s challenged some of the biggest names on the right, and even got one to admit the truth, he said.
“I had a conversation with Robert Knight,” McEwen recalled of the man who has worked with Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council, two of the nation’s largest anti-LGBT groups. “I asked him about how he used junk science. He said, ‘Yeah, we use it. So what?’”
McEwen has also published a small booklet, that briefly outlines and compares today’s anti-gay arguments to much of the same arguments used decades ago. The lies and falsehoods have never changed, he said, and anti-LGBT groups simply recycle the same tropes. LGBT groups, McEwen believes, have to be able to show the patterns and expose their hypocrisy in order to be successful.
His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. He’s been twice nominated for a GLAAD media award, this year and last year. He hopes this year is will bring good luck and feels the award will help him up his game.
“I don’t do this for pay,” he said. “I do this because I think it needs to be done. And when you get a nomination from GLAAD, it says you know they appreciate your work, that people appreciate your stuff and it makes you move it up to the next level.” : :
— Read more from McEwen and browse his extensive blog at holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com.