a recent issue the Washington Post ran a “special advertising
supplement” targeted to the black community that said gay people
are unworthy of the equal rights that African-Americans now enjoy.
The supplement was in the guise of a publication called “Both
Sides Magazine,” although it wasn’t a true magazine and
didn’t present both sides.
This disgraceful propaganda — clearly
backed by Focus on the Family’s James Dobson — truly
broke my heart. “Both Sides” tried to incite anger and
contempt by using an inexcusably vicious combination of shocking
pictures and bogus claims. Editor Dr. David Grier manipulated the
facts and stuffed this trash bag with bogus social science designed
to distort the lives of gay people.
Grier argued that gay people don’t deserve
equal rights because their “lifestyle” causes them an
early death. He arrived at this conclusion by using phony stats that
compare the “median age of death for a homosexual man with
AIDS” to the “average age of death for a married heterosexual
This is as ridiculous as comparing the average
age of death for healthy gay men to the age of death for African-Americans
with severe diabetes. Contrasting life spans of healthy people from
one group to sick people from another is beyond absurd.
Even more shameful, Grier got his information
from Dr. Paul Cameron. In 1985, the American Sociological Association
adopted a resolution that stated: “Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently
misinterpreted sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality
Grier did not present science, but pap from
the pulpit. It takes a total lack of integrity to smear a group with
false “Bell Curve” style statistics. It is not befitting
a man of God, but one who scrapes the gutter to find a way to justify
Grier also uses the asinine argument that gay
people are unworthy of equality because they didn’t suffer
as much as African-Americans.
“Where were the water hoses, attack dogs
and midnight rides to terrorize the marriage registrants in Massachusetts
and San Francisco?” Grier blithely asks.
This revolting message marginalizes gay hate
crime victims and their families. It minimizes gay and lesbian Americans
who have been fired because of their sexual orientation. It dismisses
the pain and suffering of countless gay youth who have committed
suicide because of people like Grier.
Most perverse, Grier puts victims of discrimination
into a twisted contest to see who has suffered more. How would Grier
like it if a Jewish person dismissed the horrible suffering of African-Americans,
like himself, by thoughtlessly spitting out, “Jim Crowe is
nothing, we had the holocaust, so shut up and get to the back of
In another article in the insert, James Canady
Sr. makes a circular argument that gay people have equal rights because
they can already marry the opposite sex. Well, sure, we can choose
to have sex with a person we aren’t attracted to and marry
someone we don’t love. But creating such unhealthy sham marriages
is certainly not conducive to an enduring family. Perhaps Canady
should have a discussion with the family of former New Jersey Gov.
James McGreevey before he dispenses such pearls of wisdom.
The final argument is that gay people should
not gain equal rights because homosexuality is not immutable, like
race. Grier made the silly argument that, “If homosexuality
is a genetic trait and homosexuals were true to their orientation,
the trait would die in the first generation.” Has the ignoramus
ever taken Biology 101?
The vast majority of gay and straight people
would agree that their sexual orientation is deeply ingrained and
is not changeable. The American Psychiatric Association says attempts
to change sexual orientation can lead to “anxiety, depression,
and self-destructive behavior.”
Nothing is more vulgar than minorities who
bash other minorities. People like Grier and Canady display a remarkable
degree of self-absorption. They are basically saying, “Now
that I’ve got my rights, no one else deserves theirs.” It
is discouraging to see people who learned all the wrong lessons of
the civil rights movement.
Thankfully, most black leaders such as Al Sharpton,
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) Nelson Mandela and Coretta Scott King have
been leading voices for gay and lesbian equality.
“For many years now, I have been an outspoken
supporter of civil and human rights for gay and lesbian people,” Coretta
Scott King said at the 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Legal
Defense and Education Fund. “Many of these courageous men and
women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find
few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions.”
The beauty of the civil rights movement is that it
had a universal message that laid down a simple moral principle: Caste
systems where people are born into second-class citizenship should
be abolished. It is a shame that in this day and age some people only
believe themselves worthy of dignity, freedom, equality and respect.