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06/15/2006

'Pro-fams' get around to seeing X-men; find it too agenday

by Jeremy Hooper

    We were actually a little shocked when X-Men: The Last Stand hit theaters last month, as we had expected those on the "pro-family" side of things to speak out aggressively against the film. For months prior to the opening, the parallels between the film and the "ex-gay" movement were played up by those involved with the movie, yet upon the flick's May 2 release, there were barely any peeps of opposition from the usual "pro-family" suspects.

Well, better never than late we always say of antipathy for the gay community; unfortunately, Focus on the Family, via their "Boundless" webzine, have flipped our sentiment and reversed, offering a criticism of the movie's "agenda" here a full month after its opening.

In the piece, writer Matt Kaufman begins by telling of his fondness for the message of the X-Men comic books, and how their encouragement of "acceptance for people's differences" is a "powerful, important...morally positive" sentiment. However, he draws a line on that fondness for diversity acceptance when it comes to gay folks, saying of the message:

Cruelty and persecution were deplored, kindness and brotherhood affirmed. Anyone who's ever been picked on for being different (and how many of us know what that's like) could testify to how precious these themes can be.

Again, though, even such a positive message as this can be distorted — and has been.

Case in point: Homosexuals have embraced X-Men as a metaphor for their experience, seeing themselves as persecuted victims of a society driven by no more than fear, ignorance or bigotry. And it's fair to say they've had some encouragement from a number of people involved in the comics and movies — especially the latter.

Those damn homos, going and finding alienation to be an apt metaphor for their existences! Next you're gonna tell us gays also find smooching folks if their same gender relatable! Honestly...

So right from the get go, Kaufman sets up his forthcoming slams of the gay community on a flawed notion, with some sort of implication that gays somehow "distorted" the message of the X-men by finding such relatable themes in their stories. What's flawed about this is that gays were not TOLD or LED or SPECIFICALLY MARKED TO by Marvel comics so that they'd like the X-Men; they just naturally DID! The message it was it is, and the audience either takes to it or not. The reader draws their own interpretations from the text and imagery offered, so for Mr. Kaufman to set up his piece on such an idea is bastardizing things from the onset. It would be like us saying the religious right has "distorted" the Left Behind series of books, films, and upcoming scary video games, simply because they related to its themes. Everyone relates to different entertainment options, which is precisely why we have both "The 700 Club" and clubs packed with 700 shirtless, sweaty gay men dancing with abandon. Chocolate and vanilla.

After decrying the last two films "coming out" scenes and mentioning the fact that the Ian Mckellen, star of all three films, and X1 and X2's director, Bryan Singer, are openly gay, Kaufman goes on to criticize the third film's "ex-gay" metaphors:

Things come to a head in the third and latest movie, though Singer is no longer in the director's chair. A major plot point is that a formula is invented that can cure people of mutancy. The very idea that the condition needs to be cured is outrageous to most (though not all) of the characters, heroes and villains alike. The parallel to ex-gay ministries is all too obvious, and the likes of McKellen have been explicit about the connection..

Then of the idea that neither the mutants or gays SHOULD change even if they could:

There are numerous problems with this view, from the flimsiness of the science behind the "born gay" claim to the short shrift given the motives of people who oppose homosexuality. But the one that perhaps deserves most attention is the one that attracts a lot of people besides gays: the temptation to blur the distinction between different kinds of differences, and put them all under the category of things that merit "acceptance." The truth is, not all differences were created equal.

Now we're not even going to debate the rest of the article, wherein Kaufman sticks to the "pro-family" script that homosexuality is a sin that can be cured through such programs as Exodus Ministries, because honestly -- what the hell's the point? We have a full "ex-gay" section of our site and we've made our views pretty clear when it comes to this notion, which we will once again remind you is, despite what they say, rejected by every major medical and mental health association. And unfortunately, just like with so many "issues" of concern to the "pro-family" crew, this ends ALL DEBATE on the topic. For we can't even address what he says "deserves the most attention," because if he is going to just blindly disregard what millions of homosexuals, people of science, and common sense so pointedly tell him about us gays, then we have no possible way of convincing him that we are deserving of acceptance. His team is the one doing the rejecting through their constant criticism and attempts to "change" the gay community, yet because of their rejection of further thought and analysis and refusal to cull knowledge from the reality of the world in which we live, we are painted into a corner where intelligent discourse is disallowed. It's enraging!

So after making the assertion that "not all differences were created equal," Kaufman spends the last seven of his paragraphs basically advertising for "ex-gay" programs, even going so far as to boldly make such statements as "[t]he causes of homosexuality vary (certain kinds of bad relationships with the parent of the same gender seem to be the most common)..." BULLSHIT! You do not know this and from our experience with homosexuals, this could not be further from the truth. Not to mention, do you guys who tout this concept consider for a second that you may find strain between a gay kid and their same gender parent because the father is ashamed of his "sissy" son or the mother is embarrassed that her daughter doesn't like dresses or Barbie? No, you do not, because your interpretations of Leviticus and Romans I don't tell you that parents can be narrow-minded and sometimes scare the hell out of their young, fruity kids. However, our interpretation of actual reality and stories from our friends who, at age five, had the Barbie fearfully ripped from their hands and replaced by GI Joe, provide us with a wealth of actual, tangible evidence to back up our "it's not a choice" claims.

Mr. Kaufman and cronies, if you don't relate to this position of folk who reject the "gays can change" notion, then don't participate in the entertaining by-products of their creativity and intellect. But don't pick and choose which parts of their message you support and which parts you reject; you do enough of that with other source materials.

The HomoseXual Agenda [FOF's Boundless Webzine]

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