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Mr. Ryder: The first step is admitting you have a problem

by Jeremy Hooper
"I don't think of those people negatively at all,"..."I look at them as I do alcoholics. You may have a tendency to be gay. But you can act on it or not."

The above is a statement given to the Pioneer Press by Burnsville, MN, resident Randy Ryder, in an attempt to justify why he's against gay acceptance being encouraged in public schools. And it's a comment that is so offensively off-base, it makes this writer want to pour himself a tall glass of sodomy and drink until he's fall-down queer! But I will abstain from that for now, so that I can be lucid enough to tell Mr. Ryder how he does, in fact, look at gay folks negatively if he is comparing the cores of their beings to substance abuse.

Ya see, Mr. Ryder, just saying something is so does not make it so. And when you say that you don't view our lives and loves negatively, but then proceed to disparage them in the next breath, you muddy the waters as to the true nature of your antipathy. It's a problem we always find with those who stand against us in opposition. Whereas we can have the fortitude to staunchly, unapologetically declare our detestation for anti-gay rhetoric and actions and to oppose all who foster a culture of homophobia, our opposition all-too-often tries to mask their own enmity behind a veil of false compassion. This allows those who embrace a dangerous, unfair, unjust, hurtful, discriminatory, someday-to-be-realized-as-wrong viewpoint to confuse others into thinking that they are doing so out of love, not contempt. And in fact, laymen like Mr. Ryder may not even realize that they are merely reciting "pro-family" rhetoric when they make statements like the above, as the organized anti-gay rights movement has been quite successful in mainstreaming their "love the sinner, hate the sin" message.

Mr. Ryder also says in the Pioneer Press article:

"The whole gay issue is a moral issue,"..."When you try bringing it into our schools and making it a policy, that's where I draw the line."

And again, by implying bringing this "moral issue" "into our schools" makes you angry, Mr. Ryder, you are clearly demonstrating on what side of morality you find gay acceptance to reside. Those who oppose equality always act as if we are all playing a game of Moral Monopoly, and they own both Park Place & Boardwalk (with two heterosexual-only hotels)! For those of us whose biological truths draws us to our own gender and whose morals lead us to fairness, this hijacking of values is nothing short of enraging.

Even though our ultimate goal is obviously the elimination of homophobia, heterosexism, or whatever label you want to give the culture of non-acceptance, a short-term goal is for those who oppose our equality to start saying what they actually mean! If you are against gays and gay couples living, loving, and existing in the same non-controversial ways as their heterosexual peers, then you DO, in fact, view gay people negatively. If you're against gay acceptance being taught from day one of a child's life, then you are, in fact, working towards making life harder for LGBT individuals. You are not allowed to justify anti-gay comments by saying you have some gay friends! You can't, in good conscience, have us plan or cater your weddings if you voted against our right to have our own!

If you're against us, you're against us! At least have the backbone to unwaveringly stand for your beliefs!

It is time we stop allowing those who vocally, publicly oppose us to wash their hands clean of their antipathy in order to make themselves look less hurtful. Mr. Ryder, we're sure you are a decent man with some very nice qualities. However, in addition to the aforementioned quotes, you also indicate in the Pioneer Press piece that you are supportive of an organization that encourages the "ex-gay" idea, attempts to point out the "strategies" of the gay rights movements, and encourages parents to resist gay-straight alliances in public schools. Any way you slice it, you do have a problem with homosexuals!!!!

Now if you'll excuse me, daddy needs a shot of Absolut Man Love.

Beyond 'Heather Has Two Mommies' [Pioneer Press]

*UPDATE: A video version of this post is available here.

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