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08/07/2007

When I grow up, I wanna be a firefighter who sues over forced parade participation!

by Jeremy Hooper

227435033 0866C58B09Four San Diego firefighters are considering suing their department because they say they were forced to participate in the city's recent gay pride parade, where they say they were subjected to "obscene gestures and sexual comments":

Firefighters may sue over pride parade participation [Union-Tribune]

And you know what? We actually sort of agree that nobody should be "forced" to participate in a pride parade out of fear that they will be suffer career repercussions if they abstain. However, what makes us think that there is far more behind the four firefighters' motivations than just self-protection is that they are working with the Thomas More Law Center to weigh their legal options. For anyone who doesn't know about the TMLC: Well, it is an EXTREME conservative Christian law firm that jumps at any and every opportunity to paint gays in a negative light. So considering that the city's brave flame foes are working with these flame throwers rather than a firm that merely uses the law (and not bias) as their guide -- well, it's hard to see this as anything more than yet another attempt to demonize pride parades, gays, and the whole nature of queer acceptance!

We'll keep monitoring this situation (with a special focus on finding out whether the Thomas More Law Center sought out the firefighters, or vice versa). In the meantime, San Diego gays: Be sure to be on your least "obscene" behavior, should you need a kitten rescued out of a tree.

**NOTE: We say we are interested in finding out who sought out who because we have this sneaking suspicion that the Thomas More Law Center concocted the lawsuit against the pride participation and THEN sought out any firefighters who would be willing to serve as plaintiffs. If this were the case, it would be a very different situation than one in which the four firefighters contacted the Law Center themselves.

**UPDATE: To crib a bit from Pam, here is a small assortment of the "charming," "rational," "moral," "in no way mean-spirited" things being said about this over at Free Republic:

Picture 19-15

Lovely.

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Your thoughts

I would love to make a conservative oriented website that was not so hostile to the GLBT community. GLBT issues is the only major issue I disagree with 85% of the freepers.

Also, next year they should just have GLBT firefighters and their straight allies only for next year, it would have not as much controversy.

Posted by: Matt | Aug 7, 2007 3:31:03 PM

I'm hoping -- and working -- for the day when the GLBT community no longer feels any particular motivation to advertise pride through parades or any other means. The need to do this exists when there is a question about it -- when large portions of society would apply the word "shame" instead of "just people."

So here's to the day when there are no more Pride parades because they are no longer needed!

Posted by: Robin Reardon | Aug 7, 2007 5:33:52 PM

From Schmitz Blitz: schmitzblitz.blogspot.com

Dialogue on the 'Mos

I've written a response to someone who had responded to my earlier post on gays and firefighters.

He writes:

Thank you for your comments.

have a few questions for you based on your comments.

You said that “When will gays learn that they are only hurting their cause for mainstream acceptance by participating in lewd Gay Pride parades, in which they themselves conform to all of the most negative stereotypes about them?

How are these gays in/at the parade “playing into stereotypes” as opposed to showing the public how they really truly are? Were these gays “acting” or is this who they truly are?

You said that “In forcing these men to attend the Pride Parade, the San Diego Fire Department has only surrendered another PR coup to the Christian Right who are now running pieces like this.”

How is the “Christian Right” as you called them using this as a “PR coup”? Isn’t the objective factual truth of how homosexuals acted at this event being reported?
What do you have against people reporting the objective factual truth?

Thanks,
Chris

My response:


Chris,

Where to begin.

I agree with you that stereotype usually has some accuracy to it when applied to any given minority. However, one must recognize that stereotype tends to exaggerate and distort the most superficial differences (and then turns these differences into moral flaws).

I would start by asking you if you actually know any gay people closely. Friends? Family? Anyone that you are close to? I would be willing to bet that you would have an entirely different perspective on ‘those people’ if you did.

I am being presumptuous, but I am willing to bet that you do not actually know anyone closely who happens to be gay. I do know a lot of gay people. I love some of them, I can’t stand others—pretty much the way I feel about any given sample of the population.

That being said, I think that a lot of gays are putting up an act at events like gay pride. For every naked dancing boy I see for a few seconds walking by at a Pride event, I personally know five more gays who shun such displays.

With regard to your remarks on reporting “objective factual truth,” I would say that the facts of this incident are not disputed, and I have no problem with them being reported as such. As you see from my original post, I actually agree with you in thinking that forcing these men (however exaggerated their claims of psychological damage may be) to march in the parade was wrong.

However, I do dispute the way that people from generally conservative religious backgrounds paint an entire swath of human beings (who happen to be in the minority ) as depraved and evil. From a minority perspective, it’s kind of scary.

Thanks for the dialogue,
Elizabeth

Posted by: Elizabeth Schmitz | Aug 10, 2007 12:28:11 AM

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