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05/21/2012

They really don't think they verbally abuse us; that's a big problem

by Jeremy Hooper

This tweet, courtesy of the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, stopped me in my tracks:

Screen Shot 2012-05-21 At 8.29.22 Am

If you're a regular G-A-Y reader, you surely know that Bryan Fischer is one of the most extreme voices in the far-right sphere. Or actually, you don't even have to be a G-A-Y reader, since Bryan's extremism has broken into the mainstream over the past year, thanks to his battle of words and deeds with GOP (presumptive) nominee Mitt Romney. It is not an overstatement to say that Bryan Fischer is the anti-LGBT community's single most hostile voice, and the guy whose words pretty much single-handedly landed his American Family Association on the Southern Poverty Law Center's hate groups list.

Do some LGBT people verbally knock Fischer for this, his chosen career path? Sure. Personally, I don't knock anyone on a personal level, keeping it instead on the work. That said, I more than understand how a Bryan Fischer's words can boil one's blood, resulting in a cathartic response that manifests in raw, human emotion. This stuff is not just politics for LGBT people and allies—it's deeply personal! Sometimes the responses are as well.

But the only reason why any LGBT person knows the name Bryan Fischer is because this man has, for the past two decades now, dedicated a major portion of his life and work to viciously slighting everything that has to do with being an LGBT person. Unlike some of his fellows, Bryan doesn't even pretend to confine his focus to policy, instead waging a personally-targeted war against the very cores of LGBT people's beings. Anything that an LGBT activist says back to Bryan Fischer is a response to his own actions, not an unprovoked attempt to "revile" him. Bryan is the disher here. The aggressor. The antagonist in this "culture war" play. He "reviles" LGBT people for both paycheck (at AFA) and hobby (on personal Twitter)—an extracurricular that is as hurtful as it is curious. The only reason why LGBT people have to pause our lives and collective sense of peace to respond to this noise is because people like Fischer have decided that the natural fabric of our humanity is in need of some rips.

That Bryan doesn't see himself as the one whose words are daily abusing not only the hearts and minds of millions but also the very discourse that surrounds this debate? Well, that sense of deniability, whether heartfelt or pretense, is one of the reasons why this mean-spirited debate continues on the way that it does. If those who have made the lifestyle choice to attack certain citizens' equality would at very least admit that they are the ones on the offense, we could at least come to a more honest debate on the merits (or lack thereof).

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