Bigotry and Ignorance Reign

You know, I probably wouldn’t even have noticed this story if it hadn’t been picked up by The Colbert Report — after all, it was just a little item running across the AP wire — but the fact that it did get picked up gives me just one more opportunity to marvel at the incredible level of inexplicable homophobia rampaging across this nation.

I’ll direct you over to MotherReader for the story basics, but in a nutshell, a couple of reactionary parents in Missouri objected to the inclusion of And Tango Makes Three — a completely innocuous picture book that tells the true story of two male penguins who adopted an egg together — in the children’s section of their local library. (And by the way, if you’re coming over from MotherReader and expecting something similar in tone, you may want to turn back now — I’m a pretty angry S.O.B., and not exactly family-friendly here.)

To their credit, the library did not cave completely to these wackos. All is not sweetness and light, since they did move the book into the library’s general nonfiction section. But whatever; I’d have felt no compunction about telling the parents to go screw themselves, but that’s just me.

The book itself is really pretty good, and as a happy little bonus it completely undermines the right-wing dogma that homosexuality is in any way “unnatural.” Got news for you, dipshits — it’s completely natural. (In fact, in controlled studies, the incidence of homosexuality can be seen to increase in cases of overpopulation. That is to say homosexuality is nature’s way of controlling population growth.)

Of course, the wingnuts have never been all that keen on letting facts get in the way of their lunatic agenda (see “Intelligent Design/Creationism 2.0,” just to pick a timely example).

From a societal standpoint, of course, one can see a rationalization for disapproving of homosexuality — in a competitive environment, you would naturally want your tribe to reproduce as much as possible — so they can wipe out all other tribes by sheer numbers. That’s at least part of the reason for prohibitions on contraception and abortion as well, no matter how much it’s couched in the language of religion — lthough I suppose they’re not really “couched,” as pretty much all religious rules about behavior can be traced to attempts at societal planning (or in some cases outright manipulation).

But at the individual level, where the overall aims of society don’t really hold as much sway, there’s a far simpler reason for such unmitigated bigotry — homophobia. And I mean that quite literally: fear of homosexuality. Oh, people make jokes along the lines of “Who’s afraid of homosexuals?” and in a sense, they’re right. Homophobia isn’t truly a fear of homosexuals, but a fear of being a homosexual.

It’s pretty much a cut-and-dried case. The louder one rails against homosexuality, the more one is individually afraid that one may in fact be gay — or is so close to that line as to be easily swayed. Anti-homosexuality is explicitly driven by such fears. On occasion, of course, that fear can extend to the fear that one’s offspring — one’s legacy — may be so swayed. But at its core, anti-gay bigotry traces its origin completely to the notion that someone is so insecure in their sexual identity that they must do whatever they can to keep themselves from anything that might upset their precarious balancing act.

It’s the same for those who speak most loudly against anyone who doesn’t share their religion — their faith is on such shaky ground that they can’t bear the thought of anything challenging it. If you’re really secure in your faith — as most of the religious people I know most certainly are — you won’t feel the need to irrationally stifle contrarian voices.

As for this specific case, don’t bother trying to tell me that parents have a right to expose children to certain matters of sexuality according to their own timetable. Of course they do. Even assuming this book had anything to do with sex — which it doesn’t — you’ve got a perfectly justifiable solution at hand — don’t read the damn book.

But try to say that nobody should be allowed to read it? You’re just demonstrating that not only are you blatantly homophobic — i.e., afraid of being gay yourself — but you’re an irredeemable moron to boot.

Want to argue with me? Go right ahead — I welcome the feedback. But choose your words carefully. I will be drawing conclusions.


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