Friday, April 16, 2010

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That‏

There's nothing wrong with being gay - but there is something wrong with someone saying that you're gay, when you're not. This double standard seems to play into the hands of our national homophobia. If it's okay to be gay, there shouldn't really be anything wrong with being misidentified as being gay, outside of certain somewhat narrowly defined contexts. It's no different than being mistakenly identified as someone's lover - this sucks if you happen to be involved with someone else, or a priest perhaps, but otherwise, so what?

The administration going after CBS in the way they did doesn't necessarily lead one to believe that the White House shares in the general dislike of gays and/or the opinion that this particular deviation from the allegedly neutral norm of being a white, heterosexual (and possibly married) male as being, well, deviant, but it does point to a sensitivity about the subject that is unbecoming. If a headline screamed out that Elena Kagan was a lesbian, the proper response seems (at least from where I see it) to be: "Yeah, so? Your point? Kagan's sexuality is relevant in what way, precisely?" Let Kagan and her lawyers take the lead in seeking a correction - hopefully not one based on the idea that she's been slandered, but on the simple fact that if a news outlet is going to put forth personal information about a person as fact, that information should be at least substantiated, if not impeccably accurate. (Depending on your viewpoint, both standards may be reasonable for a professional news outlet, but if we can allow that even a careful reading of evidence can occasionally lead the criminal justice system to reach incorrect conclusions, it seems harsh to hold the news media to a higher standard.)

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