Life at № 42
This isn’t a post I expect anyone to read from beginning to end. It’s more than anything else, an exercise, an illustration.
In 2005 the SPLC published a timeline of the history of the anti-gay movement in America. Using that as a basis I’ve created an alternate, more detailed, international and up to date version spanning from 1977 to 2016. As I was born in 1978 it more or less covers my life. I’ve done this to try to give people who aren’t LGB or T an idea of what we’re confronted with in life; that’s why I’ve also listed some cases of anti-gay violence. Just scroll, browse through it, see if anything catches your eye. Maybe go to a year that was important to you for one reason or another. By the time you get to the bottom ask yourself who’s really the aggressor in this “culture war” and who fabricated it?
The movement kicked off in 1977, the year before I was born, when Anita Bryant saw the opportunity to revive her career by opposing anti-discrimination legislation in Dade County.
1978: I’m born on March 23rd. Wichita (Kansas), Eugene (Oregon) and St. Paul (Minnesota) all repeal ordinances that protect gays from discrimination. That same year a ballot is floated in California to ban gay teachers. Tim LaHaye, an Evangelical minister, publishes a book called The Unhappy Gays. In it he claims gays share 16 pernicious traits, including “incredible promiscuity,” “deceit,” “selfishness,” “vulnerability to sadism-masochism” and “poor health and an early death.”
1979: Evangelical minister Jerry Falwell founds a group called The Moral Majority. His first fundraising ploy for the group is titled “A Declaration of War on Homosexuality.” Masters & Johnson claim they can convert gays to heterosexuality in a book called Homosexuality in Perspective. Tennessee Williams is beaten by five teenage boys in Key West.
1980: Paul Cameron (who will later be expelled from the American Psychological Association for ethics violations regarding his “gay research”) publishes a number of pseudo-scientific studies which claim gay men are considerably more likely to be murderers, abuse children and intentionally spread diseases.
1981: Falwell’s Moral Majority allies in congress try to pass a bill removing federal funding from any group that suggests homosexuality is acceptable. The Council for National Policy is founded. Members include R.J Rushdoony (who proposes the death penalty for gays), Falwell, LaHaye, James Dobson, Tony Perkins and Phyllis Schlafly. Toronto police raid city bathhouses, arresting 286 people; it’s called Operation Soap.
1982: After considerable lobbying, The U.S. Department of Defense issues a policy stating that homosexuality is “incompatible” with military service. Around 17,000 gay soldiers are discharged over the coming years. A series of homophobic beatings take place in Ireland; Declan Flynn is beaten to death. Rick Hunter and John Hanson are beaten by Minneapolis police outside a gay bar while being called queers.
1983: Pat Buchanan, communications director for Reagan calls Aids “nature’s revenge on gay men”. Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority sent out at least three mailings that highlighted the threats of homosexuality and AIDS. In a similar vein, Robert G. Grant’s organization, Christian Voice, used the threat of homosexuality as a major theme in a fundraising letter that began, “I am rushing you this urgent letter because the children in your neighborhood are in danger.”
1984: The Coalition on Revival is founded to promote “Christian government”, which includes anti-gay policies. Board members include Tim LaHaye and Christian Supremacist James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries. The Orthodox Church puts out a statement that says: “homosexuality should be treated by society as an immoral and dangerous perversion and by religion as a sinful failure. In both cases, correction is called for. Homosexuals should be accorded the confidential medical and psychiatric facilities by which they can be helped to restore themselves to a self-respecting sexual identity…” Charlie Howard is drowned in Bangor, Maine for being “flamboyantly gay”
1985: Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Paul Cameron (in reference to the AIDS crisis) suggests that “the extermination of homosexuals” may be necessary. Evangelical cleric John Robert Walmsley Stott publishes Homosexual Partnerships? Why Same-Sex Relationships Are Not a Christian Option. Kenneth Zeller is beaten to death in Canada.
1986: Dick Hafer publishes a comic called Homosexuality, Legitimate, Alternate Deathstyle. This is the cover:
1987: Mrs. Thatcher makes a speech in which she says people who are being told they have a “right” to be gay are being cheated. Here it is:
1988: I turn 10 years old, having spent my childhood being directly and indirectly exposed to these messages. The Oregon Citizen’s Alliance campaign is successful and the previous ban on discriminating gay people in employment is overturned. The Thatcher government passes Section 28.
1989: Dannemeyer publishes Shadow in the Land: Homosexuality in America. Lesbians and gay men are labeled “the ultimate enemy,” In Sydney Christians protest the the LGBT Mardi Gras event.
1990: Football coach Bill McCartney founds Promise Keepers. They hold stadium revivals that promote “traditional masculinity”. He calls gays “a group of people who don’t reproduce, yet want to be compared with people who do.”
1991: Pat Robertson founds the American Center for Law and Justice to stand up against gays who want rights. He says homosexuality is a “cancerous perversion” that “directly attacks the family.” The Boy Scouts write a memorandum which says “We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirements in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed…”
1992: Ty and Jeannette Beeson of Antelope Valley Springs of Life church cut/paste together a video of raunchy scenes from gay pride events. Pat Robertson plays it on his 700 club. At the Republican Convention Pat Buchanan anoints the term culture war: “There is a culture war going on in our country for the soul of America.” One hundred gays are sentenced to death in Iran after a raid on a private party.
1993: Clinton proposes to lift the ban on gays in the military. Coral Ridge Ministries issues a fundraising letter saying, “would you want your son, daughter, or grandchild sharing a shower, foxhole, or blood with a homosexual?” In Georgia Gordon Wysong declares, “We should blame them (gays) for every social problem in America.” Nicolosi publishes Healing Homosexuality: Case Stories of Reparative Therapy.
1994: “More than 40 fundamentalist groups, led by Focus on the Family, hold a summit in Colorado to coordinate a “special rights” argument to oppose gay rights. This strategy is also promoted by the Traditional Values Coalition’s “Gay Rights, Special Rights,” a 40-minute video claiming gay rights will erode the civil rights of African Americans.” SPLC
1995: The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams is published. He says gays weren’t victims of the Nazi’s but were actually behind the holocaust. Many anti-gay groups promote the book.
1996: The Supreme court puts an end to initiatives proposing stripping anti discrimination protections in Romer vs. Evans. The bill’s aim was to ensure that no protection whatsoever could be enacted by the state to defend any rights whatsoever of gay citizens: “Neither the State of Colorado, through any of its branches or departments, nor any of its agencies, political subdivisions, municipalities or school districts, shall enact, adopt or enforce any statute, regulation, ordinance or policy whereby homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships shall constitute or otherwise be the basis of or entitle any person or class of persons to have or claim any minority status, quota preferences, protected status or claim of discrimination.”
1997: Jehovah’s Witness magazine Awake 1997 Dec 8 pp.14-15 prints an article called Should Christians Hate Homosexuals?
“The Bible admonishes: O you lovers of Jehovah, hate what is bad. (Psalm 97:10) Hence, Christians are expected to hate every practice that violates Jehovah’s laws. Some people may even react with stronger feelings of aversion or disgust toward homosexuality than toward other types of immorality, viewing homosexuality as an unnatural sexual perversion. …
Those who practice what is bad, including homosexuals, can make radical changes in their pattern of thinking and behavior, and many have indeed been successful in making this transformation. Jesus himself preached to such ones; and on showing repentance, they became acceptable to him. Matthew 21:31, 32.
1998: I am now 20 years old. A coalition of Evangelical groups decides to promote gay conversion therapy despite there being no scientific evidence to support it. Senator Lott states that being gay is tantamount to being a kleptomaniac or an alcoholic. John Lawrence and Tyrone Garner are fined US$125 each after being arrested for having consensual sex in their own home. Matthew Shepard and Rita Hester are murdered.
1999: ABC aired an episode of “thirtysomething” which contained a scene in which two gay men were in bed (just) talking. The network lost over $1 million in advertising revenue. The Christian Institute (UK) publishes a paper called Bankrolling Gay Proselytism, The case for extending Section 28. Gary Bauer says gay civil unions in Vermont are worse than terrorism. A gay bar in South Africa is bombed.
2000: NARTH prints a pseudo-scientific essay in its bulletin called “The Origins and Therapy of Same-Sex Attraction Disorder”. California passes proposition 22. Robert Knight of the Family Research Council revives anti-gay “child molester” propaganda. Benny Hinn cures homosexuality live on stage at his church.
2001: Immediately after 9/11, Falwell and Pat Robertson blame the terrorist attack on the gays. “Football hooligans, clerics, ultranationalist youth and far right skinheads storm the first Pride march in Belgrade attacking and seriously injuring several participants and stopping the event from taking place.” Namibia’s President threatens homosexuals with elimination.
2002: I am now living at Villa l’Africaine in Spain. Rev. Michael Bray praises Saudi Arabia for beheading three gay men on New Year’s Day. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says “Homosexuality is an evil, abhorrent and destructive ‘criminal lifestyle’. Nicolosi publishes A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality.
2003: Alan Sears, head of the Alliance Defense Fund, co-authors The Homosexual Agenda, it asserts gay activists’ ultimate goal is “silencing” Christians.
2004: Ohio passes the Defence of Marriage act. It denies any recognition whatsoever of gay domestic partnerships, civil unions or marriage. The Wisconsin senate votes to ban gay civil-unions and marriages.
2005: Kansas votes to ban gay civil unions and marriages. “Expert” Aquilino Polaino is taken by the PP to speak to the Spanish parliament about homosexuality. He says homosexuality is caused by being the child of a distant, violent or alcoholic father. Also, that gays are incapable of playing sports or physically defending ourselves. We’re also allegedly unstable and incapable of long term relationships. Cameron (self) publishes a “report” titled Homosexual sex as harmful as drug abuse, prostitution, or smoking
2006: Kentucky rescinds its ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. President Bush renews his call for a constitutional amendment to ban gay unions. Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin all vote to ban gay unions.
2007: The Family Research Council publishes “Homosexuality Is Not a Civil Right”. It promotes pseudo scientific gay conversion therapy. It also equates homosexuality to pedophilia. The Mormon church publishes a paper that suggests gay people should marry heterosexually. NOM is founded to fight gay rights in California. In Australia Craig Gee is attacked by four men whilst holding his boyfriend’s hand and walking down the street. Part of his skull was reduced to powder and his leg was broken during the attack.
2008: After a vicious anti-gay campaign, proposition 8 passes in California. Paul Cameron travels to Russia to promote homophobia, setting the stage for things to come. Duanna Johnson is beaten by a police officer in Memphis, TN. The police were reportedly calling Duanna (a transgendered woman) “faggot” and “he-she.”
2009: A bill to criminalise homosexuality is presented in Burundi. The Kill the Gays bill is introduced in Uganda after American Evangelicals participate in an anti-gay conference there. The Family Research Institute publishes yet another pseudo scientific paper titled Child Molestation and Homosexuality which says gays are responsible for up to 1/3 of all child abuse.
2010: Kenyan Prime Minister Odinga says the behaviour of gay couples is “unnatural” and that, “If found the homosexuals should be arrested and taken to relevant authorities.” The FRC publishes The Top 10 Myths About Homosexuality. It defends gay conversion therapy and says homosexuality “causes harm to the body.”
2011: The Wyoming House of Representatives passes a bill to bar the state from recognising legal same-sex marriages performed in other legal jurisdictions. Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin bans a gay pride march. The Tennessee Senate passes Senate Bill 49, colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay bill”; the state also revokes its anti-discrimination protections. An LGBT (or perceived as LGBT) teen suicide epidemic occurs in Michele Bachmann’s district.
2012: North Carolina votes to ban same-sex marriage and any domestic legal union. A Christian group puts advertisements on London buses saying homosexuality can be “cured”. North Carolina Pastor Charles Worley says “Lock them into a pen with an electrified fence, drop food down to them, and because they can’t reproduce, they will die out.” The Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly in Russia passes anti-LGBT rights bill with punishments of fines up to US$17,000. Anti-gay propaganda rages in France led by a group called Manif pour Tous. And Kirk Cameron says homosexuality is unnatural:
2013: The Nigerian parliament passes a law banning same-sex marriage. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin signs into law a bill banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors” after it was unanimously passed by the State Duma. The Supreme Court of India overrules the Delhi Court in re-establishing section 377 of the Indian penal code that makes homosexual activity illegal. French MP Philippe Cochet says passing a gay marriage law is “assassinating children.” A gay association is vandalized and anti-gay campaigners proudly post the video online. A gay man is attacked in Paris, here’s a before and after of his face:
2014: Nigeria illegalizes public displays of same-sex relationships and belonging to homosexual groups. Additionally, “those who register, operate or participate in gay clubs, societies and organizations or who directly or indirectly makes public display of affection as part of a same-sex relationship would be punished with up to 10 years in prison.” The president of Uganda signs the anti-gay bill. 25 religious groups form an alliance in Jamaica to fight the Homosexual Agenda. Homophobia is rampant in their media.
2015: Russia wants to expand anti-gay legislation. Presidential candidate Ben Carson says “being gay is a choice, just look at prison inmates.” Scott Lively says homosexuality is worse than genocide.
2016: Homophobia is still alive and well- and homosexuality continues to be used as rallying cry by Christian extremists to increase their profits. The tired anti-gay propaganda long since debunked is still being used. I am now 38.