Phobia != Bigotry

You may have noticed that my posts of late do not use the terms homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, etc. anymore*.  Basically, I was informed that terms using the -phobia suffix, despite being in wide popular use, conflate mental illness with bigotry and violence, give inappropriate credibility to the "gay panic" or "trans panic" defenses when straight/cis people commit violence against queer/trans people, and, much like calling Glenn Beck or Michele Bachmann "crazy", smear people with actual phobias by appropriating their disability to describe despicable attitudes and people.

Terms like heterosexism (replacing homophobia), cissexism (replacing transphobia), monosexism (replacing biphobia), and Islamobigotry/anti-Islam bigotry (replacing Islamophobia), aren't all that hard to introduce to one's lexicon and convert to general use.  Certainly no harder than learning not to use "lame", or "crazy", or other ableist slurs.  I like them additionally because they put the focus back on the dominant/oppressive side of the dichotomy by clearly noting who the problem is right there in the word.

But even if all the other reasons were wrong**, it would still be better to change from -phobia language, because it makes it a lot harder for asshats to pull shit like this.
For many people “homophobia” is actually about “having a fear of being accused of being bigoted, prejudiced or discriminating against homosexual people”. This fear, which is increasingly common, causes people to take a defensive posture in order to avoid attracting disapproval or adverse publicity. ... For people who don’t hate, dislike or fear gay people, but simply believe that sex between people who are not married (including all sex between those of the same sex) is morally wrong, we need a new term. I’d like to propose the term “homoskeptic” - a term that is not yet in common use and hence arguably open to (re)definition.
Using -phobia language leaves a nice little loophole for the bigots to exploit.  They can say "I don't fear gay people!" and thus deflect critique off into speculation of their *real* feelings about teh gayz, diverting attention from the oppression and bigotry they're perpetuating. It allows this jackass to turn the fear-connotation of using -phobia around and twist it into the Good Christian's fear of The Gay Mafia and their notorious jackbooted enforcers.  It lets him pose bigots as the victim and their ideology as reasonable, not a phobia, but simply skepticism, which is a healthy quality, right?

But the last lol came from a comment to the post on NOM's blog, by commenter Anonygrl:

I would like to suggest that people who don't hate or fear African Americans but simply think that they are morally inferior should be called afroskeptics. And people who don't hate or fear women but think that they just shouldn't get paid the same as men or have control of their own bodies should be gynoskeptics.
No matter what you call yourselves, if you are doing so to justify denying rights to another group (and that is what you are doing with homosexuals) then the correct term you should be using is bigot.

*If you have seen me slip up in this, please do let me know, either in comments or via email, and I will change it.
**However, they are not wrong, and this will not be up for debate here.  Additional commentary on the harms of -phobia language may be found here and here if you want or need further reading on the subject.

On Weiner

Because I am ridiculously sick of hearing, and correcting, Weiner's liberal/feminist defenders, who are apparently really goddamn invested in painting Weiner as a good man who just made the mistake of getting caught in his extramarital wandering, I just want to crosspost a rant I tossed up on tumblr earlier this morning. 

[In response to a post saying, basically, that what Weiner did isn't that bad, and it's not fair to be so mean to him when there are lots of other sexually immoral and otherwise unethical jackasses still hanging onto their political positions and power]
No.  No no no no no no NO.  He did not just “lie about racy pictures”.  He lied about SEXUALLY HARASSING women over the internet.  Two of the women have said that the sexual tone of the interactions was not consensual, that they did nothing to indicate they were receptive to receive sexual pictures or messages.  Weiner’s pattern in these interactions is fairly clear, that he used his position and his fans’ admiration for him to SEXUALLY HARASS women online. 
I get that the mainstream coverage of this hasn’t really focused on the consent angle.  So maybe people don’t realize this.  But for the love of all the gods can we stop fucking defending a man whose offense was not just “having an internet affair and/or lying about it”, but was instead SEXUAL HARASSMENT?  Can we stop fucking acting like Weiner’s the victim here?
I agree, too, that there are quite a number of other Congressional douchefucks who ought to be thrown out on their asses, and they have not been held anywhere near as accountable for their varying types of fucked-up behavior, as Weiner is being held for his.  BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN WEINER SHOULD GET A PASS. 
I get that he was one of our heroes.  I get that he did some very good shit.  I loved his politics and his fiery speeches and his willingness to call Repubs out on their bullshit, with a flaming passion.  THAT DOES NOT MEAN HE HAS A RIGHT TO SEXUALLY HARASS HIS FEMALE FANS.  That does not mean we should defend him for doing so. 
I have had to say this I can’t even count how many times in the past few days.  For fuck’s sake, people.  It’s not about the lies.  It’s not about the “racy” pictures.  It’s about his disregard for consent and boundaries, it’s about his taking advantage of his position and the goodwill of his supporters to HARASS women.  It’s about holding Weiner to a standard of conduct that includes Do Not Sexually Harass People, and I see no reason why “But those other people didn’t get in enough trouble!” should be taken as a reasonable justification to NOT hold Weiner accountable.

Also, to the jackass on RH Reality Check who felt the need to mansplain to me that "that's not what sexual harassment is" when I made points similar to the above - according to Merriam-Webster online, sexual harassment is "uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate (as an employee or student)".  I'd say sending unsolicited pictures of one's junk to someone with whom one was having a nonsexual conversation prior to the picture-sending counts as "uninvited" at the very least, and according to at least two of the women, it was also "unwanted".  Add in that Weiner, as an elected official, was trading on political power and reputation and the admiration of his female fans who may also have been his constituents, and you have the power differential that makes it "especially" sexual harassment.

What it comes to is this: Anthony Weiner was a progressive hero.  He used the power and fame and admiration that gained him to sexually harass women via the internet.  No, that is not as bad as some other things politicians have done.  But it is still a bad thing to do.  I refuse to compromise my ethical standards around consent, simply because he who violated them was someone I really liked.  And I genuinely don't understand why so many people who purport to be feminist, are willing to just brush those principles aside in order to defend Weiner.  I really don't.  


Catholic "Charities": Our Bigotry Is More Important Than Caring For Orphaned Children

Remember what I wrote a few weeks back, about how government money going to religious organizations which insist on operating according to the dictates of their religious beliefs was kind of a Bad Idea, because it meant there would be gaps in service and people who couldn't access services that a government-run institution would provide, because the religious institution refused to offer it, meaning people not of a particular religion would be forced to live by the dictates of that particular religion in the absence of non-religious care providers?

Shit like this would be why.  Adoption by same-gender couples in civil unions is permitted in Illinois, but the local Catholic adoption groups, which rely on financing from the state, want to be able to continue their exclusionary policy of "not placing children with unmarried couples".  This is, of course, their workaround that lets them cover their anti-gay bias in a thin veneer of "it's not about TEH GAYS, it's about ALL unmarried people!"  (This is also an excellent example of why civil unions are Not Good Enough as a "compromise" instead of full marriage equality.) 

Anyway, the point is, these jerks are actually upset enough at having to treat same-gender couples almost-equally that they are suing the state of Illinois for religious infringement, and have said that they will stop offering their state-funded - state-funded!  Taxpayer money!  Let that sink in for a moment - foster and adoption placement services entirely if they don't get their Special Snowflake Jesus Said So exemption. 

This is why I am leery at best (and actively hostile toward, at worst) when it comes to the idea of Faith-Based Outreach.  I didn't like the federal office of faith-based outreach when Bush instituted it, and I like it no better now that Obama has kept and expanded and reworked it.  (My ire is bipartisan!  Are you willing to treat my objections as reasonable now, Mr. President?)  If religious institutions want to offer charity and services, by all means let them do so, but let them do so with their own and their tithers' money.  And do not treat them like a substitute for publicly-funded and government-run social services, because they are not.  Spend the tax dollars that previously went to religious charities on building the bureaucratic infrastructure necessary to provide those services.  (Yes, I realize it's a hair's breadth from COMMUNISM! to suggest that the government should spend any money providing any services, much less social services, but we all know I'm a dirty pinko leftist anyway, so.)

Look, if anti-choice extremists can get all huffy about "my tax dollars" going to fund Planned Parenthood, I'm entitled to make a fuss about my tax dollars going to fund religious organizations who would rather abandon their mission to help children in need of families, than be forced to treat same-gender couples as equal to mixed-gender couples. 

These Catholic charities apparently need to give back the taxpayer money, find a fainting couch, and lie down to have the vapors quietly for awhile, cause obviously they can't handle the idea of putting the needs of children ahead of their bigotries.  And in the meantime, why don't we see about finding those children some loving homes - no matter the genders of the adults providing them.


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