Give Jim Hlavac's Article on Gays Another Chance: Think "Not in Our Name"
After years of writing for American Thinker, I've developed a thick skin when it comes to the comments section. But Jim Hlavac, a gay conservative, wrote a piece called "Much Ado about Nothing," apparently his first on the site. The comments were extraordinarily harsh and dismissive, even from some posters whom I recognize as usually stand-up, thoughtful folks.
If it were my own column, I'd probably chalk it all up to people having a bad day and go on to the next post, but my protective "Mama Grizzly" instincts have kicked into gear because I don't want a smart gay writer to be turned off to the site so quickly.
Jim Hlavac's point, if I understand it, is the following: most gay people want to live their lives and have no plans to undermine American civilization. Most gay people never appointed the gay lobby to speak for them. Most gays want to be a force for stability and support to our nation at large, and aren't Hell-bent on redefining marriage or much of anything. Hlavac is saying, "Don't believe the hype," either from pro-gay zealots (who don't really speak for us) or the people who react to pro-gay zealots in wild panic.
His sentiments resembled the ones underlying a composite letter I wrote with a French colleague who was raised by two lesbians (like me), called "Not in My Name." In other words, the common denominator is a desire to say to all sides: "Don't put forward radical or absolute stances and say that it's for us or about us if most of us haven't even had our say."
Maybe I am reading his piece wrong, but it sounds to me like a very sensible plea for people to remember that the average gay person isn't pushing same-sex marriage and/or same-sex parenting schemes on America; rather, the average gay person is just living life and trying to survive. According to Jim Hlavac, the left has been just as bad about beating up gays as the right has been, so he wants to define his political allegiance according to human principles apart from his sex life. Hence, having come from a family that survived the Soviet terror, he can't jump on the left's bandwagon, and he doesn't want to be on a bandwagon with a bunch of rightists who are all reacting to what the left's bandwagon is singing about gays.
The commenters pounced on poor Jim right away, pouring calumny on him and denouncing his column as insincere. I'd plead with readers to take a second look at what he wrote. My gut tells me people responded to him so harshly because of the context; after the stifling opinion cascade manufactured by academia, the press, and both political parties in favor of gay marriage over the last few weeks, people who favor traditional marriage feel attacked and demonized by an ultra-powerful, lavishly funded, and monomaniacal gay lobby. Jim's point was that the gay lobby isn't the same as gay people.
I've been trying to make this same point in multiple ways. My own tone and viewpoint have been somewhat radicalized since I took my inquiries international and connected with people in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America -- I realized that the push for same-sex parenting is unwittingly creating a global market for children to be bought and sold, and this makes my voice urgent and my mission less diplomatic than I might have been in the past. I don't want atrocities to be carried out in my name. Jim Hlavac sounds less radicalized than I do, but that's because he is more focused on the concerns of everyday gays in the United States. I get it; I want to thank him for saying his piece.
I just want to add a little point to what Jim Hlavac wrote: I am the "B" in the LGBT acronym, so I am part of his community, but a marginal member within it. Having a long history in the gay community because my mother was a lesbian and because I spent ten years in the gay life before falling in love with the woman who is now my wife, I can understand his feeling of dismay when heated debate swirls around us, and yet those of us who are being cited can't get in a word in edgewise because everyone assumes they know what we think already.
I would encourage Jim to keep writing, writing, writing, because the only way his message will be heard will be this: he must clarify, hone, repeat, and reiterate what he thinks, without feeling daunted by some of the initial knee-jerk response. Everyone's emotions are raw over the same-sex marriage issue (I blame the gay lobby most, but that's just me), so I hope Jim doesn't simply shut down based on the first enfilade.