By: Abby Dees*/Special for TRT-
I had meant to write about serious LGBT news this week, but I accidently fell down the sinkhole of celebrity gossip – in particular, the goings on of one Alan Osmond (yes, those Osmonds). It started with a video of the former star discussing how Chuck Norris was consulted to help make the boys less effeminate. They wanted to be “tough,” Alan said an unsettling number of times.
When I hear about people hiring experts to make them less girly, it has a faint smell of gay panic. Naturally, I wanted to know more. I learned that Alan is the proud owner of thefamily.com, dedicated to “strengthening the family” through inspirational words and clip-art about God, gardening tips, holiday recipes, and countless nerve-rattling reports on the imminent collapse of civilization. Homosexuality – or “homosexual difficulties” – is right up there with Marxism and tsunamis.
I don’t mean to pick on Alan, because he’s not the most egregious homophobe around. But his website is riveting because it’s a perfect template for being a far-right wing nut. Here’s how:
Give regular props to Glenn Beck. Fill your blog with video links showing an over-caffeinated Beck at his blackboard of doom. Also use lots of capital letters and exclamation marks, especially for words like “AMERICA,” “CAPITALISM,” and “TERRORIST!” For extra hysteria, post bogus forwarded emails about Nancy Pelosi and Obama as if they’re news.
Tell people to be afraid, very, very afraid. Then tell them not to be afraid because they’re righteous and good. Repeat. It helps to suggest that we’re preparing for some kind of war, but be vague about the specifics. Periodically get sentimental about WWII. Those were the days, even if you were born in 1949.
Use cartoons to explain how China is about to buy Europe. On that note, post subtlety racist cartoons about Obama to lighten things up, and throw in a link to the “2011 Woman Driver Awards.” Also, feel free to pitch your multi-level marketing body-care line in between stories on who’s really behind the Occupy Wall Street movement (The Nazis and the Black Panthers).
And don’t forget the homosexual agenda.
What all of this has to do with the family is not completely clear. And when it comes to homosexual difficulties, Alan’s having a lot more of those than I am. Don’t get me wrong – he is compassionate towards homosexuals because he says so. He uses lots of warm language like “reach out” and “assist them.” We are, never forget, the sons and daughters of God.
So how does he suggest his readers reach out to their LGBT loved ones? By gently telling them that homosexuality is an abomination. He has also provided some research links to back up his assertion that homosexuality is a choice – the “power of agency,” he calls it. He even includes superscript footnote links for that extra bit of academic oomph.
Here’s where Alan really let me down. You see, I got kind of excited that he might have found some anti-gay material that I could sink my teeth into. This isn’t a masochistic impulse, but a genuine desire to have a substantive conversation about LGBT issues that calls me to respond with something more complex than, “You’re a moron.” I like to think that even people who don’t support us have come to their beliefs with a modicum of critical thinking. Without this, arguing for LGBT equality can feel like beating up a bowl of Jell-O.
So I clicked on Alan’s footnote links and discovered that they all went to one place: a nearly identical screed on the LDS website. I kept digging and eventually found myself looking at the same few outdated studies that the anti-gay folks have been picking clean for 20 years, and more self-referential LDS material saying that homosexuality is a sin because they said so.
None of this is new. If you dress up fear and bigotry as “family-friendly” and then scare the crap out of the kids, you can still claim the mantle of wholesomeness. And it would be funny if Alan Osmond were a one-off, but he’s not. He’s scary precisely because he’s so ordinary. “One Bad Apple” will never sound the same again.
*Abby is a civil rights attorney-turned-author who has been in the LGBT rights trenches for 25+ years. She can be reached through her website: queerquestionsstraighttalk.com.