Jonathan Capehart’s PostPartisan item today, about an op-ed in the New York Times, is promoting a lot of reflection in the blog post’s comments about the status of gay rights in rural America. This would all seem a lot more serious if it weren’t also about how a 7-year-old girl called Honey Boo Boo perceives the romantic life of a man she calls Uncle Poodle. But serious it is.
Karen Cox wrote in the Times about the cultural significance of Honey Boo Boo’s gay (or just gay-seeming; PostScript isn’t sure) Uncle Poodle. Sure, Uncle Poodle is given a terrible nickname, cast in an unflattering light, and shown no respect by the Boo Boo family or TLC, which broadcasts the reality-TV show “Honey Boo Boo,” but every other character on the show also has a terrible nickname, etc.
So in this universe, Uncle Poodle looks like an equal.
PostScript wishes there were a little more evidence in the op-ed of Poodle’s acceptance or lack thereof, but to Capehart it seems like a missed opportunity for Poodle to point out that, even if he is socially an equal, which isn’t really proved, he is legally unequal: A Southern family’s polite avoidance of Uncle Poodle’s personal life makes it easier for friends and neighbors to vote against gay marriage or to let their disapproval of a lifestyle allow legal discrimination.
But the commenters are having an impassioned debate about where on the spectrum rural America is or should be. Though we all know pretty much what responsibility on the subject we can expect from Honey Boo Boo, would a more outspoken Poodle make a difference?
Sherryds and Curmudgeon10 think that if rural gays resent their treatment, they would/should move to Iowa (where same-sex marriage is legal). If they haven’t, they contend, it speaks to tolerance:
LBGT’s are free to relocate to climes more conducive to their preferred way of life at any time.
If I were living some place that I found hostile to my lifestyle and belief system, I would move. I guess that’s too simplistic.
PostScript is not sure whether she buys this argument; it is not always possible to live where you want to. PostScript, for example, would find the Azores more conducive to her preferred way of life than what she has currently, what with her home’s suspect plumbing situation, but the Azores are not hiring Internet snarks at the moment.
guyslp has a heartening story of the recent progress where he lives:
Well, as a gay man in a small Virginia town, living openly with my partner for 10 years now, I have no idea what euphemisms or hate words might be used by various individuals to refer to us. What I do know is that we are not harassed and are treated like a couple by virtually anyone we know.
That would have been impossible here, and in my native Pennsylvania, until the last 10-15 years.
uh_huhh thinks that social acceptance nice, but isn’t as nice as legal equality:
guyslp, not only are you not fully equal under the law, you are nullified as a couple and subjected to pervasive legal exclusion, which is actually getting worse, not better, in your state. Those nice, fine people that all treat you like a couple? Yeah, if your partner dies, those nice fine people won’t even let you claim the corpse and bury it.
I couldn’t give a damn whether you like me or approve of me or “accept” me. But my government, which takes exactly the same taxes from me as from you, will treat me as a full citizen. And that’s what [some people] don’t want.
No one is saying you have to be nice to me and my partner in the dog park. But what you don’t get to do is treat us like second class citizens under the law. I am your equal. And that includes my right to marriage, to adoption, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
PostScript would like to conclude with a back-and-forth that made her giggle like a lunatic:
“Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.”
I can only imagine what kind of website lies behind that link. A place where your kind get your freak-on, no doubt. Disgusting.
It is the National Institutes of Health, a federal scientific agency. That’s what the “nih” stands for. Thanks for admitting you are fearful and/or rejecting of the truth, Abby. Psychologists report that the most commonly observed symptom of the mental disorder homophobia is an inability of those so afflicted to accept documentation that contradicts their deep-seated phobia and hatred of LGBT Americans.