Do gays really just hurt themselves with "blatant" advertising?

Recently, I sent this Youtube video promoting equal marriage rights in Britain to a friend who shocked me by saying that this sort of “advertising” only hurts gays by evoking the “yech” factor among members of the straight majority.

I was shocked because I have never seen this person as homophobic, but she said that only gays find this couple “sweet” and “lovable”.

For mercy’s sake, it’s not as if the couple are going at it hard and heavy on the tarmac. They are just kissing.

But my friend said that this sort of thing, and increased demands for rights in general, fire up revulsion and hatred, and that this is the cause of increased homophobia and gay-bashing.

Her comments reminded me of the “blame-the-victims” approach adopted by the present Pope back in 1986 when he was Cardinal Joe Ratzinger, head of the Inquisition (sorry, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, they changed names). In his pastoral letter On the Pastroal Care of Homsexual Persons he essentially gave indirect moral and intellectual support to gay-bashing.

Ratzinger claimed violence against LGBT people could be understood in context of the growing public acceptance of homosexuality: “But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behaviour to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.”

Yes, yes, I know that Ratzinger elsewhere says bashing gays in naughty. But a sentence like the one above makes it clear where he really stands (wink, wink).

So what do people think? Is such advocacy advertising harmful or helpful? Are gays just creating a backlash that “society at large” should not be surprised at?

<never mind>

This friend of mine is not British. She is Canadian.

That was the detail I misread.

Whether or not gays are “hurting themselves” and whether they should feel guilty about it or something are totally different questions. I can’t watch the video at work but I assume from your description it’s just two guys making out. BFD. If something like that “creates” homophobia and causes gay-bashing, it’s because the phobes/bashers were already inclined in that direction.

ETA: I do think that the S&M/biker/Rob Halford look and other stereotypical looks often seen at gay pride parades hurt the cause. Not because they cause gay paranoia, or anything, but because they reinforce existing stereotypes. The same goes for TV portrayals of gay characters as effeminate, like that one kid on Glee.

Unless it is seen and discussed in public, attitudes won’t change. I used to be against gay marriage, but constant talk of it led me to change my mind because my position wasn’t rational.

I can’t agree with your last statement. I am gay and not at all effeminate, and when I first came out, I did indeed think that effeminate gays (or drag queens, S&M, etc) were “hurting the cause”.

The fact is that some gay men ARE effeminate, and I am not willing to cut them adrift so society will accept us straight-looking gays in short hair and suits. If gay rights means anything it means basic respect for human beings who happen to be different or act different. If I am not hurting you by having gay sex in private with another butch-looking guy, the mincing fairy is not hurting you either.

No. It is the opposite.

The lack of ‘blatant’ advertising created a climate in which homophobia was allowed to take root deeply in our culture. It was a culture in which killing gay people was accepted. In fact, in many places which are open and accepting, it was a *crime * to be gay.

It is *because *people have pushed for rights and dared to kiss each other publicly that we’ve moved forward. These acts forced people like your friend to accept that gay people exist.

If gay people kissing, and the audacity of gay people demanding equal rights causes your friend to have have a homophobic response, then your friend is homophobic, period.

Granted, I don’t mean we should have anal penetration on the street, but then I don’t want vaginal penetration on the street either. However, displays of affection that hetero couples can do in public, should also be a-ok when the couple happens to be gay.


First of all, congratulations for coming around to support for gay marriage. We have a saying in French that only an idiot never chnages his mind. Your willingness to be convinced of an opposing viewpoint does not signify intellectual weakness but intellectual honesty.

May I ask what the “keystone” argument was that changed your mind? I would be fascinated to know.

No, Ontario. But she IS devoutly Catholic. Maybe that should have clued me in.

I just watched the commercial. It’s mixed.

I consider myself quite gay friendly, but watching two men giving each other loving, soulful mouth to mouth kisses does make me more than a bit uncomfortable. I’m not “squicked”, but the message of respect for all kinds of love is a bit lost in my reaction to the PDA lip lock.

If it was trying for a respect and tolerance message there are better ways it could (IMO) have gone about it without the deep kiss.

I’m not watching the video right now, but in general I disbelieve claims like this. If you support same-sex marriage out of basic compassion or view it as a civil rights issue, who cares if you see a gay couple kissing even if you think it’s gross? This kind of stuff - ‘I support you, but don’t kiss in public’ or ‘I support you, but don’t call it marriage’ or ‘I support you, but don’t protest too much’ - is just a stalling tactic or an excuse used by people who don’t want to admit they are opposed to the cause in question. So they say they’d support the cause if people met some unlikely or impossible standard of behavior or if they just gave in on all of their important demands, knowing that won’t happen anyway.

From Victoria? I wish you could meet her.

Well, telling gays they cannot do what straight people have done a hundred million times in movies and TV and which they do by the millions in public places every day does imply something unequal, don’t you think? Of course there ARE places where deep kissing is inappropriate. In church, in the aisle of a grocery store, in line at the DMV, you name it. But this video shows a homecoming, in which people are greeting returning combatants. I think we all agree that it is normal and appropriate for straights to deep kiss in such a situation.

I do not fault you for feeling uncomfortable. You are what you are and you feel what you feel. But do you think your reaction to the lip lock would diminish if you saw that kind of thing more often?

You’re missing the point, at least with regard to media portrayals. Sure, there are effeminate gay men - but not all gay men are effeminate, yet that’s the only kind of gay man you see on TV.

Talk to me when every single fucking jewelry commercial in the world doesn’t have two hets playing tonsil hockey. I don’t need to see that sort of filth on my TV all the time.

It sucks when you learn something like that about a friend.

I would say that those things are caused by bigots. And I’m not really seeing how we could seek the social change we deserve without demanding equal rights. It’s not as though gay people a lot of victories in the nearly two centuries the U.S. existed before the gay rights movement began. It’s absurd on its face to try to argue that demanding equality somehow is the cause of inequality.

Are you aware that that kid is played by a gay actor who has pretty much the same mannerisms when he’s not playing Kurt? The character is heavily based on the actor and his life experience – Kurt’s character was in fact written into the show in order to get Chris Colfer into the cast.

Saying that visibility of someone like Chris Colfer hurts gay people as a whole sounds tantamount to arguing that effeminate gay men should be concealed from view.

See post #16.

I think that there might be a small amount of “hurt” in that older people who already are predisposed to be anti-gay will have a bad reaction to it. Even those who are pro-gay, but were raised to be disgusted by gay people might have a bad reaction to seeing things they were conditioned to be repulsed by. However, in the long term, exposure to these innocuous sights will be in the gay population’s favor. As such sights become commonplace, eventually no one will give a damn.

I’m sure there are plenty of doctors who were initially squicked out by some of the things they saw during training. But they get over it eventually.