I was going to do a longer post about the cake thing but I think for now I’ll summarise with a few choice things I’ve observed today.
I never held any particular ill will towards the Ashers owners but strongly disagreed with their position. Today, looking over the whole thing, I was stuck by a scenario in which I could actually feel a little sorry for them.
Not, I’ll say, because of their stance on that fateful day. No, because when you see them in a picture with Edwin Poots on one side (preaching about wasting taxpayers money with a frivolous court case, the man has a nerve) and Paul Givan on the other, moping about how the case should never have reached the court, it’s funny.
Funny that mediation was offered to Ashers multiple times throughout the process. And was declined. Something Paul seems to have missed. Or wilfully neglected, who knows. One has to wonder, if free of the ‘advice’ of the DUP and Christian Institute influence, would Ashers have elected instead to mediate? Did they really want all this press, to be under a microscope for their views, to be held up by the right-wing as pariahs?
Perhaps they did. Or, just maybe, they took some really bad advice, and allowed people with too many vested interests get their hands on it. If the latter, I suspect they’ve learned their lesson.
For now, I’ll save you all my Buzzfeed-style rundown of the “worst comparison based arguments to the cake saga ever”, but leave you with this evening’s fruity cake.
I don’t think I’ve seen a greater misunderstanding of their own community in recent times than the headline-making story of how gay fashion designer icons Dolce and Gabbana have decided that the only valid families are traditional ones with a mother and father, and how they think that so-called ‘synthetic’ children of all kinds are simply ‘fashion accessories’.
I’ve said it already to friends, but perhaps they’ve spent so long dealing solely with fashion that they’ve become blinkered; they are unable to see anything beyond in life. In fact, they’re clearly disconnected from the workings of the everyday gay, and demeaning the very existence of many children around the world born via many different methods.
I know they are talking about more cases than just those affecting us LGB&T people, but I would put it to them and everyone else – no LGB&T person makes the move to start a family lightly. This isn’t a scene in the movie “Bruno”.
No – real LGB&T people in fact have to think very carefully about the decision to start a family. They have to consider enormous expense to perform surrogacy, or brave a discriminating adoption system. They cannot adopt their partner’s children in many countries. More importantly than even those are that they have to deal with raising children in a hostile society, and how societal prejudice will impact on their children. It sucks.
Regardless of our sexuality or gender, genetics, instinct and our entire society and culture is deeply ingrained in the idea of raising and being part of a family. I think there belies an attitude amongst some that us LGB&T people are exempt from these influences, that we just ‘ignore’ or have had these switched off because of who we are. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true if considered for more than a passing moment. So, no, Dolce. Absolutely not, Gabbana. There’s just aren’t LGB or T people out there using children as fashion accessories, or as fads and trends. Just like everyone else, there are complex societal reasons for the desire to start a family and raise children.
Perhaps you’re not as clued into the fashion world as you think; because fashion isn’t one of them.
Bob is a troubled stickman. See, ever since his teenage years, he’s really hated his eyes. So much so, he wants them gone, but just can’t manage to bring himself to do it on his own. He finally decides he will go to a doctor, surely a doctor will help him? After all, it’s his body and he is free to do it, so surely someone else should be free to help him, right?
But, unfortunately for Bob, the doctor tells him that he isn’t able to, it wouldn’t be ok for him to do that. Instead he refers him to a psychiatrist. Bob thinks “Great, maybe he will help me remove my eyes!”. So, he meets with the psychiatrist – “Help me, I need to remove my eyes, they just don’t make me happy, I can’t stand them anymore, but I’ve tried and I can’t bring myself to do it. You’re a professional, you can help!” he exclaims. The psychiatrist looks at him, sits down, and tells him…
So, here is where the crude little story diverges, I hope it’s obvious that the immoral case is a psychiatrist willing to help him pluck out his eyes (reparative therapy). Instead, I’m going to continue the analogy to show how this story should end.
“I’m sorry Bob, it just wouldn’t be moral of me to do that.”
“But! BUT!” cries Bob, “It’s my body, my free choice!”
The psychiatrist looks at Bob, and gently says, “Bob, it may be your choice, but I won’t help you do this. It won’t help you with your problem. Instead, I’m going to help you in another way, by helping you understand why you want to remove your eyes, and get you to a place where you no longer feel like you need to remove a perfectly functioning and normal part of your anatomy. I think you have other things affecting you, let’s talk about those instead.”
Reading the coverage of the recent protest at Ballynahinch, I’d seen this idea being trotted out that I’d wanted to address. See, this liberal-sounding line is the new line of choice for the budding gay-cure psychiatrist. Choice. Specifically, that freedom means that people should be free to seek help with removing their gay impulses, and that therapists are only being moral and should be free to offer them this help if they ask for it.
What a noble-sounding idea, to the layman. Certainly a much better PR line than the good-old “GOD” angle. But, I wanted to lay out the little story to show just how ridiculous, perverse and immoral it really is.
Not surprising, really. But then, don’t let the research get in the way of your bigotry! Especially people like commenter grey_rage, who is the greatest colossal dimwit of the week with this comment:
Bigots like me see the catholic church full of gays interfering with children, they see gay ministers and the well placed visiting childrens homes to access vulnerable young boys to gratify their own perverted desires. Bigots like me also remember the likes of peter tachel out side schools giving out leadlets. I remember him trying to get the age of concent reduced or abolished and speaking about sex with nine year olds. Perhaps those are just a couple of reasons we bigots feel the way we do.