Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gay Stereotypes: Open Letter to Dr Dawg

The following started as a response to the comments about this post.

But since it got rather long.....and it's summer....and I'm lazy....I turned it into this:

Dear Dr Dawg

First of all I want to say that I’m not accusing you of being a homophobe. I know you are a decent person and I’m not questioning your motives either. So put down that gun ….or raise that gin tonic.

What I did say was that your post was STUPID and BAD. And quite frankly it was. I hate to grade a professor....and satire IS difficult ..... but I'm going to have to give you a D.... for DISASTER.

First of all it seemed to me a bit bizarre that you didn’t mention Alvaro Orozco at all in your post, when a link to the story or his website, really would have helped .....coming from a big poobah in the blogosphere like yourself. But whatever....

What was worse was that you managed to turn the whole thing into a JOKE…..on the day we get the news that he is going to be deported. The contrast with the other post couldn’t be more jarring. As a gay man who feels in his heart the suffering of my brother I was shocked. As in WTF??? Or as in how would you EXPECT me to feel?

But never mind that..... what really offended me was your use of gay stereotypes, The “flaming”, the forced pedicures, the painted toe nails, the fashion industry. Puhleaze Dr Dawggy. That’s the kind of shit I read all the time on the Blogging Tories or the Free Dominion site.

Don't you know that kind of nonsense is not only not true...and offensive. And that although some stereotypes may reflect some characteristics of a group of people... when applied to all.... or used to put an oppressed group down ....can actually be dangerous.

But, of course, stereotypes can lead to ridicule and to violence. People have long mocked gay people, even attacked them, for being different. While there may be some differences between gays and straights, there are lots of similarities.

And then there’s that absurd canard that we make more than straight people do. Which is not only only NOT true but also dangerous. As in the Jews control the world. Or why should we give a damn for a bunch of rich faggots?

Have you any idea how many gay people struggle with service jobs because they couldn’t stay in their hellhole schools long enough to graduate? Are you not aware of the glass ceiling in corporate Canada that keeps openly gay people down? Don’t you know how many gay people end up desperately poor...struggling on a CPP pension....because they didn't get any benefits at work? I mean I might be from Venus ....but what planet are YOU from?

But before you accuse me of going overboard ....or of suffering from a bad case of PCitis....O merciful Ju Ju god please not THAT....let me explain something to you. You say I leaped before I looked. But I say you wrote before you KNEW what you were talking about.

Take for example the stereotype of the drunken Irishman. Nowadays it’s just a joke….but once it wasn’t. Once it was used to demean and put down Irish immigrants and keep them in their place. And justify signs like no Irishmen or Dogs allowed. Now it’s just a Saint Patrick’s day gag or something you put on a t-shirt.

But the stereotypes you used in your post are still being used like weapons against gay people…to mock us, demean us, reduce our masculinity or our humanity. In schools they are used like clubs that can drive bullied kids to suicide.

They frag self worth …and the resultant self loathing exacts a terrible hidden toll in the gay community. Older gays like gayred I’m sure could tell you some really sad stories. But so can I.

The only difference is that many older gays are just grateful for the progress that has been made since those bad times. They don't want to rock the boat or make a fuss. They're just happy to be tolerated at last. But I’m NOT.

I don’t know how bad it used to be all I know is that judging from the hate and violence directed at us we obviously haven’t made ENOUGH progress and I have ZERO tolerance for any kind of stereotypes or any kind of anti-gay shite.

And so do others from the New Gay generation.

Now I’m sure you’ve never had an uppity faggot talk to you like this Professor… but get used to it because you’re going to hear a lot more of it.

Having said that however.... I should make it clear that 95 per cent of the anger in that post was directed at the idiot left in general and NOT at you. As I said before I know you are a good person....and to be fair the stereotypes you used were pretty harmless. You were just the detonator for my pentup anger.

Because sometimes the left makes me want to SCREAM. I'm a dyed in the Scottish wool lefty but I've never felt at home in any lefty organization. The left marginalizes us, doesn’t properly support our struggle for equality. and the right to be free from the outrageous and criminal amount of hate and violence directed at us.

It doesn't take us seriously. Too many lefties think of us as flighty, sex obsessed, well off, or just "gay."The schoolyard term for boring and bad. They really do kill us with condescension.

I experienced it at university, at the university paper, as well as at work. And I see it in the blogosphere too. The right may be our enemies but the truth is that if the left had been more supportive over the years we’d have made far more progress.

But never mind about that either. As I said in my post if we have to fight by ourselves we will. All I ask of the left is that it respect us and shove those stereotypes, broke back parodies, and all that other anti-gay shite where the sun never shines. Or just fuck off and get out of our way.

And that’s it. I hope I don't sound too aggressive Dr Dawg, I certainly don’t mean that in any personal sense. And if you were hurt by the tone of my post I’m genuinely sorry.

But I’m afraid I can’t see myself changing my style anytime soon. Somehow being sanded by bullying and oppression just made me more ABRASIVE. And unfortunately for me and my brothers and sisters struggle IS life. And nothing or nobody is going to stand between me and my dream of a world where we are not mocked, teased, bullied, insulted, assaulted or killed.Just for who we are.

I don’t think you have to walk a mile in our high heels to understand that.

Although I wish you my battered old sneakers.

The good news in all of this is that when an uppity faggot speaks his mind....and says what others only dare to may shock a loud fart in a church....but over time it can make some people think about what they haven't thought about before.

And that can only lead to better understanding. Even when words sting...and the truth hurts.

And when we understand each other we can all get back together in the trenches... fight the COMMON right-wing enemy.... and kick their fucking asses from here to hell and back.

Which is of course what I LIVE for...

Yours Sincerely


P.S. Thank you for going to Alvaro's website and sending an e-mail to the Immigration Minister Diane Finley. I have too....but since I've let that wretched SoCon know what I think of her several times before....I fear it may backfire.....

But the rest of you do it anyway. Because when all is said and done.

Right now saving Alvaro is all that counts...


Dr.Dawg said...

Thank you for your open letter, Simon. I understand what you're saying. Let me say only two things in response: first, the reference to the Orozco case, I think, was fairly clear--the "not gay enough" meme was all over the news and the blogosphere, at least the parts of both that I happen to read. That sort of nonsense simply demands satire. So I wrote some.

But secondly--and this point is important--satire relies upon deliberate exaggeration. My piece obviously had plenty of that. I was for the most part sending up boneheaded officialdom, and taking what I thought was a humorous swipe at some straight conduct/beliefs along the way. All of the stereotypes that you and some commenters found offensive were placed in my characters' mouths. Please do not make the mistake of confusing what those characters say with what I believe. I was laughing at them. So should you.

The whole notion of "being gay" or "being straight" invites ridicule, quite frankly, when it is reduced to stereotypes--like "not being sexually active" and so on. It was precisely that kind of thinking that I was sending up.

But once again, thank you for the opportunity for dialogue, and I don't mean that in a patronizing way. It's important to talk about these things. If my writing wasn't obviously the satire I meant it to be, or its targets were unclear, then I guess I failed to communicate.

Dr.Dawg said...


One point I missed in my response. I'm frankly agnostic on the comparative income issue. But here's a paper that you and your readers might find interesting:

In any case, "Biff Bomber"'s statement about straight income was meant to be part of the general send-up.

Simon said...

Hi Dr Dawg

Thanks for your comments. As I said before I don't question your motives, and I don't believe you share the world view that your use of those stereotypes might suggest. The problem is that our popular culture is awash with those kind of stereotypes. And by repeating them, whether you believe them or not, just AMPLIFIES that echo chamber, and REINFORCES those attitudes. We can't do much about Hollywood movies and stuff on tv, but we can expect that progressives steer clear of such nonsense.
As for the Christopher Hewitt article you provide, it's riddled with so many half truths and laughable findings I honestly don't know where to begin.
Stuff like:

"Gay men spontaneously concentrate in those occupations, which require certain kinds of creative abilities, with their talents bringing them particular success in the arts and entertainment fields."


"Therefore, many gay men without any particular artistic talents work in the theater or art world as managers or entrepreneurs, employing skills which could be used in other fields. Similarly, gay lawyers develop a clientele within the entertainment industry, and gay journalists cover the theater beat."


"The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Survey (1992) refers to "pervasive patterns of discrimination." Our review of the evidence suggests that such claims are certainly exaggerated. Gays are more successful than heterosexuals, and their occupational distribution is as much a result of preference as discrimination."


"It is undeniable that gays do suffer from bigotry and legal discrimination - gay bashing and sodomy laws being two obvious examples - but employment discrimination would seem to be a relatively minor matter."

When of course the PINK PLATEAU is a real problem,,2070191,00.html

The same Christopher Hewitt has also been responsible for studies that claim to show that homosexuality is mostly a phenomenom of young people. And absurd statements that claim that

Societies that accept homosexuality have more of it and those who disapprove of it and punish it have considerably less of it."

Baloney that has been extensively used by the homophobic right to claim that gays can be "cured."

I invite gay people to read the Hewitt "report" and laugh at it.

But the very fact that you would raise such nonsense illustrates what gays are up against.

I think it's about time the left listened to what gay people have to say about OUR experience...because as I mentioned before YOU can't walk in OUR shoes.

And it's a matter of basic RESPECT.

But as I also said communication can only foster understanding. And that's good.

And I and others intend to make sure that the left hears what we have to say whether they like it or not...

Simon said...

Oh more thing...when Hewitt claims that we self segregate into our "gay" jobs....he's wrong about that too.

"According to a survey of 4,000 gay men and lesbians conducted by Overlooked Opinions, a Chicago market research firm, more homosexuals work in science and engineering than in social services; 40% more are employed in finance and insurance than in entertainment and the arts; and ten times as many work in computers as in fashion."

So much for stereotypes and politically motivated "studies."....

Dr.Dawg said...

I will admit that I did blink when I read this:

Gay men spontaneously concentrate in those occupations, which require certain kinds of creative abilities, with their talents bringing them particular success in the arts and entertainment fields. [emphasis mine]

I think it makes more sense, though, to argue for a number of obvious reasons that gay people might choose occupations in which they already have a presence.

But, as noted, I'm agnostic on the issue. I thought it was an interesting study, but there are many conflicting ones. Do you have a source for the Overlooked Opinions survey?

On the larger question, what you seem to be saying is that satire is impossible, or at least improper, because exaggeratedly stupid views are still stupid views, and people won't get the joke. I guess we'll just have to disagree. How many people took Swift seriously in A Modest Proposal and thought he was really advocating baby-eating? And Swift, bless him, didn't even use the device of caricature, but a sole narrator's voice--not to be confused with Swift's own voice, mind you, but perhaps there was similar outrage when it appeared.

Anonymous said...

heh heh heh best argument for a pound: Dr Dawg. Best argument for polygamy:Simon. So he can marry me too!!!!! :D

Dr.Dawg said...


Sorry about the double post. I have no idea what happened there, but the first post, I was told, had "timed out." Maybe you could do me the favour of deleting the first one, since I think the argument runs better in the second.

Anonymous: Polygamy and same-sex marriage have nothing to do with each other, except in the enfeebled mind of Margaret Somerville and her so-con dittoheads.

Simon said...

Dear Dr Dawg

Thanks again for replying…but I'm afraid we’re starting to go around in circles like TFF sing about in the song Mad World.

You know talking past each other, with you not getting what I’m trying to say, and me not quite sure where you’re going.

First let me bat the satire question…which BTW is NOT the larger issue here…right out of the park.

I never said that satire was impossible or improper. I LOVE it and use it all the time myself.

And oh yes there was a huge reaction to Swift’s Modest Proposal…it almost ruined him...when people fixated on the cannibalism part instead of on the suffering Irish poor. But I would have been SMARTER than that.

What I did say was that YOUR satire, in my humble uppity opinion, didn’t work. Maybe it was just the form. Perhaps making a joke out of the story on the day Alvaro was told he was deported wasn’t a good idea.

Then there’s the equivalence of consequence part. Deporting someone to San Francisco doesn’t seem quite the same as deporting them to Nicaragua. And as for the straight bashing part ….since I live in a world where walking down a street with one hand around my lover’s shoulder can provoke people to insult or attack me…excuse me if I don’t laugh. And since that seems to be what you were aiming at...for me at least it was a failure.

But enough about satire…what concerns me is that you don’t seem to realize that the passage you quoted from the Hewitt report should have tipped you off that the entire “study” is flawed. When I said gay people would laugh at it I meant it. It’s a hoot.

But what troubles me even more is that you seem surprised that gay people are EVERYWHERE.
The link to that story is here.

But really do you really need a study to tell you that?

Then there’s the question of gays as a privileged group. Do you really think that gays pop out well off or middle class? The problem with all these studies is that a lot of gay people…especially poor ones…aren’t counted. So our enemies can look at the incomes of the more visible out gays and claim that we’re a privileged group that doesn’t need “special” rights or protection. Which not only damages our cause for equality but builds up resentment against us.

So we end up being oppressed, but not REALLY oppressed, and people hate us even more because we’re privileged. HUH?

But enough of that too. I think what we have here is a failure to communicate on a real level. I still don’t think you’re a homophobe Dr Dawg, and I still think you’re a decent person, but what I think you need to do is refill your empathy tank.

You really do need to leave your ivory tower and walk in our shoes a bit.

You need to understand for example that anti-gay bullying is a huge problem that causes lots of gay kids not to do well in school or drop out…and affects them later in life.

And the last thing gay kids need is more ridiculous stereotypes. And quite frankly neither do we older ones. We’ve had enough of them already.

I think Mark of Slap Upside The Head did a great job of summarizing the shit gay Canadians put up with all the his reaction to the Truro flag incident...

All of that courtesy of the wingnut right. So we REALLY don’t need any more stereotypes or shite from the left. Just more understanding, more respect, and more support.

And that’s where I think I’ll leave it….at least until it rains...

I’ve said all I really have to say. I think I’ll leave it up to the readers to make up their own minds. Or just think about what I’ve said. I'd be satisfied with that.

I’ve enjoyed our conversation Dr Dawg and I wish you only the best. If you want to reply you can or add anything you want…and if I feel I have to answer I will. And if anybody else wants to comment that’s great too. But for now I’m done…

I'm going back to the basics ...bashing (or satirising) Great Fat Leader. It's a lot more fun! :)

Jay said...

In the spirit of friendship, I offer this: grab any chocolate cake recipe (even one from a box) and replace the water with Guinness (or Boddington's).

Fuckin' delicious cake. :)

Simon said...

Hi anonymous and queerzac...I'm sorry I had to delete your posts. I hate to do that because I don't get that many...and especially not when there from gay guyz. But no more doggy jokes...
However... if you want to complain about how you was gypped because you need to pay someone to do your hair...or how you need a female friend or your sister to tell you how to I do...go ahead.
As for the polygamy offer anonymous I'm FOR IT!!! I figure I could handle three wives and four husbands.
So if you can get SIX more to join you I'm game.
But ONLY if Sebastien agrees...and he's big and mean ;)
And ONLY if we can get the Catholic bitch bigot Margaret Somerville to be our bridesmaid...

Dr.Dawg said...


Newsflash--I need a female person to help me buy clothes too. It's a guy thing.

Anyway, don't make too big a deal of that paper I cited. As I said before, it was of interest. It certainly did spark considerable rebuttal. You may indeed be right, but all of the studies I've seen seem flawed in one way or another.

You don't know me, so I wouldn't make too many assumptions about my empathy or lack of it, if I were you, especially when it comes to homophobia.

What brought me here in the first place, besides the obvious reference to my post, was your broad-brush attack on the Left. I think that was a bit much. If you were to see the signatures on the Alvaro petition, what do you think their general politics might be? Hint: not right-wing. Not centrist. The left, generally speaking, is your ally in the fight. Calling us names ("leftard," "idiot") is not a good way of building or maintaining alliances. Our principles will keep us on track, all right, but I just may not want to walk with you on our next Gay Pride day.

At this point of possible diminishing returns, I should sign off. I do wish you well.

Simon said...

Hi Dr Dawg

I do apologize for calling you a leftard...that was one word too much. But I was angry and it slipped out. But as for the left in this country AND in the United States I don't take back a thing. As for lack of empathy well...I may be wrong because I don't really know you. But you certainly didn't demonstrate any here. Maybe it's just an academic thing. As your Count Ignatieff said in the NYT sometimes academics live in a world of ideas and lose touch with the way things REALLY are.
And lastly don't bother marching in the gay parade.Just do something about Canada's shameful bullying problem...stay away from crude anti-gay stereotypes...and I'll be more than satisfied.

Dr.Dawg said...


don't bother marching in the gay parade.

Why would I stop now?

In any case, here's one bully I tried to do something about--the last time my late partner and I were on a demo together:

As I say--you don't know me.

Simon said...

Ok Dr Dawg

I surrender. I'm sorry about your late partner. Somebody told me about that yesterday, and said she was a very fine person...and if she was you must be too.
So the next Gay Parade in Ottawa I'm going to travel to that wretched village... seek you out.... and march with you whether you like it or not.
Or better still...I'm going to take up Jay's suggestion...and take you to the Chateau Laurier afterwards and buy you a coffee and a big chocolate cake.

P.S. I still think the left needs to get its act together.But over cake and coffee I think we can work it out... :)

Dr.Dawg said...

Hey, Simon, you've been so gracious about this whole thing that I'll cook supper for you and Jay next time you're in town. I'm sure we can indeed talk this thing out, and I'm not saying by any means that I'm above criticism. Perhaps the timing of the piece was bad, for one thing.

I was remembering our struggle against the awarding of an honorary degree to the NARTH-rabbi at the same time, or near it, as the Somerville award. Man, I was pissed. The memory of my partner just flooded in--I probably shouldn't have raised it, do not expect sympathy for it, and would not be back in the blogosphere if I couldn't handle the scene. But many thanks for your kind words all the same. (She would not necessarily have agreed that her being fine automatically made me that way, btw :) )

Simon said...

Hi Doc! That's sweet of know I love how this story turned out...I got some things off my chest...we had a frank exchange of views...we both learned some things...and we ended up as friends.
I can't get any better than that as far as I'm concerned,
I think I better quit while I'm ahead ... :)

Good night Dr Dawg!