Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Op-ed: Media Fails to Challenge Antigay Politics 

Op-ed: Media Fails to Challenge Antigay Politics 

With 2012
here, the presidential campaign is under way, and once again LGBT issues
are front and center: a wedge, a dog whistle, a rallying point, or a big pink ATM. But at 10% to 15% of the population, we’re also a powerful voting force.
To wield that force, we need to be both better informed and more willing to
confidently assert our positions and demands to both our political friends and
foes. Enter For & Against, a brand-new LGBT political show on here! TV, which I’m
excited and proud to host.

The
media have done the bare minimum, at best, when it comes to calling candidates and
elected officials to task on the obvious falsehoods, inherent
contradictions, or outright bigotry on LGBT-related issues. And it’s simply not enough. Just in the past month we’ve had Rick
Santorum (Google that name, please) telling us he’d “invalidate” our legal marriages
via a constitutional amendment (as if the president had that power). Newt
Gingrich has likened sexual identity to so-called lifestyle choices such as celibacy.
Ron Paul is hiding behind the mantra of “Let’s leave things like marriage to the
states” (“states’ rights!”) while two-facedly reiterating that he supports the federal Defense of Marriage Act (which defines for the states what the federal government will recognize when it
comes to marriages). So much for states’ rights. He was even recently endorsed by a “pastor” who advocates the
death penalty for gay people. And on and on and on.

None
of these people is ever fully challenged on statements and positions that are,
to any LGBT viewer, nothing short of fighting words. To be sure, there are only
so many questions an interviewer gets for these candidates. And obviously, LGBT
issues aren’t the only ones out there. But these fundamental civil rights issues
are no less important than others. LGBT Americans deserve better: a more searching
and aggressive inquiry of candidates and their positions, especially on the
ones that defy all logic, constitutional legality, and frankly, standards of
hypocrisy (at best) and bigotry (at worst). 

LGBT
Americans deserve to hear and evaluate the view that opposition to marriage
equality is indeed bigotry — and to have that position wholeheartedly asserted
to those opponents. The hetero media (for lack of a better term) aren’t
going to take that stance for us, so we need to take it ourselves. To do that, we need political shows and
interviewers who are willing to grab the LGBT issues by the horns and just not
let go, just not move on to the next question unless and until we get a
reasonable answer.

I’ve
always wanted out and proud shows and interviewers who aren’t afraid to piss
off our political enemies, who aren’t afraid to expose them for what they
really are: modern-day segregationists or, often, bigots with a new Christian
facade. Naturally, many such people will refuse to come on programs where they
are so challenged. So be it. If the price of access to our candidates or policy
makers is to accede to their unwillingness to accept anything but softballs,
then we’re better off retaining our integrity and taking on the issues without
them.

 For
& Against

will do its best to be that show. That voice shouting in your head when you see
policy makers get a pass on their outrageous statements. The show that will
say: Hold it, it’s not OK to call sexual identity a choice, it’s not OK to say
that you’d invalidate someone’s marriage, it’s not OK to say you are for us when
you are clearly against us. And most of all that it’s not
OK that more people aren’t saying this on our airwaves in an aggressive yet
thoughtful fashion. Yeah, those two can go together.

Our
goal is simple: to arm you with the facts on the issues that are affecting your
life so you can make better-informed choices either this weekend at the bar or
this November at the ballot box. But more, we want to ask the questions you
want asked, discuss the issues you want discussed. If you’ve got an issue,
something to say, someone to call out — get in touch with us, because this show
is for you.

We’ll
be broadcasting throughout the schedule, on the Web at HereTV.com, and feature special
content and video clips on Advocate.com.

Every
election cycle we say “This one is more important than ever.” We’ve become
immune to it; some of us are even immune to paying attention. It’s dangerous
because this past year we’ve achieved such critical victories — on the marriage
equality front and an end to over a decade of the official bigotry of “don’t
ask, don’t tell” — that our enemies are now fighting even harder. To be sure —
and this is really important — our allies and enemies cannot always be
identified simply by whether they have a big (D) or (R) after their name. And,
indeed, we do ourselves a disservice by marching blindly in lockstep behind one
party. To that end, For & Against will challenge and inform from
an LGBT perspective, not be the echo chamber for any one political party, be it
the one that often takes our support for granted or the one that would rather
we didn’t exist. For & Against will be our show ... a show that takes on politics from the outside. We look forward to hearing
from you.

 

 JIM
MORRISON is host of
For
& Against, which will debut Friday on here! TV, which is owned by the
same company as
The
Advocate. 

 

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