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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, and feature special content and video clips on

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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