Main | Tuesday, December 07, 2010

HomoConQuotable - Jonathan Rauch

"There are real antigay bigots out there, but they are fading in number and strength. The people who matter now are the persuadables who are struggling to believe they can make room for us on equal terms even if they cannot agree with our 'lifestyle' — people who wish us no harm but who are struggling to adapt old ideas to a new situation and who worry about the dizzying pace of cultural change. Our job is to open their eyes, not slap their face.

"No, I’m not saying that the b [bigot] word should be banished like the n word or that we all have to agree on who does and does not deserve to be called a hater. All I am suggesting is that with majority standing must come a mental adjustment: a recognition that rhetorical overkill is a weapon that backfires, one that our opponents are already using to paint us as the real bigots, the real haters, the real threat to minority rights and tolerant values. [snip]

"As gays become a majority, the burden of toleration—and it is a burden—shifts to us. This is the most difficult adjustment a minority rights movement can make. Our opponents are betting we will fail to make it. In fact, that is now pretty much their entire strategy. Gay Americans and our allies are not ready to think of ourselves as a majority. And we are not fully there yet, certainly not solidly. But the benefits and, yes, burdens of majority status are descending with wonderful speed. We will miss the turn if we don’t start braking now." - Jonathan Rauch, co-founder of the homocon site Independent Gay Forum, saying that gay activists need to stop tossing around words like "bigot" and "hater" at our enemies.

Rauch contends that the feminist movement "missed the turn" and faded into obscurity with the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment. Andrew Sullivan adds: "When you are tempted to use the word 'hate', substitute 'fear' or 'bias'. It's usually more true and dials down the temperature a notch - where the rational advantage held by the case for gay equality still holds."

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