A story has been circulating about Obama’s incorporation of gospel singer Donnie McClurkin into his South Carolina tour. McClurkin was gay. He’s not any more. For him, homosexuality was not simply a lifestyle choice, but stemmed from deeper sexual confusion due to abuse as a child.
He’s taken a very public stand on the issue of homosexuality, stating quite clearly that 1) there are many gay men and women like him and 2) they don’t have to continue living a life that makes them feel guilty.
Suddenly, McClurkin is radically anti-gay and Obama is “[pandering] to anti-gay mania.” Is this really homophobia?
First, let’s be clear – a phobia is an irrational fear of something. Crowds. Spiders. Simply disagreeing with the lifestyle doesn’t give an accuser the right to throw the “homophobic” epithet – and that’s what it is, an epithet – at the accused.
Secondly, McClurkin is far from “anti-gay”. He contends that the lifestyle is wrong, but makes no claims about homosexuals themselves. How could he be, having once been gay himself?
This raises a host of questions.
- Why do those in the media consistently conflate a person’s single belief with that person’s identity? (Anyone remember the Strom Thurmon/Trent Lott incident?) Their logic runs like this: McClurkin is against homosexuality (but not gays, though they forget the distinction). Therefore, any news story that mentions him must identify him as anti-gay. In addition, anyone who associates with him must have an anti-gay agenda as well.
- Why do “gay rights activists” harbor such
hatredvirulent intolerance for those who leave the lifestyle?
- How can you champion flexible sexuality if you ignore those who embody that very flexibility?
- How much longer until we realize that these rigid labels – “gay” “straight” – don’t do a good job describing sexuality? How many sexual encounters of a certain kind must one have to qualify? What of someone who changes their sexuality? Were they always one or the other?
Tolerance must be more than a one-way street.