Having told the media that being gay and being alcoholic are things one chooses or rejects only to prompt a chorus of disapproval, Texas Governor Rick Perry (once himself rumored to be secretly gay) mustered the usual no-fault apology, saying he really "stepped right in it" when he made the remarks. He was speaking to a gathering in California, though, and did not admit that he might be wrong in following the evangelical talking point that gays are made, not born. Fundamentalist Christians (and he is one) have continued to maintain, despite growing evidence to the contrary, that homosexuality is a matter of nurture, not nature. How could it be otherwise? A good, loving God would not put lbgtq people on earth just to see them punished and ostracized; a God who would do that would be arbitrary, capricious, and most likely unworthy of belief much less worship.
My own feelings are somewhat ambivalent. On the one hand, I believe as Marjorie Garber does that we are all born essentially bisexual; that is, we have the potential for finding both our own and the opposite sex attractive; then, social factors, home environment, and many other phenomena push us in one direction or another. But I also believe human sexuality so fluid that putting anyone into a category is misguided at best. Actually, the Perry equation might be somewhat apt. Experts say that at any given time in history about 10% of the world population is alcoholic. That is, they have a propensity to be tolerant to ethanol: a popular AA euphemism has it, "No thanks, I don't drink; every time I do that I break out in a drunk." Authorities on alcoholism have debated for years whether it is nature or nurture, and I firmly come down on the notion that it partakes of both, just as do lesbianism, homosexuality, gender identity, &c. (Not liking alphabet soup, I prefer the word queer, which, after all, means simply different.)
My great grandfather was an alcoholic and by all accounts a good leader of men. But his nickname was "Big Drunk," an appellation awarded by the Confederate troops he led into battle with Yankee soldiers. He shared with Grant a tendency to become invisible from time to time. My father's father was both devoutly religious and a big drunk. He would lecture from a temperance wagon, then get roaring, or vice-versa. Both of my father's brothers were alcoholics. I once came home from visiting one of them and his co-dependent wife and asked what my uncle did for a living? My father said he used to be a Nevada gambler but was now in real estate. Why did I ask that? Dad wondered. I answered: "Well, I thought he was a teacher. He had a big bottle on the counter that said 'Teacher's.'" I came to the conclusion that alcholism is almost inescapable. So the question of essence or acquisition is irrelevant.
Just as I think it is irrelevant to the reason one belongs to one of the sexual minorities. If I choose to be gay or bisexual, then that is my business, and it makes absolutely no difference whether I was born this way or became so. The only possible explanation for the irrational fear of gay people -- homophobia -- is religious. Just as we all are born with a hot-wired tendency to believe it God, we are also born with an infinite variety of ways to use our sexual vehicle. Those who believe may, by doing so, find comfort in the ability to justify their unnatural fears and superstitions, just as we see Perry doing.
African-Americans began their struggle long before it, but the civil rights rovement of the 60's became a kind of landmark in race relations from which it is easy to look back and see the progress. Half a century is passed. It should be easy to see that if we were to view the fight for marriage equality as same sort of landmark that aids retrospection, the millenium might serve as such in the struggle for lgbtq equality. Viewed that way, we may not see total freedom for queer people before 2050. Fortunately, a look at the polls tells us otherwise. Thank God for the gay agenda!
Why is it that these guys repeatedly "step in it" then back and fill and make apologies, rather than THINKING about what they're going to say and the possible repercussions of those words FIRST?!? Is it that they don't care or that they want to cater to their base as a priority and will apologize to non-base after the damage has been done or what?
Someone had better tell these idiots that you can't unring the bell.
They can say what they really think to appeal to their base, and then they walk back only so much of it as to make it appear they are apologizing to try to appeal to the center. But it's no apology at all. You cannot apologize for having said what you really believe. That is the purpose of the word, "but" in our language. "I really like you, but bla bla bla..." Everything before the "but" is a lie. In the lgbtq arena, it's the equivalent to saying "Hate the sin, love the sinner."
Actually I think it's more like hate the sinner AND the sin, with the later retraction meant to try to ameliorate the cheap shot at the "sinner." The obvious problem is that it's the first statement that gets all the attention and press; the retraction ultimately is meaningless. Thus the phrase:
I heard what you said the FIRST time.