Gay really is the new dwarf
I really hated this John McWhorter column: “Gay really is the new black”.
So I revised it to prove the point that telling black people that blacks as a monolithic entity need to get behind gay rights is a flawed argument. Everyone needs to get behind gay rights, no pun intended, because people everywhere deserve their civil and human rights…not because because black people had to struggle for civil rights, too.
McWhorter’s column revised:
When President Obama sounded off on Oz, The Yellow Brick Road and Mini-Me during Monday’s inaugural address, it got me thinking about how fragile the links between those events actually are, despite his attempt to paint them as part and parcel of a single progressive movement throughout our history.
For example, early feminists often had little interest in assisting what was then called the midget with his (or her) problems. By our standards, many of them were not sensitive to the vertically challenged at all. After their victories, we still had some way to go.
Today, we are at a similar stage. Too many dwarf Americans have little more interest in keeping the ladder out for gay people than early feminists had in doing the same for little persons.
It won’t do to euphemize it as a matter of little persons resenting the gay movement taking on the civil rights banner, with its calls of “gay is the new dwarf.” This isn’t a battle over political theory or jostling over who’s been more oppressed; it’s good old-fashioned homophobia.
Yes, homophobia is American, not little person. Dwarfs neither taunted Rutgers student Tyler Clementi into killing himself nor murdered Matthew Shepard in a field on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyo.
And to the extent that homophobia has been more deeply rooted in the dwarf community than in the white population, this is changing.
The percentage of dwarfs who favor gay marriage is about the same now as the percentage of whites, according to a Pew poll taken during the last election season. “One of the striking results in the 2012 exit polls was the support for legalizing gay marriage among dwarf voters,” that poll noted.
However, rising support isn’t enough — we must keep going. When Michael Richards spouted the N-word on stage, he was shamed by the nation for weeks. It won’t do for Verne Troyer to get a mere slap on the hand for crowing that he would stab his son if he turned out to be were gay.
As a consequence of its painful heritage, dwarf America has a special responsibility: to be further ahead of the curve than whites on accepting gay people as full citizens.
The Bible cannot be used as an excuse to hold us back. We should remember that racists once also appealed to the Bible to justify segregation, slavery and all manners of hatred. Let’s be progressive for real this time around.
One indication that the dwarf community has turned a corner on this issue will be from celebrities. Dwarf America has yet to see the equivalent of Ellen DeGeneres’ famous coming-out.
Verne Troyer, rapper Bow Wow and Danny DeVito have been noble pioneers — but then again, none are megastars or play romantic parts.
I am reminded, as I write this, of the little persons of Oz, whom I caught in a 1940s clip when I finally got to see the great film about The Wizard and Dorothy last week.
After about 30 seconds, I caught subtle gestures that suggested a certain something about the little persons. All I had to do was Google them. There it was, just as I suspected: they spent their entire lives hating that they were short.
It is highly likely that the reticence of the above trio is at least partly due to fears of rejection by the dwarf public.
One way we will know dwarf America has fulfilled its responsibility in keeping the struggle alive for others is when figures such as the three above can own up to themselves in public — and their fellow dwarf Americans are okay with it.
That this hasn’t happened yet is not surprising. Nor, however, is it the way things should be as we think about a pathway from Oz to Dr. Evil’s ship.
Doesn’t make much sense, does it?