And yet, every time I try to pipe up with the usual "Hey guys, we're not all out to get you or destroy the country, some of us just want to have nice Cinderella weddings and the legal protection of marriage like the rest of you lovely hetero folks" or "Come on, fellas, you sound like people from the 1950s claiming that interracial marriage is going to end the Union" and, inevitably, I get shouted down and told that I'm passive-aggressive for even writing that kind of comment and wharrgarbl.
But eventually, I just gave up with on them. Their minds are made up, and even though I am okay (*pat pat* on head), there's still a pernicious homo-agenda to totally destroy the nuclear family, inculcate our kids into sexual deviancy, and put all the straights into concentration camps. And so, rather than waste time and effort trying to convince these people that I'm on their side so would they please stop trying to infringe my rights, I just gave up and stopped commenting. And reading.
I doubt they'll notice. They've built themselves a nice little echo chamber.
However, before I thought the better of it, I did momentarily think about what I might be able to say to change their minds about people like me.
It turns out that my friend Gwen Patton (who kindly wrote for this blog an article about carrying the PMR-30 concealed) has experienced similar -- though not identical -- problems, and who this afternoon wrote an excellent Google+ post about it. Reading it, I felt that her sentiments mirrored my own.
With her permission, I am sharing her post. All formatting is mine.
I get all sorts of articles sent to me by all sorts of people, wanting my opinion on them. Friends forward stuff to me because they think I'll be interested. Many times, I am. Other times, not so much. And a small percentage of the time, what they send me is okay, but the comments under it are just plain infuriating.
The comments of a fairly-popular gun blog contained comments along the lines that the problems with law-abiding citizens using weapons to protect themselves getting harassed by law-enforcement is due to some strange confluence of "ties with Communism, Muslims, and the Gay lifestyle". Oh, and Obama, too.
Someone responding to this wag said "Hey, I'm gay, and I probably own more guns than you and are a better shot. Don't bring the gays into this."
Two responses made me shake my head sadly: "So you're part of the Homosexuality Addiction Mafia?" and "And you are proud of your perversion? WOW. I doubt that you are a better shot than anyone or even know which end of a firearm emits the bullet."
It just stonkered me. Who you love has nothing to do whatsoever with how good a shot you are, or whether or not you like guns. I'll look beyond the clear prejudice of "Homosexuality Addiction Mafia" and "proud of your perversion", as they're just ignorant blather.
I was that initial poster. I'm right up front with it -- I'm queer as a lemonade sandwich, a phrase I stole from The Register. And I'm not only a damned good shot, I've probably taught near to a hundred people to shoot, including a young lesbian girl who was an Olympic hopeful -- in target shooting.
Plenty of people have bristled at the concept of the Pink Pistols. They don't think sexuality has anything to do with firearms, with shooting, or with the Second Amendment. They're right -- they don't have anything to do with sexuality. We're all created equal, and we all have an equal right to keep and bear arms, an equal right to pursue happiness, and an equal responsibility to do both of those with care, with dignity, and with respect towards others.
Where sexuality comes in isn't in the gun-owning part, but in the kinds of targets evil people choose for harm. The FBI crime stats show that sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation is second only to racial bias as a reason for someone to select a given person for harm. Third on the list is religion, and in any given year, religion and sexual orientation switch places back-and-forth for the second and third spots. So while sexual orientation has nothing to do, per se, with the right to keep and bear arms, it can be a very good motivation for someone to make the choice to go armed.
My father taught me to respect and even love firearms when I was still in grade school. I fired his old service .45 for the first time when I was only 11. He had me help him strip it and clean it, explaining all of the parts as he went along. The weapon had no mysteries for me; he taught me everything about it so I would never treat it with ignorance. Later in life (admittedly after I left the anti-gun state I was living in and moved to one with far more reasonable laws), I got my carry permit, my first gun, and started the Delaware Valley chapter of the Pink Pistols.
14 years later, I'm running the Pink Pistols' international office, dozens of chapters all over North America, two of them in Canada. I've had my own words put before courts all over the country, including in Heller v. DC and MacDonald v. Chicago. My facility with a firearm has been shown on television all over the world in 60 languages, via Voice of America TV. I have been a champion of firearm ownership and the Second Amendment for my whole life, and actively for a decade and a half.
But some people still cling to their prejudices, even when confronted with absolute proof that they are incorrect. This is what I meant in my TTAG article when I spoke about the phenomenon of postjudice.
We're all familiar with the concept of prejudice -- holding a belief on a subject prior to learning anything about that subject. Racial issues are rife with prejudice, beliefs about races different from your own that have zero to do with actual knowledge or experience, usually based upon rumor and stereotypes. But when you have had those stereotypes and rumors disassembled before your eyes and proof give you that your beliefs are utterly false and unfounded, when the actual facts are laid before you and you STILL cling to those original beliefs...that is postjudice, judging after the fact and STILL arriving at the incorrect result.
Some stereotypes about gay people include a belief that gay men are effeminate, weak, and fearful. One of my first students -- who later surpassed me and became a fully-certified NRA instructor -- is anything but any of those. He's one of the toughest men I know. He is built like a brick starship, muscles on top of muscles with that same chiseled rugged handsomeness that reminds me of Clint Eastwood. And he's so manly, he practically emits a flop-sweat of pure testosterone. You would never look at him and think "there is a gay man", but he is also utterly unmoved by women. He's a hell of a shot, a hell of a hunk, and totally into guys.
But I have no doubt that these prejudiced little whiners on that gun blog would, after they had a chance to meet this man and find out what he was like, still persist in believing that gay people can't shoot, don't know anything about guns, and are some kind of weakling perverts suffering from some kind of addiction.
Gay people are people. There's nothing to set them apart from anyone else EXCEPT for the fact that they are attracted to people of the same sex. That's it. That's all. They still have to get jobs, pay bills, eat food (the same food everyone else eats -- there isn't special "gay food"), and defend themselves from harm. Instead of putting so much energy into postjudicial, false beliefs about gay people, how about treating them like...well, like PEOPLE? If you're not going to sleep with them, why does their choice of bedmate or romantic interest have anything to do with you?
Trick question. It doesn't.
Well said, Gwen.