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Gay agenda

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Marchers at Prague Pride 2017 carry a sign satirizing "Homo Lobby", a phrase used as a slur by right-wing populist movements in the Czech Republic.

"Gay agenda" (or "homosexual agenda") is a term introduced by sectors of the Christian religious right as a disparaging way to describe the advocacy of cultural acceptance and normalization of non-heterosexual sexual orientations and relationships. The term originated among social conservatives in the United States and has been adopted in other nations with active anti-LGBT movements such as Hungary and Uganda.

The term refers to efforts to change government policies and laws on LGBT rights–related issues. Additionally, it has been used by social conservatives and others to describe alleged goals of LGBT rights activists, such as recruiting heterosexuals into what conservatives term a "homosexual lifestyle".

Origins and usage

Origins

Cover of DVD The Gay Agenda: March on Washington

In the United States, the phrase "the gay agenda" was popularized by a video series produced by the evangelical religious group, Springs of Life Ministries in California, and distributed by many Christian right organizations, the first video of which was called The Gay Agenda and was released in 1992.[1]: 80–81  The video was widely distributed and propelled Springs of Life Ministries into the national spotlight. Tens of thousands of copies of the video were sold. It was distributed in the US Congress, and Commandant of the Marine Corps General Carl Mundy Jr. gave it to the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[2] It was used in political campaigns, for example, by the Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA), a conservative Christian political activist organization. OCA used the video as part of their campaign for Ballot Measure 9 to amend the Oregon Constitution to prevent what the OCA called special rights for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.[3][page needed]

Paul Cameron—co-founder of the Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality in Lincoln, later renamed the Family Research Institute—appeared in the video, wherein he asserted that 75 percent of gay men regularly ingest feces and that 70–78 percent have had a sexually transmitted disease.[4] The Gay Agenda was followed by three other video publications; The Gay Agenda in Public Education (1993), The Gay Agenda: March on Washington (1993) and a feature follow-up Stonewall: 25 Years of Deception (1994). The videos contained interviews with opponents of LGBT rights, and the series was made available through Christian right organizations.[5]

After the Ball, a 1989 book on gay rights by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, despite being poorly received by the LGBT community, was cited by members of the Christian right as emblematic of the "stealth techniques" supposedly used by gay activists.[6]

Usage in the United States

The term is applied to efforts to change government policies and laws on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, for example, same-sex marriage and civil unions, LGBT adoption, recognizing sexual orientation as a protected civil rights minority classification, LGBT military participation, inclusion of LGBT history and themes in public education, introduction of anti-bullying legislation to protect LGBT minors—as well as non-governmental campaigns and individual actions that increase visibility and cultural acceptance of LGBT people, relationships, and identities. The term has also been used by some social conservatives to describe alleged goals of LGBT rights activists, such as supposed recruitment of heterosexuals into a "homosexual lifestyle".[7]

Conservative Christian groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), and the World Congress of Families (WCF) have used the term in their literature.[8]: 15–18  According to its website, ADF has litigated numerous anti–gay rights cases in countries outside the US, in order to combat the "homosexual agenda" which it claims will "destroy marriage and undermine religious freedom".[8]: 9  ADF president Alan Sears published a book in 2003 titled The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today, which argues that overturning anti-sodomy laws would lead to the legalization of pedophilia, incest, polygamy, and bestiality.[8]: 15 

In 2003, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent in the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas that:

Today's opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.[9]

In 2004, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn called the "gay agenda" the "greatest threat" to Americans' freedoms.[10]

In 2005, James Dobson, director of Focus on the Family, said the goals of the "homosexual activist movement" were:

universal acceptance of the gay lifestyle, discrediting of scriptures that condemn homosexuality, muzzling of the clergy and Christian media, granting of special privileges and rights in the law, overturning laws prohibiting pedophilia, indoctrinating children and future generations through public education, and securing all the legal benefits of marriage for any two or more people who claim to have homosexual tendencies.[11][third-party source needed]

In 2010, American conservative Christian group Family Research Council (FRC) produced a graphic labelled "Homosexual Agenda" which consisted of the phrases "Innocence", "Family", "Local Community", "Public Health" and "Parental Authority" struck out with red lines.[12][third-party source needed]

Christian groups such as the FRC have cited fears of a "homosexual agenda" in lobbying against extending hate-crime legislation to cover acts motivated by bias against a person's sexual orientation or gender identity,[13] as well as public-school curricula about homosexuality introduced in an effort to reduce bullying.[14]

Usage outside the United States

Africa

In Africa, fear of a "Western gay agenda" is frequently used by opponents of LGBT rights.[15]

In 2021 the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference called for LGBT rights organizations to be kicked out of their office space in Accra because of the belief that they promote the homosexual agenda.[16]

American Christian right organizations that are losing acceptance among Americans have had more success promoting the notion of a gay agenda in Africa. Examples include Human Life International, American Center for Law & Justice and Family Watch International. Zambian scholar Kapya John Kaoma considers these organizations colonial powers, working to expand American dominance of Africa.[17]

Uganda borrowed from the anti-gay rhetoric and influence of the American religious right to influence public opinion, and eventually persuade parliament to pass the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act (previously called the "Kill the Gays bill").

In 2009, a workshop entitled "Seminar on Exposing the Homosexuals' Agenda" was held in Kampala, Uganda organized by the Family Life Network, and led by Ugandan Stephen Langa.[18] The workshop featured three American evangelial Christians: Scott Lively, author of several books opposing homosexuality; Caleb Lee Brundidge, an ex-gay man who conducts sessions to heal homosexuality; and Don Schmierer, a board member of Exodus International, an organization devoted to promoting "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ".[19][20] The theme of the conference was the "gay agenda": the threat posed to Bible-based values and traditional American family. They discussed conversion therapy, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how "the gay movement is an evil institution" whose goal is "to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity".[21] According to Ugandan Kappy Kaoma who was in attendance, "[The parliament] feels it is necessary to draft a new law that deals comprehensively with the issue of homosexuality and ...takes into account the international gay agenda. ... Right now there is a proposal that a new law be drafted."[18]

Within a month, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 was introduced in Parliament with penalties up to capital punishment. That did not succeed, but by 2013 Parliament passed a law which was then signed into law by President Museveni with penalties up to life imprisonment for "the offense of homosexuality".[22]

Europe

In Hungary, László Toroczkai, president of the far-right political party Jobbik, has complained of the perceived "homosexual agenda."[23] Toroczkai introduced a law banning public displays of affection by gay people in 2017.[24]

Central America

Before decriminalization of homosexuality in Belize, the LGBT and anti-AIDS organization United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) was lambasted in the Amandala newspaper and by American evangelicals who accused the group of trying to bring the "gay 'agenda'" to the country.[8]: 19 

International organizations

In 2019, two prominent Roman Catholic cardinals - Raymond Leo Burke and Walter Brandmuller wrote an open letter to Pope Francis calling for an end of "the plague of the homosexual agenda" which they blamed for the sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church. They claimed the agenda was spread by "organized networks" protected by a "conspiracy of silence".[25]

Speakers from many nations inveigh against the perceived homosexual agenda at the World Congress of Families annual summit, a focal point of the worldwide "pro-family" movement.[26]

Responses

A man satirizing the concept of a gay agenda at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) describes the term "gay agenda" or "homosexual agenda" as a "rhetorical invention of anti-gay extremists seeking to create a climate of fear by portraying the pursuit of civil rights for LGBT people as sinister".[27]

Some writers have described the term as pejorative.[28][unreliable source?] Commentators have remarked on a lack of realism and veracity to the idea of a gay agenda per se.[29][30] Such campaigns based on a presumed "gay agenda" have been described as anti-gay propaganda by researchers and critics.[who?][31][32]

In a press conference on December 22, 2010, U.S. Representative Barney Frank said that the "gay agenda" is

to be protected against violent crimes driven by bigotry, it's to be able to get married, it's to be able to get a job, and it's to be able to fight for our country. For those who are worried about the radical homosexual agenda, let me put them on notice. Two down, two to go.[33]

Satire

A satirical article by Michael Swift which appeared in the Gay Community News in February 1987 entitled "Gay Revolutionary" describes a scenario in which homosexual men dominate American society and suppress all things heterosexual. This was reprinted in Congressional Record without the opening line: "This essay is an outré, madness, a tragic, cruel fantasy, an eruption of inner rage, on how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor."[34]

The term is sometimes used satirically as a counterfoil by people who would normally find this term offensive, such as the spoof agenda found on the Betty Bowers satirical website,[35] and as the name of a stand-up comedy show in Prague that is a fundraiser for AIDS relief efforts.[36] American rapper Lil Nas X thanked the gay agenda in his acceptance speech at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.[37]

Bishop Gene Robinson declared that "Jesus is the agenda, the homosexual agenda in the Episcopal Church".[38][39] On an episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart defined the gay agenda as "gay marriage, civil rights protection, Fleet Week expanded to Fleet Year, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance for when it's raining men, Kathy Griffin to host everything and a nationwide ban on pleated pants".[40]

See also

References

  1. ^ Herman, Didi (1997). The Anti-Gay Agenda: Orthodox Vision and the Christian Right. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-2263-2764-7.
  2. ^ Colker, David (22 February 1993). "Anti-Gay Video Highlights Church's Agenda". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  3. ^ Signorile, Michelangelo (1993). Queer in America : sex, the media, and the closets of power. Random House. ISBN 978-0-679-41309-7.
  4. ^ Herman (1997), p. 78.
  5. ^ Herman (1997), pp. 80–81.
  6. ^ Herman (1997), p. 86.
  7. ^ Sources:
  8. ^ a b c d Beirich, Heidi (July 2013). Dangerous Liaisons: The American Religious Right & the Criminalization of Homosexuality in Belize (PDF) (Report). Montgomery, Ala.: Southern Poverty Law Center.
  9. ^ Cobb, Michael L. (2006). God hates fags: the rhetorics of religious violence (annotated ed.). NYU Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-8147-1668-7.
  10. ^ Moulitsas, Markos (5 May 2005). "Kissing the tarantula". The Guardian. To the newly elected Republican senator from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn, the 'gay agenda' is a more pressing danger than terrorists flying planes into buildings and killing allied troops in Iraq. 'The gay community has infiltrated the very centres of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power ... That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today,' he said during the 2004 campaign. 'Why do you think we see the rationalisation for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That's a gay agenda.'
  11. ^ Dobson, James. "Marriage Under Fire". Focus on the Family. Archived from the original on 6 October 2005.
  12. ^ "Washington Update". Family Research Council. Archived from the original on 28 October 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  13. ^ Thompson, A. C.; Lee, Patrick G. (6 February 2017). "Claims of 'Homosexual Agenda' Help Kill Hate Crimes Laws in 5 States". ProPublica.
  14. ^ Eckholm, Erik (6 November 2010). "In Efforts to End Bullying, Some See Agenda". The New York Times.
  15. ^ van Klinken, Adriaan (2017). "Culture Wars, Race, and Sexuality: A Nascent Pan-African LGBT-Affirming Christian Movement and the Future of Christianity". Journal of Africana Religions. 5 (2): 217–238. doi:10.5325/jafrireli.5.2.0217. ISSN 2165-5405. JSTOR 10.5325/jafrireli.5.2.0217.
  16. ^ Neliba, Arnold (23 February 2021). "Church Warns European Union against Pushing Homosexual Agenda in Country". Catholic Information Service for Africa. Nairobi. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  17. ^ Kaoma, Kapya John (2012). "Sharon Slater, Family Watch International". Colonizing African Values (PDF). Political Research Associates. pp. v–ix. ISBN 978-0-915987-26-9.
  18. ^ a b Kaoma, Kapya. "The US Christian Right and the Attack on Gays in Africa". PublicEye.org. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  19. ^ "About us". Exodus International. Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  20. ^ "Open Letter t the Exodus International Board of Directors". Ex-Gay Watch. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  21. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey (3 January 2010). "Americans' Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  22. ^ "The Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  23. ^ "Hungarian top court overturns village's ban on mosques and LGBT displays". TellMAMA: Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  24. ^ Benke, Erika (7 February 2021). "The village aiming to create a white utopia". BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  25. ^ "Catholic cardinals urge end of 'homosexual agenda'". BBC News. 20 February 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  26. ^ Provost, Claire (6 June 2017). ""This is a war": Inside the global "pro-family" movement against abortion and LGBT rights". openDemocracy. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  27. ^ "GLAAD Media Reference Guide: Offensive Terms to Avoid". GLAAD. 9 September 2011.
  28. ^ F. Earle Fox; David W. Virtue (1 July 2002). Homosexuality: Good and Right in the Eyes of God?. Emmaus Ministries. pp. 269–. ISBN 978-0-945778-01-1. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  29. ^ Bouley II, Charles Karel (22 February 2005). "The gay agenda revealed!". The Advocate. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  30. ^ Sa'at, Alfian (10 March 2007). "Iced Bandung – What Is The Gay Agenda?". Trevvy.com. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  31. ^ Duberman, Martin B. (1997). A queer world: the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies reader. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-1875-9.
  32. ^ Mason, Gail; Tomsen, Stephen (1997). Homophobic violence. Hawkins Press. ISBN 978-1-876067-04-5.
  33. ^ "Barney Frank Reveals Gay Agenda". The Advocate. 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  34. ^ Swift, Michael (15–21 February 1987). "Gay Revolutionary". Gay Community News. Retrieved 10 May 2017 – via Halsall, Paul (ed.). Internet History Sourcebooks Project, Fordham University.
  35. ^ "Thanks to Betty Bowers, homosexuals' sneaky little secrets are now revealed to the godly: THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA!". www.bettybowers.com. 2000. Archived from the original on 14 June 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  36. ^ Howlings, Eva (21 January 2020). "Prague's only LGBTQ comedy troupe cracks jokes, topples barriers". Expats.cz. Prague: Howlings s.r.o. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  37. ^ Exposito, Suzy (12 September 2021). "Lil Nas X wins video of the year at the 2021 MTV VMAs: 'Thank you to the gay agenda!'". Los Angeles Times.
  38. ^ Bishop Gene Robinson, "Jesus is the Homosexual Agenda", address to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, June 14, 2006
  39. ^ "Church need not be afraid, New Hampshire bishop tells Putney gathering", Episcopal Life, July 13, 2008. "The "homosexual agenda, is Jesus, the Jesus I know who communicates God's unwavering love for me."
  40. ^ Masaki, Lyle (15 August 2007). "Jon Stewart spells out the gay agenda". NewNowNext.

Further reading

External links