I received a comment in response to my post last week on Alive! Gay Pro Life Network from Andrew, who says that he’s one of the people behind AliveGPN. In the interests of clarity I’ve decided to re-post and respond to his comment, and the other interactions I’ve been having with AliveGPN, here. For clarity and to distinguish from other sources, quotes from Andrew are in Times New Roman.
Who are Alive GPN?
Hello friends. I’m one of the individuals behind Alive GPN. Some other gay friends and I who happen to be pro-life have become frustrated with our lack of representation within the LGBT community. We think human rights begin when life begins. So we decided to make a blog and a Twitter to give voice to some of these issues.
Yes, I’m gay. And yes, I happen to be male. So naturally, my perspective on gays and the pro-life movement will reflect my background. Everyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation should be able to speak out on such an important human rights issue.
Of course your perspective will reflect your background. However, a particular background is no excuse for erasing the experiences and existence of those other than you- namely, in your case, the female, trans*, nonbinary and nonmonosexual members of the LGBT community you claim to represent. If you had set Alive up as your personal blog there would be no problem. However, on your Twitter account you describe yourself as: “Alive! Gay Pro-Life Network- bringing together LGBT Americans in support of the right to life.”
This contradiction bothers me. You advertise yourself first as a ‘network’ that ‘brings together LGBT Americans’. Then you backtrack from this, saying that you are, in fact, a group of friends. Then you backtrack further and state that the reason that nobody but cis gay men are regularly mentioned in your blog is because you are one. Which is it, Andrew?
By the way, none of these things- being a network of LGBT Americans, a group of friends, or an individual- are illegitimate. They’re all perfectly valid ways to conduct your business online or offline. However, if you’re going to enter into discourse in good faith then it is your responsibility to give others reason to believe that you are who you say you are. There’s a reason I’m having this conversation with you and not, say, PLAGAL. PLAGAL are clear about who they are and take responsibility and ownership for what they do. I see no evidence that you have done the same.
I want, however, to return for a minute to your assertion that being a cis gay man means that you get to ignore the rest of your community without consequence. Sure, cis gay men get to have perspectives on any issues you please. However, those of us whom an issue directly affects- the cis women, nonbinary people and trans* men who have uteruses and are fertile- are entitled to question you. Our bodies are the site of the consequences of your opinions. Savita Halappanavar and Bimbo Onanuga were not cis gay men. They were women and their agonising deaths could have been easily prevented were it not for anti abortion laws in my country. The women of Termination for Medical Reasons are not cis gay men. The undignified and callous way in which their trauma is intensified could easily be prevented were it not for anti abortion laws in my country, too.
But I’m not here to talk about why I support abortion accessibility. I’m here to talk about my questions regarding you as an organisation. If you are a group of friends who represent cis gay men who are anti abortion, why not say so? Why claim to be something else?
Queerness and Language
The language used was not intended to offend anyone. I personally despise the word “queer” so I don’t use it in writing or in my personal discourse. That’s just me.
That’s an legitimate perspective. Thank you. I don’t want to press this one, as I know that ‘queer’ is a word that in some contexts continues to be used violently against people, and that it is contentious. However, as someone who identifies as queer, I’d have (more) concerns as to your erasure of people like me. How do you refer to people who identify as queer? Or, say, Queer Studies departments in universities?
Also, you don’t seem to have a problem with the word when it (seems to) suit your agenda.
As someone who of course encountered anti-gay bullying in school, my intent was never to diminish the tragedy that continues to take place. The point was merely to note we have taken steps as a society to address the issue with new anti-bullying laws, awareness campaigns, etc. Yet unborn children do not have protection under the law when faced with the violence of abortion. Both are wrongs that must be ended in our society.
I have a lot that I could say on your view that abortion can be compared with homophobia. However, my intent with this post isn’t to discuss our views on abortion- there’s no question that we disagree strongly- but to raise my concerns regarding AliveGPN as a group. I’m happy to discuss abortion at a later date.
Instead, let’s go back to that Twitter account description: “Alive! Gay Pro-Life Network- bringing together LGBT Americans in support of the right to life”. If you are a network of LGBT Americans, as well as people who condemn homophobia and anti-gay bullying as strongly as you do those who provide necessary medical care to pregnant people, then why did Geoff find that these were the top non-abortion-related accounts also followed by your followers?
Pontifex, the Pope‘s English account, comes above all others. He has described those who do not share my exclusive fetish for the opposite sex as “objectively disordered“ and having a “strong tendency ordered towards an inherent moral evil“.
Paul Ryan repeats his election trick of coming second, despite campaigning tirelessly against marriage equality, adoption rights, and military career options for the LGBTQ community.
Mitt Romney trails Ryan considerably, both in homophobia and ranking, managing only to oppose marriage equality and unduly inconvenience children raised by same sex couples.
Michelle Malkin follows, her energies devoted to countering marriage equality.
The gender balance is further improved by the addition of Alveda King, who opines that “Homosexuality cannot be elevated to the civil rights issue. The civil rights movement was born from the Bible. God hates homosexuality“.
Ann Coulter is perhaps included because she feels that “marriage is not a civil right [for the LGBTQ community]”, or that she can “talk gays out of gay marriage”, or perhaps because she opposes sex education that may teach children about the “homosexual lifestyle”. She makes my job easier by issuing all quotes at a talk to gay conservatives.
If you are, as you say in your name, a network of LGBT Americans, and as you say to me, someone who is deeply concerned with anti-gay (pity about the LBTQIA folks, I guess) bullying, then why on earth do you associate with people who encourage and commit bullying against our community? What kind of real-live network of LGBT people overwhelmingly follows those who have made careers out of destroying our rights and our lives? Anti-gay bullying isn’t, as you say, a mere tragedy. It’s a travesty. And your so-called network is overwhelmingly made up of people who commit that travesty. You can say as much as you like that your “intent was never to diminish the tragedy that continues to take place”. Your actions, and your refusal to condemn homophobic organisations, say otherwise.
You could argue- and probably will- that you don’t get to control who follows you. Fair point. However, if you are being followed by homophobes then why aren’t you engaging with them? If you have an audience of people willing to listen to you and opposed to LGBTQ equality, when why aren’t you putting as much effort into winning them over to support your rights as you are into taking away the rights of pregnant people?
If anyone shares our pro-life position and would like to offer their perspective, I would certainly welcome it! We all have full-time jobs and this is just a side-project for us so we’ll certainly welcome any assistance in building and improving it.
Feel free to email me: [email protected].
Y’know, I think you might have better luck with someone like PLAGAL than the Tea Cosy if what you want is help building your website! But thank you for engaging with me.
Right, Tea Cosiers! What do you think? Have you any questions for Andrew? Is there something I’ve missed? Am I being unfair? Am I being too damn nice? Let me know!