5 Terrible Excuses For Homophobia (That People Keep Using)
When you make a stupid comment, you should apologize for it. That's just common logic for most people. For some, though, apologizing isn't an option on the dialogue wheel of life, and all they're left with is making things worse through shitty, transparent excuses. Thus, when some public figure gets caught saying something homophobic, you can expect one of these will soon follow.
The "I Know A Gay" Excuse
World-famous homophobe and guy who definitely doesn't seem to arrange the murders of his political enemies Vladimir Putin has had to account for Russia's internationally renowned institutional homophobia more than once. But personally, I trust his reassurance that it's super cool over there because of the way he name drops Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. See, the famous 19th-century Russian composer was homosexual, and according to Putin, that means Russia can't be homophobic. They had a gay once! And they love him there! You can't argue with science, people. If you do, you may get poisoned.
British politician David Davies is on the same boat with Putin. After stating that he feels most parents would not want to have gay children, and that allowing gay marriage could lead to *gulp* forcing churches to marry gay people, he was quick to explain that he's not anti-gay in any way. Evidence? He once had a boxing match with a gay guy, who goes by the name the Pink Pounder. So yeah, his flawless logic was literally "I can't be gay because I once got to punch a gay dude repeatedly."
Nowhere will you find a more splendidly awful example of someone trying to smooth over their hate than in Edison, New Jersey. When Timothy Hart was fired from his job as principal, he sued the school board for discrimination, saying they canned him because of his homosexuality. He settled that suit for $300,000 but one member of the board sought to prove she totally wasn't homophobic, and she brought the goddamn receipts.
According to Theresa Ward, there was no way she was homophobic because she once drove a gay acquaintance to the hospital! And before your monocle can even hit the floor over that revelation, let me dazzle your brain balls with this nugget of tolerance: Ward has a rooster! What the hell does a rooster have to do with discrimination? Don't be naive. Obviously the neighbors complained about the rooster crowing, so Ward took it to the vet, who then gave it hormone shots, thus rendering the rooster transgender and solidifying Ward's place in the pantheon of tolerance. Fucking duh.
Related: 4 Bad Excuses For Awful Stereotypes In Recent Pop Culture
The "You Took Me Out of Context" Excuse
Don't get me wrong, getting taken out of context is definitely a thing. The social media outrage industry is based almost entirely on taking people out of context. But it's also the go-to defense for people who spoke entire coherent thoughts that aren't improved by any context other than "Here, friends, is an example of a bad thing to say."
Like when plucky famous boxer Manny Pacquiao stopped punching people long enough to share his opinion that people in homosexual marriages were "worse than animals." Sadly, Pacquiao's skill at defense doesn't extend beyond the ring, because he played the "out of context" card, despite the fact that his whole interview is available. Hard to say that anything is out of context when all of the context that exists is a click away.
If animal comparisons don't cut it for you, there was an imam in Canada who told a classroom full of students that gay people were like cancer or diabetes. Once video of this came out, he decided to go with every variant of this defense at once. He was doing it to be funny, he was misrepresented, he wasn't even teaching it, and all of his information about homosexuality came from a Wikipedia article. Remember, kids, the road to bigotry begins by not checking the links in the "References" section.
Finally, there's YouTube star and grown-ass man Pogo, who chose the "out of context" excuse after people unearthed YouTube videos of him referring to gay people as an abomination, celebrating the Pulse nightclub massacre by calling it "fantastic," and comparing homosexual men to 12-year-old girls. He even used the screen name "Faggotron," because he's "always had a very thorough dislike of homosexuals." Nonetheless, he insists you're missing the context. So maybe the context is ... yet to come? That seems like a really long game for someone who is so obviously a goddamn moron.
Related: 5 Terrible Excuses For Racism (That People Keep Using)
The "I Misspoke" Excuse
If there's no context to save you, then "I misspoke" becomes the Get Out Of Homophobia Accusations Free card. For example, take retired politician Dick Armey. He once publicly called openly gay Democrat Barney Frank "Barney Fag." Dick was called to task for this, and then spoke on the Senate floor for over six minutes about how it was a slip of the tongue. He was just trying to say "Frank," but it came out wrong.
So did Dick really misspeak? It's hard to say, aside from the fact that you'd have to screw up multiple parts of a one-syllable name. Did he misspeak when he told Dave Barry that if there was a real dick army, Barney Frank would want to join? Or when he called being gay a sin? I don't know, maybe it was one of those Freudian slips or something.
Meanwhile, high school teacher and coach of the varsity intolerance team Bob Grisham was caught on tape first ranting about Michelle Obama's ass before transitioning into his thought-provoking opinions on homosexuality: "I don't believe in queers. I don't like queers. I don't hate them as a person, but what they do is an abomination against God." Of course, when it went public, he claimed that he misspoke in a debate situation. He also added that people who know him know that he loves everyone. Ah, the foolproof excuse of "Well my friends don't hate me."
Chicago alderman Emma Mitts somehow went even lazier with her version of this. She was at a public forum when she said, "I don't support the fact that we can have two women married, two men married, and yet we pay our fees, your tax dollars go, and they just get the same benefit as the woman or a man get, and I don't think that that playing field is level." To be fair, that's almost too garbled to even tell what she's complaining about. So when she claimed she misspoke because she lost track of her thoughts, she's probably right. Otherwise, her anti-gay statement would've been much clearer.
The "That's Not What I Meant" Excuse
Another option is to simply say you had a different meaning for the slurs in mind, but forgot to tell anyone. This is how Azealia Banks coasted through countless instances of using gay slurs both online and in person. She was infamous for using the word "faggot" against people. But here's the kicker: It wasn't a gay slur for her. Nah, don't be crazy, she just meant misogynist. You know, the definition of the word that no one else has ever used.
Over the years, Banks tossed that slur at a flight attendant, one of the guys from One Direction, Perez Hilton, and a producer. Later she equated all gay men to the KKK. But still, not a homophobe, because she didn't mean the word that way. It's always meant "misogynist" to her, even though she claimed it meant "men who act like women" when defending her use of it against Hilton. Can you just make up your own definition for a word in defiance of the established definition? Not really, no.
Elsewhere in the music world, Offset from the hip-hop group Migos got in some hot water for the lyric "I cannot vibe with queers" in one song. His defense was that it wasn't about gay people; he meant the other definition of queer. It was a reference to having a "queer" feeling about being stalked, so the people he meant were paparazzi who follow you and take pictures. It's so obvious that you'd wonder why it was ever an issue in the first place.
If you've never heard of folk singer Michelle Shocked, you may not be aware that she was once considered fairly progressive and apparently a lesbian. That seems relevant, given how she took time out of a concert in San Francisco to tell the audience to go on Twitter and say, "Michelle Shocked said God hates fags," and that when they force priests at gunpoint to perform gay marriages, it will be the downfall of civilization and Jesus will come back.
Backtracking from a statement like that is hard, but man did Shocked give it a try. In her apology, she explained that it wasn't her saying those things. Instead, she was saying what other people who aren't her believe. It would have worked better had she said that at the time, which she didn't. She then insisted that it was all part of some kind of ingenious point she was proving ("I was predicting the absurd way my description of, my apology for, the intolerant would no doubt be misinterpreted"), but if her point was "Saying horrible things about gays will make people mad," then it seems like she had plenty of existing data to work with.
Related: The 8 Stupidest Defenses Against Accusations Of Sexism
The "I Don't Know A Gay" Excuse
We've almost come full circle now. Some rare few people, when trapped by their own anti-gay sentiments, decide to throw a real Hail Mary and pull out this gem. They can't be homophobic because they don't even know gay people, they're not near gay people, and they may have never even heard of gay people. The president of Iran once famously said there were no homosexuals in his country, but you may not know that this is also North Korea's position.
Imagine life for an actual gay person there. The entire state actively denies you even exist. For some insight into how insane that is, you can read about Jang Yeong-jin, a North Korean defector who hadn't even heard the word "homosexual" until he was 37 years old. He was gay, but had no idea what that even meant. That's a kind of top-down gaslighting homophobia that's nearly incomprehensible to us.
If you recall the Winter Olympics that took place in Sochi, Russia, you might remember how the mayor addressed the issue leading up to the games. Gayness isn't accepted in the town ... and also doesn't exist there. It's like the Bermuda Triangle of gay, the geography just zaps it out of you. However, he also stated that of course gay people are welcome there, but they're opposed to gay propaganda! The stuff that targets children. You know how that's a thing? A not-made-up thing? That's all they're afraid of.
But it's South African Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier who wins the prize for the one-two punch of "most blunt / least logical" use of this defense, when he said, "I can't be accused of homophobia because I don't know any homosexuals." That shit's as cut and dry as it gets, and is a half step away from putting your fingers in your ears and yelling "Lalalala!" every time Queer Eye shows up on Netflix.
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