Here’s just a snip:
As we have moved ahead with a civil rights movement for LGBT adults—marriage, employment nondiscrimination laws, adoption and gay parenting—the organized political movement has largely ignored the backlash our success has triggered and, more significantly, ignored how that backlash hurts gay youths. Yes, there are excellent groups focused on these issues, such as the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. But many gay adults, unless they have children themselves, are far removed from these issues and often see fighting discrimination in their own lives as more important. It’s true, of course, that progress for LGBT adults helps everyone in the long run. If LGBT people had full civil rights—equal marriage rights and federal constitutional protections against discrimination—homophobia would diminish in society and young people would grow up in a better world. Surely that’s a common goal of all of those fighting for marriage equality and an end to discrimination. But in a world of instant gratification we sometimes forget that full equality is going to be a long time off. And the hate will only get worse.
We also must battle a message that’s reinforced far beyond the schools through a popular culture that still values the macho male and demonizes those who are perceived as effeminate. A case in point is the controversy that erupted a few months ago after the trailer for the Ron Howard film The Dilemma was shown in theaters. Star Vince Vaughn’s character jokes that “electric cars are gay.” The fact that he tries to clarify by saying, “I mean, not ‘homosexual’ gay, but ‘my parents are chaperoning the dance’ gay,” only underscores the ugliness of the message. “Gay” isn’t just a sexual orientation; it’s nerdy, weak, and undesirable. When Hollywood and pop culture help to solidify the messages coming from antigay politicians and preachers, it shouldn’t shock anyone that it plays out detrimentally among young people.
Please go read it. Signorile definitely had his queer Wheaties today.