Homophobia – The Gays’ Secret Weapon
Another football story in the Guardian that is not just about goals and league tables. This time news is in of a footballer being sacked for a ‘homophobic’ tweet he made:
‘Oxford City have sacked their striker Lee Steele for posting a homophobic remark on Twitter about the former Wales rugby playerGareth Thomas.
Mike Ford, manager of the Southern Football League Premier Division club, said the decision was taken in response to Steele tweeting about Thomas’s appearance in Celebrity Big Brother. Steele wrote: “I wouldn’t fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas #padlockmyarse”.’
I think this is pretty harsh on behalf of the football club. But I agree to an extent with the manager when he says:
“On this occasion Lee’s had to pay for his error of judgment. He’s made a homophobic comment, [but] that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s homophobic.”
What I mean is, when men express a ‘fear’ of homosexuality it is often to me, not motivated by hatred of the ‘other’ – gay people – but rather a fear of their own latent homosexual tendencies. I tend to use the word ‘homo-anxiety’ rather than ‘homophobia’ to describe this phenomenon.
Mark Simpson, our leading expert in uncovering the ‘latent homosexual tendencies’ in ‘straight’ men has described on many occasions how men can express revulsion for homosexual acts, even whilst being in the midst of conducting them!
For example, in a comment about some craigslist ads by men in pairs looking for women to have sex with – together – Simpson wrote:
‘the hysterical lengths men still feel they have to go to to refute any of ‘that creepy stuff’ — even as they spit-roast or DP an obliging lady together, admiring each other’s sweating, flexing muscles and perhaps enjoying the sensation of their buddy’s erect penis hammering away on the other side of the pelvic area — or perhaps in the same orifice — is a bit sad. If understandable. Because of course, if you’re male and ‘touch one another’, even just once, then you are GAY!!!!! Forever. Whereas if you’re female and touch one another you’re… HOT!!!!!’
So for the footballer in this case to be sacked for expressing what is a very very common feeling amongst straight men, especially straight men who find themselves in environments surrounded by other men, such as football, seems incredibly unfair. He was basically sacked for being a man!
This increased use of ‘homophobia’ as a ‘criminal’ offence is all part of the Big Gay Project. Again as Simpson has so clearly explained (back in 1996 in his book Anti Gay for example), the ‘gay’ identity has developed in part through the development of the concept of ‘homophobia’:
‘So, in the As [After Stonewall] epoch, homosexuality, with its nasty medicinal odour, was now an increasingly redundant term. Instead, ‘homo-phobia’, a word with a nasty medicinal odour, was coined to explain the origins of the obviously mentally imbalanced idea that gay wasn’t good. While the innocent BS [Before Stonewall] homosexual was the victim of pathologisation and prejudice, the guilty AS [After Stonewall] homophobe was obviously deserving of pathologisation and prejudice. ‘
In the Guardian article, an anti-homophobia campaigner was quoted as saying:
“For far too long homophobic comments like the ones Steele made have been defended using the erroneous argument that such remarks as simply harmless ‘banter’. However, we no longer accept racist ‘banter’, and likewise, we must never accept homophobic ‘banter’.
I find this conflation of racism with homophobia troubling, in part for the reasons I have stated above. If ‘homo-anxiety’ and ‘latent homosexuality’ are in fact an aspect of nearly all men, then ‘homophobia’ does not relate to an ‘other’, separate from the ‘homophobe’ as racism does.
However, there are ways in which ‘racism’ and ‘homophobia’ DO function in similar ways as discourses. The ‘born this way’ version of gay identities suggests that being ‘gay’, like having a certain skin colour, or being from a certain place, is innate, natural, fixed. But, as is often the case with identity politics there is an irony here. It is, in part, using Simpson’s ideas, this ‘fixed, natural, innate’ gay identity that enables ‘homophobia’ to exist. Without ‘homophobia’ ‘gay’ may not be here at all, and this is why gays use ‘homophobia’ so strategically in their crusades.
As James Baldwin has put it so eloquently:
“People invent categories in order to feel safe. White people invented black people to give white people identity. . . . Straight cats invented faggots so they could sleep with them without becoming faggots themselves.”
– James Baldwin to Nikki Giovanni
I might add to that statement – ‘faggots invented homophobia so they could continue to exist as a distinct identity group in an ever-changing world’.
So if we want to get rid of homophobia (and indeed racism, for whilst skin colour is something we are born with, the ‘black’ or ‘white’ identity is not), we need to challenge the categories on which it is based. And that means challenging the notion of a ‘gay’ identity, especially challenging the idea that ‘gay’ is particularly special, particularly oppressed, and particularly, to use Simpson’s word: ‘fabby’.
More on the origins of the ‘gay’ identity here by Mark Simpson: