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(52,184 posts)
Tue Aug 14, 2018, 08:29 PM Aug 2018

Homophobia isn't funny, so why are liberal comedians using it? [View all]


It appears more glaring in the Trump era. We’ve seen well-meaning liberals and late-night comedians, from Jimmy Kimmel to Stephen Colbert (and, more recently, even the New York Times editorial page), come under fire for joking that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are sex partners, often with Trump in the submissive role. Trump is Putin’s “cock holster,” Colbert cracked last year.

Chelsea Handler attempted to demean Attorney General Jeff Sessions a few months ago by calling him a “bottom.” She’s also joked that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) ― who’s long denied rumors that he’s gay ― must be a victim of blackmail, with someone holding a “dick sucking video” over his head. “Wouldn’t coming out be more honorable?” Handler asked.

Queer people have certainly joked about Graham and the rumors. I have myself. But Handler’s tweets about these Republican men, coming from a straight liberal within a particularly mocking context and using gay and bisexual men’s sexual slang, comes off as an attempt to humiliate the target by associating them with gay sex.

In fact, bottom shaming is a running theme. Kimmel, feuding with Sean Hannity on Twitter in April, asked Hannity whether Trump prefers him to “bottom,” trying to ridicule him in the same way Colbert tried to ridicule Trump with his “cock holster” line. Over the past decade we’ve seen similar kinds of jokes in Seth Rogen’s films and films by director Judd Apatow. Yet both men ― like Kimmel, Handler and Colbert ― are progressive Hollywood champions of LGBTQ rights.

Tolerating casual homophobia opens up a space for more blatant forms of bigotry. Thus, in 2018 we still see comedians imitating gay men with stereotyped, effeminate, high-pitched voices, something Dave Chappelle continually works into his routines. Another classic smear persists as well: calling someone gay as an insult in retaliation for something offensive he or she did. The most prominent recent example was Kim Kardashian’s slap back at Tyson Beckford for fat shaming her in discussing her body. “Sis we all know why you don’t care for it,” Kardashian tweeted, followed by teacup, frog and nail polish emojis.

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It is worth reading the entire article. It has become harder to be gay in this country in the last year and a half. At some point, we have to decide this behavior isn't OK. It isn't OK to use homophobia to attack your enemies. Just like no one would let liberals use racism to attack conservatives we shouldn't be using sexism and homophobia to do so. The simple fact is that it is hard enough to be gay in some parts of this country. Every time being gay is used to attack our enemies makes it that much harder.

In a couple of days I return to school. I will be advising our county's first GSA. But this isn't about me. It is about the students. We can do better. They deserve better. We haven't arrived yet and the fact that homophobia still works is proof of that.
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