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Tactics of gay-lesbian group undermine its credibility

Credibility is the premium commodity of a newspaper and any other source of information. It also is an essential ingredient in a healthy relationship. Once lost, it is difficult to regain.

Honest communication is the foundation of credible interaction. It fosters trust, enabling two parties to disagree on principles, policies or practices without being unduly disagreeable. It breeds mutual respect in spite of even deep differences.It is unfortunate when a credible source or trusted friend turns out to be otherwise. Yet some people and groups have no scruples when it comes to twisting facts to further their objectives, political or otherwise. One of these is the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

GLAAD will react to that charge with shrieks of "homophobia," of course, as it hollers about anything or anyone not aligning with its political agenda. But if it would look honestly at its practices, it would be forced to acknowledge we are discussing differences in communication philosophy and not sexuality. Of honesty and dishonesty.

Recently, the Deseret News received notice from GLAAD that it had been featured in an edition of GLAADAlert, the weekly self-proclaimed "activation tool" that goes to 40,000 people via the Internet and facsimile. Many others view it at GLAAD's Web site.

Like many extremist social/political entities, GLAAD believes the end justifies any means. If facts, figures or details are twisted a bit, it is for the overall good of the cause.

The recent "alert" referenced what it called "two blatantly propagandist articles on the so-called `ex-gay' movement under the auspices of news." It included several fragmented excerpts, taken out of context, to paint a biased and slanted portrait of a newspaper heaping oppression and guilt upon gays. It tossed in bisexual and transgender references to fan the flames.

These assertions were false, as anyone who read the articles objectively would agree. Ironically, a cover letter said GLAAD promotes "fair" and "accurate" representation as a "means of challenging all forms of discrimination." Does that include reverse discrimination?

The GLAADAlert charges went on to, in a quantum leap, loosely connect the stories with the recent tragic death of a gay youth leader in Salt Lake City. It followed that misrepresentation with a directive that members flood the Deseret News demanding various forms of penance including follow-up stories on ex-ex-gays, etc.

The scripted e-mail letters voicing outrage poured into the office.

In fact, the two Deseret News articles in question examined religious-based groups that exist to help those who choose to live a heterosexual instead of a homosexual lifestyle. It was transparently apparent that the authors of GLAAD are extremely uncomfortable with that concept. It undermines their position that homosexuality is completely innate and that it is accompanied by inalienable political rights as a special-interest group.

The Deseret News articles did not say that was or was not the case. They said that some gays want to change, citing several personal examples, and that two groups are available for those seeking change.

That set off an alarm at GLAAD, leading to false charges and allegations - blindly accepted by GLAAD subscribers, who were told specifically and explicitly how and where to respond - that were extreme overreactions to two straightforward and innocuous articles.

Questionable communication practices aside, there is a deeper issue here that may be relevant, one I have observed in gay and transsexual friends. That is their seeming innate yearning to make peace with themselves concerning their sexual identity. Those not in harmony with self are unable to be at peace with others; those serene inwardly reflect it on the outside.

At a recent high school class reunion, a person approached me who had made the physical transformation from male to female during the 20 years subsequent to graduation. My friend immediately broached the issue of religion - which was interesting - and then expressed appreciation for the attitudes of inclusion and non-condemnation from former classmates at the gathering.

That yearning plea for acceptance apparently was met that night in at least a temporary way, based upon emotional remarks this person offered to the group at evening's end.

I was glad someone so uncertain about self-identity found temporary respite, saddened the yearning seemed so deep - based upon our conversation - and hopeful that peace might be attained. I respected the candor with which this friend approached the evening, which enhanced and not diminished relationships that had been significantly and potentially awkwardly altered by the transformation.

Other gay friends have not been so straight in their communication tactics. One telephoned several years ago to discuss a major personal decision. He cited several reasons for his choice but primarily cast blame on other people and organizations for the path he was pursuing.

The root of the course he wished to follow centered in his personal choices. We talked about that, but his inability to level was an impediment to understanding and trust.

Principles underlying these two examples are no different than countless conversations with heterosexual friends and associates. But they underlie the need for honesty with self and others if meaningful interaction is to occur.

But playing it straight informationally and politically is something the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is unwilling to do. Underhanded GLAAD tactics destroy dialogue and annihilate cred- ibility, essential in any beneficial relationship.