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The New Intolerance Toward Ex-Gays

With the California courts now re-considering the constitutionality of Prop. 8, the rhetoric is, once again, heating up. However, the push for “equal rights for all” is, apparently, alienating a whole new class of people.

From Salvo’s Disney and the Tolerance Two-Step:

There’s an interesting situation developing at the Walt Disney Company. Disney, one of the early pioneers of corporate gay acceptance, conducts mandatory sensitivity training for employees. The goal is full tolerance for and zero discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (GLBT) employees.

But the tolerance enforcement saga has turned up a new twist: It appears there have been numerous documented incidents of intolerance against ex-gays. And one non-profit advocacy organization is asking Disney to address it. “Ex-gays are forced to remain closeted because they are not protected by diversity policies and are subjected to open disapproval by others in the workplace,” said Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX). (emphasis mine)

The PFOX site elaborates:

Ex-gays and their supporters are subject to an increasingly hostile environment because they live out or support a different view of homosexuality.  They remain closeted because of other’s negative reactions or disapproval.  Ex-gay employees are uncomfortable being open about their sexual orientation with their colleagues because they fear discrimination or unfair treatment in the workplace.

As a result, PFOX requested, Disney “amend its sexual orientation policy and diversity training programs to explicitly include the prohibition of discrimination based on ex-gay status.” Thus far, Disney has not responded.

There are two reasons why Disney is unlikely to respond positively to the PFOX request, and why conceding the charges is problematic for supporters of gay rights.

First, how far do we go in giving special rights to specific classes of people? Gays are protected under the same laws that all Americans have. To harass, threaten, or physically harm ANYONE is against the law.  The moment we start ear-marking groups for special protection, we open the floodgates. Why not give special protection to Americans of various ethnicity, religion, cultural persuasion, career, appearance, or handicap? Once we start having “sensitivity training” against gay discrimination, what’s stopping us from having the same training about discrimination toward Christians, Vegans, dwarfs, the homeless, polygamists, Nazis, Nascar fans, etc., etc.? Bottom line: If gays deserve “protective” status, then so do ex-gays.

Secondly, the concept of “ex-gays” is itself problematic for supporters of gay rights. If sexual orientation is genetically pre-determined, changing one’s “preferences” is futile — which is what many gay right supporters assert about ex-gays. So if supporters of same-sex marriage concede that a person can indeed change their sexual orientation, they undermine their entire position. The reason that Disney will be hard-pressed to uphold PFOX’s request is that, by doing so, they will relinquish one of the supreme tenets of the gay rights agenda: that sexual orientation is fixed.

So once again, the “gay tolerance” mantra takes a hit. Are proponents of same sex marriage really motivated by tolerance for all, or just tolerance for their own?

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Guy Stewart January 19, 2010, 3:33 PM

    I have always found it fascinating that groups that lobby for a particular viewpoint are intolerant of other viewpoints that counter their lobby. For example, my wife worked in the corporate world for years before we were married. When we got married her CHOICE was to stay home and raise the kids. You have no idea how much pressure she came under from her old friends. She was considered a "sell out". She was considered "oppressed" by her feminist sistern. All because HER choice was to stay home and it didn't agree with the feminist creedo that given the choice ALL women would work outside the home…____I see the same problem in the gay community: as long as you conform to their credo, you're fine. Suggest a different point of view within the credo and risk the ire of the lobbyists. An example here is the difference between gay (which is a political viewpoint) and homosexual (which is an orientation). All "gays" are not homosexuals (there are LOTS of non-homosexuals in the gay rights community)

  • Jay January 20, 2010, 12:32 AM

    Gays are able to vote, own property and land, plea the 5th, they don't need to house soldiers during wartime, and they can petition Congress for a redress of their grievances. And more!

    Sounds like they have all the rights non-gays have. What's the hubbub all about?

  • Moxy Vote February 7, 2010, 9:36 PM

    Individuals can use Moxy Vote's new site at http://www.moxyvote.com to voice their opinion on this, and all other, proxy ballots. This site allows investors to join like-minded groups who have informed opinions on proxy ballots (like Humane Society, Investors Agaist Genoide, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, etc.) By then affiliating their brokerage account to the site, the individual's shares will be voted automatically….which reduces the concern about missing an important ballot question like this one.

    Moxy Vote is a neutral platform and has the Corporate Morality Action Center as an advocate on the site. This organization is supporting PFOX's resolution and is encouraging members to vote in favor of the resolution.

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