Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bigotry in Niagara Falls - The Response

Editor's Note: I write for other blogs that do not exclusively cover LGBT issues.  Occasionally there is some overlap and in those cases I like to post in as many places as are applicable.  This is one of those instances.

In case you haven't seen it (part II), the Niagara Falls Reporter has painted itself as a victim, an ardent defender of free speech, and released a response to their anti-gay article that went viral last week. (You can read the article as well as my initial response here.)

I do quite a bit of work in researching and addressing the demonizing statements and outright lies of the anti-gay community. This is not only a completely predictable response, but it isn't even a good one. In fact, the article is so laden with people's complaints, and so scant in offering rebuttals, I actually think the author is on our side and was attempting to paint Palumbo in a poor light while still appearing to defend him and the Reporter.

With support for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered) individuals growing like wildfire, a key tactic of the anti-LGBT movement has been to paint themselves as victims. That's why it has to be mentioned that Palumbo has a son (think of the children!) and that he opposes the You Can Play program for moral reasons. Don't worry everyone, Palumbo doesn't endorse the bullying of LGBT athletes and a toxic locker room culture, he's moral!

I knew the Reporter was going to come back with a response that was essentially, "free speech, lol," which is 100% correct and why in my initial response I tried to stray from "you should pull this and apologize" in favor of "you really need to understand how this plays in today's culture and the impact it has on LGBT youth that might read the paper." (You know, real morality that benefits actual human beings instead of some crap from a book.) From what I've heard the Niagara Falls Reporter has a certain base and thus a certain viewpoint they like to push and that's fine. Highlighting all that is wrong with Palumbo's initial article isn't so much about getting them to apologize (or to not say it to begin with) as it is about showing support for LGBT individuals who have known far too little until recent years. It's about creating a haven for that gay kid that reads the Reporter so that (s)he can know that there are people who love and support them.

And considering that the Reporter mentioned several pro-LGBT hockey bloggers and their blogs as well as mine (this one) that covers LGBT issues almost exclusively, that mission was handily accomplished. So a hearty thanks to the Niagara Falls Reporter for that, and to the LGBT individuals reading, we can emphatically say that You Can Play, and you can damn sure stand up to guys like Palumbo and know you've got support.

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