Flash Fiction Online Won't Publish Queer Stories

Fiction markets that refuse to accept LGBTI or queer content need to be exposed and held to account for their reactionary ideas in order to pressure them to reject these ideas as well as to alert queer writers to avoid these markets, and instead support queer-friendly publications.

Recently The Outer Alliance had a debate after a member had some trouble dealing with a homophobic editor. Bart Leib, editor of Crossed Genres submitted an ad to Flash Fiction Online calling for submissions to his queer-themed issue. The ad was rejected on the basis that it was sexual, of course with the homophobic idea that queer people are all about sex. Of course, the same isn’t said about straight people usually.

Bart responded and questioned the decision leading to Bart posting this blog post exposing the market as pretty unlikely to accept queer-themed stories:

I would probably not publish stories where the purpose was to justify or condone homosexual relationships, polyamory, and so on…

I encourage you to read the whole blog post linked above as it ads more context to what the editor said and exposes the person as someone with quite backward and reactionary ideas about a whole swathe of things including divorce and sex.

This editor doesn’t want to make public his dislike for stories that condone homosexuality, because it would ‘confuse’ people. But I think he doesn’t want to do it because he wants to hide his homophobic ideas in order for people to not see him as an outright bigot.

I had been considering submitting work to Flash Fiction Online prior to this, but am now boycotting reading and submitting to the market on the basis of homophobic guidelines. I won’t even submit my non-queer work to markets like this as I don’t want to be associated with such a publication.

I encourage all other writers that support LGBTI rights to do the same.

I will also be posting a version of the advertisement at the top of my blog in solidarity with queer-themed markets, and as a way to encourage people to support these markets.

53 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Online Won't Publish Queer Stories

  1. Strangely I can see both sides of this one. A magazine, online or otherwise, has the right to determine what they consider publishable or not. If they have issues with publishing gay community stuff then don’t submit to them. Would say boycott, but meh not my beat anywise so not likely to check them out in the first place.

    On the other hand if someone is submitting ad work, stories, whatever, and the magazine hasn’t explicit defined their content policy then the person submitting has a right to feel hard done by. And if we wanted to be perfectly honest here they are misleading their own readership as to editorial policy.

    I’m not gay so have no idea if what has happened is common practice or not.

    For any of the gay community sick and tired of us hetero reviewers then try out these two sites

    http://www.cinemademerde.com

    http://www.campblood.com (think that’s the url, my work filter is blocking access due to “weopans” wtf!!!!)

    Excellent sites with witty movie reviews.

  2. Whilst I guess editors retain a right to public what they want. I kind of still think this isn’t acceptable. I think we should make it an aim to rid the world of these kind of prejudices. I don’t think people would be saying the same thing if the editor stated he didn’t accepted stories with black people in it, or women in it even.

    But I think the thing is, he hasn’t been honest. And I think that’s because he knows it’s a wrong view to have.

    Thanks for the links Jeff, but I think the problem isn’t hetro reviewers. You don’t have to be gay to be gay-friendly. And I think most editors, gay or straight are quite accepting of queer-fiction.

  3. Ben, I have always been civil on your blog. I know you are emotionally driven by many issues and I have tried to respect that. But you are so wrong about this I cannot begin to fathom where your head is at.

    First, this is his project. If he wants stories about eating meat, the vegans can go find someplace else to complain. It’s his website, his project.

    Second, the personal judgements about him are unbelieveable! The name-calling is a typical tactic done by the left. If you lose the debate, there’s always personal attacks. He never said “I hate gays”. He said he didn’t want sex on his website.

    Third, why is it so important for your group to force your beliefs on somebody? You remind me of a bible thumper brow-beating a person to come to your church. Isn’t that the same behavior you attack on this blog? Your opinion is not the only one and if somebody has a different one, then it is their right. You want more Marxists/gay websites, start your own. Oh, wait….

    Fourth, can I put an ad on your blog for a White Nationalist website? Please….? I thought not. Why? Because you have your website and they have their’s. It’s called freedom of expression. I can say what I want and you can say what you want. The desire to shut people down is rooted in totalitarianism. Yes, tyranny. Your group’s attacks on this poor man are the actions of what is called the “Tyranny of the Minority”.

    Fifth, I would get rejected for submitting a story that didn’t have gay behavior if I sent it to a gay magazine. Should I start a shit-storm online if that happens or just accept the fact that not everybody drinks the same kool-aid?

  4. 1st, yes it is his project and? This doesn’t stop it from being a project that excludes queer issues from being expressed due to the fact that the editor is a homophobe

    2nd, he didn’t just say that he didn’t want sex on his website he said that he didn’t want stories that condoned or supported queerness or issues surrounding this and try to make out that all queer issues must be about sex which is of course a lie.

    3rd, i don’t think Ben has actually attacked Christians or other religions for spreading their faith on his website actually also it must be remembered that GLBTI are an oppressed group in society unlike atheists and so attacking them or excluding them has an entirely different dynamic

    4th, it is not the tyranny of the minority as the vast majority of people are against discrimination towards GLBTI. Also once again White nationalist’s are not an oppressed group in society there is no systematic attempt by the social forces in control of society to exclude or attack them (in fact quite the opposite).

    5th, it’s not matter of not everyone drinking the same kool aid but that an editor of an online magazine doesn’t want queer fiction on his site because he finds our life style so horrible that it shouldn’t even be mentioned (not to mention that he tries to hide this fact by making no such notice of it on his site). I think Hal Duncan sums it up perfectly as smelling like apartheid

    6th, I’m trying be a bit civil but really your views are the sort of trash that fuck up and hold back an fight for real liberation which includes the establishment of a true freedom of expression which the constraints of capitalist oppressive and exploitation
    .-= Jordan Humphreys´s last blog ..Just a Quick Update =-.

  5. Ted, under capitalism, vegans are not oppressed and if they are it is no where near the scale queer people are. Vegans never have to admit their dietry requirements to their world as if it defines their character. Vegans don’t have people doing a double take on them as they are walking down the street eating a tofu burger. VEGANS DON”T GET FUCKING BASHED BY BIGGOTS WHEN THEY LEAVE THEIR TRENDY RESTARAUNTS!

    Also, while we are talking about forcing beliefs on people, every aspect of our society is feircely heterocentric. When ever we refer to aspects of life with any sense of ambiguity, people (maybe not you, but most) assume said person is in a hetero relationship because it is the default, anyone that doesn’t fit into arbitrarily defined boxes is seen as quirky and different from most people at best, and a fucking freak and paedophile at worst. Every institution we go through from The education system, financial institutions, political institutions etc say homosexuality is not normal. Why the fuck should we tip toe around offending homophobes and giving in to peoples reservation against the idea of same sex relationships?

    Anybody in the position to give the notion that heterosexuality is not the only natural sexual orientation a platform but does not want to is a homophobe and benifits from their opression. Comparing homosexual opression to vegan inconveniance only shows that you do not take homophobia anywere near serious enough.

  6. Ted, I don’t really find your disagreements civil. I find them demeaning and patronising as I’m a little kid and you adult know better.

    1. This is not a straight magazine as opposed to a queer magazine. The problem editors like this have is that you can’t even include characters that are gay like you include characters with brown hair. They’re opposed to portraying them as normal people, which they are. And he doesn’t state in his guidelines that he’s opposed to gay literature hence hiding his homophobia.

    2. Name calling? Calling him a homophobe isn’t just a random insult. It’s a fact. He’s opposed to gay people so is in fact a homophobe. And the ad isn’t sexual at all. If you have a banner with straight people on it would you say that was sexual? This is just a homophobic idea that assumes gay people are all about sex.

    3. He is the one imposing his views, the one of filtering his magazines content as if gay people don’t exist in his world. And whatever, I do want people like him to accept the sane and normal view that gays are normal people and not to be excluded with society and literature. Do you think gays should be excluded?

    4. Uh, white nationalism is very different to gay people. White nationalism is about racism, about excluding a racial group i.e. blacks where as gay people are fighting to be included. I’m fighting for people like this to not shut US down.

    5. Again, this is not a straight magazine. It states to have no preference about sexuality and so gay characters should be included just like straight characters.

  7. I disagree with you on this. It is wrong to attack this man because he doesn’t want sex on his website. The attacks have gone too far and i have lost a lot of respect for you.

  8. Once again this has nothing to do with sex if you look at the ad it isn’t sexual in any way as the editor even admits, the problem he has is not so much with sex on his website as it is with fiction that deals with queer issues because he doesn’t think GLBTI need a noice or should really be seen at all. I think you totally miss the point.

  9. It’s not JUST that he has that editorial policy. It’s that he’s dishonest about it; he doesn’t tell anyone. What he’s doing, in effect, is wasting the time of writers whose work he isn’t going to publish anyway.

    Nobody is attacking him or trying to shut him down. What we ARE doing is holding him accountable. If he wants to have those policies, then he needs to be up front about it and face the consequences. He might have an arguable right to have whatever editorial policies he wishes. He does *not* have a right to play games with them. It’s both unethical and unprofessional.

  10. Jordan, I deleted that homophobe’s comment. Wow, what a comment to wake up to. These are the kinds of comments that are condoned by people defending the right of homophobes to discriminate.

    Amy, I agree with Jordan’s comment. This isn’t about sex. Perhaps you should read the whole post and the one I linked to. The ad is not sexual. He even stated he probably would’ve accepted had it not had the acronym “LGBTQ”

    And another point, would the same people defending this editor, defend a boss’s right to not hire gay workers? It’s the same thing. You can’t just say that the boss has the right to be a homophobe because a gay person can work elsewhere.

  11. Sara A actually stated what I was trying to get at. If the Editor doesn’t want gay orientated content, then make that explicit, it’s his/her right as an Editor whether or not we agree with it. Hiding it behind some smoke cloud is actually dishonest and immoral imho.

    Ben was just pointing out there’s a couple of decent gay reviewers out there, the boys at campblood always crack me up with their thoughts on things. Their review of Nightmare on ELm Street 2 is simply awesome.

  12. I guess you have to ask why he’s being dishonest about it. Because he knows it’s wrong. As an example, would you think it’s ok if someone said in their job ad, “Sorry, we don’t want gays, or blacks of women working for us”?

    No worries about the reviewers. I will check the links out.

  13. Is it not up to the website in question to choose which stories they accept and which stories they don’t? I always get people calling slashfiction.net an exclusionary site, because it would not accept hetro stories, but the whole point was the website at the time only wanted slash stories not hetro stories. So is it not up to the author of the website to decide which content they want without being campaigned against?

    I do agree however that if you want to support sites that are gay friendly, you should do so, but I am not in favor of going after others.

  14. slashfiction.com is a themed website. Flash Fiction Online is not. It is not a hetero website, that is for displaying hetero only stories. And it doesn’t state anything about excluding queers in his guidelines. Let’s see him be explicit about it then? He won’t because he knows that it’s discriminatory.

    Sites like slashfiction.com exist because of sites like Flash Fiction Online. If so many of the normal markets didn’t exclude queer fiction, other sites wouldn’t have to be set up to assist queer fiction gain a voice because they’re disadvantaged and under-represented.

  15. Yeah, this editor has some pretty backwards views…

    Just ignore the guy… anyone who insists on moderating content like that is obviously a bit of an egomaniac and really not worth the effort. Just ignore him, go some place that’s run by someone decent, and watch as his site meets its deserved end.

    If it’s his own private enterprise, he has the right to be a dick — that is how free speech works, as unpleasant as it may seem. Likewise though, we have the right to stand up to such people, and call them out for being the cretins that they are. Stand tall, fight hard, and in the end we will win.

  16. Slightly off topic, Ted I would have thought by the name slashfiction.com would be a site about slasher fiction LOL

    So in the wash up I would imagine flashfictiononline has lost a hell of a lot more readers via it’s editorial policy than the webmaster is aware of.

  17. Disclaimer #1: I’m Jake’s brother. So I agree and disagree with him about as much as most brothers agree/disagree with their siblings.
    Disclaimer #2: I submitted anonymously to FFO, and it is the first market to actually publish one of my stories, and I’m damn proud of it.
    Disclaimer #3: Try as I might, I simply don’t have it in me to mince words. It is never my intent to offend, but I’ve never really cared if I do… I’ve never noticed a right to not be offended in any legal document.

    So, uh, where do I begin?

    As a writer, and an employee of just about anyone: If I refused to work with, for, or alongside someone/anyone I fundamentally disagreed with, I’d be unable to work for anyone. True tolerance involves accepting those you disagree with — even on fundamental issues of self, morality, law, religion, and politics.

    Personally, I believe that two (wo)men who love one another very much should be able to get married and walk down the street holding hand… guns. I’d be a libertarian if libertarians weren’t so goddamn stupid on so many issues… (Insert ‘Democrat’, ‘Republican’, or whatever else you like in there for ‘libertarian’.)

    That Jake is disinclined to accept anything that even approaches sexuality shouldn’t *need* to be stated — after all, his submission guidelines had already stated that he wouldn’t consider anything he wasn’t comfortable with his eight-year-old reading. I don’t know about the rest of you, but “I don’t want my eight year old reading about straight *or* gay sexual issues” doesn’t seem unreasonable to me…

    And while I know that gay people don’t choose to be gay any more than straight people choose to be straight, every piece of GLBTQ fiction I have ever read has an element of sexuality in it. I’m not nearly the prude that Jake is on such issues — but I don’t judge him for being more of a prude than I am.

    Tolerance goes both ways. Attacking Jake’s *character* is no more useful than any other piece of bad logic. He’s one of the most open-minded, insightful, and though-provokingly intelligent people I know — and anyone who knows me would know that I don’t say that just because he’s one of my many brothers. If you cannot be tolerant in the face of a person who disagrees with your fundamental beliefs on how life/the world/morality works, then you don’t even vaguely understand the meaning of the word “tolerance”.

    I’ve never heard of a site that states in their publication guidelines that they will refuse to consider any submissions that are hostile to GBLTQ values… …but there are plenty that will do exactly that. Including, I’m sure, Crossed Genres. Not explicitly stating such doesn’t make them heterophobes, or hypocrites, or bad people, or hatemongers. And it certainly doesn’t make them *dishonest*. Hell, “Readers’ Digest” has never published anything remotely sexual, though their guidelines don’t mention sexuality as a basis for rejection…

    So disagree with Jake all you want. But calling him *dishonest* is preposterous.

    I invite insightful/respectful comments, whether you agree or disagree with me, or with Jake, or with whatever/whomever — as long as you are interested in actual dialogue in the spirit of true tolerance.

    Patrick

  18. Stop the vicarious homophobia via your child. People who aren’t parents might not feel comfortable calling you on it, but I sure will. I take my son to the Pride parade when I can, and he’s understood the issues involved as well as he could from a very young age. Nor did it require me to explain anything sexual inappropriate to his age, because once again (with feeling) LGBT issues or persons are NOT automatically sexual. You can NOT assume that everyone feels the same way about their children reading about LGBT issues, or would construe the same thing from “nothing I wouldn’t want my eight year old to read.”

    We can’t read his mind. If he has certain things he won’t publish, he needs to spell it out, and not act like his personal prejudices are the automatic obvious standard. They are, emphatically, not.

  19. I’ve never heard of a site that states in their publication guidelines that they will refuse to consider any submissions that are hostile to GBLTQ values…

    Actually, a fair number of (unthemed) SF/F markets I know do state they won’t accept stories with racist, sexist and/or homophobic content. Several go more in-depth in what they don’t want to see and/or actively encourage more diversity.

    Just saying.
    .-= Corinne D.´s last blog ..WIP Wednesday & The Plague =-.

  20. Patrick, seriously you need to go out and read more LGBTI literature if you think, “every piece of GLBTQ fiction I have ever read has an element of sexuality in it.”

    I’ve repeated this numerous times – no one says anything about straight couples being too sexual.

    I find your tolerance argument totally hypocritical. You’re asking us to tolerate intolerance, and just accept the fact that he has an intolerant view to gay people. And I really laugh at the fact you think he’s ‘open-minded’ Come on!

    And markets to state they don’t accept homophobic, sexist or racist content. My blog does the same and have indeed openly deleted homophobic comments made on this very post.

    Jake is dishonest because he didn’t state that he has this prejudice and he rejected people’s work without saying that he has this prejudice.

  21. Benjamin,

    On tolerance: If you only tolerate those who share your world-view, then you have no idea what tolerance is. If you think that anyone who disagrees with you is a hypocrite/idiot/worthy of scorn, then you have no idea what tolerance is. “Tolerance” is too often used as a cudgel to beat down those we refuse to tolerate. If we didn’t disagree — and on awfully fundamental issues — there would be no _need_ for tolerance.

    On laughing at my assertion that he is openminded: Is the idea that a person can carefully and open-mindedly consider any given topic and then arrive at a conclusion that disagrees with yours truly laughable, as you say? Will all open-minded people automatically agree with you (and thus each other)? Of course not.

    And yet, that is the inescapable conclusion of your laughing at me for my assertion. He disagrees with you, and thus he must be close-minded. He cannot possibly have arrived at his position from any kind of introspection, deliberation, or consideration.

    I’m trying to figure out a way to point out the irony here without sounding rude/snide/snarky/etc — as that is not my intent — but everything I type comes across that way. So please take this next statement in the spirit of open discussion with which it is intended: It is close-minded of you to assume that he is close-minded just because he disagrees with you on a fundamental issue.

    ————–

    Sara –

    I don’t have children. I was merely pointing out that Jake’s submission guidelines already covered “anything he wasn’t comfortable with his eight-year-old seeing” as a general guideline. Not anything *you or I* wouldn’t be comfortable with your/my eight-year-old seeing, but anything that *he* isn’t comfortable with. We are all free to disagree on what an eight year old should or should not be exposed to, but just because one might disagree with him makes him neither dishonest nor a hypocrite.

    Failing to anticipate that his “my eight year old” guideline was insufficient to satisfy some percentage of the population might have been an error — but that would make him human, not dishonest.

    Indeed, as soon as clarification was asked for, he gave it, knowing full well that it would end up all over the internet. If he wanted to be dishonest about it, he wouldn’t have replied in the first place.

    Patrick

  22. He didn’t put any *clear* explanation up in his guidelines where it counts.
    And you have tied yourself into a logic pretzel. Your rights end where my nose begins; homophobia, like racism and sexism, does material harm to people. There’s a vast ream of evidence for that, everything from job loss to teen suicide rates to stress-related diseases. You don’t have the right to demand my tolerance for doing harm to me and mine.
    Furthermore, you do not get to invoke “being human” as an excuse in a situation where full humanity is being denied to others. Sorry.

  23. Tolerance is not, and never has been, something that can be demanded.

    …and “being unclear” is a far cry from “being dishonest”.

  24. Hell, “Readers’ Digest” has never published anything remotely sexual, though their guidelines don’t mention sexuality as a basis for rejection…

    What?! Readers’ Digest publishes about sex and relationships all the time: http://bit.ly/3sLrWV This is ridiculous and patently untrue statement–even the most mainstream, vanilla, hetero-normative publications generally have published something about sex (the act), sex as a component of a relationship, or sexual identity.

  25. “My apologies. I meant Readers’ Digests’ fiction”

    Patrick, this doesn’t wash either. I grew up on my Dad’s subscription to the magazine and he bought plenty of the ‘condensed’ books. Lots of them head hetero-normative sex in them. But you might have not noticed, since people who have privilege often don’t see it.

  26. I’ve never read any of their condensed books. I was referring to the magazine. If you are going so far as to say that jokes and stories that start with “My wife…” are sexual in nature, well, I guess you can say you got me there. I’d stand by my reasonable definition, and you’re of course free to disagree and yell “Aha! Gotcha!” if it so pleases you.

    And speaking of disagreement, it would be a big mistake to assume that I agree with Jake on everything, or even most things. While I’m sure we agree on some things, I’m just as sure we disagree on other, very fundamental things.

    You’ll note that I haven’t defended a policy of not publishing GBLTQ stories or posting GBLTQ adds, nor have I attacked it. I have merely defended my brother — who is open-minded, intelligent, thoughtful, and scrupulously honest. I guarantee each and every one of you that if you shared some beers with him in person, you’d find he’s an alright guy, whether you agree with him on everything or nothing.

    I have no problem with boycotts in general (except that they are almost never effective, and I’m not big on symbolic futility). Indeed, I’m a big fan of being able to take your money, stories, time, effort and energy elsewhere, towards an endeavor that makes you happy and that you support. I *do* have a problem with anyone attacking the character of a person because they disagree about something fundamental.

    If you (in general) cannot disagree without personally attacking the person with whom you disagree, you have a ragged tear in your character that far transcends the issues surrounding a website that publishes short short fiction.

    None of you know Jake. None of you even *kind of* know Jake. To take one decision he has made, or one viewpoint he holds, and then smear his character is as idiotic as my saying “Benjamin is a Marxist. Stalin was a Marxist. Stalin was a freaking evil psychopath who killed lots of people. Therefore, Benjamin is a freaking evil psychopath and should be locked away forever.”

    I’m not a Marxist — not even a little. Even so, I’ll bet Benjamin and I could have a wide variety of interesting and thought-provoking conversations about all kinds of topics. I bet we’d find more common humanity than disagreement. We’d do that, first, by being tolerant, and not attacking the character of someone we disagree with.

    Patrick

  27. Jake was making the assertion that LGBT issues are BY DEFINITION sexual because they have to do with adult romantic/sexual relationships. He brought up marriage. You are also making the argument that anything to do with LGBT issues is inherently sexual.

    I’m sorry, you can’t have it both ways. Either marriage is sexual or it isn’t. If it isn’t, then LGBT marriage rights are also not inherently sexual, nor is the mere mention of LGBT issues. If it is, then any joke about someone’s wife IS in fact sexual.

    I notice no one makes the argument that because marriage has to do with adult sexual relationships, the tender little minds of children should never be exposed to any mention of it, lest they start asking uncomfortable questions.

    I don’t feel *you* are being wholly honest here, so I’m not sanguine about your assertions about honesty. I don’t mean that I think you’re intentionally making false statements, but you’re being disingenuous and indulging in rhetorical feints and generally avoiding the implications or consequences of your own statements, while ignoring the main point of other people’s. It matters not whether that’s intentional or just because you have that big of a blind spot.

  28. Right, right, of course. I am dishonest, disingenuous, am unaware of the implications of my own statements, and have a huge blind spot. Furthermore, I’m so self-unaware that I don’t even know that I have such a blind spot.

    I was hoping we could get past character attacks and actually have a conversation. It’s a pity we could not, Sara, and a further pity that it won’t even occur to you to apologise for marginalizing me *as a person* by resorting to name-calling.

    I’ll happily respond to Benjamin if he responds to my last post to him, but I think I’m done with you in particular. May the rest of your days be happy. Truly.

    Patrick

  29. I do not think Sara has marginalised you or resulted to name calling.

    This whole thing about ‘tolerance’ and Jake being ‘open-minded’ is ridiculous. He’s homophobic and refuses to publish stories that justify or condone homosexuality. How is that open-minded. And why should I tolerate someone who refuses to tolerate me, as a queer person?

    Defending his character does not absolve him from having discriminatory positions toward people who choose to have relationships with people of the same sex and the fact the he refuses to publicly admit this prejudice makes him dishonest and we are within our right to out this person.

    Defending him a ‘nice guy’ and such reeks of desperation. Sorry, I won’t have a beer or get along with someone who thinks I should remain a second class citizen.

  30. Here again you demonstrate that you haven’t listened to anything anyone has said to you.

    It is not a mere disagreement. It is not disagreement to say, “You don’t deserve to have your most important adult relationship recognized by society. You don’t deserve to visit your partner of thirty years if he or she goes into the hospital. You should not be allowed to adopt children, or find alternate ways to bear them; if you have them, they should be taken away from you. You deserve discrimination and harassment; to be beaten and murdered on little provocation, and to see your youth die in droves on the street or by their own hands.”

    That is what homophobia says. All of that. Only privilege and blindness allow you to pretend that’s not what it really means. Suggesting that anyone should “tolerate” that is insane.

  31. I agree with Sara.

    Also, I’d like to add. These ideas and differing opinions can’t just exist parallel to each other and we all happily get on with our lives. Homophobic ideas have very real consequences for people who don’t fit in the heterosexual norm of society and so tolerance of homophobic views and ‘free speech’ for homophobes actually impedes and restricts the free speech of gay and lesbian people.

    Do you have any idea how hard it is to come out and be an open homosexual person in society? This is especially hard when the normal ideas in society is that homosexual relationships are wrong, unnatural, perverted etc.

    Homosexual people commit suicide due to homophobic ideas making them keep their sexuality hidden from the rest of the society.

    I could go on and on about how homophobic ideas really affect people in a very real sense but the point is homophobic ideas restrict our freedom of speech.

  32. Good on the people standing up against homophobia!

    I’m not too familiar with this particular world of fiction. But it just shows you how homophobic ideas permeate all through society, and in so many different ways.

    It’s hard to fight back when you’re systemically oppressed so I commend people for taking a stand. And especially when the familiar line about oppressed people not being ‘tolerant’ of their oppressors is used. It’s such farcical attempt at legitimising bigotry.

  33. Sara,

    All I can do is assert that I have carefully read and considered everything said here. The charge that I am not listening goes right back to “open-minded people have to agree with me”, which is, was, and always has been a crap argument. Please aks yourself the following question:

    Do you or do you not believe that intelligent, open-minded people can disagree? If you do not, then we have nothing whatsoever to say to one another. If you do, then I will ask again that you leave *personal* attacks out of the discussion. I approached this conversation in good faith, with an open mind, and with an intent to engage in a dialogue. You have responded with a string of accusations about my mental faculties and character.

    Next, the leap from “I don’t want to publish anything that makes me uncomfortable on my website” to “I want to deny gays the right to see their partners in the hospital, take their children, and beat and murder them in the streets” is wild hyperbole at the best, and closer to outright ludicrousness. That’s like equating “I have the right to own a handgun” with “I have the right to shoot anyone whenever I want”. They might — MIGHT — be on the same continuum, but that doesn’t make them equivalent by any stretch of the imagination.

    ————-

    Benjamin,

    Do you recognize the idea that one can disagree with what you are doing, what you believe, and even to the core who you are, and yet still accept you as a member of the human family, and hope for only good things to happen for you? Is it possible for a person to disagree with something you do (or something you are — although I think that disagreeing with someone “being gay” makes as much sense as disagreeing with someone “being straight”, “being white”, or “being homo sapiens sapiens”), work to prevent his children’s exposure to whatever that is, and yet still hope that you lead a fulfilling, happy life?

    Let me try to illustrate what I mean with a different example — one that hopefully none of you take personally, so you can examine it with a cooler head:

    I am wholly, unequivocably opposed to drug use. Drugs are terrible things that destroy careers, lives, and families. They are a scourge on the lives of millions of people. I also believe that they should be legal — completely, 100% legal; *all* of them — and that people who use drugs should not face any kind of criminal prosecution (except for actions they commit while high that are illegal when sober). I hope to protect my family and my students from the scourge of drugs and I work to do so, but I love my friends and family members who use, and want only the best for them. I *tolerate* their decision while strongly *disagreeing* with it **AND** seeking to protect my family from the ramifications of their actions.

    (I recognize that drug use and homosexuality are very different topics that are not linked. That’s why I chose drug use for this example. I’m not trying to draw an equivalence of the *act*, but to the *response to the act*.)

    —————–

    Maybe my idea of tolerance is different than all of yours. Tolerance doesn’t really mean anything when it’s about non-fundamental issues. I can tolerate your taste in shoes, but as far as society as a whole goes, that’s meaningless.

    If one *agrees* with a particular viewpoint, course of action, or what-have-you, then there is no *need* for tolerance. Tolerance only comes into play when we disagree.

    It is only when you are talking about big, big things — sexuality, economic systems, religion, politics, identity — that tolerance really *matters*. It might exist on this smaller scale, but it doesn’t really mean anything worth noting.

    I don’t expect any of you to agree with Jake’s editorial decision on this matter, even a little bit. I fully acknowledge that no contrary beliefs, especially on fundamental issues, can exist in parallel completely (as everything we do affects everyone else — which is why there is no such thing as a victimless crime, nor a pointless act of kindness). I also believe that one cannot completely avoid foisting some of what one believes onto society as a whole, as one (and one’s family) lives in and interacts with society.

    I do, however, stand by the point that one can disagree fundamentally about something one will not compromise on, and yet still recognize the humanity and goodness in another. And thus avoid demonizing the other person.

    I don’t know when “Be nice, you don’t know where the other person is coming from” became such a radical idea.

    Patrick

  34. It is a crap argument. How lucky for me then that that’s not the argument I’m making. My argument is that your logic is flawed and your assertions are both factually and morally wrong. I am not in the business of caring how “open minded” people are. I do care about truth, however, and ethics.

    Here you demonstrate again that you are not in fact listening. This is not a mere disagreement. This is an assertion of power, by you, with the whole weight of a homophobic society behind you. That’s what I mean about the connection between personal homophobia and violent statistics, and denying the connection is denial of responsibility. Social attitudes that homosexuality is wrong, pathological, or, in your brother’s words, “misguided” are part of a spectrum…a connected, continuous spectrum. As I said, there are veritable REAMS of evidence for that connection. I refer you to the book “Dead Boys Can’t Dance: Sexual orientation, masculinity, and suicide” by Michel Dorais and Simon Louis Lajeunesse as just ONE in a stack of books and research on the subject.

    The fact that this truth makes you uncomfortable is not my problem.

  35. You’re assuming a great deal about me, Sara. If you scroll up to my initial post, you’ll see that I’ve said that I disagree with Jake on a variety of issues.

    Would it surprise you to learn that this happens to be one of them? Would it suprise you to learn that I have no problem with gay marriage and gay adoption? That were I the editor of FFO I would have happily accepted the ad?

    All true.

    And all irrelevant to my point that at no point has Jake been dishonest, as you claimed.

    You are assaulting the credibility and character of someone you know nothing about, you are supporting a boycott of his site, and you are doing so while simultaenously saying, and I quote, “nobody is attacking him or trying to shut him down”. Except for the attacking him and trying to shut him down, you’re correct — nobody is attacking him or trying to shut him down.

    At this point you’ve engaged in a much more significant dialogue with me than you ever did with him, and your assumptions about my agenda/world-view have all thus far been very, very wrong. Your assumptions about him as much so.

    Be nice — you don’t know where the other person is coming from. I know, I know, it’s a crazy idea. It got Ghandi and Jesus and the Dali Llama into all sorts of trouble.

    Patrick

  36. Wow this one is certainly going off, in a non-sexual fashion.

    Patrick,

    So your sibling would quite happily accept gay flash but only if it does not contain sexual content, violence is no doubt okay? Just trying to clear the air here as the initial advertising that wasn’t accept apparently had no sexual content, how exactly does this work then?

    On the subject of Children and exposure to unwanted content, that’s a concern. I was certainly involved in a group that sought to have posters for a recent Australian movie “Dying Breed” removed from bus shelters due to explicit content (violence etc, for anyone Down Under it was the pie poster ). However I have no problems with the same advertisement being used on horror sites. Difference there is the bus shelters are exposing the content to people who may not appreciate it, the horror sites are visited by people who are aware of content.

    BTW Adshel, the outdoor advertising company, pulled the ad due to expected pressure from concern groups. The replacement poster was pretty bad, and I believe lead to bad box office results.

    I find it alarming however that someone would choose not to accept content because it comes out of the gay world and without looking into it decides not to allow due to “sexual content” that looks like it isn’t even present to begin with.

  37. Patrick,

    I really don’t think you’re listening to our arguments or even coming close to refuting them. The drug analogy does not work in the slightest. It’s actually quite offensive to even try to use that, even though you say you’re not comparing the two.

    Jake may not agree with homosexuality, which I think is not ok and reflects homophobia and these ideas add to the collective force of homophobia that has very real effects on people.

    But we are not asking him to be gay. We are asking him to treat homosexual people with the same respect as everyone else, and he’s not doing that. That is intolerance, it is not open-mindedness and it is shutting down free speech.

    The comments about attacking him personally are beside the point. You’re just using at as an excuse to not respond to a lot of what we’re saying, especially Sara’s excellent points.

    Jeff,

    This has certainly gone for a quite a long time I know. It’s actually excellent as we have received quite a lot of support and the queer community online, within the outer alliance and Livejournal have linked to this debate quite extensively.

    In regards to your point, one of the things Jake argued was that all content discussing LGBTI things is inherently sexual, which I agree with you, is pretty alarming.

  38. Benjamin,

    I have not wasted your time or mine trying to convince you to agree with Jake. *I* don’t even agree with Jake.

    As for the attacks on his character being beside the point, perhaps you think so, but it’s my ONLY point. The *entire* point of my posting here was to defend him against the charge that he was in any way dishonest, and to assert that he is a decent, open-minded, intelligent person.

    So you cannot claim that it’s beside the point, because you don’t get to speak for me. It might not be a point you’re interested in, which is fine — don’t respond, say you’re not interested, or whatever. But it’s the only point I was making, and being personally attacked for making it was pretty funny (in an ironic, not a ‘ha ha’ sort of way).

    So I’ll shut up now. I’m sure that will make all of you happy.

    Patrick

  39. Well, I’ve refuted the fact that he’s not dishonest and that he’s open-minded. See my previous comments.

    And just because he’s a nice guy does not absolve him from his discriminatory views. You’re just trying to make him look better which I oppose. It tries to excuse his views.

  40. Pingback: Benjamin Solah, Marxist Horror Writer » October Goals: Toward NaNoWriMo!

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