Sunday, October 11, 2009

Selling Disrimination: "He Is Gay -->"

President Obama appears to be taking a more overt and strong stance against the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. From The Independent:

"I will end 'don't ask-don't tell'," Mr Obama said to a standing ovation from the crowd of about 3,000 at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay civil rights advocacy group.

The law was passed by Congress in 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton, who also promised to repeal the ban on homosexuals in the military but was blunted by opposition in the military and Congress.

Mr Obama said he's working with Pentagon and congressional leaders on ending the policy.

"We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve the country," Mr Obama said. "We should be celebrating their willingness to step forward and show such courage ... especially when we are fighting two wars."

So the wheels might be in motion to end an obvious example of institutionalized discrimination (for a great interview on this topic, click HERE).

Yet on a broader cultural level, the casual nature of discriminating against the LGBTQI community remains pervasive to say the least. I saw the shirt pictured here advertised in a store window yesterday in Honolulu.

The shirt saying, "He is gay -->" is reminiscent of a shirt widely sold from the past which said, "I'm with stupid -->." Just as it is perfectly acceptable in many schools, families, and peer groups for children and adolescents to say, "That's so gay" as an insult, here we have another glaring symbol illustrating how acceptable it is in our society to discriminate based on sexuality.

And of course nobody seems to care that suicide attempts and ideation among gay/bisexual men are off the charts relative to the heterosexual population. What's more important? -- Utilizing whatever strategy
works to boost sales in the global marketplace, even when those strategies rely on obvious forms of discrimination.

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