Our readers sometimes ask why it is that PinkNews reports on the latest vile outbursts by God Hates Fags organisers, the Westboro Baptist Church, or the most recent ludicrous and illogical statement by US radio personalities such like Linda Harvey.
The answer is simple. In my view, they further the arguments for LGBT equality, at least in the UK and US where most of our readers live. It’s such a simple argument for me, that I’ve sometimes wondered if these groups are actually LGBT rights activists in disguise.
In the eight years that have passed since I founded PinkNews, I have debated a variety of opponents of LGBT equality. Some are awful, homophobic bigots like the Westboro Baptist Church. Others though are more subtle, their base argument is the same but their language is not intolerant, it’s reasonable and most dangerously, for some people, it’s believable. The second group are harder to debate, their reasonablity gives their arguments legitimacy.
The Westboro Baptist church, banned from the UK for homophobia, attempts to label any human tragedy as a punishment from God for either the United States or the United Kingdom’s acceptance of LGBT rights. Sometimes their messages are nothing more than offensive, on other ocassions they are unintentionally funny. While cruelly mocking the death of Margaret Thatcher, the church tweeted PinkNews to claim that she did more than any other person in the UK to fight for gay people to have more rights. I think Peter Tatchell for one might disagree with such a claim.
For those wondering why we label this group as a church, they are, and they receive tax exempt status because the US government recognises them as such.
Mrs Harvey, who broadcasts an obscure radio programme, at the very least provides the most comical and deluded arguments you have ever heard against homosexuality.
Mrs Harvey has recently claimed that gay people are not human, so are not protected by the US constitution. She also believes that Jesus could be forced to marry a man if he is resurrected and that gay rights is killing children.
Listening to Mrs Harvey’s clap trap is not unlike the bizarre experience I had when the British writer Lynette Burrows debated me at the Oxford Union. She claimed that a child would be brought up better by a “drug addict slut” than the “pretend fathers”, my boyfriend and I would one day like to be. Her ludicrous and offensive comments made my victory over more mild mannered anti-equality speakers she was grouped with a lot easier.
The reality is that around half of the readers of these sorts stories are not LGBT, they are people who have been shared them by their LGBT friends. Their sense of moral outrage is in my view incredibly useful in dispelling the more reasonable arguments of mild mannered homophobes. They share the stories on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit all with a sense of shock at what hateful people say about LGBT people.
Remember the US judge who claimed that lesbians could be ‘cured’ by being forced to have sex with male soldiers? That was shared 62,000 times on Facebook and has been read more than two and a half million times over the past three years, primarily, we believe, by straight people.
So every-time one of these hate groups bothers to waste their time sending PinkNews a press release or a graphic that looks like it has been knocked up on a 1990s PC with a copy of Paint, yes we despair, but also we rub our hands with glee, certain in the knowledge that they will probably do more to advocate the need for equality than even the most earnest of LGBT rights campaigners.