I don’t fault openly-gay British actor Rupert Everett for his latest comments on gay parenting.
His previous comments, about gay dads being horrible fathers, were abominable. This one, not so. Here’s the difference…
“I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.”
“Some people might not agree with that. Fine! That’s just my opinion,” he said, adding that he doesn’t consider himself part of the “gay community.”
No, it’s not “just your opinion” when you defame millions of other gay men by saying something idiotic and untrue that only helps our enemies take our children away from us.
It is, however, just your opinion when you phrase it in a way that is condemning other men, but rather simply reflecting on yourself. Thus, his more recent comments, which are fine, even if I don’t agree with them.
“For me, being gay was about wanting to do the opposite of the straight world, so I think that’s where my problems in this particular area come from. For me, personally, the last thing I would like in the entire world would be to go through cocktailing my sperm with my boyfriend and finding some grim couple in Ohio who are gluten-free and who you pay $75,000 to have your baby. To me it feels absolutely hideous. But that’s me, just me. I’m not having a go at gay couples who do. I think if Elton and David want to have babies, that’s wonderful. I think we should all do what we want. Isn’t there a middle way, where you can just say, ‘Not for me, but it doesn’t matter’? But no, everything’s sort of turned into al-Qaida. I’m sure I’m going to be nail-bombed. David Furnish is probably going to send Patrick Cox with a bomb and blow up the theatre.”
Everett doesn’t see to understand that in the first instance he was attacking all gay men, actually harming them by aiding and abetting religious right efforts to quite literally ban gay parenting.
In the second, he was simply saying he personally doesn’t want kids and can’t imagine having them. That’s fine. Doesn’t harm anyone. Just his opinion.
But he doesn’t seem to get the difference. In the same way Republicans often don’t get the difference. “It’s just my opinion,” Limbaugh or Dr. Laura or Ann Coulter claim when they’re saying things that are abominably defamatory (and untrue, by definition) about other people. Then they accuse us of committing the same sin when we respond by saying that they’re intolerant. They assume, or suggest, that we’re criticizing the notion of criticism itself, rather than the suggesting that criticism is only a problem when it goes too far.
But Republicans were never one for nuance. Or rather, they may very well get the nuance between Dr. Laura suggesting a large number of gay men are prone to pedophilia, versus a large number of gay men responding that Dr. Laura is prone to intolerance. But they artfully couch their intolerance in respectability by suggesting that all opinion is the same, aka “you did it too!” And at the same time, to the degree that their intolerance is shut down, they hope to shut us down as well by criticizing our intolerance of their intolerance.
So for them it’s a win-win. Either they’re permitted to continue defaming large swaths of America, or they silence their own critics, thus eliminating yet another impediment to their future intolerance.