The other morning, I bumped into this tweet:
On the surface, this seems pretty respectful and polite, right? She’s not swearing, she’s not calling for the eradication of queer folk, she’s just asking: can she not agree with homosexuality, but still respect homosexual individuals?
Nope. Nope she cannot.
And, in fact, she’s doing damage.
“Not agreeing with homosexuality” is still (albeit nonviolent and not as obviously impactful) homophobia. It’s still outright telling me I shouldn’t be entirely who I am. That’s not respectful.
And most importantly? It’s not the same as disagreeing with a choice.
It’s the “disagree” that makes this sound so polite, but it’s not polite. Disagreement is for things like flavours, types of movies, or, say a favourite colour. Subjective stuff. Saying “I respect you but I disagree with you being gay” is like saying “I respect you, but I disagree with you being forty.”
It’s a state of being. It’s not something you can disagree with.
If it helps? Substitute other groups of people into statements about queer people, and you’ll likely see it right away.
Would you say “I respect deaf people but I disagree with deafness?” Or “I respect adopted people but I disagree with them being adopted?”
Of course not. It doesn’t make sense.
Now, I got what the initial poster probably meant when I saw the tweet. They likely meant “I don’t hate queer people, or want to make their lives more difficult, but I don’t agree that men should sleep with other men or women with other women.”
And, lo: here it is, in a reply:
And, again: Nope, that doesn’t work either. There’s definitely hate there, it’s by no means simple, and just because it’s hidden behind some “politeness” and isn’t as overt or obvious doesn’t make it less harmful.
Why not? Because voicing that opinion does make queer lives harder/adds hate/is queerphobic. When someone “disagrees” with queerness, they’re telling queers that they don’t get to have (or they would prefer queers wouldn’t have) consent based relationships with other adults because…
Well, because “ew.” Dress it up politely, it’s still “ew.”
And the range of “ew” ends with the individual. You don’t think men should have sex with men, or women with women? Don’t do it yourself. But vocalize that you don’t think other people should? You’re not being respectful, kind, or polite, nor are you “entitled to my opinion, don’t hate on me, LOL.”
When you’re publicly vocal about “disagreeing” with queerness, even when you caveat as much as you want about how you respect queer individuals (though, to be clear, what you’re doing is not respect at all), you’re adding to a cultural bias that already exists and persists under that “it’s just an opinion” fallacy.
You make my life harder. Because you saying “disagree” gives approval to those who disagree with my existence with their fists and boots and discrimination. You’re feeding the flames. To those who want to eradicate queer people, you’re standing there and saying, “Yes, I understand your opinion, and I share it.”
You’re just doing it politely.