Saudi Arabia’s new idea: People who come out as gay online should be beheaded | DeadState


How can the West do business with Saudi Arabia, which the Saudis will feel the West condones their extreme forms of punishments for acts which should not even be seen as crimes. Is their oil that so much important?

 

RELATED ITEMS:HUMAN RIGHTS, LGBT, SAUDI ARABIA

Source: Saudi Arabia’s new idea: People who come out as gay online should be beheaded | DeadState

Study Shows That LGBT Pupils Are More Likely To Be Bullied If They Are Disabled


In all areas of Society there should be zero tolerance of bullying, this is especially so in a closed environment, such as a school, where every member of staff needs to receive training on bullying and gender sexuality, children need and should be listened to.

Same Difference

Pupils who are disabled or have learning difficulties are significantly more likely to experience homophobic bullying than their mainstream classmates, according to a charity which has produced a guide for teachers on tackling the problem.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance cites data showing that 55 per cent of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) children are likely to be bullied at school about their sexuality or gender. Among LGBT pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities, however, that figure rises to 66 per cent.

The alliance also conducted its own research, speaking to 33 LGBT teenagers with disabilities or special needs. “How are we supposed to tell [teachers about incidents of bullying], if teachers don’t understand LGBT or disability?” one pupil said.

Another spoke of feeling marginalised, particularly during PSHE lessons: “People think disabled people are asexual as it is, so they don’t talk to you about any relationships, let alone about being or…

View original post 113 more words

Britain’s First Care Home For Elderly LGBT Could Open In Next Three Years


Original post from The Huffington Post

‘…………….By

A nursing home for LGBT people could be built in the UK over the next three years.

The care home, which would be the first of its kind in this country, would house 150 elderly homosexual people in an “iconic, statement piece of architecture”.

Tonic Housing are looking to build the LGBT care home in either London or Brighton.

“We want to work with the LGBT community and others in identifying new solutions to growing old together,” reads the site.

“45% of them have experienced discrimination when using social services. 73% are uncomfortable disclosing their sexuality to care staff.”

Senior gay couple shooting a selfie with mobile phone

There are one million LGBT people over the age of 50 living in the UK.

James Greenshields, director of Tonic Housing, told BuzzFeed News: “I was really taken aback that although there are organisations for older LGBT people, in terms of care homes there is nothing at all. It was a shock. The need and the demand is out there.”

The new care home will feature one and two-bedroom apartments with dining options, gardens, a gym and entertainment spaces.

Greenshields says he wants it to be an “LGBT community hub, regardless of age”.

“It would be a space where people would come because there might be a film club, exhibitions, or activities that would appeal to the LGBT community,” he added.

There are currently LGBT care homes in the US and Germany. Just last month, Denmark opened its first LGBT elderly home.

Vivi Jelstrup, a member of LGBT Denmark’s seniors committee, told Berlingske that older LGBT people tend to go “back in the closet” when they come to a nursing home.

“People have lived different lives – some were completely open, while others were more careful. But generally, people of that age lived in a time when it was much harder to be open about one’s sexual orientation or gender identity if it deviated from the norm.”

She added: “Many feel that it is easier to not open up, than to once again fight for acceptance. That means that you don’t have the same opportunity to be yourself with others and that can make you lonely. That is precisely why we need a place where LGBT people can talk openly about the lives they have led.”   ……….’

Gay Scots still facing prejudice and inequality


Original post from The Scotsman

‘…………By SCOTT MACNAB

Gay Scots still face widespread prejudice in their everyday lives. Picture: Jane Barlow
Gay Scots still face widespread prejudice in their everyday lives. Picture: Jane Barlow

Gay Scots still face widespread prejudice going about their everyday lives, a major new report today reveals.

The discrimination ranges from homophobic attitudes and comments to violent acts of physical or sexual abuse, according to the Scottish LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) equality report today.

Despite major advances in recent years such as civil partnerships and the introduction of gay marriage last year, a majority of LGBT people are still wary of being open about their sexual identity with their family or when at work.

 The Scottish Government is now being urged to publish an LGBT equality and human rights strategy and action plan, against which progress can be measured.
Tom French, of the Equality Network, which published today’s report, says it reveals the “stark reality of the prejudice, discrimination and other forms of disadvantage” that LGBT people continue to face in Scotland.

He said: “It is clear that while we have made welcome progress in recent years, there is still much more to do before LGBT people will experience real equality in their day-to-day lives.

“The scale of the challenge is considerable and with the next Scottish Parliament election rapidly approaching, we will be looking to the Scottish Government, and all the political parties, to set out clear plans for how they will tackle inequality and make Scotland a fairer and more equal place for LGBT people to live.”

The Equality Network says it will now be calling on all Scotland’s political parties to set out firm manifesto commitments on LGBT equality ahead of the next Scottish Parliament elections in May.

 Nine out of ten people said that LGBT people continue to face inequality in Scotland, while almost all said more needs to be done to tackle prejudice and discrimination. The Scottish Government, councils and public services are seen as having lead responsibility for tackling this.

The report is based around the views of more than 1,000 people, of whom 34 per cent were gay men, 22 per cent were gay women, and 15 per cent were bisexual.

It was conducted between 2012 and 2013. The experiences of LGBT people vary significantly across Scotland, with those living in rural parts of the country reporting a significantly worse experience than those living in urban areas.

Incidents reported by LGBT people ranged from homophobic, biphobic and transphobic comments and attitudes (82 per cent), to verbal abuse (68 per cent), physical attack (16 per cent) sexual assault (7 per cent), crimes against property (12 per cent), and discriminatory treatment when accessing services (25 per cent) and in employment (24 per cent).

 A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Despite the significant progress made in relation to LGBT equality, particularly in recent years, we are aware of the inequality still facing LGBT people and communities today. There is no place for any homophobic, biphobic or transphobic prejudice or discrimination in modern day Scotland or anywhere else.”

She added: “This government is one committed to promoting a more equal society which values Scotland’s diverse communities and the important role they play in enriching Scotland socially, culturally and economically.”   …………..’

Marriage Equality Is The Law Of The Land. Now What?


Original post from Think Progress

‘…………….BY TARA CULP-RESSLER

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK
CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

On Friday, the Supreme Court made history by ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, bringing marriage equality to the entire United States. Now, gay and lesbian couples can legally wed in every state in the country.

The decision is obviously a huge victory for the LGBT rights movement, representing the culmination of decades of advocacy work to ensure marriage equality for people of all sexual orientations. It also follows a remarkable shift in public opinion on the subject over the past decade, as support for legal same-sex marriage skyrocketed to record highs.

“Today we can say in no uncertain terms that we’ve made our union a little more perfect,” President Obama said in a speech following the the decision, before pointing out that there’s still work left to be done.

Indeed, even as LGBT Americans have made huge progress in securing marriage equality, many other areas of the law lag behind. While same-sex couples will now have many of the legal benefits afforded through marriage, there are still states that don’t protect LGBT individuals from discrimination at their jobs, in their homes, in their schools, or at their doctors’ offices.

“Most states have no nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people,” David Stacy, the government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, told NPR this week. “With limited or no federal protections, an LGBT person can get legally married in most states, but then be evicted from an apartment and denied a home loan.”

The Movement Advancement Project, a think tank that maps the state-level policies related to LGBT equality, keeps close tabs on the parts of the country that still lack those laws:

States that don’t protect LGBT people from being unfairly fired, not hired, or discriminated against in the workplace:

 

employment-nondiscrimination

 

States that don’t prevent LGBT people from being unfairly evicted, denied housing, or refused the ability to rent or buy housing:

housing-final-638x544

States that don’t protect LGBT students from being bullied by other students, teachers, and school staff:

safe-schools-final

States that don’t prevent LGBT people from being unfairly denied health coverage or services in private insurance plans:

health-care-final-638x587

Making progress in these areas will involve passing additional protections to bolster the patchwork of existing state laws. Congressional Democrats are reportedly already working on comprehensive legislation to outlaw LGBT discrimination in employment, education, housing, jury service, restaurants, and hotels that’s expected to be introduced next month.  ………’

Huckabee Totally Loses It


Original post from Daily Kos

‘…………By LaFeminista

http://mikehuckabee.com/…

“The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.”This ruling is not about marriage equality, it’s about marriage redefinition. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny.”

“The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment.”
.

So basically he disqualifies himself from becoming President by imposing his religious beliefs on others. Of course he paints himself as being persecuted, that’s the really hilarious part, I get married, he is persecuted, balderdash.He seems to be calling for revolution and overturning the constitution, there is a reason why there are three branches of government Mike, to stop potential tyrants like you deciding what is the law of the land.

There is also a reason why the founding fathers wrote the first amendment

“The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. …and

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State

Both by Thomas Jefferson

Get that MikeThe Whole of the American People.

Not just the nuts.  …………..’

 

A young man who survived “ex-gay ministries” taught me what it means to be a Christian


Original post from Salon

‘………The campaign against marriage equality sent me fleeing from the church. Here’s what brought me back

A young man who survived "ex-gay ministries" taught me what it means to be a Christian

Cover detail of “Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church”

One muggy summer morning, when we’d roused ourselves in enough time to pull into the church parking lot just a few minutes late, we noticed a half-dozen red, white, and blue lawn signs growing from the strip of grass between the highway and the freshly paved blacktop. They said “VOTE YES ON ONE” across the top and “Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman” across the bottom. In the middle was a stick-figure family holding hands.

 I groaned.

It’s no secret that the Tennessee state legislature has kept itself busy over the last decade producing mountains of wholly unnecessary legislation designed to protect what it considers to be Tennessee’s most threatened demographic: white evangelical Christians. One proposed bill would have made practicing Islam a felony, punishable by fifteen years in prison. Another sought to ban middle school teachers from even mentioning gay relationships to their students. House Bill 368 (signed into law in 2012) encourages teachers in public schools to “present the scientific weaknesses” of evolution and climate change. In 2013, panicked rumors among legislators that renovations to the capitol building included the installation of a “Muslim foot bath” were assuaged when it was revealed that the fixture in question was, in fact, a mop sink.

That particular summer, Tennessee lawmakers were busy amending the state constitution to include a ban on same-sex marriage. Churches and conservative organizations across the state had organized a campaign to remind voters that if they wanted to say no to gay marriage they needed to vote yes on proposition one and the Tennessee Marriage Protection Amendment. Nearly every church in town boasted several signs on their lawns, and now ours did too.

“We might as well hang a banner over the door that says ‘No Gay People Allowed,’” I muttered.

I didn’t have a lot of gay friends at the time. I hadn’t met Andrew or my friends Justin, Jeffry, Matthew, and Kimberly. I hadn’t yet reconnected with those high school classmates who, before they came out, got as far away from Rhea County as they could. I wasn’t even sure what I thought about same-sex relationships at that point in my life, but I had no intention of voting yes on prop one because I didn’t see why my religious concerns should have any bearing on whether my fellow citizens enjoyed the same rights and privileges as I did under the law. When you grow up just a few miles from 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, and when you move to a town situated on the old Trail of Tears where a man was once prosecuted and fined for teaching evolution, you get a little sensitive about constitutional amendments designed to restrict rights rather than protect them. Sure, the Tennessee Marriage Protection Amendment sounded like a good idea to a lot of folks at the time, but how would it sound in twenty-five, fifty, or a hundred years? I just wasn’t convinced we had this one right.



Of greater concern to me was the way these signs were sprouting up like weeds in every church lawn in the county. If Christians in East Tennessee wanted to send the message that gay and lesbian people would be uncomfortable and unwelcome in our churches, that their identity would be reduced to their sexual orientation and their personhood to a political threat, then we’d sure done a bang-up job of communicating it. We’d surrounded our churches with a bunch of stick-figured families who, with linked arms and vacuous smiles, guarded our houses of worship like centurions. If you wanted to get through, you had to know your place in the chain. You had to assimilate.

During the announcements, a man I didn’t recognize invited us to attend a meeting that night to discuss the “radical homosexual agenda in America and how Christians should respond to it.” He spat out the word homosexual the same way others spat out the wordsliberal, feminist, and evolutionist, and it occurred to me in that moment that maybe I wasn’t the only one who brought an uninvited guest to church on Sunday morning. In a congregation that large, there was a good chance the very people this man considered a threat to our way of life weren’t out there, but rather in here—perhaps visiting with family, perhaps squirming uncomfortably with the youth group in the back, perhaps singing with the worship band up front. How lonely they must feel, how paralyzed. Sitting there with my Bible in my hands, twisting its silk bookmark nervously between my fingers, I realized that just as I sat in church with my doubt, there were those sitting in church with their sexuality, their race, their gender, their depression, their addiction, their questions, their fears, their past, their infertility, their eating disorder, their diagnosis, their missed rent, their mess of a marriage, their sins, their shame—all the things that follow us to church on Sunday morning but we dare not name.

The words from Anne Sexton’s poem “Protestant Easter” floated into my brain:

Jesus was on that Cross.

After that they pounded nails into his hands.
After that, well, after that,

everyone wore hats . . .

And smiles. And masks. And brave fronts.

I didn’t stop going to church after the Vote Yes On One campaign, but I stopped being present. I was too scared to speak up in support of LGBT people, so I ignored my conscience and let it go. I played my role as the good Christian girl and spared everyone the drama of an argument. But that decision—to remain silent—split me in two. It convinced me that I could never really be myself in church, that I had to check my heart and mind at the door. I regret that decision for a lot of reasons, but most of all because sometimes I think I would have gotten a fair hearing. Sometimes I think my church would have loved me through that disagreement if I’d only been bold enough to ask them to. Like a difficult marriage, my relationship with church buckled under the weight of years of silent assumptions. So I checked out—first in spirit, then in body. When our closest friends from Sunday night moved to California, our interest in the social events began to dwindle. After a few months, Dan and I began sleeping in on Sunday mornings.

* * *

Seven years after the “Vote Yes On One” campaign sent me fleeing from the church, I discovered church again in an unlikely place: the Gay Christian Network’s annual “Live It Out” conference in Chicago.

Founded by Justin Lee, a young gay man who grew up Southern Baptist and survived the destructive effects of “ex-gay ministries” to eventually accept and embrace his sexuality, the Gay Christian Network offers community and support to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians, along with their friends, family, and allies. The group is ecumenical, but attracts a lot of evangelicals, many of whom have been marginalized or kicked out of the churches in which they grew up. Some of the more than seven hundred attendees believed Scripture compelled them to commit their lives to celibacy while others believed Scripture granted them the freedom to pursue same-sex relationships and marriage. There was room at the table for all.

I spoke at the conference as an ally, but within hours of arriving at the Westin on the Chicago River, it became clear I had little to teach these brothers and sisters in Christ and everything to learn from them. I speak at dozens of Christian conferences in a given year, but I’ve never participated in one so energized by the Spirit, so devoid of empty showmanship, so grounded in love and abounding in grace. As one attendee put it, “this is an unapologetically Christian conference.”

Indeed it was. There was communion, confession, worship, and fellowship. There was deep concern for honoring Scripture and loving as Christ would love, even through differences and pain. There was lots of hugging and crying and praying . . . and argyle.

But what startled me the most was the degree to which so many attendees had suffered, sometimes brutally, at the hands of Christians trying to “cure” them of their sexual orientation. One young woman described undergoing an exorcism ceremony designed to cast the demon of lesbianism from her body. Another went to counseling where her Christian therapist insisted she must have been molested or mistreated by her parents when she hadn’t. One man followed the advice of his pastor and married a woman, hoping heterosexual sex would make him straight, a decision that led to heartbreaking consequences. Many at the conference had gone through evangelical ex-gay ministries, the largest of which had recently shut its doors when its president admitted that reparative therapy to change sexual orientation is rarely, if ever, effective. Person after person told stories about getting kicked out of their church or their family upon coming out. (Of the estimated 1.6 million homeless American youth, between 20 and 40 percent identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.) Far too many described contemplating suicide as teenagers after begging God to “fix” them to no avail.

And yet here they were, when they had every right in the world to run as far away from the church as their legs would carry them, worshipping together, praying together, healing together. Here they were, being the church that had rejected them. I felt simultaneously furious at Christianity’s enormous capacity to wound and awed by its miraculous capacity to heal.

The final night of the conference was set aside for an open mic, in which participants were invited to share their stories in front of the whole group in the main ballroom. One by one, hundreds of brave men and women approached the microphone, took a deep breath, and told the truth.

“I’m Mary and I’m Jacob’s mom,” said a short woman with a midwestern accent who wore jeans, a white T-shirt and, like several of the parents at the conference, a giant button pin that announced “FREE MOM HUGS” in tall red letters.

“Tonight I want to ask Jacob’s forgiveness, and your forgiveness too, because . . .” Her voice began to tremble. “Because until this weekend I was ashamed of my son.”

She stifled a sob with her hands while we waited in a thick silence.

“I didn’t want the people at my church to know he was gay because I was afraid of what they would think, what they might say,” she finally said. “But not anymore. I’m so proud of my beautiful son, and of all of you. I’m so proud that I’m going to shout it from the rooftops!”

A gentle laugh rippled through the room.

“I’m so sorry,” Mary said, first looking to her son on the front row and then to the rest of the audience. “I’m so very sorry. Please forgive me.”

“We forgive you!” shouted a woman behind me.

Jacob ran to front of the room and embraced his mom. They held each other for a few minutes before the next person approached the mic.

“I remember the first time I was called a . . . homophobic word,” said a young woman, no more than twenty, who wore a flower in her hair and kept her eyes on her shoes. It took her a few moments to form the next words.

“It was at church.”
 Around the room, people hummed in sad ascent.
 “This is the first time in a long time I’ve been able to be around Christians without totally freaking out,” she said, without ever looking up. “So thanks for that.”

“From the time I was a teenager, I’ve started every day the exact same way,” said a handsome man who wore a fedora and spoke with confidence.

“First, I look in the mirror and ask myself, ‘Does this outfit look too gay?’”

The crowd chuckled.

“After I’ve changed,” he said with a wry laugh, “I go back to the mirror and say to myself, ‘Mike, watch your hands. Mike, be careful with your voice. Mike, don’t laugh too loud. Mike, don’t walk that way. Mike, whatever you do, don’t act so gay.’”

His voice suddenly cracked.

“I didn’t want to lose my job in ministry,” he said, after collecting himself. “But I’m so tired of that routine. After twenty years, I can’t keep doing that. I’m done. I’m done pretending. I’m done faking it. It’s time to tell the truth: I’m a Christian and I’m gay.”

The crowd applauded.

An African American man in a wheelchair followed and brought the house down when he approached the mic, waited a moment, and declared, “I’m black. I’m disabled. I’m gay. And I live in Mississippi. What was God thinking?”

He was followed by a college student who said he finally worked up the courage to come out to his parents.

“It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped,” he said. And in the painful silence that followed far too many understood.

And then there was the young man who had attended the year before in the midst of a deep depression, but who had returned this year with a new church, a healthier family dynamic, and a boyfriend. “It gets better,” he said.

Near the end of the session, a slight, middle-aged man in a dress shirt approached the microphone.

“I’m here to ask your forgiveness,” he said quietly.

“I’ve been a pastor with a conservative denomination for more than thirty years, and I used to be an antigay apologist. I knew every argument, every Bible verse, every angle, and every position. I could win a debate with just about anyone, and I confess I yelled down more than a few ‘heretics’ in my time. I was absolutely certain that what I was saying was true and I assumed I’d defend that truth to death. But then I met a young lesbian woman who, over a period of many years, slowly changed my mind. She is a person of great faith and grace, and her life was her greatest apologetic.”

The man began to sob into his hands.

“I’m so sorry for what I did to you,” he finally continued. “I might not have hurt any of you directly, but I know my misguided apologetics, and then my silent complicity, probably did more damage than I can ever know. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent of my actions. Please forgive me.”

“We forgive you!” someone shouted from up front.

But the pastor held up his hand and then continued to speak.

“And if things couldn’t get any weirder,” he said with a nervous laugh, “I was dropping my son off at school the other day—he’s a senior in high school—and we started talking about this very issue. When I told him that I’d recently changed my mind about homosexuality, he got really quiet for a minute and then he said, ‘Dad, I’m gay.’”

Nearly everyone in the room gasped.

“Sometimes I wonder if these last few years of studying, praying, and rethinking things were all to prepare me for that very moment,” the pastor said, his voice quivering. “It was one of the most important moments of my life. I’m so glad I was ready. I’m so glad I was ready to love my son for who he is.”

By the end of the open mic session, I understood exactly why they say not to bother with mascara at this thing. It was two of the most healing, powerful, grace-drenched hours of my life. It was, at last, church.

I had a conversation with someone the other day who said he wondered if perhaps LGBT Christians had a special role to play in teaching the church how to more thoughtfully engage issues surrounding gender and sexuality. I told him I didn’t think that went far enough, that ever since the Gay Christian Network conference, I’ve been convinced that LGBT Christians have a special role to play in teaching the church how to be Christian.

Christians who tell each other the truth. 
Christians who confess our sins and forgive our enemies. Christians who embrace our neighbors.
 Christians who sit together in our pain, and in our healing, and wait for resurrection.

* * *

Sometimes people ask me if I believe in faith healings.
 What I think they’re asking is if I believe a pastor can lay hands on a man and cure him of alcoholism, or if a religious shrine possesses the power to coax the paralyzed out of their wheelchairs, or if rallying around a little girl with twenty-four hours of prayer can reverse the progression of her cancer.

I don’t know. I’ve watched too many people of strong faith succumb to illness and tragedy to believe God shows any sort of favoritism in these matters. (And yet, inexplicably, I always pray.)

So when I’m asked about faith healings, I tell people about Thistle Farms. I tell them about the Gay Christian Network. I tell them about the widows I met in India who haven’t been cured of their HIV but who are healing from their poverty and hopelessness by loving one another well. I tell them about the Epic Fail Pastors Conference, and the abuse survivors I’ve met through the blog. I tell them about my own journey away from and back to church. Then I shrug my shoulders and say, “I suppose anything’s possible.”

Excerpted from “Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church” by Rachel Held Evans. Copyright © 2015 by Rachel Held Evans. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved

 

 ………….’

“Gay people just look like people”: J.K. Rowling shuts down reader’s complaint about Dumbledore’s sexuality


Original post from Salon

‘……….The author’s response to a fan is the perfect retort to literary blindness

"Gay people just look like people”: J.K. Rowling shuts down reader's complaint about Dumbledore's sexualityJ.K. Rowling (Credit: AP/Dan Hallman)

Proving yet again why she’s your kid’s role model – and probably yours as well — J.K. Rowling Tuesday offered a perfect retort to a “Harry Potter” fan still uneasy with her acknowledgement that beloved wizard Dumbledore was gay.

 Responding to a reader who tweeted, “Thank you so much for writing Harry Potter. I wonder why you said that Dumbledore is a gay because I can’t see him in that way,” the author tersely responded, “Maybe because gay people just look like… people?” Though the original poster has since deleted her question, the succinct reply to it has subsequently become the most satisfying thing to happen on Twitter since Rowling’s droll January observation that “I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I’ll auto-excommunicate.”

It’s been eight years already since Rowling first verified Albus Dumbledore’s orientation to an audience of New York fans, responding to a question about the Hogwarts hero’s love life by stating unequivocally that “Dumbledore is gay” — and calling his doomed love for Gellert Grindelwald a “great tragedy.” But it still hasn’t quite sunk in for everybody.

Though her response was flip, it was a classic Rowling line, because it carried with it a far deeper message. And with it, she gave that reader who asked about Dumbledore an opportunity to learn something. That person may honestly not have understood that she already knows plenty of gay people. That she has gay teachers and gay friends and gay neighbors. Her assumption that Dumbledore somehow never seemed gay to her says that she assumes that gay people lead different lives from straight people, or that they’re narrowly identifiable. And her apparent discomfort with a character in children’s literature being gay speaks to the ongoing misconception a lot of people still have – that sexual orientation is all about sex, and therefore gay people are somehow unwholesome. See also the bevy of confused “That’s So Raven” fans who declared their childhoods “ruined”when the show’s star, Raven-Symone, came out in 2013. Hint: Gay people aren’t being gay to “ruin” anything for anybody, including children.

When Harvey Milk urged, in 1978, “You must come out… Break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions,” he was making a plea to all of us, to recognize that we’re all just people trying to get along and live in this world we share. Homophobia thrives on the otherness of LGBT people. It says they’re separate from the ostensible regular world everyone else presumably lives in. And it enables readers to boggle that a character could be gay, because a gay character would have to be defined entirely by his gayness, right? Nope. And the message that bears repeating until everybody gets it is just what Rowling says: that even when they’re century-old fictional wizarding geniuses, you know what gay people look like? People.

 

Mary Elizabeth WilliamsMary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of “Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream.” Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub. …..’