On March 1 of this year, PoliticusUSA ran my piece on the distasteful and ignorant homophobic reaction of the South Carolina state legislature to plans of the University of South Carolina Upstate and the College of Charleston to offer incoming freshmen an opportunity to read two books on the homosexual experience followed by discussions and analysis of what it’s like to be gay in the decidedly anti-gay south; in particular, South Carolina.
The Republican legislature’s reaction was to withhold funding for the exact costs of the books. This was certainly to be anticipated; a vengeful state government move aimed at a hated minority group. Quite typical; ask your black neighbor. I thought that was pretty much the end of the issue. The College of Charleston basically caved, promising to be good little academics in the future. Translation: to hell with the gay population.
South Carolina Upstate on the other hand, seems ready to do scholarly battle. The institution is featuring an upcoming symposium that promises to pull no punches when it comes to a comprehensive and overarching presentation of the exact social positioning of gay men and lesbians in the state of South Carolina and society as a whole. Again, the goofy-footers (to coin a skateboard term of RIGHT-foot (wing) forward, went berserk.
According to the Columbia State, the most influential newspaper in South Carolina, at least three state homophobes (‘er senators) are charging full steam ahead on their gay-bashing path, once again threatening to lower the fiscal hammer on a center of higher learning that is doing exactly what centers of higher learning do – intellectually and practically prepare their students for a society of disparate and distinct individuals and circumstances.
We now have an Akin/Murdouck clip ‘n save emerging from the South Carolina legislative wreckage. You remember former Missouri Representative Todd Akin’s famous 2012 senate campaign-killing statement, “If it’s a ‘legitimate’ rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Not to be outdone, Indiana’s Richard Mourdock, also running for a senate seat, opined that, “Life was something that God intended even if the pregnancy was due to rape.”
Now enter South Carolina State Senator Kevin L. Bryant, 47, an Anderson, South Carolina Republican and Deacon of his church of course. He’s in the pharmacy supply and hate-gays business. And his statement referencing USC-Upstate reflects how MUCH he HATES gays. “If they’ve got extra money sitting around to promote perversion, obviously they’ve got more money than they really need.” Hey, Christian Cowboy; you want perversion? Let’s bring all this “prevurshun” closer to home. A couple of years ago, Loyola University Chicago conducted a study. It was called “An Examination of Internet Pornography Usage Among Male Students at Evangelical Christian Colleges.”
According to the study, one of the admissions of the respondents was that nearly 80% of them had accessed Internet porn at some point during the previous year. Perverted, I tell you; perverted! How ’bout giving me a gander at YOUR hard drive, senator?
Sadly, this fellow can put his threats into practice as a sitting member of the Senate budget-writing committee.
This is the same ‘cuckoo for cocoa puffs’ legislator that a few days ago brought a harmless little bill to a complete halt by demanding that the legislation naming the Columbian Mammoth the official state fossil, include two verses from the book of Genesis, one of which claims that the mammoth was “created on the sixth day along with the beasts of the field.”
Said Bryant, “I just had a notion that we ought to consider acknowledging the creator as we acknowledge one of his creations.” Let’s see. God created a mammoth and we ought to honor that by embedding that “fact” in perpetual legislation, but apparently God didn’t create “perverted” homosexuals. Bryant’s suggestion was ruled out of order, but is apparently being seriously considered for the final version of the legislation by a general assembly that seems to have considerable time on its hands when not repressing gays.
On an earlier subject, Bryant seems unmoved by the act of rape. He was one of two South Carolina senators to uphold an earlier Governor Nikki Haley veto of funding for a rape crisis center. As for rape and Genesis, maybe Bryant can figure out a legislative resting place for Genesis 19:8. Biblical scholar, Bryant will surely recognize “Look, I have two daughters, virgins both of them. Let me bring them out to you and you could do what you like with them. But do nothing to these men because they have come under shelter of my roof.” He could tack it on to the Mammoth bill and call it “The rape deflowering amendment.”
The ever-religious Bryant has his own political collection plate, piled high in his last campaign with $9,000 for being a puppet of the pro-voucher New Yorker, Howard Rich. All of the contributions came from Rich front organizations in such far-flung venues as Brooklyn, Philly and Houston. Amen brother!
USC-Upstate’s reaction to this hypocrite is what you’d expect of an independent institution of higher learning. Butt out! Here are the programs planned to further the understanding of the gay culture. As you can see, USC-U pulls no punches. All progressives should hold this University in the highest esteem.
Reid Toth, chairwoman of the school’s department of sociology, criminal justice and women’s studies, told the State newspaper that the cost of the conference would be about $11,500. The school paid about $5,000 of the total with private grants covering the rest. Whether Bryant and his other two senator haters of gays will stick with the $5,000 defunding or really try to make the school pay, is unclear at this point. What is clear is that the far-right Jesus-freaks, while renouncing Muslim countries ruled by Islamic law, are incessantly trying to establish Christian government rule in America.
Gay people are not perverted monsters. There are a few I don’t care for. Not because they’re gay, but because they’re jerks. But for the vast majority of gays I’ve met, worked with and befriended in my gym-managing, theater, media and free-lance days, I’ve liked them as people and enjoyed their company while feeling no threat to my hetness. And, unlike the right-wing perception of the gay culture, creativity seems to be at the gay core, not sex. I’ll leave that to the massive increase in business for prostitutes when a national church group convention comes to town.
I’d like to leave you with this sweetly compelling ‘coming out’ video of 26-year-old actress, Ellen Page, speaking to a Human Rights Campaign sponsored ‘Time to THRIVE’ conference audience. Enjoy and understand. BTW, the blue square with the two yellow bars depicted on the site is the equality logo for the Human Rights Campaign.
Kevin; I dare you to hate this noble young lesbian.
Late development: In a disgusting update to this story, USC-Upstate has been bullied (my words) into pulling a theater performance piece, “How to be a lesbian in 10 days or less” from the symposium schedule. A University spokesperson close to the issue told me the order to remove the piece came directly from Chancellor Tom Moore, himself. While somewhat angrily denying that the University “caved”, my contact admitted that the chancellor had been contacted by members of the local Republican state delegation. I was told the matter had become a distraction and that was unfair to the students and the mission of the university. The highly acclaimed piece has been performed for years by Leigh Hendrix and, while provocative and satirical, is actually a tutorial in helping women find their way through the maze of feelings and reactions to being gay. It’s now gone. In South Carolina, the pitchfork crowd prevails.