Emily Timbol

Fiction Author. Good at making stuff up.

What Makes Someone “Anti-Gay?”


Normally, most of what comes across my Twitter feed are bad jokes or fellow authors pimping out their work. I use Twitter mostly as a way to connect with other writers, potential publishers, and the people who post the really good cat videos. 

Today though I saw a tweet that caught my eye, and inspired me to write a response. 

Twitter user @EstherFleece wrote:

Christians who define marriage as 1M1W are not anti-gay people. Dan Cathy gave a honest & respectful answer. Disagreement does not = hate.
She wrote the tweet in response to the news, first broke by the Advocate, that the COO of Chick-Fil-A officially came out against gay marriage. This was after years of criticism against the restaurant for donating millions to organizations who either came out against, or were created for the sole purpose of preventing gay people the legal right to marry.
I’m open about my support for gay marriage, and have been criticized before for claiming the opposite of what Esther said above, that disagreement does equal hate. I’m glad I had a chance to see her tweet because she made me want to examine what, if she’s right, is truly the definition of “anti-gay.”

Without doing the whole “Webster’s dictionary defines” thing, I think it’s safe to assume everyone knows what “anti” means. It means you are opposed, against, on the “other” side. It’s a strong word, which is why it’s thrown around so much in the abortion debate; people in favor of abortion rights call those opposed “anti-choice”, when the opposed prefer to call themselves “pro-life.” For some reason, it’s much more favorable to be known for supporting something, than purely being against.

Knowing that, I thought about the flip side, and what would make someone “pro-gay.” To do that, you need to define what “gay” is. Now, my definition might differ from some people’s, but seeing as how I spend quite a bit of time with gay people, I’d say I have a pretty good understanding for an outsider.

  • Gay is a sexual orientation that means you are attracted to someone of the same sex.
  • Gay is a label that when applied, automatically changes most people’s view of you; either for the better (oh, he must be so good with fashion!) or for the worse (she’s a butch man hater.)
  • If you are Gay, and open about this, it is not safe for you to travel everywhere in the world (Middle East, Sudan, etc.)
  • Gay affects who you are, at the core, but does not define everything about you. Unless you are having Gay sex 24/7.
  • Gay means you are a minority.
  • Gay means you do not have the legal right in many places to marry, adopt, share medical benefits, keep from being fired for your orientation, keep from being refused service at a restaurant or hotel for your (perceived) orientation, or kept from being able to rent a house or apartment because of your  (again perceived) orientation.
  • While it’s debatable to some, I’ll go ahead and add, Gay is not a choice.
Granted, this is not a comprehensive list of what “Gay” means. I hardly think that I, a straight person, is even capable of trying to sum up everything that those three letters imply, if that’s even possible to do so. But going on what was listed above, to be “pro” Gay, would be mostly hard to define. After all, just as you’d be hard pressed to define what “Pro-Straight” meant, it’s hard to be “Pro” something that just, is. Sexual orientation is a fact, not a matter of opinion.
Until you get to the last two bullet points. 
It’s easy to see how one could be “Pro” giving people rights who don’t already have them. Just as it’s easy for those who are “Pro” to understand that since one doesn’t choose to be Gay, denying them rights over who they are is wrong. The argument raised by the people who aren’t for these rights, is that, just because they disagree with Gay marriage, does not make them “anti” Gay. 

What does that make them then?

“Pro-family” would be the first response, but that’s hard to hold up, when what many Gay people are asking for  is the right to legally have a family. And I hardly think it’s fair that a small section of people get to define what “family” is for the rest of the world. 

This may all seem like semantics, but it’s not. Simply for the reason that if you asked the average person opposed to marriage equality what “Anti-Gay” meant, it would be impossible for them to explain it without admitting they want to keep Gay people from having the very things that many of us take for granted. So why do they bristle so much at being called “Anti-Gay?” Maybe one of my friends or loved ones who is against Gay marriage could answer that question for me. If they think they can, I sincerely would love to hear an explanation, since I can’t come up with one on my own.

Finally, Esther’s last point in her tweet was that “Disagreement does not equal hate”, and in most cases I agree. Plenty of my friends don’t agree with Obama’s economic or social policies, but I don’t accuse them of hating him, or the government, just because they do. Likewise, even though it pains me when people I love believe things I so adamantly disagree with, I don’t hate them.

But what Esther is missing, is that the stakes are higher in this debate than just a difference of opinion. If me and a co-worker disagree over our favorite food, or movies, nobody is hurt. When that disagreement though has consequences behind it, when it becomes more than just a discussion, and instead an action that negatively affects millions of people’s lives, then it’s no longer just words on the internet. 
All acts of hate have started as disagreements. Whites disagreed that blacks were equal, America disagreed that Japenese American citizens had the same rights as Caucasian ones, and as much as I hate to play this card, Hitler disagreed that Jews were people. 
It’s what they DID as a result of this disagreement that matters.

If you take that personal belief, and then use it to advocate, donate money, or verbally or physically support a cause that negatively effects millions of people, then yes, it can be called hate. It may be hard for us straight people to understand, but if I asked any of my gay friends if they felt hated by the organizations Chik-Fil-A donated to, they wouldn’t hesitate to say, “Yes.” How else are they supposed to feel, when they are openly accused of trying to destroy families, society, and in some cases, the world, just because they want the legal right to marry? 

Dan Cathy’s financial, and now vocal support for a cause that serves to keep Gay people from having rights means that at some level, he does hate “Gay.” He might argue he doesn’t hate the people, just the “action”, or the “lifestyle”, but if he didn’t hate it, he wouldn’t be investing so much against it.

So I’m going to respectfully disagree with you Esther. I’ll leave it at that though, since I don’t hate you.

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