Friday, 2 November 2012

S onewall and the great bigot debate

I've posted before about the use of the word bigot. I've always said that while people may agree with your point of view that doesn't make them a bigot, what does lead to bigotry is the way that you over expound the difference using non-factual, inaccurate arguments or even over-egg the debate.

Yesterday was the Stonewall awards and as is traditional there is the bigot of the year award. Hardly surprisingly Cardinal Keith O'Brien who won it spoke out against the award, but so too the recipient of the politician of the year, the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. Now the Cardinal had compared equal marriage to slavery (though not in the correct historical context), called it a grotesque subversion of a universally [huh? hardly universal] accepted human right and declared a war on gay [sic] marriage. All of which I personally think fit into the dictionary definition of bigot:

big·ot  (bgt)
n.
One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
Definition from The Free Dictionary 

Even if the Scottish First Minister and Ms Davidson disagree with me on the issue of whether LGBT organisations should be pointing out bigotry, or whether the Cardinal met those criteria. Sadly many of us in the LGBT community face bigotry everywhere we go. Here in Northern Ireland we can face if from our elected and elevated politicians (one of whom was shortlisted for the award the Cardinal won). 

Personally I'd love there to be no need for Stonewall to award a Bigot of the Year award. As I said before I don't mind a debate on LGBT rights, I don't mind people having a reasoned debate to oppose things. But when I hear that being in love with a human being of the same sex is equivalent to beastiality. Or that what two consenting adults get up to is the same as pedophiles. Or that LGBT people seeking equality is just like the Nazis denying it to groups (including the LGBT one), then there clearly are bigots out there.

However, one nominee I want to see for next year's Stonewall awards is the audience at last night's awards who booed Miss Davidson. They are bigots and we should not shy away from calling them thus. 

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