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Jun 18 2017
by Natalie Dahl

What LGBTQ+ People Actually Care About

By Natalie Dahl - Jun 18 2017

On Tuesday evening, journalist Chadwick Moore made a guest appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, a show on Fox News. He was invited to talk about the memorial rally he attended at the Stonewall Inn for the victims of the tragic shooting that occurred last year at the Pulse nightclub. He states in the video that as a gay man, he was very broken up about the shooting and made a point of attending the memorial for that reason. He became quite angry, however, when he realized that the group hosting the event, Gays Against Guns, were also going to use the time to advocate for better gun control laws. It should be noted that the group advertised that the event was held to "memorialize the 49 victims, demand revisions to flawed gun laws and demand that LGBTQ+ spaces remain safe from hate crimes and gun violence" prior to the event taking place.

He told Carlson that he was offended by their "anti-gun" rhetoric and went onto make an untrue, sweeping generalization about the LGBTQ+ community. He told Carlson that the rhetoric centering around guns had no place at the event because "most gay people aren't political. Most gay people, you know, they care about pop music and going to the beach. They probably don’t know what the Second Amendment is."  Here are the reactions of six LGBTQ+ students in regards to Moore's comments and ongoing issues within the LGBTQ+ community.

1. Michele O'Besso, Sophomore Music and Communication Arts Major, Ramapo College

"It honestly hurts me to think that people (especially gay people themselves) think that all gay people care about is pop culture, going out to [parties], dating, etc. It's dehumanizing and erasing the fact that gay people are just like anyone else in this world. 

One thing that I am very passionate about currently is intersectionality and the current debate on the new pride flag. The way I look at it, LGBTQ+ is a significant topic when it comes to discussions about race and/or racism. For example, there is definitely an issue when lighter skinned or white LGBTQ+ people talk about LGBTQ+ POC. For example, people put on their dating profiles that they want 'no Asians/blacks/Arabs/Latinos,' which as someone who is non-white, really bothers me. This example and countless other acts of racism within the LGBTQ+ community is the reason that QTPOC people now have their colors on the flag. They are just as (even more so) important and valuable to the LGBTQ+ community, considering that trans women of color gave us our rights as LGBTQ+ American citizens."

Michele is a straight, trans woman. Michele's pronouns are she/her/hers.

2. Tatyana Dejesus, Sophomore Chemistry Major, Ramapo College

"I don't enjoy how quick [Moore] was to lump an entire group together and continue to blatantly perpetuate stereotypes for our community. I can think of at least 20 people right off the top of my head within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as allies, who are not only political on a daily basis but who also listen to more than just pop music — but that's none of my business. I'd just like to know who he thinks put together rallies and are constantly trying to shed light on the prejudice and general problems that surround the LGBTQ+ community. All we care about is the beach and pop music? How cute. How about all we care about is trying to make the world a more accepting place. How exactly would these things happen WITHOUT people in the community being political? No tea, no shade, but watch yourself.

I care about how easy it is for POC to be excluded or alienated within the LGBTQ+ community. I see this as a very ironic problem as this community is supposed to be all inclusive but usually, those who get the most visibility "look the part" or a POC is given the spotlight just for the "we're diverse" factor.

Something else that I've noticed very often is seeing a POC coming out to discuss problems they have gone through just because of the color of their skin/the religion they practice/ethnic background and multiple white gays will rally against them and turn it into an 'I'm more or just as equally oppressed as you' kind of spiel. First off, that's an untrue statement as regardless of your class, gender expression or sexual orientation white privilege is still white privilege and it's something that I, as an Afro-Puerto Rican individual, will NEVER have the opportunity to wield. It's hard being queer and black (or mixed in my case) because not only do you carry a target on your own back for breaking the mold on how you identify yourself but you also wake up every day knowing there are people out there who hate you and your culture just because of the extra bit of melanin that usually comes with it. It does nothing to help the problem when all you do is try to tell me how hard YOU'VE had it all your life. It doesn't help when you ignore the overall problem at hand and instead tell me to chill because you feel my struggle. Until you have to fear for your families' lives because you know they will be judged just on their skin color or you can get stopped by the police without feeling like your heart is lodged in your throat because you won't know if that will be the last time you'll be alive and see your family, then and only then can you tell me you have felt my struggle." 

Tatyana is a pansexual, cisgender women. Tatyana's pronouns are she/her/hers. 

3. Kez St. Louis, Junior Integrated Science Major, Ramapo College

"One of them asked why [we wouldn't be] fighting against people who want to hurt and kill us. That is exactly what we are doing. Much of the political right's policies and leanings do hurt and kill us, and encourage others to either hurt and kill us or be complacent in hurting and killing us. Many of us aren't here to party, we are here to mobilize and fight. They would know that if they were truly listening to us. ISIS is not Islam, and Islam is not here to kill us. Our survival is political, and they are on the wrong side of history.

I'm passionate about race issues especially black issues, LGBTQ+ issues especially trans and womens issues, disability issues, class issues, nonhuman animal liberation issues, immigration issues, and issues of access to education!"

Kez is a trans guy who also considers himself partially nonbinary (gender-creative). He is bi-asexual. He is also a queer and trans (black) person of color, or QTPOC for short. Kez uses he/him/his and they/their/them pronouns.

4. Laura Heckelmann, Senior Journalism Major, Ramapo College

"That video was, to say the least, cringeworthy. As an educated man Moore should have known better to generalize an entire community like that. My interests are not defined by being in the LGBTQ+ community, being a lesbian doesn't make me interested in longboarding, horseback riding, or swimming. It is me as a person that is responsible for that. That is something Moore needs to understand.

I'm interested in preserving marriage equality, supporting the blue lives matter movement, and trying to make churches realize that homosexuality isn't a sin."

Laura is a lesbian, cisgender woman. Laura's pronouns are she/her/hers.

5. Arielle Gordon, Junior Psychology Major, Ramapo College

"First of all, I'm offended by Moore's blanket statement that gays aren't political. If one WERE to make a blanket statement about queer folks and politics, it would be just the opposite — gays ARE political. The existence of queer folks has been politicized for so long that many of us have no choice BUT to become political. Secondly, as is the case for many targeted and marginalized groups of people, violence against our communities is a major concern for us. I would be surprised if they did not use the vigil as a platform to air their concerns about the current lack of legislation involving guns in the United States.

I personally care about queer rights, gun control, reproductive freedom, justice for rape/sexual assault survivors in our criminal justice system and overall equality (racial, gender, class, etc.)."

Arielle is a lesbian, trans woman. Her pronouns are she/her/hers.

6. Catie Putnam, Sophomore Communication Arts Major, Ramapo College

"The idea that LGBTQ+ people aren't political is ridiculous considering we have had to fight the government for rights and protections for decades. Our movement is inherently political because we still have to fight for members of our community. Transgender people, in particular, are threatened. The parties and parades we throw can be considered political too. They're a statement saying we're here no matter what people say. 

And LGBTQ+ issues aren't the only thing I'm concerned with. Having gone to Catholic school for 12 years and experienced inaccurate "prolife" propaganda, I'm very passionate about reproductive rights. And there's plenty more issues to be angry about, honestly. The black lives matter movement and the separation of church and state are important, [as well]."

Catie Putnam is a bisexual, cisgender woman. Catie's pronouns are she/her/hers.

7. Samantha O'Grady, Junior Nursing Major, Ramapo College

"Being gay is inherently political. When you grow up gay, even if you have a supportive environment, at some point you will encounter someone who dislikes or is uncomfortable with you for reasons beyond your control. Because of this, I, and many other gay people I know, are heavily involved or at least knowledgeable about politics and became political at a young age. Because we realized early on that we need to know how to protect ourselves and keep ourselves safe. Sure there is an image of gay people as partiers or people who only care about having fun, but it comes from growing up and often being told that there was no way to be happy and to be gay. So listening to pop music and going to the beach as a visible gay person is a political act as is going to the polls. I only hope we continue to do both.

I am passionate about reproductive rights, working with planned parenthood, access to safe sex education, getting protections for LGBTQ+ people in every state, and protections for LGBTQ+ students in public schools"

Samantha is a lesbian, cisgender woman. She uses she/her/hers pronouns.

Though Moore's multiple blanket statements about the LGBTQ+ community are certainly disheartening, what makes it even worse is the fact that he is a journalist, meaning he has a duty to tell the truth. It is OK for him to share his opinions, but he needs to present them in a way that allows viewers to tell the difference between facts and his personal beliefs. This is especially important because some of Carlson's viewers may not know anything about the LGBTQ+ community, and because he happens to be a part of said community, they will believe him. This is a big problem and something that can only be fixed with awareness.

Lead Image Credit: YouTube

Editor's note: Quotes have been edited for clarity.
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Natalie Dahl - Ramapo College

Natalie is a sophomore at Ramapo College of New Jersey. She is majoring in nursing and is passionate about politics, as well as social justice. When she is not studying, she can be found binge watching Friends and The Office on Netflix.

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