The ‘Should Children Be Exposed to the Sounds of Sodomy?’ leaflet may be laughably medieval, but we need to take it seriously, says Brian Finnegan.
And so the year of Ireland’s equal marriage referendum has begun, with flyers from an unidentified organisation or individual, warning about the “consequences for the innocents if homosexuals are given access to the sacrament of marriage”.
Headlined “Should Children Be Exposed to Sounds of Sodomy?” the flyers were distributed yesterday in Wicklow and describe gay relationships as a “beastly obsession with unholy acts”.
While many might find such medieval sentiments laughable, and lots of righteous criticism has been leveled at the flyers online, there is something very important to take from the leaflet, and we can’t afford not to take it seriously.
The horrible headline plays into the widespread belief in the hyper-sexualisation of gay men. Lesbians, who presumably cannot practice sodomy, are out of the equation, and the focus is clearly on men who can’t help themselves from shagging like animals in the presence of children, being allowed to adopt.
To help the illusion along, the flyer renames the gay marriage referendum as “adoption legislation”, strategically throwing confusion into the mix. This kind of confusion will be rife in the debate surrounding same-sex marriage. Anti gay marriage pundits will try everything in their power to confuse people into thinking they are voting for something else entirely if they say yes to equal marriage.
The terrible irony is that this leaflet is actually damaging to children. Some young person who feels awful about being gay, who is struggling with self-hatred and has no one to talk to about it or to endorse their value, has already seen this leaflet. Some person with mental health issues who feels depressed because of his or her homosexual orientation has seen it. How much more of this damaging rhetoric are the vulnerable to be subjected to as the next few months roll by?
Our job is to counteract the lies and hatred contained in the likes of this beastly leaflet, by telling the truth with love. We should let the haters be obsessed with sex, and stand up for love instead. We need to assert that we have loving families, that we come from loving families and create loving families of our own, with happy, well-adjusted, cared for children. Whenever someone spreads the word of hate over the next few months, we need to say we are human and that like all humans we deserve love and to be loved, and for our laws to recognise that human right equally.
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