You Don't Want It With GLAAD -- How Effective is The Total Shutdown Approach to Homophobia?

When it comes to getting celebrities, athletes, and the organizations that back them, to well, back down, GLAAD knows how do a hit job, but I wonder how effective the various censoring tactics are at creating real change.

Feb 5, 2013 at 4:30pm | Leave a comment

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49ers cornerback Chris Culliver is an idiot. On Wednesday, he got the bright idea to spew a homophobic rant on a national radio show. It went something this:  “Ain't got no gay people on the [49ers] team. They gotta get up outta here if they [are]. Can't be with that sweet stuff.”

Like I said, an idiot.

And apparently one who’s never heard of GLAAD, often enough referred to as “the gay mafia.” They shut down careers (Isaiah Washington… if you just thought, “who?”, that’s exactly my point), have entertainers taking a stadium full of seats, and get grown men to grovel to save their liveihood.

You’d think that after the long list of celebs that have been raked over their coals folks would learn, but naw, some folks  (that means you, Culliver) still have to touch the stove in order to learn not to play with fire.  

When Jason Alexander joked that cricket was a “gay sport” and added some effeminate gestures to make his point, GLAAD took him back to middle school for that one. Alexander posted a 1,000-word apology via Twitter that had him backtracking, and over-explaining how he happened to screw up and how he would never, ever do it again. 

GLAAD stepped up its game on Kobe Bryant, who was caught on camera calling a NBA referee “a f---ing f----“. Like vultures circling a carcass, GLAAD went in for the kill, demanding from the NBA more than a slap on Bryant’s wrist. The NBA hit him with a 100k fine -- not so much when you consider Bryant would give up half -- no, serious, half -- of his 300 million fortune to his soon-to be ex-wife (who is back to being his wife.)

But still, GLAAD sent a message that public homophobia even in the so-called heat of the moment would be costly. Bryant, widely known for his arrogance, apologized -- twice. 

It’s not just individuals dutifully kneeling to kiss GLAAD’s throne. The MTV, the NFL, the NBA and the WWE have all issued public apologies for various offenses and most even agreed to partner with GLAAD to raise awareness about tolerance for the LGBT community. 

When it comes to getting celebrities, athletes, and the organizations that back them, to well, back down, GLAAD knows how do a hit job, but I wonder how effective the various censoring (or career-killing) tactics are at creating real change. Unfortunately, attempting to silence ignorance isn’t the same as actually combating it; it’s just stopping people from talking about it. 

If ever there’s to be real change -- as there should be -- in the way members of the LGBT communities are perceived and treated in this world, the ignorance and fear that fuels homophobic rants like Culliver’s, the mocking of gay men like Alexander’s or the casual gay bashing of Bryant needs to be actually addressed at its core, not just apologized for and scandalized after the story goes viral. 

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

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