Why Joe Rehyansky is Entitled to His Opinion
So, you may have noticed I strayed a little from the promised “messages of hope 2010” theme I’m trying to adopt until the end of the year for my Somali post. Sorry. No one is perfect. There’s just so much to be upset about!
I want to write about the passage of Pigford, S510 (the total government takeover of your food supply.) But I’m still tired. I’m still beat down from months of hyper-focusing on negativity. Still, friends send me links on “gay” issues. While I’m certainly not the most prominent gay conservative blogger, I know some people do look to me for an opinion on these things.
When a good friend sent me a review – and then the subsequent original article – of a Daily Caller article written by Joe Rehyansky, I just about jumped out of my skin wondering how I could both post about the article and maintain a spirit of positivism, optimism or anything approaching cheerful goodwill toward my fellow man.
Rehyansky’s article about gays in the military is just chock full of condescension, glib remarks and social stereotypes. He cites World War II case studies, but neglects to mention how the military has often ignored its own policies regarding homosexuality during times where the draft was in effect.
He apparently suggested lesbians in the military could be “converted,” though those remarks were later edited, either by DC editorial staff, or Rehyansky himself. You gotta wonder why? If you’re onboard with suggesting gay males are disease spreading sluts who can’t or won’t keep themselves from molesting their straight counterparts in the shower, why not just openly advocate the forcible rape of lesbians?
His conclusion: lesbians are welcome in the military, but gay men aren’t.
How to turn this article into a positive?
First off, Rehyansky’s opinions are far from being singular. I’ve seen the same sort of low-grade (or, perhaps, rampant) homophobia on my Twitter feed for ages. Conservatives don’t want you to ever use words like racism and homophobia, but sometimes they apply.
The point is, Rehyansky gives breath to some of the same opinions I made – albeit from a slightly different angle – in my first post about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It’s not so much I feel gay men will behave like rabid sex poodles in the military, it’s that I think there is a very real perception they might.
This is a problem.
The fact is, as a gay man, I know many, many men who not only do not respect the sexuality of their heterosexual friends, but who openly fetishize converting or tricking straight men into gay sex acts. There are gay men with uniform fetishes. And yes, there are gay men who will drop their pants in public parks.
It’s important we acknowledge these things. Gay men can’t push for military service without being seen collectively. A person serves individually, but decisions about that person are often made based on group identity, whether that is right or wrong.
Gay men and women want to be seen as individuals, but often view all conservatives as a collective bunch of Bible thumping thugs, bent on persecuting hapless homosexuals. When, in reality, there are all sorts of conservatives. Some embrace gay people serving openly in the military. Some even advocate gay marriage.
People like Rehyansky need to realize that is true of gay men, too. He acknowledges there may be some statistical outliers who aren’t total sluts, but refuses to consider what percentage of the population they might comprise.
There are just … so many things wrong with his article. But I’m thankful he wrote it.
Those of us who shout down the PC police need to embrace true freedom of speech and opinion. Looking at some of the reactions to the post, where Rehyansky is labeled as morally reprehensible, I wonder how willing we conservatives are to truly do that, or if the whole anti-PC movement is just an attempt to regulate free thought and information trade from another perspective.
Rehyansky’s opinions are often unpalatable, but they offer a lot of insight into how gay people are perceived. In condemning gay men as wanton victims of their own tree-swinging induced lusts, he is acknowledging a powerful difference between male and female sexuality. It’s almost as if he were saying, “if women were wired differently, I’d be getting it on with thousands of anonymous partners, too.”
Chances are, Rehyansky – and many others like him – have showered with many more gay and bisexual men than they would even care to conceive. In gyms, in military showers. Gay men aren’t a majority, but they comprise every other racial and social statistic. You have no idea who might be sneaking a peek at your willy in the locker room.
This dialogue is important! American society, while embracing the faux-lesbianism inherent in straight pornography – is extremely squeamish when it comes to same sex male coupling, whether that be simple affection, or of a more graphic nature.
It is true that gay men have probably had way more sex partners, on average, than their heterosexual counterparts. And, while the gay community did a great job of reducing HIV and other STD infection rates after the outbreak of the AIDS crisis, it is also true infection rates are once again on the rise.
The converse to all of this is the gay man who lives in a straight world. Since we became aware of our attractions, we have had to learn when and where demonstration of such is acceptable. We have all had that locker room moment, where someone to whom we are attracted is completely naked, and standing right next to us.
To a straight man who has never had to learn how to regulate this sort of inner/outer dichotomy, the ability to switch off one’s sexual desires might seem completely foreign.
It’s no good explaining that control is more than just preventing outwardly noticeable signs of desire. It’s also a mental thing. One can’t continue to function alongside another human being when there is unrequited desire, especially a “forbidden” desire, without learning to squash it or going completely insane.
Also, if some men still feel a lesbian is a woman who secretly “wants it,” and is open to conversion given the right circumstances, I want to know about it! I don’t like it. I don’t support it. I certainly don’t condone any actions that may result from thoughts like these. But I do know that a change in perception never came from a lack of discussion.
Some of us are too quick to write off an opinion as repugnant, rather than giving any thought to the social underpinnings from which that thought arose. When I first read Rehyansky’s post, my initial reaction was to be outraged. Some of that outrage remains. Upon closer reading, I had to admit Rehyansky is speaking for many. While I find many of his opinions flat out gross, he does make some valid points.
So I’m thankful to Rehyansky to giving voice to these opinions. They range from the reasoned to the truly bizarre, but someone has to talk about them. In a society where we tell everyone we don’t agree with to shut up and go away, we are learning nothing. I will never learn exactly why people fear or don’t accept me if I don’t understand their logic. Rehyansky will never understand or accept me if he doesn’t understand mine.
Thanks, Daily Caller, for continuing to publish those unpopular opinions with which we don’t agree, but which – nonetheless – continue to shape our policy and society.