Up Front by Emma Hart

22

Giving It the Bish

About ten days ago, I was in a pretty good mood. There was going to be this U.S. election that Hillary Clinton was going to win. A couple of days after that, my best friend was going to visit, and we were going to head out to a nice winery north of Christchurch for lunch.

Things didn’t quite go as planned, obviously. What we got instead was evacuating our house in the middle of the night, because it turns out there are more problems living this close to an estuary than the occasional smell.

And then, when I was fugged with exhaustion and worried that my friend wouldn’t be able to get back to her home in the Wairarapa, Brian Tamaki. And you must understand that I started drinking last Wednesday.

Yes, I hear all the people saying, “Just ignore him. He wants the publicity. Don’t give him the attention.” But when you’re seeing tweets about it from England, I’m pretty sure that ship has well and truly sailed. People have heard his voice. Young queer people have heard his voice. If you ignore him, they haven’t heard yours.

After what I’ve now seen, in the U.S. and the U.K., it doesn’t look to me like not calling this shit out is a viable option.

No, I don’t expect that calling someone racist will stop that person from being racist. That’s not the point. These people have followers. All those people at one point were just starting to listen, and thinking about getting on board. Them, we can reach. And we can take away the support system for bigotry:

What bigots are looking for when they say bigoted stuff to people who (as far as they know) share their race/class/orientation/disability status/etc. is solidarity and reassurance. Deny them this reassurance and solidarity. Deny them evidence that “everyone” thinks that way. That is your power here, and it’s a pretty big one

Also, when we speak up, we support the people who suffer very real harms from this kind of speech. If there’s one thing this last week has taught us, surely it’s that no statement is so crushingly stupid that it’s harmless.

And if it is too ridiculous to take seriously, ridicule it. That’s what Jefferson would do. What Tamaki is saying is that his God, whom he claims to love and believe in, occasionally mass-murders some people because of what some other people have done. Let that settle in for a bit. He has tantrums, and kills people. And baby seals. Baby Fucking Seals.

Tell me again why ‘the advancement of religion’ is a charitable purpose?

To exploit other people’s suffering to further your own bigotry and get people to throw more money at your feet is repulsive. I don’t know if he believes what he says, and I absolutely don’t care. I’ve never wanted to go to Heaven: none of my friends will be there. I’m pretty sure he and I both know there is no number of women I could have sex with that would destroy someone’s house.

Fortunately, we can stand up for the things and the people we believe in without taking this feckless shit-gibbon and his leather-conditioned face seriously.

Also, I’m not saying this is something you should do, but apparently people are donating to Rainbow Youth in Brian Tamaki’s name, using the publicly-available email address. That’s a thing that’s happening. Just saying.

One of the things we can do for our young people in these terrible times is to be the change we want them to see. 

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