Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On Faith & Fandom

I am not a religious person. I have never gone to church regularly. My father was a scientist and my first paying job was collecting data in his lab. So I tend to look at deeply religious people with a mix of bemusement, skepticism and wariness. I do not fully understand their faith.

But, here’s the thing, I also believe people are entitled to feel their religious beliefs as deeply as they want. Just as I am free to not believe, they are free to believe. I do not have to agree with their beliefs. But as long as they don’t actively condemn me for my non-belief, I will not actively condemn them for their beliefs. Sure, we can try to change minds, but in the end if we cannot – well – live and let live.

I also do not believe everyone who belongs to a church whose doctrine includes anti-gay rhetoric is themselves anti-gay. Certainly, I wish they’d consider their denomination’s dogma and examine whether it follows their true feelings. But I don’t think all Catholics or Mormons or Scientologists or Southern Baptists are necessarily homophobes even though their religions have been overwhelmingly unsupportive of LGBT people and our rights. The irony of my love the sinner, not the sin approach to deeply religious people is not lost on me.

Which leads me to the recent heated fandom debates – to put it very mildly; you should see the email folder I’ve made for all the messages – over Rachel Skarsten of “Lost Girl” and most recently Laura Prepon of “Orange Is the New Black.” Both have been tied to churches that are reportedly anti-gay. For Rachel it is the Los Angeles church Mosaic and its pastor Erwin McManus. And for Laura it is Scientology and the speculation it had something to do with leaving her show.

McManus is on record seven years ago giving an all-too-familiar kind of soft-focus anti-gay sermon about how “I don’t believe you are in a healthy place when your identity is built around who you have sex with” and other such nonsense that’ll make you grind your teeth. You can download a full podcast of his October 2006 sermon “Life’s Toughest Questions” on iTunes for free. As for Scientology, high-profile claims of homophobia in the church and from its late founder L. Ron Hubbard have been around for ages. You can get trapped in that Google search rabbit hole for days.

I am, admittedly and obviously, not really a fan of either church or leader. And that is being incredibly gracious about my opinion.

But I will also be completely honest and say that I do not indisputably know either women’s level of involvement in their respective churches. I think most people don’t know for certain. Rachel has tweeted about being at Mosaic and has also mentioned a short film she worked on with McManus in a May interview with the blog No White Noise. Laura has said in a 2007 Women’s Health magazine interview that she is a Scientologist, though it’s not totally clear if she’s still involved with the church.

But here is what we do know. Both actresses, regardless of their religions, have signed on to play overtly lesbian or bisexual roles on television shows with overtly lesbian and bisexual content. These are not shows that stumbled upon their LGBT content during sweeps week. These are shows that wore it proudly from the start. Hell, we saw hot lesbian shower action in the first 10 seconds on OITNB. Both women have promoted their shows, championed their stories and given interviews with the LGBT press, including exclusive interview by both Rachel and Laura with us big-time lezzers at AfterEllen.

Earlier this month Laura said in an interview with Canada.com:
I’m a supporter of the gay and lesbian community. I have friends who are lesbian, I have friends who are gay. It’s all about the character. Yes there are a lot of lesbians on this show. Besides the L Word there aren’t lesbians portrayed like this on television. For me, I’ve never played a lesbian before and I think it’s awesome. As a learning experience playing this love for someone on camera and having it be a women was very interesting because I’m straight and I’ve only done it with men on camera. There is a big gay and lesbian community out there and it’s good to have more relationships on television that they can relate to and I’m glad we could be a part of that.
And a week ago Rachel tweeted:

Does this absolve them of their church’s beliefs? No. And I truly hope each person who believes differently from her religion would work to change its discriminatory practices. So, yes, I am disappointed in both to a degree. And you are perfectly entitled to feel disappointed and upset. But just as we in the LGBT community do not want to be prejudged as a whole, I will not prejudge their hearts. Prove to me you are not worth my tolerance.

I choose not to eat at Chik-fil-A because its CEO has made it perfectly clear that he thinks same-sex marriage will destroy families and the company has donated millions to anti-gay groups working against our rights. I choose not to shop at Hobby Lobby because the company is suing the government to not have to provide health care coverage for contraceptives, and because each July 4 since 2008 they’ve run full-page newspaper ads espousing the need for religion in the government (this year’s included pointed condemnation of Supreme Court judges as a result of the DOMA and Prop. 8 decisions). I choose not to see “Ender’s Game” because its writer Orson Scott Card actively supported an aggressively anti-gay agenda for years including his self-penned belief that marriage equality “marks the end of democracy in America,” and also sounds more than a little accidentally racist. Not that being accidentally racist is a thing, Brad Paisley.

And I choose to laugh my ass off at that decrepit relic of bigotry Pat Robertson because, you know, how could you not.

I make these choices because I believe in their core these people/organizations wish gay people ill will. They would rather we not exist altogether, but if we must exist be seen as unnatural, unworthy things.

Now, some folks may be very upset at my refusal to condemn either Rachel or Laura off hand. You are mad that they went to those churches in the first place. You are mad that they talked about their religions at all. I can see where you’re coming from. Though it should be noted that Rachel was specifically asked what projects she was working on besides “Lost Girl” in the interview in question. And so she answered accordingly.

Thing is, when we start telling people what they can and cannot say about something that matters in their lives, then how different are we than the people who tell us what we can or cannot say about ourselves? The people who tell us to keep our lives quiet and stop being so blatant and other words synonymous for “couldn’t you please just be invisible.”

I will not be invisible. But I will also not force other people to be. And if we truly are in a battle for the hearts and minds for those people and organizations that do not accept us, we will need people on our side on the inside. We need LGBT friendly Catholics and Mormons and Scientologists and Southern Baptists and everything in between. We cannot do it alone. We need allies everywhere.

Calling someone a homophobe is a powerful thing not to be taken lightly. A homophobe hates us. A homophobe fears us. A homophobe fights against us in words or actions. A homophobe thinks we truly are an abomination and wants us to be treated as such.

Certainly, one could argue that simply being a part of or participating in a church that feels we are not totally equal is in itself is an act of homophobia. It’s a thorny morale balancing act and one I myself find problematic. But life is complicated and filled with every shade of gray imaginable. Just as I choose to not support people/organizations that have a proven history of not supporting me, I also choose to see the best in people as long as I can. Guilt by association is just that.

If either woman proves herself to be truly guilty, to truly hate us in her heart of hearts, I will not hesitate to call her out. I will be deeply saddened and hurt and angry. I will be mad as fucking hell. But until that time, until they show me otherwise, I will accept their support for us at face value.

Hate can consume us, whether from others or ourselves. It’s an insidious, ugly thing that – fast or slow – corrodes our ability to feel all other emotions. I feel bad for those who have it in their hearts. I understand the white-hot rage we feel when it’s directed at us. But pick your battles, and make sure your enemies are really enemies. I may not be a person of faith, but I try to have faith in the goodness and growth of others’ hearts.

“The issue is, and always has been, [insert thing here] promoting a [insert thing here] to an impressionable, vulnerable audience.”

“It is not intended to deprive people of any [insert thing here], but to ban the promotion of [insert thing here] among the young generation.”
The first is some of your arguments about why we should be condemning Rachel Skarsten, the second is Russian Sports Minister Vitali Mutko defending his country’s law banning gay propaganda. One comes from a place of righteous anger about a man who has made homophobic statements in the past, the other comes from a place of hateful anger about a country that is systematically quashing the rights of its LGBT people. I am not comparing the sentiments, which are of course diametrically opposed. But I am comparing the language which we use to justify our demands. If we start to sound like what we are fighting against, we’ve lost already.


Anonymous said...

Neat but that is not what the issue was with RS. The problem people had is that she pimped her gay hating pastor in an interview about a show that has such gay positive messages. THAT is what people found distasteful.

MrsIpstenu said...

"Certainly, one could argue that simply being a part of or participating in a church that feels we are not totally equal is in itself is an act of homophobia. It’s a thorny morale balancing act and one I myself find problematic." -- Seriously, one could argue that just being an American citizen renders us all racists, homophobes, and xenophobes, since the US is a hotbed of all of these things, including some of our local and national laws. Growing up in any organization, or joining it before one knows what it's like, or even staying in it despite feeling it's not perfect... those things shouldn't dictate how we judge someone else's character.

JT said...

Thank you. You wrote in a very eloquent way what a lot of us have been trying to say about Rachel and Laura. Thank you for pointing out that we don't need to sink to the level of the haters we fight. Not many people can accept Rachel only answered a direct question when she mentioned McManus and that short film and that she didn't hijack the interview to promote him and his church.

Sally said...

This is very good. I agree that we need allies in all places for forward progress. I appreciated Rachel Skarsten's clarifying tweet.

The pastor who taught my confirmation class taught us that God's love is for everyone, even those who aren't sure what they believe. I've always remembered that since that's where I was and still am - not sure. My wife is religious and her church is welcoming and open and is a source of positive things for our family and our community. There are some wonderful people we've met through her church who I love. These people are truly being the change they wish to see in the world.

The other side of the coin is that there are some religions and people who use their beliefs as a weapon - against LGBT people, against women, against anyone who doesn't believe the same thing. And it makes me sad. Built-in to some religions is the impetus to go save the nonbelievers. Not every religion is like that and that's one of the things that could make all the difference - live and let live, believe what you want, and so on. It wouldn't make everything better since children who are born into a religion that shuns them later might still be harmed, though. But in some ways wishing that religions didn't proselytize is empty wishing, since it's fundamentally built into some religions and that is not changing anytime soon.

Anyway, these discussions have made me think more about bigoted statements clothed in the supposed absolving power of "religious beliefs." Implicit in that statement is that being LGBT is a moral issue, and it also implies that being LGBT is a behavioral trait, not an innate orientation. Frankly, it shouldn't matter which it is, because love is love no matter what. But implying that it's behavioral preys upon some people's fears.

I do think that it's worthwhile to call out bigotry when it's demonstrated, whether it's put out there as a religious belief or not. It's simply not acceptable. Anti-gay statements from L. Ron Hubbard and Erwin McManus' 2006 recording are bigoted, pure and simple. Pat Robertson - don't get me started.

I think the corollary is that it's fair to ask for clarification when a person who is associated with a religion or a pastor who is known to be anti-gay promotes said pastor or religion. I wish that it could be done more respectfully. I think that many people jumped to conclusions about what Rachel Skarsten did or didn't believe and there was some hateful language put out there about her when a simple "Could you please clarify what you think about LGBT people?" would have been sufficient. I'm sure that as an ally, that did not feel good at all to her.

The cognitive dissonance about mentioning this particular pastor in an interview about Lost Girl, which is super LGBT friendly, is still something I still can't quite understand, but you're right, Snarker - she was asked a question and she answered it.

I think that AfterEllen's article about Laura Prepon speculating wildly (it seems to me) about whether her being a Scientologist has something to do with her leaving Orange is the New Black does more harm than good. From what I can tell, there was no evidence cited in that article or anywhere else that one had anything to do with the other.

maya said...

Word. See, that's what I like about you--so erudite eloquent and equanimous...when your not snarking around and ogling naked ladies---that'd be the other thing I like about you. ;)

gee said...

It's a shame you and AE threw Laura Prepon under the bus in order to protect RS. The Lost Girl fandom had already let this go. Don't pimp that 'AMAZING' anti-gay pastor to the LGBT community. She responded. Didn't really need the 'noise' comment though. Second part of her statement was Great. This article was completely unnecessary and it's disappointing that you made up an Issue with one Actor and ignored the real issue with the other. Pretty, thoughtful, words. Totally unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

Dear other anon. Did you not freaking read the article? Use common sense. She did not "pimp" her pastor. She was asked about her other projects and she responded. JFC!

Anonymous said...

"Not many people can accept Rachel only answered a direct question when she mentioned McManus and that short film and that she didn't hijack the interview to promote him and his church."

You have (deliberately) missed the point. She mentioned McManus when asked a direct question about the projects she was working on - but she was *only working on that project to support McManus in the first place*. So that's a fairly semantic game to try and play, the reality is even worse than it appears on first glance.

I am disappointed that, for the latest time, Dorothy chooses to make excuses for an actress she likes rather than confront the very real, insidious, dangerous face of modern gay hatred wrapped up in this story.

Homophobia no longer comes in the form of bellowing Robertsons or Phelps - those cartoon characters can no longer get traction. Instead, it comes to us now in the far prettier face of Rachel Skarsten, who took two weeks to say she believes in "equality" after at least a year of finanically and promotionally supporting an organisation that thinks we're loveless rutting animals and wants us "cured" for our own good.

Homophobia comes in the form of a girl who used her second break on an LGBT friendly show to sell a monster to her fans. And the damage it does is manifested when gay and bisexual young people think it's reasonable to
equate gay bashing rhetoric to the basic act of challenging homophobia where it stands.

It is no service to tolerance or equality to let bigots spew their bigotry uncontested. It is not "playing for our team" to make excuses for people like Rachel Skarsten not to think at all about where they put their energy, branding and dollars.

Note that she has not rescinded her endorsement of McManus or his organisation - she has made no effort to distance herself from either. She - and by she I mean "Emily Andras", because I don't think anybody sincerely believes she wrote that tweet herself - simply vaguely talks about "supporting" us too. Which is a pretty phrase, but a completely meangingless logical contradiction. You cannot support gay people AND support somebody who commmits the kind of psychological violence he does against us.

You will never see a woman of colour wasting their energy making excuses for racism or minimising an actor's clear involvement in a white supremacy organisation - so why do people in positions of visibility in the LGBT community feel compelled to undermine lesbian and bisexual women like this?

You used to have the guts to call people for this stuff, DS.

Anonymous said...

"Growing up in any organization, or joining it before one knows what it's like, or even staying in it despite feeling it's not perfect... those things shouldn't dictate how we judge someone else's character."

Rachel Skarsten did not live in LA until she was an adult. She did not "grow up" with this organisation, she made the decision to walk through their doors.

Anonymous said...

The problem here is not RS beliefs, it never was. She is completly free to choose her church, her pastor. The problem is the promotion of that pastor, yes on an interview that she got because fans of LG voted for reviews from whitenoise. It's true, she answered a question but YOU failed to acknowledge she also said Erwin McaManus is a awesome person. Promote your job but you don't have to promote him. She is a human being but she also is a public figure and she has to be aware that with that, like it or not, comes responsability. Also favorite a blog post calling the fans #FuckTards was not very professional of her.
I honestly think that not you, nor RS, understood what was really the issue here. And the fact that you and many others bring up the homophobic comment that was made by a few like it was the the whole fandom opinion is just wrong and very telling. But like always in everythiing RS, i find your opinion incredible biased. Want to defend everyones right to their beliefs? Fantastic, you have all my support but please don't make excuses like "we will need people on our side on the inside". We need people that speak up when things are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Disappointed because you've missed a couple of very important points.

I'm all for balanced viewpoints, and I can certainly agree with much of what you're saying, but what RS said was too little, and much too late.

To call legitimate concerns of the LGBT community over McManus, his church, and her support of him and it, as well as her favoriting that infamous "f*cktard" post "noise" was adding insult to an already festering injury.

It is more than unfortunate that you failed to address all that.

gee said...

As a p.s.

All that credibility, the wonderful, insightful, heartfelt dedication that you've shown; it all goes down the drain with this irresponsible linking of a real factual issue and a made up piece of gossip. If I was on Twitter, I would unfollow. As it is now, I'll just stop reading.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is the promotion of that pastor, yes on an interview that she got because fans of LG voted for reviews from whitenoise. It's true, she answered a question but YOU failed to acknowledge she also said Erwin McaManus is a awesome person. Promote your job but you don't have to promote him."

Please let's not mix things, the LG fans voted for Mike from No White Noise to review LG this summer. The interview was made by McKenzie from No White Noise too, who has been a fan of the show way before that poll was up. She is a Tamsin/RS fan and that's why she asked for the interview herself(look up her twitter or tumblr when she talks about how she got the interview) Votes from LG fans had nothing to do with it.

As for your other point my problem with it is that there is NO WAY for you or anyone else to know if RS was aware of the statements her pastor made 7 years ago when that interview was made, so putting intent behind her answer bothers me. If she were to mention him in the future then I will gladly concede.

Anonymous said...

"We need people that speak up when things are wrong" sums it up.

Please don't tell me to assume she's some kind of ally just because she takes a paycheck from Lost Girl, or for her weak, late as hell, 140 character attempt at damage control.

She's not an ally. By supporting McManus for so long, and now putting her fans in the position of doing the same, she has done more work to hurt our community than she's done to help it.

She's still got a hell of debt to work off to get out of the LGBT red. And we need people to speak up about that and every other example of that until people understand the problem.

Instead we got "Straight people have a right to support people who hate us. If you don't like that, you're as bad as homophobes! Yay tolerance!"

Hardly the spirit of Stonewall.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a really measured, thoughtful take on things. You have no chance of winning over the fervent, they have a set belief about RS and it won't change. I wish them well, I really do. The only issues that mattered about this manufactured issue with RS were addressed by you here, DS, and responsibly so. And I thought the RS tweet was perfection....it was exactly the tone and the words and the level of engagement that was intended...I've seen it referred to as a bad choice of words..on the contrary, it was exactly what the situation warranted.....let's all just get back to being responsible for what is in our own hearts, we can't know what others feel.

As a side note, I refuse to believe that LP is leaving, it seems there may still be hope and it is simply some contractual wrangling??

Anonymous said...

This. " I may not be a person of faith, but I try to have faith in the goodness and growth of others’ hearts." (although it seems like some of your more troll-y commenters may need to have their hearts grow three sizes one day)

Anonymous said...

Ms. Snarker, you have beautifully written another post on an issue that has seemed to insight unnecessary anger towards you personally. I love your blog, I have loved it since the first post I read back when I was like WHAT IS THIS LIGHT BOX AND WHO ARE THESE PEOPLES TALKING ABOUT GAY ENTERTAINMENT STUFFS?

You are unique and an amazing writer who I sincerely enjoy reading each day. Just remember that everyone has their own personal hot buttons on certain topics and can react intensely and not quite so nicely, but they do not in any way represent the majority of your fans who love and support all that you do.

Writing on an issue that some people in this community have been focusing on was gracious of you since you are NOT PAID to do this NOR IS IT YOUR JOB TO SATISFY EVERYONE.

Just keep being you:)


Anonymous said...

Please let's not mix things, the "LG fans voted for Mike from No White Noise to review LG this summer. The interview was made by McKenzie from No White Noise too, who has been a fan of the show way before that poll was up. She is a Tamsin/RS fan and that's why she asked for the interview herself(look up her twitter or tumblr when she talks about how she got the interview) Votes from LG fans had nothing to do with it." If you want to think that interview was stricly coincidental is your choice.

"so putting intent behind her answer bothers me. If she were to mention him in the future then I will gladly concede."

Never said she promoted him intentionally. But she thinks he is awesome which makes you doubt what really is going on. But as i said she has responsabilities as a public figure. Fans asked her on twitter to clarify the situation she chose to ignore it for weeks, when she only had to say - I don't share his views on this matter. Just that.

Anonymous said...

Well to be fair she did wait for EA to return from her vacation so she could review her response. SMH

Anonymous said...

^ Poster above, exactly. She's working effectively pro-bono for McManus, and taking part in his church's events, then gushing about his work and him personally, for free and on her own time on the one hand.

Then, after being aware of all this for two weeks, when - and *only when* - Lost Girl production is back on the case, she immediately sends out a vaguely placating tweet that addresses basically none of the stuff people were actually bothered by.

Please, come on. We're not being unreasonable in asking for a little more respect for our intelligence than that.

Then again, Dorothy Snarker apparently totally accepts all of that without question. So I guess maybe we're all supposed to just sit around making excuses to each other about how it's all totally fine because that's much nicer to think about, every single time something likes this happens.

It must just "get better" on its own, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree.

I realise you're not responsible for the website, but with these thoughts in mind, how did After Ellen come about publishing that horrible tabloid piece about Laura Prepon possibly leaving OITNB because of Scientology?

Anonymous said...

I'm ok with DS using the AE piece on LP. I thought it was lousy journalism (the AE piece) but as another example of the intersection of religion and sexuality and commerce, it works to make the points DS tries to make here. One of those points being that both actors knowingly, gladly signed on to shows with gay content.... about how we should afford them the benefit of the doubt and not judge and in the case of RS, use such hateful, derogatory language. A certain fandom that engaged and still engages in this daily barrage against RS on its site lost me as a member of the club. Such misery and anger. I don't get it....

Mahlers5th said...

[Warning: this is a post in multiple parts. Apologize for the length]
First and foremost, thank you, Ms Snarker. You clearly put a lot of time and careful thought into this and brought up a number of interesting points I hadn't considered. Your advice to "choose your battles" stopped me cold in my tracks and made me think...

Mahlers5th said...

I'd decided to stop watching LG as my form of protest about the RS controversy but frankly, it has been a very painful decision. I love LG. Watching it has been a transformative and liberating experience -- no exaggeration. It feels like I'm cutting off a limb, and for what? Why deprive myself of this wonderland that is LG because one of the actor's chooses to hang out with a homophobic bigot (I think I'm using the term appropriately here)?

Mahlers5th said...

But that isn't why I'm staying behind the picket line.

To be perfectly clear:

1) I'm not against organized religion.
2) If RS wants to attend Mosaic I'd be at the barricades defending her right to do so (I don't see the LP question as relevant, beyond some superficial similarities, so I'm not going to comment on that controversy)
3) If she likes and respects Pastor McManus and chooses to hang out with him and collaborate on a movie about Love, that's her choice,
4) If she chooses to hang and collaborate with him fully aware of some of the hateful things he has said about the LGBT community, I''d still be countng the days until S4
and reading those tea leaves about where Zoie will be in it -- although that part about men "eating the crap" and "being destroyed" for doing shameful things with other men (just dripping with Christian love!) was particularly odious for someone like me who lost my sweet younger brother to HIV. But heck, Obama had a close relationship with Rev Wright and we didn't flock to the Republican candidate (blocked on his name!).
5) Even if she believed in her heart all the odious things McManus has said about gays, I wouldn't be amputating a limb over it. She's entitled to her beliefs. By the way, I believe she was being sincere when she tweeted that she firmly believes in equality for all and has nothing but love and respect forthe LGBT community. So #5 is out.

Anonymous said...

The truth is only a few people, on both sides, used incendiary words. Most fans articulated the very real issue at hand, and did so with civility. So suggesting that RS is now somehow the victim of a fandom engaging in homophobic-like behavior is really irresponsible. RS may play a sexually ambiguous character, but her actions in light of this controversy do not paint her as an ally. She seems content to allow others, even those who call the entire fandom "fucktards" or dismiss their concerns as "noise" to speak for her.

This was well on it's way to dying down; this irresponsible blog post just brought it all up again. It's as bad as the LP article on AE.

Mahlers5th said...

The fact of the matter is that I probably would have remained blissfully unaware of all of the above except fot one thing: when asked in an interview focusing on Lost Girl whether there were any other projects she'd like to share with her fans -- I think that's how it was worded -- she gave a shout-out to Pastor McManus and talked anout the film they did together. I guess that must have been the ONLY other project she was involved in, or maybe she had a case of brain freeze, because otherwise it is hard to understand why she would bring him up in the same breath as LG. "But wait, guys!" she might interject, "I didn't mention his remarks about lesbians and gays!" True. But psssst! A word of advice about being a celebrity, Rach: when you give a shout-out to Person X in an interview or a tweet, chances are excellent that thousands of Lost Girl fans will immediately become detectives and sleuth out everything there is to know about Person X.

And so it happened that an entire fandom devoted to a show where "sexual identity" is a non- issue became acquainted with the words of a homophobic bigot.

You know what? I'd still be watching LG if the tweet she finally sent had omitted the unfortunate phrase, "What's all this noise, guys?" and had ended with a simple statement clarifying that "I abhor all anti-gay rhetoric."

I'm not asking her to renounce her Pastor or leave her church. All I was looking for was:

1) an apology for having unwittingly upset so many of her fans, first by sharing her LG interview time with McManus, then calling our distress about it "noise." I felt I'd been gently reprinanded by the Teacher for chatting in class.
2) a tweet clarifying that she loves and respects us AND abhors all anti-gay rhetoric.

But that's not what she wrote (Help me out here, Rach! There'sstill time!). nstead, I was dressed down and told to "chill" -- by a lesbian. Ouch.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody explain to me about how performing one spin the bottle kiss and another "forced to by a magic spell" kiss earns somebody the "benefit of the doubt" when all of their actions and words speak to the contrary up until her boss got to a keyboard? After two years of absolute silence on the subject of her LGBT fanbase?

This woman professionally and monetarily supports a man who alludes to AIDs as a godly punishment, likens us to animals, and considers us sexual deviants. She didn't just pimp his project - after making it for him, of course - she called him amaaaaaaaazing.

She derides our upset with Erwin McManus as "noise", endorses a post calling us "fucktards", and just carries on waiting until her hand is forced to address the wrong problem.

But she deserves "the benefit of the doubt" - why?

Why does she deserve more courtesy from our community than she has ever extended us?

I don't hate her. I don't care about her. But she's not an ally. An ally would have our back. An ally would have rushed to make sure we knew that.

An ally wouldn't have spent two years on a show like this, before choosing to cheerlead for McManus rather than her fans. And when that came to light, an ally wouldn't have need to wait two weeks to decide if she supported us or not.

Mahlers5th said...

Oh, and I left put the part where she retweeted a tweet that called us conscientious objectors "f***tards."

Anonymous said...

I'll admit to not having the time or interest to read every word about the show but where was it reported that EA wrote the tweet RS sent?? Speculating is one thing but it is being said here repeatedly, as fact...if it is true that EA wrote that tweet, than EA really does have a low opinion of the recipients of that tweet. I don't believe it to have been anything other than a well worded smackdown from RS, tired of the vile crap and anger on her timeline. If you have proof that EA wrote it, please share, otherwise call it the speculation that it is....

Anonymous said...

To clarify: RS had a choice how to answer which question. The primer from the interviewer was this: "Besides Lost Girl, do you have any upcoming projects that you want to tell the fans about? Or maybe anything in general… a message to the fans?" RS could have talked about unicorns if she had wanted to! But alas she didn't.
Instead she shilled her homophobic pastor/church and that short film to a (young) LGBT fandom. What the hell?!?!?! Unnecessary, thoughtless, insensitive.

The cherry on this effin sundae is that McManus project is about a bride and groom - it's a promotional for marriage, the straight kind. Unfortunate coinkidink.
I'll give RS the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't out of malevolence. But then it sure was pretty dumb.
Root cause for sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and a lot of other isms? Ignorance and stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dorothy. There's no doubting your feelings on this and you say it, as always, with style and passion. I'm with you, respect the person until they give not reason not to.
Also, you do words good. Xxx

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dorothy. I come from a VERY religious family who mostly still go to oppressive churches, but they support me wholeheartedly. Even my grandparents, who actually work/volunteer at their church... and I used to think that I had to wait until they died to ever date anyone, now they are my biggest supporters. Good thing because they are going to be in their nineties soon.

Anonymous said...

Instead of slamming the work hungry actresses who accept these gay roles (to stay working) we should SLAM the show runners and studios who hire them for these roles. They should do a little background check and see if these people are truly LGBTG friendly. It is not just the actress / actor who suffers when they are seen as 2 faced but also the shows they are in.

Anonymous said...

@5:17 - Lost Girl has always been remarkably LGBT friendly. I don't hold them accountable for this, this isn't something they could have background checked in advance.

I do think it's a shame they handled it so badly in the aftermath, but I understand that their first instinct was to protect their actress, who is probably really nice and sweet to work with, from those nasty internet people.

Ultimately, the buck stops with RS. She lends her unreserved endorsement and positive image to an appalling group and their ideology, and then makes no effort to retract any of it when the issue is raised.

But hey, why should she feel compelled to confront any of this, when the most prominent lesbian commentators will tie themselves in knots to do all the mitigating and minimising for her?

"Proactively addressing" this, sure, right.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed because I think DS missed the point of what LG fans were truly upset about. I agree with a previous comment that RS has done nothing for me to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Mahlers5th said...

Anon 5:17

Actually, I disagree. Actors are entitled to a private life.
In Rachel's case, I wish she had kept hers a little more private.

Here's what I'd like to tell her:

. "Like it or not, Rachel, with your celebrity comes responsibility. You may be straight and Baptist but you're playing a bisexual woman on TV. You're affecting and touching people's lives -- including all those girls struggling with their sexual identities in hostile environments (and there are a lot of them) throughout this still very homophobic country and in many other countries abroad. You've heard what's going on in Russia. But did you know that in 2011, 30 fatally violent hate crimes were committed in the US against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender victims? That's right -- fatally violent. Did you hear about the young woman in South Africa who was raped and killed last month, had her eyes gouged out, and a toilet brush shoved up her vagina, all because of her sexuality? Or the transgender teen killed by a mob in Jamaica last week after wearing a dress to a party? You have a real opportunity here to be an advocate for the LGBT community, Rachel. If you truly have nothing but love for the LGBT community, dissociate yourself from your pastor's hateful rhetoric. You don't have to mention his name. You could say, 'As a woman who believes in the fundamental equality of all, I abhor any rhetoric used to demean LGBT people.' Words matter. Very much. Words spoken, and words left unsaid. Words can maim and kill. So please, use your bully pulpit wisely."

JB said...

Thanks for this post, Dorothy.

Anonymous said...

This was a boundary issue, nothing more.

Rachel Skarsten crossed a line (however unintentional) and she took responsibility by tweeting out her re-assurance that she is LGBT friendly. (I didn't really like the 'noise' comment but she took responsibility).

After Ellen wrote a speculation piece on Why Laura Prepon might be leaving OITNB??
She might be homophobic because…?? Am I the only person that doesn't think this is a
much bigger problem? For an online magazine that supposedly represents 'us' to be projecting theories on someone's homophobia without any proof is crossing a huge boundary.

Scientology aside, and Southern Baptism aside, this article missed its mark. This article should not have even mentioned religion, faith, etc.

We all know that organized religion plays a huge role in creating legislation against our right to get married. That is a no brainer. These people have a right to worship whatever they want.

It becomes a problem, however, when you cross the line and drag that into my LGBT community. (Even if you didn't mean to we have a right to let you know not to do it again. I'm pretty sure Rachel won't do that again.)

However, AE crossed a bigger boundary line. They made a pre-emptive strike against an actress who has spoken positively about her support of the LGBT community. She has lesbian and gay friends and hangs out in gay bars. AE should suck it up: take that article down and apologize for being so irresponsible.

Finally, Dorothy crossed a line by endorsing AE's article. She endorses it by weaving the speculation about Prepon into some sort of justification scenario about the Whys? of Rachel Skarsten's mis-step. She ties this package up nicely by talking about faith, and religion, and wouldn't it be nice if we all got along?

Boundaries people. It's not that difficult. "Keep your hands feet and objects to yourself." My kindergarten teacher used to say that when someone got a little too rowdy.

RS - Keep your religion, AE keep your in bad taste speculations, and Dorothy, keep your ill timed rhetoric to yourself.

This community has been damaged because people don't respect simple boundaries.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more about boundaries being crossed. Casting aspersions on people we don't even know, assuming we know what they think, judging them based on an affiliation with a church..... countless boundaries crossed.

So the proported damage was done, EA said calm down, back off, RS said what is going on here?? And DS has weighed in with her pick your battles, know who your true enemies are...

Also, the fandom hasn't been enraged...a faction of folks took umbrage and have held on to it for dear life. I respect everyone's right to have opinions. But they are just that, one person's opinion is no more important or correct than another's opinion. Self righteousness is off putting...

Your friend, Rusty said...

Nicely done. I don't remember ever seeing these positions argued so well.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to 2013 when it's apparently more heinous for a few internet people in a crowd of many to raise the possibility of somebody being a homophobe, than it is for a public figure with influence to indisputably financially support, explicitly endorse and actively promote one.


Only a few people said RS was a homophobe, but you guys got hung up on it and missed the far more serious issue - which is that, whether she is or not, she works in support of one, and actively provides him a hook into exactly the people most vulnerable to his toxic rhetoric.

Erwin McManus got his money's worth out of his association with Rachel Skarsten from the split second one of her fans started defending him to protect her. That's the damage she's done - gay people are making excuses for somebody to hate them, to call them names, to equate their loving relationships to sickness and deviance and bestiality. That's the damage she has not apologised for, and that's the damage Dorothy Snarker is compounding even further here by falling over herself to excuse, minimise and obfuscate.

This woman gave a dangerous, dangerous man and his dangerous, dangerous ideology a foothold in a juicy, vulnerable new audience. One he should never have been offered. And now her LGBT fans, and an AE writer, are inviting the knife deeper by trying to justify the injury to themselves.


When Rachel Skarsten has put more effort into supporting us than she has into harming us, then we can talk about "benefit of the doubt".

Until then, it's up to her to reach out to us. Not the other way around - we're not the ones who have been using interviews and Twitter feeds to promote homophobic women-hating sleazebags like him to teenage LGBT girls.

Anonymous said...

In this day an age ignorance is no longer an excuse. Any person who goes to a church researches it before becoming a full fledged member so to say Rachel didnt know is wrong. This is also the second LG interview where shes promoted hetero-normative values. White Noise interview in May. Paraphrasing Rachel said she is a Bo/Dyson fan because Bo/Lauren is just "too hard".

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

If Rachel wanted to defend herself there are a lot better ways to defend herself. If all she had tweeted out is that she supported equality there would be no argument. Rachels fans would have concrete proof that shes not homophobic and those who think she is wouldnt have any evidence. Instead she acted like a teenager favoriting tweets calling people "fucktards" and calling peoples concerns "noise". As of right now she hasnt bothered to clarify anything which means that there probably isnt anything to clarify. Rachel is proud that she got the word of a homophobic bigot out to an audience that this bigot considers cannibalistic farm animals.

Anonymous said...

Associated Press called Mosaic a "hipster megachurch", describing it as a "congregation full of hip twenty-somethings who mostly work in the film industry and make short films for a hobby"

So basically it's a support group for filmmakers. Lol.

Anonymous said...

Completely missed the issue. This was never a ship war until Dorothy added her two cents. What I cant figure out is AE tried to condemn an actress who has publicly supported the GBLT community in interviews etc. to sweep under the rug the actions of an actress that are actually damaging. Laura Prepon is an actual ally of the GBLT community, she acknowledges her GBLT following and has never used an interview to spread the word of Scientology. Dorothy you say we should give Rachel the benefit of the doubt, that she doesnt support McManus's views but how is saying Laura is more homophobic than Rachel because she is an alleged Scientologist better. You say that because McManus said what he said 8 years ago that Rachel is now innocent but because Laura said she was a Scientologist 6 years ago shes guilty. You say we are jumping to conclusions about Rachel but didnt you just do the exact same thing with Laura. I hate to say it but your bias is clouding your writing and you are a great writer. Its sad that subtext is what is worshiped these days and main text plays second fiddle. A "real" relationship places second to an imagined one wow.

Anonymous said...

As for the roles they play in I don't think there are a lot of roles out there. They will take what comes up and the sexuality of the character is not that important to them. Someone put on a freaking dog costume to play Willard.

Anonymous said...

@8:47 - It's not. It's effectively a Southern Baptist organisation in disguise. Their agenda - and they've actually described it as such, "their agenda" - is to get a foothold in mainstream media. And to do that, they seek to engage young, positive looking, hip artsy types who can reach places creepy old white guys no longer can.

And this whole story is a perfect illustration of how effective the tactic is. Wrap something gross in a pretty blonde package, and fangirls will go to the ends of the earth to defend it - even if it's entirely against their own interests.

If, however, you want to know what Mosaic is really about, have a listen to that podcast above. Or read Erwin McManus's horrifying screeds on the "role of women."

Mahlers5th said...

"...one person's opinion is no more important or correct than another's opinion. Self righteousness is off putting..."

So are Ad Hominem attacks!

Carmen SanDiego said...

Damn, DS, you write so beautifully

Anonymous said...

QUESTION. If either actress said they were pro blacks or pro Jewish people THEN quoted a KKK leader, what would you think about them then ???

Maybe they are just your typical STUPID actresses who can't keep their foot out of their mouths. There is a reason so many publicist are employed.

Anonymous said...

I really wish RS had researched her pastor's entire life history and personal beliefs. I know I research every person I'm associated with in every organization I belong to. But it's definitely her professional and moral obligation to do so because she is not a human person but an almighty infallible magical unicorn angel.

Therese said...

The OitN fandom didn't have an issue with Laura Prepon being a Scientologist. That was created by After Ellen when they accused her of leaving the show for her religion, something that was never confirmed by any real source (we don't even know if she's truly leaving yet).

The Lost Girl fandom had a problem with Rachel Skarsten promoting an homophobic man to her LGBT audience in a Lost Girl interview. Everybody knew she was religious before, she has biblic quotes on her twitter, nobody knew that her pastor was homophobic and people felt upset that she had promoted him to them once they found out.

Two different situations altogether.

I'ves aid this time and again at other places:

Imagine an actor in Grey's Anatomy openly supporting a racist pastor (who had openly compared colored people to monkeys in the past) in an interview expected to be read by many non whites. Do you think they would be upset about that?

Anonymous said...

You are becoming Dorothy "Surrenders" while losing Dorothy "Snarker". I miss the Snarker who had fierce yet attentive perception and wrote issues clearly. Your writing skill are getting better and better, but the contents are opposite. In this post, you prove that you are losing the sight by missing points. You can't put RS and LP situations as grounds for your opinion. Has LP ever addressed her anti-gay view based on Scientology? No. On the contrary, she has supported LGBT community visibly while RS only tweeted two LGBT friendly things after her endorsement for her pastor was issued. I don't know what's wrong with you. You are decorating contents with rhetoric beautifully, but the contens are empty without dealing the real issue. i am disappointed. When are you coming back as "THE DS"? I miss her terribly.

Mahlers5th said...

Your straw man argument does not actually apply to the original issue. You're suggesting that RS can't be expected to have researched McManus' background or to have been familiar with all of his writings and teachings. I agree. You're implicitly suggesting she didn't know that her pastor used to engage in homophobic rhetoric (and still bans same sex couples from attending retreats for married people). OK, let's say that's true. But having been informed by her LGBT fans who watch Lost Girl that her pastor made some pretty ugly homophobic statements six years ago (which he has never renounced) wouldn't you have expected her to be a little more, well, mortified? Wouldn't you have expected her to have tweeted something immediately to clear the air? "I feel nothing but love for the LGBT community and abhor all anti-gay rhetoric." That took 78 characters, leaving 62 more to apologize: "I'm sorry if anyone was offended. That was never my intention." End of controversy for almost all who objected. But she waited a week, letting the storm whip up, retweeted a fan saying objectors were all "fucktards" then when she finally tweeted something, it was vlear she gadn't spent a week thinking through how to respond sensitively.

But if you really don't see what all the "noise" was about, I doubt you (or RS) ever will. Carry on.

Di Cru said...

For all those pointing out the 'fucktard' controversy. You do realize the blogger was saying 'everyone' was 'acting' like that.. not that anyone in particular was that. And, for those that might 'try' to say they are the same thing. They are not. There is a big difference in calling someone one 'that' and saying in general people were 'acting' like that. So now, let us move on to another controversy. Oh say, the one in RUSSIA .. were all this effort would be better spent in bringing to light a REAL TRAGEDY that is happening in our world today!

Anonymous said...

A lot of this could have been avoided if RS did not stay silent about this for so long. She just needed to tweet a statement about supporting the LGBT community instead of letting the whole issue fester for a couple of weeks.

Ashlynkat said...

So many great comments, especially the ones that really hit the nail on the head.

The issue is, and always has been, Rachel promoting a homophobic and toxic man to an impressionable, vulnerable audience.

THAT is what Rachel should apologize for. Not for what she believes. Not for what church she attends. Not for working on non-LGBT friendly projects on her personal time.

Rachel is free to be who she is, believe what she wants to believe and work on what projects she wants to work for. But with celebrity comes responsibility and with her fame on Lost Girl has come a sizable fanbase of young girls who may be struggling with their identity.

In a time when LGBT youth are vulnerable to violence, depression and suicide, the LAST thing we want to introduce to these kids are the evil, hateful words of someone like Erwin McManus.

Rachel made a huge misstep in giving that man a platform and window into the world of these kids and for that Rachel should rightfully apologize to her fans.

Anonymous said...

I whole heartedly agree with choosing your battles, just my opinion, but I feel like it just boils down to one actress and one pastor, and I'm not too concerned with that. Especially since nothing has been irrefutably confirmed with facts, other than, this pastor said something in 2006 that was homophobic, RS said something about working with him in an interview, and now she has tweeted that she supports the LGBT community in response to people assuming she is homophobic (whether that be assumed she is overtly or by association homophobic).

I'm pretty sure I'm not angry about the possibility of "pimping" a pastor to "an impressionable audience" which has been stated and restated by several people here. When I was just a wee little teenage gay hearing an actress mention a pastor that she worked on a movie with would not have made any difference to me, I think we're not giving the gay youth enough credit here.

But DS thanks for staying logical here and relying on the facts and not letting anger get the best of your judgment. And I think the old adage opinions are like assholes, everyone thinks that everyone elses stinks, can really apply here.

Anonymous said...

@12:10 - the movie Skarsten worked on with McManus was a church project. She promoted him through that interview, but had been promoting it through her other social media channels throughout.

So it's all wound together, it's not simply a question of a one-and-done bit of work she did with him. She has a long standing relationship with him which she proudly advertises to her fans through more than one avenue.

If the recording of McManus had not surfaced, or if RS's apologists had their way and managed to shout everybody else down - or if we did what Dorothy seems to be advocating by saying absolutely nothing and meekly accepting it - I guarantee you the people most eager to see it would have been her most dedicated followers, her LGBT fans.

Just as it was her LGBT fans who were tweeting about how cool and fun those Mosaic events she helped at looked, it was her LGBT fans who expressed an interest in What Would You Do For Love.

Skarsten's overt endorsement stood for months before her increasingly enthusiastic promotion of Mosaic started ringing some alarm bells.

Skarsten is exactly the kind of advocate Mosaic seeks out. She helps them dress their horrid bigotry up in something far more palatable, and sneak it in under our noses; in the same way that their night club events and Superbowl ads and snappy Youtube videos do.

And as we can see here, it works like a charm. Here we have lesbians telling each other it's rude to make "noise" about an organisation like this getting their hooks into us. The danger of Mosaic and RS-like figures is the slow boil damage they do, and DS enables them by lending her effort to their positive spin agenda.

It's depressing too, that having generated an entire comments section of people suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Dorothy has missed the point a little bit, her first and only response - rather than even considering the possibility for the slightest moment - is to once again overly equate a debate against a homophobic figure like McManus to homophobia itself. How offensive.

Somebody above suggested a comparison between a Grey's Anatomy actor having an association with a pastor who likened black people to monkeys, and it stands more pointedly now.

Dorothy Snarker - if Rachel Skarsten had ties this close to a furiously racist ideological leader rather than a furiously homophobic one, you would not dream of spending so much effort scolding us for reacting badly to it. Perhaps, rather than trying to make her excuses for her and berating us, you might spend nearly as much energy confronting the questions you should be asking of her.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the addendum DS. The only reason I have weighed in on this manufactured issue is that I felt the language used against RS and the self righteous tone assumed by those demanding actions from her was way out of line and crossed over into ad hominem attacks on some sites...It is clear that some will not let it go, they feel aggrieved and are worried about "the youth"...RS owed no one any response. The response she gave was pitch perfect in the circumstances. Maybe a less strident, accusatory tone would have elicited a different response from her?? who knows.

Anonymous said...

"It's depressing too, that having generated an entire comments section of people suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Dorothy has missed the point a little bit, her first and only response - rather than even considering the possibility for the slightest moment - is to once again overly equate a debate against a homophobic figure like McManus to homophobia itself. How offensive."

This is how this new, repackaged homophobia is successful. Put a pretty face on it, and even the people who should be advocating for us abdicate all responsibility, as Dorothy has done. Instead of portraying them as the hateful monsters they are, people like DS and other RS fangirls turn them into victims of the very people they are targeting as being like "farm animals." It's sickening and disturbing. Do none of you have an ounce of self-respect left anymore?

Anonymous said...

Erwin McManus is not the victim here, Dorothy. There has been absolutely nothing said about him which even approaches the language he applies to us in the ideology he preaches on a multi-million dollar basis to his thousands of admirers.

How dare you paint him as the wronged party in this equation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:59, it's good to see the voice of reason. You stated it perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:14, DS isn't standing up for McManus anywhere in here. This is a post about Rachel Skarsten.

Anonymous said...

@1:21 - The problem is, and has always, always, always been Skarsten's close ties, endorsement and support of McManus, and subsequent refusal to disavow his ideology or the man himself after her effusive praise of him via LG.

The fact that Snarker did not recognise that, and instead chose to wander off down some other rabbit hole about how bad we've all been, or to seize upon more convenient strawmen to fight in RS's place, was not our mistake.

The fact that she chose to once again attack us rather than address that when it was pointed out, is once again not our mistake.

McManus is the nub of the problem. And sadly, he will remain the nub of the problem until or unless Rachel Skarsten neutralises her use of an LGBT audience to his benefit. No amount of tapdancing or equivocation on her behalf will change that.

Rachel Skarsten, and only Rachel Skarsten, can put this mess to rest. Nobody can do it for her, and it is not the job of the very people hurt by her decisions to do so in her stead.

Anonymous said...

When we failed to bend over backwards to kid-glove our factual language about the historically marginalised and suppressed rich straight white Christian male homophobic misogynist at the heart of all this, we were being exactly as terrible as the Russian politicians overseeing the violent mob killings of innocent teenagers.

These two things are exactly alike, and it isn't in any way ludicrous, insulting or nonsensical for a high profile LGBT writer to try to impose an absurdly Godwin-like equivalence on those two surreally different situations.

We should not have pointed out that Dorothy sailed dramatically past the point in her article, because bad people used a sentence almost like that once, so that would be unforgivable.

My eyes are open everyone! I see the light!

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is why you didn't condemn AE for their irresponsible article? You claimed that calling people a homophobe is wrong, and it is. Yet you used their speculations to tie Laura Prepon into this article without citing where that RUMOR about her started.

You endorsed AFTER ELLEN'S character slam on Laura Prepon. That is not okay. This piece was a conflict of interest for you as you work for After Ellen. It should never had been written at all.

Had you intervened when it all started that may have helped, but you waited until it all died down before stirring the pot again. This is just a Blog, but your voice reaches our community. You should have let this go, or presented it differently. Certainly, you should not have used After Ellen's ridiculous speculation as a part of your argument.

I took away from this piece: 'don't judge someone until you know for sure' And that is really great. You are a wonderful writer. Why use Laura Prepon as part of this lesson? She does not deserve this from our community. What a terrible precedent to set, using speculation such as: 'Laura Prepon might be homophobic because... ? "

Really Dorothy, really?

Anonymous said...

Dorothy, if you didn't want people to express their disappointment -- and, yes, anger -- about this issue, you shouldn't have written this blog in the first place. All you've done here is stoke the flames just when things were finally starting to die down. Most of us were content to let it go with RS's tweet, even though those 140 characters came far later than they should have and therefore (whether fairly or not) appeared to be more of a PR move than an honest personal expression of LGBT support -- support that, by the way, RS has never overtly expressed on Twitter prior to this incident. She has certainly never been as openly pro-LGBT as Laura Prepon has, which, as others have pointed out, is just one of many reasons why conflating the RS and LP controversies makes little to no sense. Unless, as your addendum suggests, you are intentionally obfuscating the issue in order to avoid confronting the real problem.

Although I feel your original post missed the essential point many LG fans were trying to make about why RS promoting a homophobic man to an LGBT audience is problematic, I didn't feel compelled to comment -- that is, until you added that addendum today. I am honestly flabbergasted by how thoroughly you've misread this situation. The 12:57 anon is exactly right: the notion that the criticisms about RS expressed in the comments above are in any way comparable to the language of anti-gay censorship in Russia is nothing short of offensive.

Although some of the vitriol against RS has undoubtedly been counterproductive, for the most part I think fans have expressed sincere, articulate reasons why Erwin McManus should not ever be given a wider public platform to shill his homophobic rhetoric, especially not when that platform (in this case, RS) gives him direct access to a largely gay audience. But, instead of engaging with this essential (and admittedly complex) problem, you have told us to watch our language lest we sound like the Russians. Seems a tad off the mark, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Dorothy. You're practically forcing us to respond. If it weren't for the hiatus and TPTB not giving us spoilers we wouldn't have even gotten involved in this mess in the first place and now you're dragging it on by not saying what we want to hear even though we are the ones who got you involved!

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify DS, are we allowed point out how badly your piece missed the point if we just phrase it in a way you can't compare to the Russians?

Or was that comparison just a desperately strange attempt to conjure insinuations without having to say anything outright?

Ashlynkat said...

I suppose I should feel honored that my comment provided fodder for DS to build a strawman argument.

Yeah, I can totally see how calling RS out for using her celebrity and reach with LGBT teens to introduce them to a man who would tell them that their sexual identity and very nature is akin to pigs cannibalizing themselves is equivalent (in "language" of course, *wink wink*) to Russian authorities labeling any expression of gay identity as propaganda. Um...yeah.

I'm sorry Dorothy, but not only is that intellectually dishonest but that is downright offensive. This is not even comparing apples and oranges or a mountain to a molehill. Trying to wrap Erwin McManus, the man and his words, (and Rachel's endorsement of him "an amazing man"), in the blanket of victimhood that RIGHTFULLY belongs to the thousands of LGBT Russians who are being oppressed by their government and abused, beaten and killed by their neighbors is beyond a sham.

I honestly can not phantom how someone could read the news (or watch a video like the one released yesterday of a innocent Russian transwoman being savagely and ruthlessly beaten) and, in anyway--in language or sentiment, compare it the self-made mess that Rachel Skarsten and Erwin McManus has brought upon themselves.

Anonymous said...

This mess was entirely manufactured by bored, obsessive lost girl fans. Where is this young, impressionable audience many are speaking of? How many people even saw the initial interview months ago? How many of those got whisked away by an off-hand response into the charismatic clutches of Mosaic? I'm guessing absolutely no one.

Ashlynkat said...

Anon 3:03 PM

Teen suicide is often called the "Silent Killer" because it seemingly comes out of the blue with people not seeing the warning signs or the hearing the quiet cries for help.

A young, impressionable teen girl struggling with her identity is not going to raise her voice to say "This is wrong" when she follows the advice of her celebrity hero (and maybe crush) to the website and sermons of a man who tells her that her attraction to women is as depraved as "pigs eating their young".

We often don't know what impact that hearing these hateful words, straight from a man that Rachel Skarsten has repeatedly said is "amazing", who "inspires her" and who she feels blessed to know. As a hero to countless young LGBT girls, we don't know what weight these words carry with young teens who often silently carry a world of burden in their lives.

No, these kids will not be the ones to raise their voices and say that "No, this isn't right" which is why it is OUR responsibility as a community to raise our own voices when this is happening.

Mahlers5th said...

But that would be...a guess, Anon 3:03.
We really don't know.

Here's another guess: girls who are struggling to define who they are, who may be wrestling with self-hatred for feelings that are openly or subtly condemned or devalued, are more likely to watch Lost Girl in private and lurk rather than speak up in forums such as this. The fact that we don't hear their voices may mean few or none heard about McManus, or if they did, they didn't care. Or it may mean they're hiding. Neither of us can say for sure.

What some of us CAN say for sure is that we used to be one of those girls, in hiding or out but treated in one way or another as an "other." Different. Less than. A niece of mine who is out and proud at 28 told me recently she didn' t dare tell anyone in high school. Ten years ago. In cosmopolitan New York City. At an ultra-liberal school.

Anonymous said...

Talk about making a bad situation worse. The tone deafness is pretty pathetic but hey I guess you lost your journalistic credibility a while ago.

Anonymous said...

3:03 - Even if I hadn't watched LGBT people gush over the stuff RS posted from Mosaic back when I followed her on Twitter, or watched a lesbian forum excitedly chatter about What Would You Do For Love and how "interesting" it looked, it was Skarsten's association with McManus that brings us to this miserable new lowpoint - young LGBT making excuses for their own persecution, and voiced LGBT figures like Dorothy discarding any sense of rational perspective to the point that they think that Russia comparison is in any way appropriate.

That's exactly why we despise figures like McManus, because that's the kind of psychological self harm their rhetoric facilitates, and we're seeing it borne out in big, case study style all over right now.

DS, I used to love your writing, but I sincerely hope you're ashamed of that conflation when you've had time to cool down. I am far less offended by anything Rachel Skarsten's said or did than I am by your glib reduction of a life & death outrage to a cheap, point scoring wordgame played for the sake of a pretty actress.

Ashlynkat said...

I also find it odd how folks want to deflect criticism as the work of "fangirls" or as part of some shipper wars.

As a member of Team ABMS (Anything But a Monogamous Succubi--yeah, the ship name sucks), I could give a rip about shipping wars.

I would be just as outraged if it was Anna Silk, Ksenia Solo, Zoie Palmer or KHR who was spouting off support for such a vehemently anti-gay figure and encourage their LGBT fans to visit and support their anti-gay projects. Who they are or what ship they "represent" or whatnot doesn't matter and doesn't change the issue.

Lost Girl has framed itself as a queer-friendly show and has eagerly encouraged the love and support of an LGBT audience. The very /least/ that we can expect is that the major players of said show respect us enough to not use their platform and access to their LGBT fans to broadcast hateful, anti-gay vitriol out into the world.

Anonymous said...

Re: your addendum.

First of all, there's a huge difference between those two sentences you brought up.

The first sentence problematizes or expresses disagreement/dismay with s.o. promoting s.th. to a group of people that is perceived as vulnerable.

The second sentence demands or justifies a BAN of the promotion of s.th. to a group of people that is perceived as vulnerable.

Also the group that would underwrite the first sentence would be satisfied with some understanding, an apology and a promise to disengage from this particular practice which is perceived as offensive. If you don't do so, it's up in the air what people will do. Probably stay mad at you for a while or dislike you.

On the other hand the people that would underwrite the second sentence will imply punishment if you do not comply with the ban. (In this particular case fines and or jail time.) The ban is a threat and a gesture of power and dominance (over somebody else).

Anyway, claiming these two sentences are alike and that it's there language that is problematic, well, by that logic anybody demanding an apology or a ban of the promotion of anything is off limits or using problematic language.

Sorry, I don't see anything inherently hateful in those two sentences with their redactions.

Where I reside there's a ban on promoting smoking to children. By law it's forbidden to advertise smoking to children - no smoking adverts on TV or in magazines (catering to minors).
(Coming to think of it I wonder whether they got rid of smoking advertisement all around. Haven't seen any for so long...)

It's the context that brings the hate. You know what's going on in Russia so no need to get into that further.
Your addendum sounds very much like tu quoque fallacy.

Does Godwin's Law maybe need an addendum? "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." "If it's a discussion about issues concerning LGBTQI also the probability of a comparison involving Russia, Putin or Mutko approaches 1."

Anonymous said...

@ 3:54 PM: OT
*lol* Team ABMS. My first associative thought was, isn't that something in cars (ABS)?

How about Team NoMo(n)Su (No Monogamous Succubus)? Or PolySu? Just a thought.

On everything else, big fat word.

Anonymous said...

Explain to me how you can not eat at Chic-fil-a and not shop at Hobby Lobby and yet sit down night after night and give these shows ratings which equates to advertising dollars which equates to more money for the actresses which equates to more money given to the church.
Explain that logic

Anonymous said...

Beliefs are consciously selected by each individual (most christians are of the cafeteria variety - slide your tray down the scripture and pick out the bits you like the look of, because the whole is so contradictory and, quite frankly, in places completely insane). When people make these conscious choices, and then choose to share them with the world, then absolutely should they be questioned and they are most certainly not consequence free.

Would you respect the choices of those who would take our children from us? Would you respect the Pastor in North Carolina who espoused rounded us up and placing us in camps with electric fences, to be held until we died? Would you respect those who derided the family of a young man who was beaten and tied to a fence post to die? (all of these are quite true events).

McManus is part of that shaping of the zeitgeist and we absolutely should question both his beliefs, and those of his supporters, because people come before dogma every time. Especially when that dogma has a demonstrable negative effect on the lives of people - especially those who do not share it.

Do I think Skarsten was aware? Probably not. She is probably not aware of homophobia the same way non-Jewish people may not note anti-semitism, the way I might not immediately spot racism (although when racists make themselves known to me, I remove myself, I am choosy about the company I keep, if not as tuned in as I would wish). I don't suppose she was aware, or thought to explore, because why would she? Such is the nature of privilege - those who have it rarely notice is and tend not to challenge it if they do.

The proper answer was to swiftly distance herself, express concern and apologise. That she failed to do this made people wonder to what degree she might share such beliefs - if you associate with racists, you really cannot be surprised if people might wonder if you yourself are also racist. To then endorse a tweeted link to an article calling those objecting "fucktards" (I believe it also invoked the dogwhistle hate word "lifestyle" - but would stand corrected) and then called such objections "noise" merely compounded this questioning.

I know I keep invoking racism here. And this is something that I have found genuinely harrowing regarding this whole rather sordid event - and why I am so angry with the show itself, as well as Skarsten. I find it very hard to belief that if Skarsten - albeit accidentally - had endorsed someone with a record of racist speech, of anti-semitism, even perhaps of ableism (by suggesting, for example, that being in a wheelchair was god's punishment) that either she, or the Production company of the show, would have sat in silence.

So why is it that, because it was *our* minority group that was invoked in a negative and most deplorable way, we are expected to accept that? Why do some of us, of the community, accept that? Do we expect people who are attacked by racism to shrug and say "well, it's their belief?"

And also for the Production company to behave as if it is a non-issue and sit on their hands when I simply do not believe that would be the case if it was any other commonly denigrated minority involved. Their failure to release a statement of support and friendship, indeed to call Skarsten "extraordinary" but not speak to the community, makes such a mockery of their stated ideals and has made many of the audience feel little more than commoditised.

I would point out in conclusion that the "extraordinary" women are those who are making it through a life made harder for them than it has to be by the beliefs of others - which they usually do not share - and do so more or less intact, undamaged and bloody well alive. We are the extraordinary ones. And we have a right to question those who would damn us for who we are.


Anonymous said...

Addendum - Since unclear, invoking racism is harrowing to me because it seems that some of us can only express this point clearly, about why it is not OK to be treated this way, to others by invoking other kinds of bigoted behaviours as examples. It should not be necessary, and I hate invoking Oppression Olympics that way but there seems such a degree of internalised homophobia in play that people are quite literally not recognising that they don't have to accept being othered, being denigrated, being abused. It shocks me, it really does.

I could not have been more appalled in recent days than to see people claiming that calling out bigotry, is bigotry. It is nothing or the sort - any more than calling a bully a bully is bullying them. To hear this message coming from LGBT women just made me wonder if an adult lifetime spent in pursuit of activism was worthy, or just a complete and utter failure.


Anonymous said...

No other group would have their own members accusing them of bigotry for speaking up as DS has done here. This is institutionalized homophobia at its absolute worst and most discouraging, and it's coming from "one of our own." This is exactly what McManus wants to exploit by hiding his brand of hatred behind a pretty young actress on a supposedly LGBT-friendly show. And then, for the show to do nothing in light of this, on top of RS's mis-step, is unconscionable. They would never treat bigotry directed toward any other group in such a cavalier fashion, even if it was disguised in religious dogma. And no other group would be asked to sit still for making "noise" about bigotry directed toward them, either.

The Bethling said...

I can't buy in to the thoughts in the addendum. These churches, as well as the Russian government, are working to build an environment that causes young gays and lesbians to commit suicide. There aren't scores of young Christians so isolated that they feel that death is a better option than living.

To compare those two comments is down right offensive to any of us who have been driven to the point where we wondering if it was worth seeing another sunrise.

JT said...

How dare most anons here have the gall to even suggest how Dorothy, others in the community, and Rachel should tackle this situation? When free speech works for us, we're all spouting the beauty of it. When it comes time to respect others' use of free speech, all hell breaks loose.

Rachel has nothing to apologise for. She never said to fans "hey, go to my church. You need to believe in what I do. You need to like my pastor." She has the right to like her church and enjoy the events the church provides. Just like I have the right to ignore everything religion related she and just about everyone on this planet spouts.

Dorothy never said it was all right to speculate about Laura Prepon's reason for her departure from OITNB. In fact, she goes on the record to say she chooses not to condemn both actresses based on their religion.

How would you anons feel if I were to list how you need to address Dorothy or Rachel through this because I believe you're being rude? I bet most of you are already planning a response to rip mine apart. And accuse me of being obtuse or missing the point.

Dorothy shared her opinion with us. More than likely because she has been hounded non-stop to write about. Just because some of you don't like what she wrote or show approached this, doesn't give you the right to hide behind the anonymity the internet provide.

Same goes for the lot of you demanding an apology from Rachel. She owes us nothing because she hasn't done anything wrong.

I personally love that little "on/off" button on my TV set and my remote. Something or someone comes on I don't like? I either turn it off or change channels. So simple.

Anonymous said...

DS made a point of saying she wasn't comparing the sentences, indeed she said they are diametrically opposed. What she said was that the language, the tone, the demands made of others is similar.

Many on here have said, repeatedly, that DS has sadly missed the point. DS may have not gleaned from the facts the same point that some of you have.

The fact that EA responded by saying back off, RS had to say something to clear her timeline of hate and provided more of a response than she needed to, and DS offered her take which hasn't appeased some here.... is understandably galling in that the desired apology/admitting wrongdoing is absent.

I get that. But everyone is entitled to their own response and their own interpretation of things.

That you aren't yet satisfied by anyone's response (EA, the show, RS or DS) could indicate that more than a handful of folks just don't see things the same way you do. Doesn't mean you are right or wrong or they are right or wrong. It just means good, well intentioned folks can agree to disagree.

Ashlynkat said...

It's always interesting of how often people shout the term "Free Speech" yet have very little understanding of what it means.

"Free Speech" means that you are free to speak your views /not/ that you are free to never receive criticism for said views.

Erwin McManus, Rachel Skarsten and Dorothy Snarker's "Free Speech" is fully intact. All three of them are quite free to:

A.) Espouse hateful, harmful anti-gay views comparing same-sex attraction to animals who eat their young.
B.) Call people who espouse such hateful, anti-gay views as "amazing" people who are "an inspiration"
C.) Defend people who find such anti-gay and hateful folks "inspirational" while accusing other voices who think that such actions might be misguided as using the "same language" that anti-gay governments use to oppress their people

Likewise, /our/ ability to use our free speech to call all 3 out on their own individual missteps is also fully intact.

Some folks say that "Free Speech" is a two way street but, in truth, it is actually a rotary that allows various thoughts and opinions to enter, exit, merge and, yes, sometimes even collide.

Having "Free Speech" doesn't protect you from ever having to hear dissenting opinions or being criticized for fallacies in your own.

Mahlers5th said...

I think I know where you were trying to go in bringing together those two quotes, Ms. Snarker. I think you were trying to say that Pastor McManus can say just about anything he pleases (short of defamation or libel) because in this country we have something we tend to take for granted -- the First Amendment. Our constitution forbids any law impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, or interfering with the right to peaceably assemble. The atrocities that are occuring in Syria, in Egypt, and of course in Russia drive home just how precious -- and potentially fragile -- those rights are. If we try to suppress a pastor's hateful rhetoric, however loathsome and potentially damaging it may be, aren't we running the risk of dismantaling the First Amendment step-by-seemingly-inconsequential-step? If his right to spew anti-gay bigotry is suppressed then isn't our right to publicly denounce him also at risk?

Point taken. But I think you missed our point.

I haven't seen anyone in this forum (or elsewhere) suggest that Pastor McManus should be dragged from his church and tortured or imprisoned for his statements. I haven't seen anyone say laws should be written to gag bigots like McManus. I haven't seen any demands that his church be shuttered, or that production of his DVD's should be halted.

I also don't think anyone has suggested that Rachel should be prosecuted for associating with him, or forcibly prevented from giving him a shout-out wherever and whenever she chooses. It's a free country, after all -- a phrase we throw around so casually.

People were upset about two things:

1) If Rachel knew about her pastor's homophobic beliefs but doesn't share them, or if she kinda sorta had heard something about it but figured it was all ancient history (it was SIX years ago, after all!), it s simply unfathomable why she would make this "amazing man" the focus of that "one last topic" she wanted to get out to the fans of a gay-friendly show. No-one is questioning her constitutional RIGHT to give him a shout-out, we're just trying to understand - WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?!

2) I prefer to believe she didn't know about those statements and/or sorta kinda knew, but was all swept up in this film about love (heterosexual marriage) that they made together, and wanted her fans to know about it -- in other words, she JUST WASN'T THINKING. Fine, we all make mistakes. But having subsequently been reminded and/or told anout her pastor's hateful rhetoric by all those LGBT fans she says she loves, why wouldn't she immediately want to set the record straight, so to speak? Most of us weren't demanding she denounce McManus or quit his church, we were just looking for a signal that SHE GETS IT. Instead, she waited a week then posted a tweet the tone of which implied, "Well heck, if y'all are going to get your panties all twisted over an innocent shout-out, I'll give you a shout out too! There, all better?"

No-one questioned her constitutionally-protected right to tweet anything she damn well pleases, we were simply perplexed that someone who says she loves the LGBT community would be a little flippant rather than chagrined about having offended some of her fans by giving a shout-out to a homophobic bigot -- however innocently, however inadvertantly.

I think she still doesn't get it. I wonder if you do.

Mahlers5th said...

As long as we're talking about rights, let me say one more thing about all of us bored, obsessed, strident, humorless, pathetic folks who continue to beat this dead horse because, well, we lead empty, meaningless lives and have nothing better to do with our time than fabricate controversies so we can viciously attack defenseless victims like Rachel -- and you, Dorothy.

Actually, it's our rights we're worried about. Many of the young women who adore Rachel and look to her as a hero were born well after Roe V Wade. The names Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem don't mean much to them. They take our hard-fought rights -- to terminate an unwanted preganancy or to marry another woman -- for granted. They don't realize that if Mitt Romney had been elected President and had the opportunity to appoint just one more Supreme Court Justice (when Ruth Bader-Ginsburg finally succombs to cancer), many of those rights they take for granted could quickly disappear. They don't realize that the Supreme Court just invalidated a key part of the Voting Rights Act (in place since 1965) which forced states with the worst history of racial voting discrimination to approve their voting changes with the federal government. They may not realize the broader implications of this ruling on gay rights.

So ultimately, we agree, Ms. Snarker. We need to be vigilant in preserving, protecting, and defending these precious rights. And that includes educating the next generation to take nothing for granted and to realize that what you allow, you encourage -- however innocently, however inadvertantly.

Ashlynkat said...

And, no, the irony is not lost on me (Alanis style) of having a discussion about "Free Speech" vs "tolerating the intolerant" on a lesbian blog with (presumably) other lesbians disagreeing with what that means.

It's a bit funny (in a sad way) that the same cut and paste [insert comment] trick that Dorothy did with my comment and the Russian anti-propaganda law could be used with some of the McManus/Skarsten apologists comments about "Free Speech" being compared (in "language", of course) with the anti-gay homophobes who say we should "tolerate their intolerance".

I like the quote that Ben Cohen from the Daily Banter used from Karl Popper when Dr. Ben Carson was decrying how folks were being "intolerant" of his anti-gay opinions by criticizing him for the comments he made.

"If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society… then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them"

Simply put, if we "tolerate" Erwin McManus' horrible, hateful views without pointing out how they are wrong; if we "tolerate" Rachel Skarsten calling McManus an "amazing, inspirational man" without accounting for how that image of him she's presenting to her LGBT fanbase conflicts with the harm his words can do....then, no, we are not "defending" Free Speech or tolerating diverse viewpoints.

Instead, we're just standing idly by while letting the harmful voices and actions of intolerance destroy everything we hope to achieve for a tolerant society and better future.

Anonymous said...

I think the torches and pitch forks would be better served going after real homophobes. Go after McManus if you like, not Rachel Skarsten who you small minority have dubbed guilty simply by her association with him. Yes, simply on that, because Rachel has made her views on LGBT rights perfectly clear after a significant amount of badgering, harassment, and hateful messages.

Interesting that in recent polling, more and more Christian youths and young adults (those like Rachel Skarsten) support LGBT rights and gay marriage.

No wonder more and more LGBT individuals are distancing themselves from the LGBT "movement." The vitriolic rhetoric and seeing enemies in every shadow mentality is embarrassing and wins over no one.

;) babs said...

best post ever!

Anonymous said...

If you are friends with a racist, and participate in their screed while calling them inspirational, then don't be surprised if people think there's a good chance you are racist - even if you deny it, because a one line denial some time after the fact looks like nothing but lip service.

After all, there is more to hatred, more to bigotry, more to discrimination than throwing a brick through your window or spitting on you in the street - There is a constant and insidious stream of microaggression and microinvalidation that helps to shape the world for both us and for others. If you think words have no power, think again in a hurry. The culture of negativity against us is not created in vacuum, it requires an expectation of social consent, which tends to be powered by institutional forces (politics, religion for example).

Now remove "racist" and put in "homophobe" and try to get the point there, since LGBT people are *still* accepting their powerlessness and the social expectation that we yield when no other minority is asked the same.

I am also deeply irritated by the use of silencing speech involved in this - especially how that reflects on us as (presumably) women addressing women. It is right to be angry, frustrated and passionate about our rights, about not being likened to bloody livestock. The use of "calm down" or "relax" or "chill out" etc contain a subtext against women that means - stop being emotional dear, you are too emotional to be rational and if you would just stop being emotional you'd see things my way.

This assertion of emotion replacing reason this way, however subtle, when targeted at women, is a manifestation of a weapon that has been used against us for a very long time - A weapon, indeed, that was manifested to even deny is the right to vote. Did you not see the "over emotional women" fallacy aimed at women protesting in the Texas Lege very recently?

It shocks me even more to see women aim this weapon at other women. Have we really learned nothing? Must we really be doomed to repeat the same battles over and over again? How about be don't try to silence dissent by playing that "silly shrill emotional woman" card on one another?


Anonymous said...

A poster has already referenced feminism and the civil rights struggle - correctly so, since those who are racist tend to also be misogynistic and homophobic as well (and why not? since they are all means of social control). As she also correctly points out, the consequence of working for rights is that we must be ever vigilant, because any rights granted us piecemeal by legislation can be just as easily reversed.

I would point out that there is a very good reason why more than a dozen states never repealed their Sodomy laws. A shift in a SCOTUS ruling could bring them right back. Just as a shift in Roe v Wade could take away our rights to any degree of privacy or bodily autonomy.

Constant vigilance is a price that we must pay until real terms change occurs - And that meaningful change can only occur at a social and institutional level. There is a very real reason, for example, why the US is not "post-racial" in the way that the SCOTUS imagined in its ruling on voting rights. There is a very real reason why we see anti-LGBT violence as a backlash in places like New York, or overseas in France or England.

To scrutinise, the challenge the status quo, to question those who would exploit animus for personal ends is the price we pay for being a minority group. It isn't fair, it isn't just, it isn't right, but that does not make it any less the truth. If younger people want to sit out the LGBT rights movement? Good luck. But let me point out to them - Without that cultural shift, everything that you think you have can be taken from you. And if you are not seated at the table, you end up on the bloody menu.


Anonymous said...

@ Valksy

Or maybe younger people are beginning to understand that communication, cooperation and understanding is a better way to further a cause than through righteous anger, posturing and accusations.

Em Chadwick said...

Just gobsmaked at the lengths people in the LGBT community will go to in order to justify stars promoting anti gay beliefs.
Seriously we want people like that in our corner?? On what planet because in the one live on I do not want anything from people who will sit in on a sermon that judges and hates who I am!!!
Is it ok for me to attend KKK meetings in my spare time, tell everyone what a wonderful leader they have and then say I am Pro people of colour??? NO so why is it ok for people to attend a church that slates homosexuals and then say they are LGBT friendly??
I am deeply sad that people have supported this behaviour and to make it even worse they are calling people who have stood up and said this is not ok haters!! So in effect we have turned on each other over this!!
I for one do not want to be represented on TV by actors who support a belief system that says I am godless or a danger to society...and I feel horrified that LGBT people do want these people on screen!!!
Yes people have a right to their beliefs but if their belief is that LGBT people are wrong then do not represent us on TV end of!!

Anonymous said...

Please RS was silent for 2 weeks. If she was really adamant that she did not hold EM's beliefs she would have immediately tweeted a response.

Anonymous said...

Not all commenters here all lesbians.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe these accusations were so off base that it didn't even dignify a response.

Quit condemning someone for the beliefs of another.

Anonymous said...

Stupid phone meant to say not all commenters here are all lesbians.

Anonymous said...

Making excuses for her does her no favours. When you breakfast with EM and gladly work on his projects it does lead credence that you are aware of the churches beliefs. RS should have been more media conscious.

Mahlers5th said...

GLAD to hear it (little note of levity) and yes, most 2013 polls show an overwhelming *cough* 50% of Americans support gay marriage. Alas, there are still 13 states where a majority of voters oppose gay marriage. Woe to those LGBT youth growing up in places other than California or the NorthEast. Take heart, it may not happen in your lifetime but hey, sooner or later Louisiana, and Texas, and Alaska are all gonna go blue, right? Then your grandchildren will be able to enjoy full civil rights...Oh wait. You can't get married. Or adopt. Don't be discouraged by statistics showing that as attitudes about gay rights are becoming more and more tolerant nationally, the number of anti-gay hate crimes -- including fatal attacks -- is trending upwards. Even in New York.

And if the religious right has anything to do with it, these heartening trends you cite will be reversed. Read 'em and weep:

"According to the U.S. Department of Education, 76 percent of private schools are religious in character. Many are affiliated with churches and denominations that are aggressively hostile to LGBT rights. Religious schools are free to expel LGBT youth, and they can deny employment to LGBT teachers and other staff.
In addition, many fundamentalist Christian academies use textbooks that defame LGBT Americans. One prominent line of books is published by Bob Jones University in South Carolina. One Bob Jones textbook bluntly states, “These [gay] people have no more claim to special rights than child molesters or rapists.” A second publisher of fundamentalist texts, A Beka, promotes similar views.
Some Catholic schools also have policies that are problematic for LGBT people. While many American Catholics hold progressive views on social issues, the hierarchy remains steadfastly opposed to gay rights. (U.S. bishops have repeatedly called for amending the U.S. Constitution to deny civil marriage to same-sex couples.)"

The harrowing full article, "The Religious Right's War on LGBT Americans," can be read here:

Homophobia is still alive and well in America, never mind elsewhere in the world where -- by the way -- Lost Girl has many, many fans.

Ashlynkat said...

It's a fallacy to say that people think Rachel Skarsten is guilty merely by association.

She's guilty by her words--the ones that called Erwin McManus an "amazing man", one that has "inspired her" and who she feels "blessed to know".

Yes, Erwin McManus--the man who tells LGBT kids that their sexual identity is as depraved as pigs wanting to eat their own young.

This is not just "associating" with McManus. This is raising him up on a pedestal in front of her fans and encouraging everyone to take notice and see why he is so "amazing" and "inspirational" and why all us depraved, cannibalistic livestock would be also be "blessed" to know him.

When Rachel gave her lip service apology to address "the noise", she has not ONCE addressed the incongruity of how she can supposedly support and love the LGBT community yet offer this man up to us as some prize that we should take notice us.

Not ONCE has she disowned that ideology and rhetoric. In fact, her exact words "I firmly believe in equality for all & have nothing but love for the LGBT community" have been mimicked by the "Love the sinner, hate the sin" crowd for years.

Heck, even Erwin McManus could've post the very same tweet saying that even though he believes we're no better than livestock, we shouldn't be fired from our jobs or denied housing ("equality") and that he truly, deeply loves us because he is fighting for our very souls and his motivations come from "nothing but love for the LGBT community".

So, no, we're not condemning Rachel Skarsten by her association. We're waiting for her to do the right thing and acknowledge the hurt that McManus' words caused and completely disavow that kind of anti-gay rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

My bad, I thought Rachel said SHE liked McManus, not that YOU should.

Ashlynkat said...

Yes, and Francis Crick (one of the pioneers who discovered the structure of DNA and help science expand its breadth of knowledge by leaps and bounds) once said that he thought that people of African descent were--by their very DNA--less intelligent and capable of learning than people of other ethnic heritages.

Crick never said that WE had to believe that.

Yet, Crick was rightfully called out for that racist BS and until his death in 2004 he was treated as a pariah. Anyone that did "associate" with Crick made it a point to disavow any sympathies with Crick's views about Africans.

When Michael Richards went on his anti-semitic rant during an improve routine in 2006, he never told anyone that THEY had to believe those things. Richards was likewise treated as a pariah (and for most part still is) with everyone that works with him being asked by his anti-semitic views and needing to make it a point that they don't likewise share those views.

Why? Because we ARE our words and our words have meanings and influence. They're like a cologne whose fragrance waft from us and permeates across the room. When people stand too close to us, that fragrance can linger on them which is why people who make outrageous, hateful remarks are usually ostracized from polite society and people who do come into contact with them take pains to distance themselves and wash away the stench.

McManus' stench has a far reach. So far Rachel has saw it more fit to talk about how "amazing" and "inspirational" he is rather than work to wash away the stench of McManus' eau de toilette.

Anonymous said...

"Because we ARE our words and our words have meanings and influence."

And Rachel's words were of support for gays and lesbians. So judge McManus by his words and Rachel by hers. Or are we now going to demand apologies of Omar Sharif Jr. as well? He's gay and an LGBT activist but since he thinks so highly of Rachel and has tweeted as such, should we all start condemning him in the same way that you've condemned Rachel for her friendship with McManus?

It's very simple: judge people based on THEIR words and actions, not those of others.

Frankly, I'm inclined to trust the words of people that actually know her (Omar Sharif Jr - gay. Cast mates and EA - all involved in a gay-friendly show. Rachel herself who has said in interviews that she has no problem kissing women and her tweet confirming her stance on gay rights) much more than the rabid speculation of people who have never met her.

Em Chadwick said...

Actually the people that people chose to spend their time with are a reflection of them. Unlike family we can choose our friends and if some one CHOOSES to hang out with a know homophobe then they have CHOSEN to do so....that in it's self is enough!!

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Omar Sharif Jr. has vouched for Rachel and called her his BFF. (https://twitter.com/OmarSharifJr/status/367339436066877440)

Not that having a gay best friend is an excuse. But, Omar Sharif Jr. also happens to be a national GLAAD spokesperson. I guess it really is all about the people you hang out with. Because Rachel hangs out with Edwin McManus. And Omar hangs out with Rachel. And GLAAD hangs out with Omar. So...GLAAD endorses Edwin McManus? Yeah, logic.

Em Chadwick said...

If Omar Sharif hangs out with EM and starts saying what an amazing man he is then yes!!! I also really hope Omar has had a chat with RS about the company she keeps!!!

ps very easy to be on ur high horse when your name in anonymous isn't it!!!

Mahlers5th said...

Actually, here was a response to his shout-out

@Verecipillis: @OmarSharifJr @RachieSkarsten @glaad After S3 E1 of #LostGirl can a GLAAD spokesperson really comment on this? Does GLAAD now endorse Rach?

To which Omar responded:
@OmarSharifJr: @Verecipillis @RachieSkarsten - I don't comment as a spokesperson. She's been my best friend since year 1 of college. 10 years knowing her!

@Verecipilis countered:

@Verecipillis: @OmarSharifJr It's great your standing by a long friend, sincerely. But if it was a personal remark why tag GLAAD? Extra credibility? Fishy.

@OmarSharifJr: @Verecipillis I keep them aware of everything I do in the lgbt space :) xx


Mahlers5th said...

And once more, for the record:
Rachel can attend any church she wants, she can hang out with homophobic bigots if she wants, she can tweet what an amazing person he is (no doubt for reasons other than his ancient, outdated homophobic beliefs that she doesn't share), she can turn around and sincerely love her friend from college (towards whom, I gather, she has never expressed a single homophobic syllable) and she is free to give a shout-out to said homophobic bigot to her many LG fans, not all of them LGBT, some of them (not the majority, I imagine) devout Christians themselves who have found a way to reconcile their identity with some of the mostly antiquated teachings (except to the pesky, noisy, and disturbingly powerful Religious Right). As Rachel has no doubt found a way to reconcile the teachings and practices of Mosaic with her basic love for the LGBT community. Being a devout Christian doesn't mean you espouse each and every tenet of your faith.

See, I really do read, digest, and try to make sense of your posts because Dorothy is right about one thing: the battle for rights is not just about storming the barricades in noisy protests, or lobbying from the rafters at a state legislature hearing (was that a beautiful sight, or what?) -- it's about winning hearts and minds, one starfish at a time.

So I hope you return the favor by not rolling your eyes and skipping past the noisemaker with the Hillary icon ("Not her again! Will someone please tell her to be more succinct?") and open your mind to the other opinions being represented here, without distorting them, trivializing them, reducting them ad absurdum, or making ad hominem attacks on the writers (not saying you have, although this post verges on reductio ad absurdum).

Is there absolutely no validity to what people are trying to say? 1) Rachel showed a certain tone deafness in giving that shout-out in the first place, and 2) She could have shown a tad more sensitivity and voiced a little more sincere regret in her tweet
a week after the objections began swirling. Do you really categorically regret those two perspectives.

If so, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, and go our separate ways -- but we are both entitled to our differing perspectives and at the very least should show basic human courtesy in listening to the other's perspective.

["Will someone puleeze clue Mahler's5th into how santimonious she sounds? Booooorrrring"].

Mahlers5th said...


Let's play Guess Who Said It!

"The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state."

Mahlers5th said...

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Anonymous said...

Free speech has been bantered around here like a sword but everyone it cuts both ways.

We can all have our say; RS can endorse a hate minister and then tweet about her gay friends and support for the community against all that 'noise'.
This blog can come out and equate the questioning of RS by some fans as bullying and suggest we are using the same tactics as those in Russia who want to silence the LGBT community.
SOme of you can even suggest how the TV has an off button and if we don't like don't watch.

I can also use this free speech to tell you all to wake up. What you're all discussing and trying to boil down to the bullying of an actress is simply the visible blemish of a bigger problem.

Is is okay to publically portray one image but build it on a private foundation of hate? Is it okay to bash other people because they question something you don't see a point in?
Is it okay to let the little things go as long as you protest the big ones?

I questioned RS because I wanted to understand where her opinion was, with her pastor or away from him.

I question this blog because I think your comparison of language shows a bigger issue; the homophobes are starting to understand how to use Politically correct language to smudge the impact of what they are saying.

I question how as an LGBT community anyone believes that we should not exercise our free speech to question and comment just as haters and homophobes do.

I question why questioning is now seen as bullying?

Because if questioning when I see grey areas means I'm a bully, I'd like the tshirt now please.


Anonymous said...


Now your call for understanding and truly listening, from both sides, I can get behind and agree with. I am more understanding of Rachel's side in this, but nothing is to be gained from blow-off dismissals.

And all praise for the Khaleesi of the Texas prairie.

Anonymous said...

In an effort to "reach across the aisle" and meet in the middle, please be patient while I take a whack at this hornet's nest.

I am saying the following ON THE RECORD here. This is my real opinion.

"The actress is an idiot. Her beliefs are uninformed, hateful, and irresponsible. She has used her celebrity to endorse hate and draw attention to a cause that should be reviled."

Wow. Strong words. Some of you are probably angry...maybe you think I am a jerk. Ok.
Maybe a little clarification would be useful right about now.
I am not talking about RS.
Here is what I am talking about;
I am talking about a Crazy SNL actress and her anti-muslim rants.

See, just a little clarification from the OP is all it takes to put things in perspective.


Anonymous said...

If fans suspected RS was a pedophile, would she have waited weeks to respond?


Anonymous said...

The pastor Rachel Skarsten supports. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMy_zAE3gDA

bump said...

The pastor Rachel Skarsten supports. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMy_zAE3gDA


Anonymous said...

For adults or teen viewers who had no idea who Skarsten was, it was an easy Google search (or Twitter or Tumbler) to find out. However you discovered her, it was immediately evident that she was a vocal member and supporter of her church - Mosaic.
Some of you then Googled Mosaic and may have been impressed by their slick young hipster ads. Some of you may have looked deeper - some not.
No problem.
I will point out that when you saw the connection between Skarsten and Mosaic, you were then aware of her affiliation with McManus. And yes, that led some to put her in the "potentially a homophobe" group.
Then, when she gushed her support of McManus to a partially gay audience (he's an amazing person who is such an inspiration to her) she shifted a bit toward the "Possible homophobe" category.
When she refused to answer the call for clarity, refused to distance herself from McManus, and dismissed legitimate concern as "noise" I absolutely moved her to the "homophobe" category.

I would like to point out that the issue that seems to have been missed is that after initially learning about her connection to Mosaic, we all collectively allowed this woman into our living rooms each week.
That WAS her first chance.
Then the dazzlingly stupid promotion of McManus came as chance two.
Now, after the dismissive and rude tweet (chance three), some demand that we AGAIN give her the "benefit of doubt" regarding her beliefs?
How many chances do we have to allow her before you accept that our grievance is legitimate and not the obsession of bored fan-girls?
How long will you continue to ignore facts?
Why do you defend her instead of asking for clarity?

I call BS when I see BS. She associates with a homophobe, she gushes about how that homophobe is an inspiration, and she refuses to do or say anything that may damage her relationship with the homophobe or distance herself from continued inclusion in his church.

Fantastic! Please PROVE me wrong.

Anonymous said...


There is nothing for any of us to use to prove anything..the reason no one from the show has responded beyond short and sweet emails is that there simply isn't an issue here that has existed outside the little bubble of a few hundred fans on social media.

The only facts which anyone has put out there is a 6 year old podcast, one yelp review and the story of a lesbian couple being told they couldn't attend a couples trip. That is it. There simply isn't any way for anyone to prove or disprove anything. Not you, not me, not anyone. The absence of a story, the absence of a real issue, is the reason no one outside this little drama bubble has said a word- they haven't heard about it. It isn't news worthy.

Anonymous said...

A question to all bringing up her friend from GLAAD but specially for Mahlers5th because she brought those tweet. He commented on RS about the "noise" (for me it was a bad choice of words) and said thy are friends. But does he know what was really going on, about was the "noise" about? Did he listen to the sermon and that what people were asking was a confirmation that she doesn't support EM views on homossexuality that she shouldn't bring him in interviews like that one... I not saying she shares EM views above all i belive she doesn't fully understand what the "noise" is really about and that she is a bit naive in the pr department. But even if we make mistakes we should learn from them... So does her friend Omar knows what pople were talking about or he just came in her defense, his friend?

Mahlers5th said...

Anon 3:51am

I have no idea what Omar Sharif really knew about the details of the RS controversy. I do know that in April 2013, he join GLAAD's staff as National Spokesperson and Strategic Giving Officer on GLAAD's Development team, "helping to build relationships with donors and raise vital funds to support GLAAD's work to lead the conversation for LGBT equality." I do know that in his tweeting supporting Rachel, he referenced @GLAAD. Why? I'm not inside his head but it sure seems to imply that as a National Spokesperson for GLAAD, he knows homophobia, and there's nothing here, folks, so move on.
Andrew Martin correctly called on him to clarify whether he wassaying GLAAD endorsed Rachel, and he was forced to acknowledge he was endorsing her as a friend not as a National Spokesperson for GLAAD.

It does illustrate how using one's professional platform to make personal endorsements can confuse readers about what the endorser knows, what he/she is truly saying or implying, and what precisely he/she is actually endorsing.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:39,

Most likely the reason no one from the show has responded is that none of them wish to touch this with a ten foot pole. Likely the lack of thoughtful response indicates others on LG share the same concerns regarding RS's relationship with EM and her flippant Twitter response to the LGBT viewers (and their upporters). As for EA's one tweet about RS, it held as much water as a leaky cup. EA's opinion, or rather her poor empty attempt at damage control, offered nothing. Basically EA said RS is a nice person, and did not address the issue at all. If public support were rendered by AS, ZP, KS, KHR perhaps this would hold a shred of authenticity...so far not one of them has said anything in support of RS regarding this specific issue. Also, the use of the words *drama bubble* is rather condescending. Similar to the use of #fucktard. The use of these terms indicate a complete and utter lack of respect and understanding of the valid concerns that touch the LGBT community. Minimizing LGBT individuals as EM has done must be called out, as should those who praise him. Hardly an issue that encompasses "a few hundred fans".

Mahlers5th said...

"There is nothing for any of us to use to prove anything..the reason no one from the show has responded beyond short and sweet emails is that there simply isn't an issue here that has existed outside the little bubble of a few hundred fans on social media."

But the the thing is Anon 5:47, you and I really have no idea about so many things, including what percentage of LG fans, straight or gay, religious or not, were offended that Rachel gave a shout-out to McManus, unless there was a Gallup poll I missed. ; )

All we know for sure is a homophobic bigot has received quite a lot of free publicity, even if is notoriety! Perhaps that's exactly what he had in mind when he casually asked RS over breakfast one morning, "Hey Rach, only if you find the right moment of course, it would be cool if you could mention the film!" "Happy to!"
[Characters presented in last scene are entirely fictional and any resemblance to actual characters or events is purely intentional].

Anonymous said...

"The only facts which anyone has put out there is a 6 year old podcast, one yelp review and the story of a lesbian couple being told they couldn't attend a couples trip. That is it. There simply isn't any way for anyone to prove or disprove anything. "

I guess you're right. We should wait until he drags a gay person around behind his pickup truck to really decide if he's a homophobe or not.

There isn't a single shred of evidence contradicting all the facts you list above. Not one.

McManus is a homophobe with a poisonous rhetoric. RS is delivering the very people most vulnerable to him, by accident or by design. Facts.

Anonymous said...

Cooperate and understand people who use deliberate language to illustrate LGBT people as sub-human? The subtextual message of describing us as "unnatural" and as filthy disgusting cannibalistic beasts is not exactly the Enigma Code. Dehumanising a group of people, stripping them of that fundamental aspect of self, is absolutely key to the denigrating and abuse of that group of people. It is a very old and very dangerous weapon to invoke against people.

Must I really describe how that lesson has been used to harm people in the past? Really? And were those same people victimised by such foul behaviour also obliged to "cooperate and understand"? Or is that only something that you demand of LGBT people?

McManus knew his audience would not turn from him, just as a pastor in North Carolina recently knew his audience wouldn't call him on his suggestion that we be placed in concentration camps. Their being willing to accept that we are less than human is not something that we should ever bloody cooperate with.


InaiaY said...

It is unfortunate that the initial reaction that Rachel received was hostile. People were rude and mean, as often happens in social media. I wish that hadn't happened because it didn't allow the community to have a reasonable dialogue with Rachel, where she would have the chance to understand why promoting a man like Erwin McManus to her Lost Girl audience was inappropriate.

Is it important that Rachel knows it's inappropriate to promote Erwin McManus to an LGBT audience?

Had we just not responded, understanding that Rachel didn't even understand who it was she was promoting to the Lost Girl audience. Do you think Rachel would continue to talk about Mosaic, and promote Erwin McManus in future interview opportunities?

Because McManus is so much nicer now; he's added some cream to that bitter cup of coffee he was serving up in 2006. I'm sure he voted against Prop 8 and encouraged the members of his congregation to vote against it also.

It really is more important for us to be nice about this because people like Erwin McManus are no longer rallying against our right to equality. Anger is so unattractive, and unproductive. Be polite. You are not as important as they are. You have an opportunity to be kind and gracious. Love begets love. Erwin McManus loves us. He wants to save our shattered souls. Be thankful. You are setting a bad example. You don't have a right to your anger. You haven't suffered nearly as much as others. You're becoming just like them. Even though you are 'less than' them, it is important that you show them how polite you are. Don't forget to say please. Or, better yet:

Don't Speak!


I'm not as important as You.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:39
"The absence of any real issue"
The denigration of a whole group of people isn't a real issue.
RS supporting the man behind that vitriol isn't a real issue.

I really don't think you could have shown your bigoted colors any more clearly if you had tried.

Anonymous said...

Much as I wanted the show to step up and have our back (good grief but have we had theirs quite long enough) I think it's fair to consider that it would almost certainly be unlawful to deny employment based on religious beliefs. On a lay read of the law in Canada this certainly seems true of governmental bodies at a national level - with what appears to be piecemeal province-by-province law covering civil employment (not a lawyer, of course).

I imagine that the show could neither challenge her beliefs, nor censure her for them, as I think that there is a reasonable argument that is unlawful and actionable.

What I did want them to do is name no names but reach out - I had hoped the lesson was learned during the 301 debacle, that, when a minority group (even if some, not all) expresses concern and offence, the right thing to do is offer apology and a hand of friendship, not infer that you know better, and not dismiss out of hand - especially when I think it most reasonable to say that any other denigrated minority could expect a response.


Anonymous said...

I see this as a very nice piece on the essence and reason for free speech.

On a sidenote:
Do wish that Brad Paisley reference would have been a bit more clarified. I clicked the link and got sent to the writer's piece but was left with no sense at all of why the mention of Brad?
This left an impression Brad is an "accidental racist" or worse.
A bit ironic in light of the whole article, it seemed to me.
Not a Brad Paisley fan but I do happen to have seen an interview Brad gave about performing in the White House for a "black" president and he certainly seemed moved in the positive way about that opportunity.

spitfire said...

Are you seeing someone at the moment DS?