Last week, a coalition of 25 groups urged the Big 12 conference, which is looking to expand its current roster of 10 member schools, not to allow Brigham Young University to join because of the Utah school’s bigotry toward LGBT students. Among other things, BYU suspends or expels students who are openly gay and is exempt from Utah’s LGBT non-discrimination laws.
Maybe there’s an argument to be made that BYU is a private school, so its faith-based policies should have no bearing on its Big 12 application. Maybe you could convince me of that.
But conservative columnist Neal Larson didn’t make that case. Instead, he sees this whole controversy as overreach by LGBT activists who are basically trying to take over the world with their radical agenda. His essay was published in the Idaho State Journal:
… this [LGBT] lobby is all for promoting tolerance, inclusion, and diversity — as long as it includes a back alley beating of the noncompliant. I wonder if the LGBT lobby would back down if BYU promises to use separate drinking fountains, or ride in the back of the bus en route to their games.
The top radical leaders of the LGBT sector have become what they said all along they hated and fought against: bigoted thuggish cultural bullies.
What the hell…?
I have no idea where his hate is coming from. But it’s neither bigoted nor thuggish to say BYU should treat openly LGBT students the same way the school does straight ones. No one wants “separate but equal” facilities and no one wants straight people to suffer, physically or otherwise, as a result.
The LGBT community — true victims for so long — raced right past “equality” and in some circles is enjoying a status now of supremacy. Any group that seeks to interrupt business practices, college athletic conference membership, military service, Hollywood movie casting, grade school curricula, public bathroom use policies, and every other avenue of significant endeavor — with the politics of sexual identity and attraction — you can bet, is not seeking to be mere equals. After all, nobody goes into a contest aiming for a tie.
How the hell is asking for fair treatment a call for gay “supremacy”? This is the flip side of the argument we often hear from Christian conservatives: Their religion deserves special rights, and anyone who calls for religious neutrality is really out to persecute Christians. LGBT people want equal rights and it’s a bridge too far.
So what does Larson think LGBT people want?
Perhaps we have different definitions of equality. We had assumed they meant equals in just the present era. Instead, they possibly meant historical equals — getting even. They don’t, personally, want to be equal. They want the SCORE to be equal.
They just want the same opportunities as everyone else without having to look over their shoulders to see if their own university is going to expel them for being “out” athletes. That’s what this conversation is about. Even beyond the university setting, they don’t want to be punished because of who they love. Why is that so hard to understand?
Larson says all this, by the way, as someone who freely admits he doesn’t know too many LGBT people:
I won’t lie and say I have “lots” of gay friends. I have a few, and they are for the most part genuine, caring, and kind, even if we disagree. I’m guessing that many gays quietly cringe at the incessant tempestuous demands made by their most vocal national surrogates.
He guesses wrong. You won’t find many LGBT people or allies cringing at a request not to reward a school that openly discriminates against them.
Larson doesn’t get why LGBT people can’t just deal with a bit of discrimination:
I ask genuinely, what is so important about making sure every last square millimeter of mainstream culture is overtly gay friendly?…
Because the goddamn alternative has always been a culture that’s hostile to gay people. I welcome the day when we no longer care about someone’s sexual orientation, but we’re obviously not there yet. Too many people think there’s something wrong with any family that doesn’t look like a 1950s sitcom. Until they’re willing to let go of their bigotry, the rest of us will work to create a culture of acceptance.
The Big 12 hasn’t announced whether or not it’ll accept BYU, but they should absolutely consider what saying yes would mean for a large number of students and athletes who stand to be punished for being out of the closet.
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