/* This post originally appeared on my old blog on 30 April 2009. As part of the migration of content from my old blog I may occasionally post them here as a current post if I feel they are relevant. Due the the constant themes / narratives in the Daily Mail old posts often cover ‘new’ Mail articles. */
‘If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.’
The Daily Mail has contained quite a few articles on ‘gays’ recently and the tone, content and spin of the articles is uniformly depressing – whilst the comments underneath the offending articles are shameful. Today’s effort skewers an incident so once again the ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay’ lobby are the aggressors, and the intolerant and bigoted are the victims of some kind of ‘gay agenda’.
It is an idea fomented by – amongst others – Richard Littlejohn; who sees teaching diversity in schools as a mission to ‘peddle’ or ‘force-feed’ ‘gay propaganda’ to children. So, in the world of the Daily Mail the very act of reaching for equality is seen as an act of aggression – in simple terms the gay agenda is not seeking equality but is actually intent on banishing heterosexuality and converting us all to homosexuality.
This article, like many others, pitches a god-fearing Christian teacher against an evil homosexual preaching ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’. The headline, naturally, is designed to raise the blood pressure of any Daily Mail reader: ‘What makes you think it’s natural to be heterosexual?’: Christian teacher suspended over gay rights promotion row.
The basic story is:
A senior teacher has been suspended from his £50,000-a-year job after he complained that a training day for staff was used to promote gay rights. Kwabena Peat, 54, was one of several Christian staff who walked out of the compulsory session at a North London school after an invited speaker questioned why people thought heterosexuality was natural.
Now, this is essentially the crux of the ‘gay rights promotion row’, Sue Sanders appears to have asked a philosophical question: ‘what makes you think it’s natural to be heterosexual?’. Now, without context this does seem to be an odd question, but consider for a moment the question being used as a discussion point, which as this was training, seems likely.
The question seems to be designed to get participants questioning what is ‘natural’ – what does the concept mean and does the concept of natural differ based upon individual perception? The point probably being made is that for a gay person, to them being gay is perfectly natural; consequently, from the perception of a gay person, heterosexuality – for them – would be unnatural.
The important thing to remember is that this is a question, it is not a statement decreeing that heterosexuality is abnormal and homosexuality is normal. However, to properly engage with the question a person needs to be free of the common misconceptions about homosexuality. This is the difficult part for a Daily Mail reader as they are constantly being told that homosexuality is a perversion, a choice made by perverted people (hence the fear of education in schools, tell more people, more will choose to be gay).
Richard Littlejohn – as just one example – has grouped homosexuality with fetishes, and as I said at the time:
He… does not seem to understand that being gay isn’t really a choice. ‘Why a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender month, anyway?’ he argues, ‘Why not a Foot Fetishists, Spankers, Sadists and Masochists History Month?’. Littlejohn lists these fetishes for two main reasons: one; to make Gay, Bisexual or Transgender people sound as perverted as Mail readers assume those who practice those fetishes to be, and two; to make it seem as if being Gay is a behaviour that one can choose not to indulge in – with the implicit assumption that to indulge in such a behaviour is a perversion.
Littlejohn clearly wants to ferment the idea that homosexuality is a perversion and as we all know, a perversion is something considered outside of ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ sexual practice. Therefore, when the notion of what is ‘natural’ is placed in front of a Mail reader, they already harbour a strong prejudice against homosexuality.
Therefore the question allegedly asked by Sue Sanders will be met with horror, as homosexuality has already been labeled unnatural, so in the eyes of the Mail reader the perversion in this instance is the philosophical questioning of why heterosexuality is considered natural.
This is not the only problem with the. The article is also constructed to make the Christian teacher the victim, yet in many ways he seems to be the aggressor:
According to Mr Peat, Ms Sanders, herself a lesbian, said that staff who did not accept that being gay was normal had ‘issues’ they had to deal with.Mr Peat, a history teacher who is also a head of year, said he was upset that people who disagreed on religious grounds had no chance to respond.
He wrote privately to the three staff members who organised the session, complaining about Ms Sanders’ ‘aggressive’ presentation. In his letter, he cited the Bible and warned that practising homosexuals risked God’s ‘wrath’.
But the staff complained to the school’s principal that they felt ‘harassed and intimidated’ by the letter and, after an investigation, Mr Peat was placed on paid leave.
It does not seem unreasonable to state that staff who do not accept homosexuality as normal have issues they need to deal with. As we have already discussed the question asked by Sue Sanders seems a perfectly valid discussion point – that if properly considered by an adult mind helps to tease out why the concept of normality can apply to both heterosexuality and homosexuality. What does seem unreasonable is the response of Mr Peat, the supposed Christian.
You’d have thought a devout Christian would turn the other cheek, be tolerant or do unto others, but instead he preaches violence and intolerance as a perfectly acceptable solution to a problem he has. It seems to be significant that although the Mail claims that Kwabena Peat ‘was one of several Christian staff who walked out of the compulsory session’ this is never elaborated on; whilst what is a fact is that Mr Peat has been suspended after the complaints made against him by staff.
The Daily Mail sets Mr Peat up as the victim, yet the truth seems to show that he is an intolerant Christian being wheeled out as a martyr to the ‘gay agenda’. Not that this seems to have been realised by the majority of commentators on the article:
In answer to Ms Sanders, “What makes you all think that to be heterosexual is natural?” It’s bloody obvious, you’re here on the planet! If it wasn’t normal then the human race would have become extinct as it had failed to reproduce. Or would you even twist science and history around?
Again,the public are being force fed left wing political correctness, just to keep so called minorities ‘happy and in control,’ The scarey part is that they are allowed to be in schools to preach their views!!!!!
– David ex-pat, Perth, Australia, 26/4/2009 4:39
David – he is not alone, but I dare not copy and paste reams and reams of ignorant Mail commentators for the sake of some brevity – again, thinks that normal cannot ever apply to a homosexual. His argument is a biological one: homosexuality doesn’t allow for reproduction, therefore it is not natural. Yet, what he hasn’t the intelligence to consider, is that people are born gay.
It isn’t – as Littlejohn likes to believe – something we can be forced into or converted to by interacting with gay people, or by attending diversity or awareness sessions. Therefore, can it be concluded that as sexual preference is not a result of nurture, it must be the result of nature? This conclusion would mean that homosexuality is perfectly natural and must be biologically determined – making David ex-pat’s argument as bad as his spelling.
The point I am trying to make is that gay people are not making a choice about their sexuality anymore than a straight person is. What equality is trying to achieve is the freedom for a person to be comfortable with whatever biological attraction they are born with. The message that being a homosexual is normal is being delivered because as a society we do not want people wandering around suppressing their nature in fear that they will be victimised or ostracised for simply being who they are.
In particular the issue is important in schools because we want to let children know that whatever they are feeling is OK. If they have an attraction to the same sex they should not feel like a freak, and they should not feel scared. Instead they should be given the opportunity to understand and embrace their biology, embrace what is for them natural and normal. The insidious implications in recent Daily Mail articles that ‘promoting homosexuality’ in schools is damaging children is to deny them their biological right to be happy.
It is assumed by bigots that children would all be happy heterosexuals if they didn’t hear about homosexuality through the ‘gay agenda lobby’, when in fact if they deny their basic urges or desires because they feel uncomfortable expressing them, is surely a recipe for unhappiness.
There is no such thing as a ‘gay agenda’ or ‘gay lobby’ that works on behalf of all gay people. To give gay people one voice is to homogenise, judge and dehumanise them. We are all individuals doing our best to make some sense of the world around us and our own emotions, it makes no difference whether an individual is gay, straight or bisexual.
Unless of course, you read the Daily Mail and other tabloid newspapers.