Michael Medved On Homophobia

Ken AshfordSex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

This guy should just stick to reviewing Disney movies.

Recent comments by retired basketball star Tim (“I hate gay people”) Hardaway did serious damage to his image and career but also unwittingly raised serious cultural issues about sexuality and gender.

Homophobia and gay-bashing were cultural issues before Hardaway came along.  In truth, I think the controversy merely allows you to raise some of your anti-gay issues.

Hardaway appropriately apologized for his harsh remarks, but many (if not most) Americans no doubt share his instinctive reluctance to share showers and locker rooms with open homosexuals. That reluctance also explains the controversial Defense Department policy that prevents out-of-the-closet gays from serving in the United States military.

Regardless of what some Americans might think, the reluctance to share showers with homosexuals comes from the irrational fear — and prejudicial myth — that a gay man might rape them (because, in theory, gay men can’t control their urges and are just waiting for you to bend over to pick up the soap).  I suspect that many Americans do share this belief, but only because people like Medved are all to happy to perpetuate a false image of homosexuals.

In the wake of the nearly-universal condemnation of Tim Hardaway’s statements to a radio interviewer, the substantive issue remains. Is it a reasonable for an NBA basketball player (or a soldier in basic training, for that matter) to feel uncomfortable sharing intimate quarters with a homosexual, or does this represent an outrageous, irrational fear?

He didn’t say he was "uncomfortable" — the word he used was "hate".  And I don’t know what locker rooms Medved frequents, but I wouldn’t exactly call them "intimate quarters".

In response to the Hardaway controversy, several sports columnists compared his resistance to the idea of playing alongside gay teammates to the racism of previous years when white players tried to avoid competing with (or against) blacks.

And rightly so.

The analogy is ridiculous, of course. There is no rational basis for discomfort at playing with athletes of another race since science and experience show that human racial differences remain insignificant.

What the fuck does that mean?  Racial differences are insignificant how?  And assuming you identify that metric, why aren’t the sexual orientation differences "insignificant"?

The much better analogy for discomfort at gay teammates involves the widespread (and generally accepted) idea that women and men shouldn’t share locker rooms. Making gay males unwelcome in the intimate circumstances of an NBA team makes just as much sense as making straight males unwelcome in the showers for a women’s team at the WNBA. Most female athletes would prefer not to shower together with men not because they hate males (though some of them no doubt do), but because they hope to avoid the tension, distraction and complication that prove inevitable when issues of sexual attraction (and even arousal) intrude into the arena of competitive sports.

And there we have it.  Straight men don’t want to shower with gay men for the same reason that straight women don’t want to shower with straight men.  Because gay men pray on straight men in much the same way that straight men are the natural sexual predators of straight women.  Apparently.

But wait, it gets worse.

Tim Hardaway (and most of his former NBA teammates) wouldn’t welcome openly gay players into the locker room any more than they’d welcome profoundly unattractive, morbidly obese women. I specify unattractive females because if a young lady is attractive (or, even better, downright “hot”) most guys, very much including the notorious love machines of the National Basketball Association, would probably welcome her joining their showers.  The ill-favored, grossly overweight female is the right counterpart to a gay male because, like the homosexual, she causes discomfort due to the fact that attraction can only operate in one direction. She might well feel drawn to the straight guys with whom she’s grouped, while they feel downright repulsed at the very idea of sex with her.

What a misogynist.  No fat chicks allowed, so no gays either.  We are, after all, only concerned about the heterosexual males’ world.

Hey, here’s an idea.  Why not think of the locker room shower as a place to, you know, wash yourself after a sweaty basketball game, just prior to getting dressed?

I’m simply suggesting that people — and for present purporse, I include NBA players in that group — don’t necessarily have to see every situation as a potential for a "hook up".  In fact, if a person can’t take an after-game shower without making it into a sexual thing, then that person has a problem.

Many gay activists suggest that this near-universal straight male repulsion at the idea of sex with another man is merely the product of cultural conditioning: a learned prejudice that ought to be unlearned.

I don’t know who these gay activists are.  Apparently, Michael doesn’t either.

But shower-obsessed Michael seems to confuse two concepts: one’s personal preference for engaging/not engaging in gay sex versus one’s acceptance (or lack thereof) of homosexuality.  As a straight male, I am repulsed at the idea of me having sex with another man, but that’s far different from having visceral negative reaction to the idea that there are some men out there who have sex with other men.  On that latter subject, I simply do not care. 

Nor frankly, would I particularly care if a gay man happened to find me attractive and checked out my hoo-hah in the shower room.  Really, I don’t.  Being the object of a gay man’s albeit brief attention (assuming, as I do not, that it is likely to happen) does not make me gay, nor does it ruffle me in the least.  In any event, it’s probably a good thing for people like Hardaway to understand what it’s like to be ogled, since he (no doubt) ogles women with the same frequency and glee as this fictional gay man he loathes.

To be honest, I think most men who have a problem with the concept of gay sex — to the point of hatred — are merely fighting some inner demons and tendencies.  Witness Ted Haggard.

This represents the core message of gay pride parades and even the drive for same-sex marriage: an effort to persuade all of society that gay sex is as beautiful as straight sex, and to “cure” men of their visceral disgust at the very thought of what two (or more) male homosexuals do with one another.

Right.  Kind of the black pride parades of the 1960’s.

According to the “enlightened” advocates of gay liberation, this disgust gets to the very essence of “homophobia” – an altogether unjustified fear and distaste for male-on-male physical intimacy. When Hardaway says “I hate gay people” what he suggests at the deepest level is that he feels revolted by the very notion of same-sex eroticism and that he’d prefer not to face the distraction of such thoughts in the locker room or on the court.

Dude, they’re his thoughts and "distractions".  Why should other people be discriminated against, vilified, and (in extreme cases) killed because people like Hardaway’s tiny brain can’t deal with the fact that some men like to have sex with other men?

Do we do this with, say, religion?  Just because devout Christians don’t "get" — or are even repulsed by — the tenets of other religions, do we have separate showers for Jews?  What gives?

In this sense, the reluctance to team (in athletics or the military) with announced homosexuals isn’t bigotry, it’s common sense. The recent “Astronaut Love Triangle” provides a pointed reminder of the way that even disciplined military careerists can be diverted, even ruined, by attraction, eroticism and romance.

And this goes to my earlier point.  If Hardaway’s career is "diverted" because he has to share a locker room with a gay man — if he gets so distracted by this — then I suggest that Hardaway may have some gay issues of his own.

Those who insist that basketball teams or submarine crews must welcome gay recruits must, for the sake of consistency, argue for the same welcome to teammates of the opposite gender.

Fine by me.

That notion – that a male player could, for instance, join a WNBA team without serious problems – shows the way that political correctness now seems to deny the obvious, often overwhelming potency of human sexuality.

In other words, men are misogynist pigs who can’t help the overwhelming potency of their sexuality.  Therefore, we all should just accept it.  Got that, women?  Now get on yer knees and blow us.  And stop this "date rape" shit — you should know that we can’t help ourselves.

Seriously though, it seems that both Hardaway and Medved are longing for the locker room of ye olde days, where manly men could pat each on the butt and snap towels and each other’s private parts.  Yeah, no awkward sexual overtones there, boys.

Those who suggest that a guy could shower with young female athletes without risk of arousal, or that a gay guy could shower with young male athletes with problems or discomfort, don’t merely defy common sense. They ignore human nature.

News flash, Michael.  Everyday in locker rooms all around the country, gay men ARE sharing showers with straight men.  It’s already happening.  And there doesn’t seem to be a huge rash of rapes.

Homophobia and gay hatred may represent the ugly side of human nature, but so does racism.  We certainly don’t stand for racism, so why are you attempting to give a pass to people like Hardaway?

And by the way, whatever happened to "love the sinner, hate the sin"?

On an upbeat related note, Star Trek’s George Takei has a message for Hardaway:

UPDATE:  The Rude Pundit picks up on Medved’s column, too:

To parse the layers of sexual repression and self-loathing in Michael Medved’s latest "column" is to confront the horrible rage of the unfulfilled libido, the unmitigated hatred of hidden desire. See, Medved, who has long been the standard bearer for the "Stop the Fucking" brand of moral conservatism, writes that "Tim Hardaway was right" for when the ex-basketball player spoke of his sad longing to get fucked in the showers by his teammates by talking about how much he hated gay people, calling himself "homophobic." Which means that Hardaway’s a man who’s spent a lot of time naked in showers wondering if other men were looking at his johnson.

It gets ruder from there.

Shakespeare’s Sister adds:

I love the presupposition that fat chicks and gay dudes automatically want to fuck NBA players, and that NBA players are so insecure that even if someone to whom they weren’t attracted was in their vicinity, they couldn’t begin to function. In fact, I just love the entire idea of straight men who are made uncomfortable by the mere presence of someone wanting to fuck them whom they don’t want to fuck. All I can say is that these assholes would crumple if they had to spend a week as a woman, getting chatted up, having their space invaded, being subjected to unwanted touching, and all other manner of unsubtle displays of attraction by, well, them. It’s precisely the kind of drooling, moronic Neanderthals who proffer asinine arguments like this one that have the least compunction about aggressive horniness—which is, I suppose, why they can’t imagine that there exist people who, even if they are attracted to someone, don’t feel compelled to practically hump his or her leg to show it.

LATE UPDATE:  More thoughts from TRex at FDL:

A gay man loose in a locker room could look right at them and it would, what?  Hurt?  Cause them deep, permanent psychological damage?  Decrease their earning potential?  Give them cooties?

Well, welcome to the world of every single stripper you ever tipped a lousy buck, Tim Hardaway.  For women, the entire world is this deadly, dangerous locker room you’re referring to where people look at you and objectify you and don’t give two shits how you feel about it.  But I’m so glad that you understand this now and will never, ever again ogle a woman and make her feel like a piece of meat.

Unless of course, you are gay yourself and this entire intemperate outburst of yours is just an elaborate smoke screen you are throwing up to shield yourself against speculation about your own orientation.  It’s like the classic "gay panic" defense, i.e., "Your honor, he made a pass at me and I was so turned on freaked out by it that, well, I just had to kill him."

I wish I could harness these all-powerful Gay Black Magick super-powers that Right Wingers seem to think are my homosexual birth-right.  I mean, who knew that one closeted gay man in a locker room full of mighty, manly American athletes could pose such a threat to a team’s collective strength on the field?  Ditto the military.  You let one homo through and they’ll gay-ify the whole damn place in nothing flat!