For example, for me, a woman to say I am uncomfortable around men is fine, but for me a white person to say the same thing about oh, any race, would make me a racist, but they are both prejudiced views.
From July 14, 2009's post by Jamie Royce on Stuff Queer People Need to Know
This reminds me of something else that's been eating away at me recently. There was a story recently in the news about a controversial jury decision regarding the killing of a gay man, Terrance Hauser, in Illinois by his neighbor, Joseph Biedermann. Biedermannn claims that, while at Hauser's house for a drink, Hauser sexually assaulted and physically threatened him with a 14 inch blade. Biedermann, supposedly in self defense, stabbed Hauser 61 times in various places. (Read the full story here)
The controversy lies in the alleged "gay panic defense" that Biedermann and his lawyer used to get Biedermann acquitted of first-degree murder. People are pissed because this guy is getting away with murder based on the jury's inherent homophobia.
Normally, I'd be all over this shit. "Get the motherfucker and string him up like a pinata!" But some other people's comments have made me rethink everything...
Let's change the situation from Joseph Biedermann to Joanne Biedermann. Joanne goes to her neighbor Terrance's house for a drink and she is sexually assaulted and physically threatened with a 14-inch blade by him. Joanne, in her panic and violation, stabs the shit out of Hauser. She is later acquitted of first degree murder.
How did that story make you feel? Because it kind of made me want to shake Joanne's hand, and then I got a little nauseous because I realized I was being a sexist prick.
I'm not saying that Biedermann's story is true. There are many loopholes in his story. But, also, if it was Joanne's story, I wouldn't say she made it up at all, and I don't think many others would, either. We'd all shake our heads at the depravity of Man and give Joanne a gold star for sticking up for herself. But since Joseph Biedermann is Joseph Biedermann, we call him a homophobic, homicidal inbred.
This says many a thing about our conceptions, perceptions, and the ramifications of gender.
1.) Joanne Biedermann's story tugs at our heart strings only because she is a woman. Therefore, she MUST be a victim. Joseph Biedermann is a MAN, and clearly, men are NEVER victims of sexual violence.
2.) Joanne, as a woman, must be weak, vulnerable, and, apparently, incapable of holding her liquor. "That poor girl," we say, "Just trying to be a friendly neighbor and look what happens." Joseph, as a REAL MAN, should know better than to drink himself under the table.
3.) Joanne is also unable to control herself and her emotions get the best of her. Clearly, in her rage, confusion, and violation, she couldn't stop herself from mutilating her attacker's body. Joseph is able to be logical and should have incapacitated Hauser, then picked up the phone and called 911 to help him survive. Men are never overtaken by their emotions. Men don't even have emotions.
4.) Terrance Hauser, as a supposedly gay man, is clearly the victim because he is a gay man who's been killed by a straight man. Because gay men are incapable of being sexual predators. Clearly, possessing an attraction to other men automatically absolves you from being capable of committing a crime, especially against a straight man.
Did Biedermann make it all up to get out of being found guilty of a hate crime? I don't know. As Michael Rowe put it, "Only two people know what really happened in that apartment on Hassell Road in Hoffman Estates." One of them is dead, and we already know what the other has said.
The point I'm trying to make here, while I ramble like a fucking lunatic, is that there are so many more ramifications and implications of gender than just who holds the door on the way into the library. Just changing the gender of the defendant in a murder trial changes the way we think about it. Changing the variable from the color of someone's skin to the organ they have between their legs automatically changes prejudiced hate speech to a statement of safety and precaution.
I'm all for fucking political correctness, but maybe we need to step back and realize when we're being prejudiced and we don't even realize it.