Monday, December 7, 2009

'Splain dis Luucy...

So, I'm reading the Washington Post today about Meredith Baxter. You know? The mom from that 80s hit, Family Ties. Turns out, she's a Lesbyterian. That isn't much of a news item or really what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is the poll at the end of a related blog entry titled "Coming Out at Mid-life" about Ms. Baxter's coming out.

The WaPo offers the following choices:

A) Yes. She had cultivated such a straight image over the years, I found the news jarring.
B) No. I really don't think other people's sexual orientation is any of my business, so this didn't faze me.
C) Who is Meredith Baxter?

Seems 8% are shocked by this. They're probably the same 8% who make up part of the 10% of the population who are estimated to be GLBTIQ and are all in the closet themselves. Eighteen percent of respondents had no clue who Meredith Baxter is. They were probably born after 1986, so they're forgiven. The remainder--74%--said they don't care one way or the other and they weren't fazed.

If that's the case, folks, then answer me these, please: first, if 74%--nearly 3/4 of those polled--don't care, then why do we still have Don't Ask, Don't Tell? And second, if this is in fact the case, why don't we have equal rights for GLBTIQ citizens and why do we have to keep fighting for basic civil rights? Why don't your poll answers match your voting record or your actions?

If you can answer both of those questions with more than a "Some of my best friends are gay, but NIMBY" answer, I welcome your response.

Photo source: Screen shot from my MacBook.


lacochran said...

I'm thinking maybe WaPo readers skew differently than the country at large. At least, as a WaPo reader, I'd like to think so.

I heard an interesting discussion about getting the GLBT community to identify themselves as such in the upcoming census so that people realize just how large a community really exists--and that it isn't, in their words, only urban males with no kids. Made sense to me. Especially, since no one is linked by name to the results.

Anonymous said...

At first I was going to say, "I'm tired of people who SAY "it doesn't bother me," and then follow up with "as long as they don't...(fill in the blank."

But then I read lacochran's comment and decided that was the right one. Maybe WaPo readers make up a strong liberal demographic.


Anonymous said...

Punctuation sucks when there is a cat on my lap. Sorry 'bout that.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

LA: I agree that the demographic of the WaPo is skewed to be more liberal. The same poll in, say, the Salt Lake Tribune would registered a flip response: 98% shocked and 2% unfazed. (I just about did an exact flip for that demographic, but then realized "It's Utah!" Everyone there knows who Meredith Baxter is, so there'd be no number for the third choice. LOL! But I digress in my bloglet.) Still, even with that being the case, where are these 78% of people when marriage bills are coming up on ballots? Why aren't their numbers overwhelming those who are voting against marriage rights for GLBTIQ? It just doesn't add up...

Phoebe: WaPo readers do make up a pretty liberal bunch, but that still doesn't explain the disparity. Most votes on gay marriage have not been landslide mandates. They've won by a few percentage points: 52-48, for example, in California. With (unscientific) poll results like this, 74-26 should mean there's a wide enough margin for victory, and yet... I don't get it.

P.S. Hug the cat for me. (And by hug, I mean strangle. Just kidding.) ;-)

Cele said...

What I find about the whole Meridith coming out party distrubing is why she had to come out. Because Perez Hilton was going to out her. WTF? I am mad, because what gives him the right? And other than that, who am I to say yea or nae?

Oh and my vote doesn't usually count.

Gilahi said...

Actually, the most shocking thing I read in this whole post is that 74% is "nearly 2/3". My entire worldview has been altered. All that crap I learned in school, right out the door.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Cele: Not to play devil's advocate, but why shouldn't she come out? I mean, on the one hand, you're right. It should be a non-issue and none of us should have to declare ourselves one thing or another. On the other hand, guy's like Perez Hilton who have an agenda--good or bad--shouldn't be the one to dictate what or how someone discloses information about themselves. In the case of Baxter, by beating him to the punch, it becomes a non-news item. If you wait around of Hilton to report it, it becomes some awful scandal. My larger point, though, was why does it seem that people are supportive to GLBTIQ, but when it comes down to voting, the results end up in the negative? I just don't get it.

Gilahi: Hahahahaha! I totally missed that. Fuzzy math. What can I say? Thanks for catching that.

Cele said...

Tewkes I understand your arguement. She hadn't felt she needed to come out to the world that she is a lesbian. My anger is that Hilton made it an issue, he took her privacy away as though it was his right. And yet, Perez Hilton would be the first person to raise issue if someone did the same to him.

My dear friend you are totally right, why should it matter? Why should anyone have to announce? Part of what pisses me off on a larger scale is the amount of people who based their hatred and bias on the Bible - picking and choosing the verses and lessons they chose to follow. I have come to make it a point in my life to tell people who blindly hate and judge others, "How sad for you."

Maya said...

She kinda tripped my gaydar so I wasn't surprised. I am always surprised, however, at these poll results!

Anonymous said...

hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day!