Bill Taylor put together this collection of old anti-gay propaganda to educate and entertain. It’s easy to laugh, and in fact that’s part of the point: laughter is the best medicine, and celebrating how far we’ve come is part of Gay Pride. But it’s also important to learn how our enemies think, and what they tell people about us. David C Jones (in one of the many, many introductory speeches) pointed out that Evil wins too often because Good is dumb. Sorry, no, I meant because Evil is organised; Evil hates and fears and is authority-driven, while Good is just out to do good and have fun. Proposition 8 passed in California because of big money and lies propagated in part by the Mormon Church and NOM and a lot of people weren’t worried because, hey, it’s California! Likewise, few expected the Conservatives to get a majority, and now look at us.
Plus, we need to remember that these movies are still being made today. The lines have probably shifted a bit—I haven’t seen any recent anti-gay movie, but I bet they go on against same-sex marriage more than the evils of homo sex per se—but the message hasn’t changed.
Apparently all homosexuals in the 50’s/60’s wear suits and have little creepy thin mustaches. This infomercial lays out the horrifying truth about how homos prey on good wholesome sports-playing American boys, and they (the boys) need to beware: don’t get in strangers’ cars, don’t accept gifts, don’t spend time with creepy guys without your parents’ permission, etc… It’s as deadly-earnest as you’d expect from a short of that era.
And hey, Boys Beware is available on YouTube!
Soapy The Germ Fighter
Equally old, this one features a boy who’s worried that excessive washing-up will make him a sissy. A talking bar of soap appears to him in a dream telling him that washing up isn’t sissy, cowboys totally do it, and goes on a bit about germs and why it’s important to fight them. This cutesy film is in the same vein as the old educational shorts shown on MST3K, like A Case Of Spring Fever. It’s not anti-gay, though, except insofar as sissiness is perceived as a valid fear.
Highlight 1: the soundtrack from The Nutcracker.
Highlight 2: Soapy recommends that women wash their hair at least every two weeks. But that part is (IIRC) because shampoos were very harsh and damaged the hair. Hence the need for perms.
Fast-forward to 1981, and the touching tale (adapted from a book) of a boy who wants a doll for his birthday. Amidst the horrible acting and clunky writing, there’s actually a nice message here: dolls aren’t just girls’ toys, it’s okay for boys to express affection too, and the final scene shows that doll-playing isn’t turning William into a “sissy,” because he’s just as happy playing football and digging up dirt with his Tonka™ truck.
Which makes me wonder why this movie was included, since it’s not anti-gay at all. Mind you, I wouldn’t call it pro-gay, but it’s definitely pro-flexible-gender-roles.
Highlight: The toy train scene, where I’m pretty sure I saw some old Star Wars action figures (Greedo, especially, caught my eye). Ah, that brought me back, I totally played with them back in the day.
Perversion For Profit
Back to the 60’s now, with a deadly serious short going on (with pictures!) about how pornography is ruining the moral fiber of our country. And by “our country” I mean of course “America”. To be fair, this film features equal-opportunity fearmongering, giving equal time to girlie, S/M and physique mags.
Highlight 1: those hilarious little taped bars, blotting out eyes, nipples, asses and crotches of the models.
Highlight 2: the porn industry is controlled by Communism.
The Gay Agenda
This film was done in 1992 by some anti-gay group in California (I think), and so can’t be dismissed so easily. It features a couple of talking heads discussing oh so calmly why sexual orientation shouldn’t be a protected status under the law, because it’s a choice and gays are a health hazard, the latter backed up with all sorts of statistics: 95% of homosexuals have enjoyed fellatio, 92% anal sex, 35% have done fisting… Honestly, I forget the exact numbers, I’m making it up as I go along. Just like them.
Also, just to shock those decent church-going viewers, shots from Pride parades. You know the drill: half-naked men humping each other, topless women, leather doms dragging their slaves on a leash, dildo-wearing drag nuns, juxtaposed with pictures of kids at those parades. One little girl looked cranky and crying; Gawd knows what the audience was thinking when they saw her.
In addition we get to hear from a couple of “ex-gays”: what’s interesting is that both these guys are young, pretty and a little flaming, though obviously toning it down, while the stats-spouting talking heads look like regular straight guys. I didn’t realize it at first, but just like the parade scenes, this is designed to visually push buttons with the audience: at best, the producers wanted guys who looked stereotypically gay enough so that the audience would buy their story. At worst, it implies that ex-gays are still not really straight, and no matter what they do or say they can’t be considered normal.
Highlight: one of the “ex-gays” getting just a bit too excited when talking about bathhouses. You can bet that got a laugh from the audience.
Out of these five movies, three are gold, exactly what I signed up for. Two are not. They’re funny and cheesy as all hell, yes, but they’re not anti-gay by any stretch of the imagination. And while googling this show, I found references to a couple of other anti-gay shorts that for some reason were not shown tonight: Neurotic Behavior—A Psychodynamic View (via Hummingbird604), and Red Light, Green Light: Meeting Strangers (mentioned on the event’s Facebook page, and viewable online here). I wish we’d gotten the chance to see those.