The video was embedded in a post by Paul Canning called "Jan Moir is a Heterosexist." If Canning and I were to follow the advice of the video above, we would write things like:
- Jan Moir's column was heterosexist (or homophobic, depending on your take).
- Jan Moir's column adopts a heteronormative (or homophobic, depending on your take) approach to gay rights.
- Jan Moir's argument promotes homophobic (or bigoted, depending on your take) attitudes toward gay rights.
Nope, I'm going with the old "Jan Moir is a bigot" approach. It's not that I think the advice in the above video is wrong; it's just that Moir followed up the bigoted assumptions espoused in the column in question with an Official Statement that rejects the notion that the piece espoused bigoted assumptions. Here's her statement, in full:
Some people, particularly in the gay community, have been upset by my article about the sad death of Boyzone member Stephen Gately. This was never my intention. Stephen, as I pointed out in the article was a charming and sweet man who entertained millions.
However, the point of my column-which, I wonder how many of the people complaining have fully read - was to suggest that, in my honest opinion, his death raises many unanswered questions. That was all. Yes, anyone can die at anytime of anything. However, it seems unlikely to me that what took place in the hours immediately preceding Gately's death - out all evening at a nightclub, taking illegal substances, bringing a stranger back to the flat, getting intimate with that stranger - did not have a bearing on his death. At the very least, it could have exacerbated an underlying medical condition.
The entire matter of his sudden death seemed to have been handled with undue haste when lessons could have been learned. On this subject, one very important point. When I wrote that 'he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine', I was referring to the drugs and the casual invitation extended to a stranger. Not to the fact of his homosexuality. In writing that 'it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships' I was suggesting that civil partnerships - the introduction of which I am on the record in supporting - have proved just to be as problematic as marriages.
In what is clearly a heavily orchestrated internet campaign I think it is mischievous in the extreme to suggest that my article has homophobic and bigoted undertones.
Mischievous in the extreme? Really? Let's return to the scene of the crime, where Moir writes:
Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.
Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately's last night raise troubling questions about what happened.
It is important that the truth comes out about the exact circumstances of his strange and lonely death.
Ok, so let's be clear on the association Moir is making here: The only thing that these three men have in common is that all engaged in relationships with men. Michael was arrested for public indecency; McGee, after a long struggle with depression and addiction, committed suicide; and Gately was in an apparently happy relationship with his husband, Andrew Cowles.
And, by the way, it's not at all clear what the death of McGee has to do with Gately's death, though for some reason Moir thinks the two events together "raise troubling questions about what happened" on the night that Gately died.
What the hell does the suicide of a young gay celebrity have to do with the death, apparently of natural causes, of another young gay celebrity?
Moir's column was homophobic; but her defense of the column, when a public mea culpa would have been the appropriate action of someone who--as she herself declares--has in the past publicly supported civil partnerships, takes things one step farther. Her column presents a bigoted argument; and her follow-up self-defense presents her as the bigot she is.
- Jan Moir is heterosexist (or homophobic, depending on your take).
- Jan Moir is heteronormative (or homophobic, depending on your take) about gay rights.
- Jan Moir promotes homophobic (or bigoted, depending on your take) attitudes toward gay rights.