Education
12 min

Cloverfield of dreams

Today, there be monsters here:

Did you know that gay people are monsters?  It's true!  And a new website, Silencing Christians, explains how we're out to destroy all that's good in the world, along with a one-hour TV special for which this oppressed minority somehow found the money to buy blocks of airtime on channels across the US.  It's gonna take a lot of "Ugly Betty" to counter that!

In a new photo spread for W magazine, we get to watch Madonna transform into a cougar!  She's putting out fires with gasoline as she seduces sexy model Jesus Luz, who helpfully has his name tattooed on his back so he can be returned to his parents if he gets lost at the mall:

Oh Madonna, we kid because we love but, jokes aside, the real sexual predator story this week is that of 18-year-old Wisconsin high-school student Anthony Stancl, who used Facebook to sexually assault his classmates. No, not "superpoke" — Stancl posed as a girl and collected nude photos from the gullible fellow teens "she" chatted with. Creepier still is that Stancl then used the photos to blackmail at least seven of the boys into having sex with him!

What's even weirder about the story, however, is watching people's reaction to it.  While everyone agrees that the teen's behaviour is monstrous, the comments on this story range from villagers-with-torches to shocked laughter to a grudging admiration at the junior James-Bond-villain tactics on display.  And that's just one gay blog — check out the TV news coverage:

Now I'm not having a 'sympathy for the devil' moment here — this was a slimy scheme — but coverage of this case is annoying because it misses the homophobia at the heart of it.  When a 16-year-old has a nude photo of a boy three years younger, can we truly call it "child pornography?"  And to the judge who calls the case, "the most horrific complaint this court has ever reviewed," I have to ask: Really?  The most?  Are there no murders in Wisconsin?

A culture of homophobia is the unspoken answer to a lot of this.  Why, as the anchor asks, were the boys "so mortified" that they would go along with blackmail?  Why wouldn't they tell someone?  And, aside from dismissing him as a monster, we can ask why Stancl felt the need for such a plan?  Why not make a pass at his classmates directly?  Are we supposed to be shocked that a gay Hispanic teen in the American midwest has emotional problems?

As long as we've been waving our rainbow flags, I've always maintained that the gay rights movement isn't just for gays; it helps straight men too.  With a better discussion around sexuality, these boys would've had a better understanding around the risks of handing over nude photos of themselves, or less blind terror around the idea of having done so.  And if an actual girl had committed these crimes, we know the reactions from everyone involved would've been a lot different — and no doubt less hysterical.  It's all part of my dream of a more sexually rational society.

But maybe, as some of the Queerty commentators suggest, I'm just morally bankrupt in not grabbing my pitchfork. After all, the scariest monster I've seen this week is this one:

What the hell is that thing???