2 min

Left behind

It must be hard knowing you're on the losing side

You have to feel for Kari Simpson. It must be tough knowing you’re on the wrong side of history.

By her own admission, her latest anti-gay campaign, this time targeting Out in Schools, has yet to gain any real traction outside her own fringe circle of ultra-conservative followers.

Out in Schools hasn’t lost any tangible support as a result of Simpson’s strident opposition. Telus didn’t pull its funding, despite a half-hearted attempt to distance itself by pushing its gay-friendly subsidiary Caya to the forefront as Out in Schools’ corporate patron saint. (Which Caya already was, so no change there.)

The invitations to bring gay-friendly films to schools around the Lower Mainland haven’t dried up, despite the efforts of Vancouver school trustee Ken Denike, who somehow saw fit to jump on Simpson’s bandwagon. (Fortunately, enough educators still see the value in teaching students to embrace difference and challenge homophobia.)

Vancouver police seem less than keen to investigate Simpson’s allegations of fraud and obscenity, despite the complaint she filed last month. On her new Culture Guard website, Simpson says the officer she spoke to gave little indication that her complaint would be energetically pursued.

I can’t imagine why not. Surely shrill accusations that a well-respected anti-bullying program is really a front for immersing innocent children in “homosexist politics and pornography” would be investigated with gusto?

Sure, if this were 40, 30, even 15 years ago.

But now? Face it, Kari: your position is no longer persuasive to most Canadians. You’re clinging to an outdated moral code, flailing against a tide of change that’s leaving you and your few remaining followers behind.

Which is not to say that homophobia has been vanquished; obviously not, as the latest gaybashing makes clear. But when even the most conservative commentator on disowns your position, you know that you’ve moved beyond mainstream discomfort with homosexuality into a distant, discredited fringe.

“She is NOT a true conservative,” Ron commented below our Sept 14 story on Simpson’s accusations. “She’s a nobody just trying to promote her lame webcast.”

The timing of her latest self-promotion hardly seems coincidental. What better way to launch Culture Guard than with a loud attack? Simpson boasts that, since filing the complaint, the site has attracted thousands of hits.

Is this simply an opportunistic move on her part, then? (You’ve got to wonder what opportunities she expects to materialize.) Or is she genuinely concerned about the children she claims to want to protect, about the culture she says she wants to guard?

Simpson formed Culture Guard because she believes the Ministry of Children and Families is out of control, that education is at a “complete level of chaos,” that courts are unclear on the law, and that there’s a “huge movement of civil revolution across the nation.”

She’s not completely wrong. We are witnessing a revolution of changing attitudes, of increasing willingness to grant at least some gay people access to society. And that’s got to be hard for people like Simpson to swallow, assuming she believes her own rhetoric. I wouldn’t blame her for feeling threatened.

“There is a moral and ethical question in all of this,” retired teacher Ben Seebaran said on Simpson’s radio show. “Society has evolved in such a way that those who do not subscribe to the view that gay marriages or differences in sexual orientations are quite acceptable, are made to feel less of a human being.”

This is a moral question, I agree. Just as the black civil rights movement changed the rules of what is and isn’t acceptable for racism, the gay rights movement is shifting norms in Canada. And with that comes a message to those who won’t evolve: your outdated morals are no longer acceptable, and we will teach your kids the new norms.

I can only imagine how scary and infuriating it is to be judged wrong and left behind, especially if you’re convinced that everyone else is deluded. I’d be screaming shrilly, too.