Friday, December 7, 2012

Does Hunter Walker's Response To LGBTQ Critics Reveals Heterosexism ?

Does Hunter Walker's response to LGBTQ critics reveals that he's a heterosexist in denial ?

Following a barrage of comments questioning the motivations and competency of Hunter Walker's article, Mr. Walker posted an inadequate response to his critics. Consider firstly how Mr. Walker claims that he wrote his story about Ms. McCray as a "political figure in her own right," but notice how Ms. McCray was subjugated as "Bill de Blasio's wife" in the original article's headline. Secondly, Mr. Walker avoids expressing any arguments as to why Ms. McCray's exploration of her sexual orientation should be political news in respect of the 2013 mayoral race. How did he intend to use "news" about Ms. McCray's sexual orientation ? What was his purpose to focus so much attention on Ms. McCray's marriage to Mr. de Blasio ? What do you think ?

Mr. Walker criticises the de Blasio-McCray marriage because of Ms. McCray's lesbian writings, but Mr. Walker never explains what kind of conforming wife a lesbian should be, to make her suitable for marriage ? Do you think that Mr. Walker comes across as a heterosexist in denial ?

From : "The Lesbian Past of Bill de Blasio's Wife" :

This article has generated many responses, including from some who have suggested it was inappropriate to cover this or that I have displayed a misunderstanding of human sexuality and the fluidity of sexual identity. One of the main issues raised by those who were not pleased with this story is that it is somehow not newsworthy and/or that family members of politicians should be "off limits."

There is no question in my mind that this story is news. Ms. McCray is a political figure in her own right. She is a top advisor on her husband's campaign, regularly speaks at his events, has taken a leading role on many political initiatives with him and writes regularly on the campaign site. Additionally, both Ms. McCray and Mr. de Blasio regularly write political columns together and have given several interviews about political aspects of their personal life. She has chosen to be a public, prominent figure on his campaign and in the New York City political world in general.

Furthermore, this story is not about digging into her private life. As outlined in this article Ms. McCray's past life as a lesbian involved being a fairly prominent lesbian activist. As this story notes, Combahee River Collective was a landmark group. It is incredibly interesting that Ms. McCray and her husband's campaign have (rather actively) omitted mentioning this aspect of her past including the characterization of the CRC as simply a "feminist" group. I do not think there is any question that identifying the past activism of a prominent political figure is news. It adds to her biography and raises interesting questions about why she and her husband's campaign have strenuously avoided noting this part of her past.

Critics of this story have cited the sentence where I said, "It is unclear how she transitioned from a self-described lesbian who was confident that she 'had always been more attracted to women, both emotionally and physically, than to men' to a political wife in a heterosexual marriage." It has been suggested that this displays some fundamental misunderstanding of the fact that people's sexual identities are often subject to change. That is not the case at all. Most people have evolving and individual concepts of their sexuality. I would have loved to discuss this with Ms. McCray and to have heard about how her identity evolved directly from her. I made many attempts to do this and would still be very interested in a conversation. Without speaking to Ms. McCray, making any definitive statements or assumptions about the evolution of her sexual identity would not have been respecting the fluid and changing nature of human sexuality. It would have been the exact opposite.

Lastly, and I debated whether to even dignify this with a response and give it further attention, some people have suggested this article is somehow "shaming" Ms. McCray and/or criticizing her and her husband. I defy anyone to point to any passages here that imply in any way that there is anything wrong about being homosexual. Those who would suggest that pointing her past activism and self-identification out is somehow "shaming" her are the ones implying being gay is something to be ashamed of, not me.

Many dissenting messages were also delivered to Mr. Walker via Twitter. Check out his @hunterw Twitter feed for the period of December 5-7, 2012.

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