You Can’t Sashay Away From Uncomfortable Conversations | Ben Thompson
I don’t watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, despite the widely held belief that gay men fell head over heels for it. I enjoy drag queens on the occasional night out, but I can’t say I’m as in awe of them of some gay men.
That being said, I did come across a clip online that caused quite a stir among fans of the show. It pertained to the comments of actor Jeff Goldblum who had stepped in as a guest judge, to give feedback to the Drag Queen contestants on their outfits.
According to The Hollywood Reporter , the comments came when contestant Jackie Cox (Non-drag name Darius Rose) dressed in ‘a red-striped caftan with a midnight blue hijab outlined with 50 silver stars.’
This was part of the episode’s theme of ‘Stars N Stripes’, and Cox felt this outfit would demonstrate, “You can be Middle Eastern, you can be Muslim and you can still be American.”
After querying about the contestant’s religion, Goldblum remarked, “Is there something in this religion that is anti-homosexuality and anti-woman? Does that complicate the issue? I’m just raising it and thinking out loud and maybe being stupid.”
And for that, Twitter went alight with hundreds of people piling in to criticise Goldblum for being islamophobic.
You read that right.
Goldblum is bigoted because he asked whether Islam is anti-homosexual.
The four mainline schools of Sunni jurisprudence differ on how homosexuality should be dealt with – the Hanafi school of thought argues that the homosexual is punished by beating, whereas the Shafi`i school of thought treats homosexuality as it does adultery and fornication – death if the offender is married, 100 whips if single.
What is agreed on between the schools is that punishment for homosexuality should be severe.
Even among Muslims living in the Western world – often seen to be more moderate – views of homosexuality are pretty dim.
In 2006, the Gay Police Association – a organisation set up to represent gay police officers in the UK – claimed that Muslims were responsible for 25 percent of anti-gay hate crimes in Britain, despite being 2 percent of the population. [‘Gay police group’s “anti-Christian” ad rapped’,Reuters, October 18, 2006.]
Over in the Netherlands, the University of Amsterdam found that in the 201 cases of anti-gay violence that took place in the city in 2007, ‘Muslim youths’ were responsible for two-thirds of incidents reported. [‘Gay-bashers thrive in modern-day Netherlands’, The Toronto Sun, October 10, 2010]
And this isn’t without going into the human rights atrocities committed in Muslim-majority countries, many of which have criminalised homosexuality, and some of which execute homosexuals.
If you were to look at the responses from self-proclaimed progressives on Twitter, you would have thought that Goldblum called the hijab-wearing drag queen a ‘terrorist’ and held up a offensive drawing of Muhammad.
But he all did was ask a question – is Islam ‘anti-gay’? A question to which many Muslims would respond emphatically ‘Yes’, unfortunately.
That does not mean gay people are invalidated as Muslim believers. I’m not a Muslim, it’s not my position to judge somebody’s religiosity.
Nor does it mean that there aren’t many Muslims who are fine and upstanding people – regardless of what they would think of me as a gay man.
But to kick off a backlash based on a reasonable question about a religion’s attitudes towards a minority group is hysteria at its finest.
This demonstrates perfectly why progressives and liberals are going to struggle in the coming years. As Muslims increasingly raise their voices in opposition to LGBT issues – as they did in Birmingham last year, when gay relationships were included on the curriculum of a local school – the left are going to have to make some hard decisions.
Do they side with the persecuted gays, who are far more likely to suffer violence at the hands of a homophobic Muslim than the other way around, or will they bury their hands in the sand?
Goldblum committed the ultimate crime in left-wing circles – he raised a uncomfortable question. The left would rather tell bedtime stories to the issues going on around the world, and tell you that it’ll all go away with a few diversity courses.
But the reality is uncomfortable as it is stark – Islam is broadly hostile towards gay people. And we should talk about it.
Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr.