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Why is A Voice for Men giving a platform to one of Canada’s leading opponents of gay and lesbian rights? [UPDATED with AVFM response]

 

Gay marriage isn't a men's right, according to AVFM conference speaker Anne Cools
Gay marriage isn’t a men’s right, according to AVFM conference speaker Anne Cools

A Voice for Men likes to present itself as a voice for gay men as well as straight ones. In a recent post, site founder and chief fulminator Paul Elam declared that

We regard men as human beings, regardless of their sexuality. And most of us feel that this is the salve that heals what has in recent history been inflicted on gay men.

No mention of lesbians, but of course they’re women, and Elam does not seem to like women very much.

AVFM managing editor Dean Esmay, meanwhile, likes to present himself as a champion not only of gay men but of lesbians as well, boasting in one recent tweet that “I have been lesbian-supporting since the ’80s.”

So why is AVFM giving a platform to one of Canada’s most influential opponents of same-sex marriage  — and gay and lesbian rights in general?

Canadian Senator Anne Cools, one of the scheduled speakers at AVFM’s upcoming “Men’s Issues” conference in Detroit, has been a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage for decades.

Her objection? That only heterosexual marriage deserves legal protection because gay people can’t make babies – at least not with each other – thus making their interest in sex all about lust.

In a speech before the Canadian senate, she argued that

The public interest in marriage is reproduction, the continuation of the species, the offspring. There is no public interest in sex or the gratification of sexual impulses for their own sake. …

[L]ust, like all human passions, is not to be trusted. Lust and sex on their own have no public character and contain no public interest or public good. Marriage is about man and woman in a peculiar act of bringing forth offspring.

Never mind that plenty of stright couples don’t, or can’t, have kids. Or that some trans men can.

She’s not simply an opponent of same-sex marriage. Cools has consistently opposed other legislation designed to afford gays and lesbians the same basic rights as straight people — and the same legal protections as other victims of bigotry and discrimination.

She opposed adding “sexual orientation” to hate speech legislation, warning that doing so would expose “millions of Canadians…who hold moral opinions about sexuality, to criminal prosecution.” (Needless to say, the passage of the bill in question did not lead to millions of Canadians being rounded up and arrested.)

She also worried that adding “sexual orientation” to hate speech legislation would somehow – I don’t quite understand the logic – encourage the “depathologizing the paraphilias” and ultimately lead to children being “seduced” into dangerous sexual activities. Here’s her argument:

The fact of the matter is, honourable senators, that we discourage children from smoking cigarettes because tobacco is harmful. I would submit that we are talking about some sexual activities that are dangerous and life-threatening. The committee should have the moral courage to hear something of it. I have lost a lot of beloved friends to a variety of these conditions. I have made it my business to instruct myself. That is the first question. You can think about that.

Ms. Landolt, your concern that the term “sexual orientation” is so wide as to involve a wide range of sexual behaviours is well founded. I would like to put on the record here for this committee a document called the Journal of Homosexuality, particularly, volume 20 in 1990. The subject of the entire volume is pedophilia and male intergenerational intimacy, historical, social, psychological and legal perspectives. If you were to open up this text, the foreword is the debate on pedophilia, and the second article is “Man-Boy Relationships: Different Concepts for a Diversity of Phenomena.” It continues with “Pederasty Among Primitives and Institutionalized Initiation.”

She continued:

I want to know about these children out there and the impact that this is having on them, and, in addition to that, all of these children who are being seduced at youthful ages and who are discovering what is happening to them two or three years later. I have done a lot of counselling. I would like to get a greater picture of the problems out there for children on these grounds, because this sexual orientation debate is going on here as though children do not exist.

She also tried to raise the question of “the medical consequences to individuals who involve themselves in activities such as ‘rimming,’ … sado-masochism and so on.”

In explaining her opposition to adding sexual orientation ito the Canadian Human Rights Act, she offered a similar “slippery slope” argument:

The concern is that pederasts and paedophiles will advance claims to engage in adult/child sexual relationships as a matter of human rights; that claims will be advanced on the legal grounds that pederasty and paedophilia are sexual orientations having entitlements.

For more on her various backwards views, as well as the source of that last quote, see here.

On Twitter, I asked Esmay to explain why AVFM is providing a platform for a woman who opposes same-sex marriage. He hasn’t replied.

Another curious Twitterer asked the same question of Janet Bloomfield, the official spokeswoman for the upcoming AVFM conference. She handled the question with her usual (lack of) aplomb.

Alex McKenzie ‏@anArchaeopteryx 3h  @JudgyBitch1 The issue here is that there's a speaker at your conference who is against the rights of gay men. And you're PR, so I ask why.      Reply     Retweet     Favorite  JanetBloomfield ‏@JudgyBitch1 3h  @anArchaeopteryx Her views on shared custody are more relevant. We include a diverse array of speakers with different views @avoiceformen      Reply     Retweet     1 Favorite  Alex McKenzie ‏@anArchaeopteryx 3h  @JudgyBitch1 at a conference for <<men>>      Reply     Retweet     Favorite  JanetBloomfield ‏@JudgyBitch1 3h  @anArchaeopteryx That is not for you to decide @AVoiceForMen @deanesmay Discussion closed. Further tweets will be considered harassment

Apparently AVFM’s much vaunted “compassion for men and boys” doesn’t apply to gay men who want the same basic rights as straight men.

For more on AVFM’s tolerance of homophobia – and Elam’s notorious attack on one trans women, see here.

EDIT: After I put this post up, I decided to see if I might have better luck at getting answers from Bloomfield on Twitter. The conversation went about as well as could be expected. Remember, Bloomfield is AVFM’s offical “social media” spokeswoman for the conference.

 David Futrelle ‏@DavidFutrelle  @JudgyBitch1 Why is AVFM providing a platform for one of Canada's most influential opposents of gay rights? http://wp.me/p17cYK-3bW       Reply     Delete     Favorite  12:23 PM - 19 Jun 2014 Tweet text Reply to @JudgyBitch1       JanetBloomfield ‏@JudgyBitch1 20m      @DavidFutrelle Because she also one of Canada's most influential supporters of children and father's rights after divorce.     Details         Reply         Retweet         Favorite     David Futrelle ‏@DavidFutrelle 19m      @JudgyBitch1 So the fact that she's been actively campaigning against gay and lesbian rights for decades doesn't bother you at all?     Details         Reply         Retweet         1 Favorite         Delete     JanetBloomfield ‏@JudgyBitch1 15m      @DavidFutrelle I vigorously denounce the anti-gay rights agenda. I don't have to agree with 100% of her beliefs. She cares for men and boys     Details         Reply         Retweet         Favorite     David Futrelle ‏@DavidFutrelle 13m      @JudgyBitch1 If you denounce her agenda, will you publicly denounce her for pushing this agenda? If not, why not?     Details         Reply         Retweet         1 Favorite         Delete     David Futrelle ‏@DavidFutrelle 11m      @JudgyBitch1 If you don't want to be seen as endorsing her agenda, put out a statement explicitly denouncing her for supporting this agenda     Details         Reply         Retweet         Favorite         Delete     JanetBloomfield ‏@JudgyBitch1 11m      @DavidFutrelle You think Twitter is private? Of course I would, I know how to criticize respectfully. Don't always choose to though.     Details         Reply         Retweet         Favorite     David Futrelle ‏@DavidFutrelle 10m      @JudgyBitch1 Is she being paid for speaking at your conference, or being provided with lodging, transportation expenses, and so on?     Details         Reply         Retweet         Favorite         Delete     JanetBloomfield ‏@JudgyBitch1 9m      @DavidFutrelle None of your business @avoiceformen @deanesmay     Details         Reply         Retweet         Favorite     JanetBloomfield ‏@JudgyBitch1 9m      @DavidFutrelle You do not get a say.     Details         Reply         Retweet         Favorite     David Futrelle ‏@DavidFutrelle 9m      @JudgyBitch1 Well, let's hear you specifically, and officially, repudiate her for supporting a bigoted agenda.     Details         Reply         Retweet         1 Favorite         Delete     JanetBloomfield ‏@JudgyBitch1 8m      @DavidFutrelle I do not take orders from you. I don't take orders from anyone, actually.     Details         Reply         Retweet         Favorite     David Futrelle ‏@DavidFutrelle 7m      @JudgyBitch1 That's not the issue.The issue is whether AVFM supports Cools and her anti-gay agenda.If it doesn't, you should probably say so     Details         Reply         Retweet         1 Favorite         Delete     JanetBloomfield ‏@JudgyBitch1 6m      @DavidFutrelle This issue is closed. Any further tweets will be taken as harassment and you will be blocked.dfjb2dfjb3

I didn’t see her comment about harassment until after I tweeted a couple more times.

David Futrelle ‏@DavidFutrelle 15m  @JudgyBitch1 I'm not issuing orders.But if you don't want people to think AVFM supports her bigoted anti-gay agenda,you should repudiate her Details      Reply     Retweet     Favorite     Delete  David Futrelle ‏@DavidFutrelle 14m  @JudgyBitch1 Or at the very least issue a statement officially saying that AVFM opposes her anti-gay agenda. Details      Reply     Retweet     Favorite     Delete  JanetBloomfield ‏@JudgyBitch1 14m  @DavidFutrelle Go write a column about it, David. Get us even more press. We could use Canadian coverage. And good-bye. You were warned. Details      Reply     Retweet     Favorite  David Futrelle ‏@DavidFutrelle 13m  @JudgyBitch1 Would you have a racist speak at your conference if he or she supported your position on some other issue?

Some more bang-up public relations work from Ms. Bloomfield here.

 

504 Comments
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Howard Bannister
7 years ago

@ Howard Bannister – I think to compare a black senator to a KKK member is somewhat obtuse, no ?

Offensive, not obtuse.

But you were the one who made the comparison, not me.

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

@Howard Bannister – there was another woody here ?! ha. well I always use a colour suffix. and I only use a small number avatar pics. mostly foxes.

Howard Bannister
7 years ago

@woodyred

Yeah, that’s why you’re getting a number of suspicious comments. (and did I say a few weeks? He’d been batting around for quite a while, actually. See here: https://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/2013/10/18/paul-elam-of-a-voice-for-men-in-his-own-words/comment-page-8/#comments if you want to see some of his writing style and commentary mode)

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

@ Howard Bannister – ha. well I agree with Woody there. but its not me, no. his or her writing style is very flat and nondescript. mine, for all its flaws, is more … varied.

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

@Howard Bannister – I commented on .. the mankind story… cant be bothered to find my comments to link to though.

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

@ Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III – lol. okay, I participated – ha. if you wont give me ‘engage’ – at least acknowledge my participation.

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

I suspect she is merely a traditionalist with regards to marriage. traditionalism and homosexuality rarely mix very well.

You think that a “traditionalist” who doesn’t “mix well”‘ with queer people could somehow not be a homophobe. Spare us all.

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
7 years ago

First time people get participation awards before. First time I’ve seen someone brag about it.

Also: If the AVfM gives a platform to someone who is on record as opposing the rights of certain men, doesn’t that suggest that their goals are hypocritical at best and an utter sham at worst?

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
7 years ago

Should read “I’ve seen people get participation awards before. First time I’ve seen someone brag about it.”

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

@ Viscaria – a reality. I presume your in America or Canada. you guys still argue over this stuff – Im in Europe. Not such an issue here. Abortion is accepted, civil partnerships are accepted. The wars on these issues are largely done and dusted here – and will not be visited again.

Howard Bannister
7 years ago

Im in Europe. Not such an issue here.

Which European nations have laws marking homosexual acts or propaganda as illegal? Remind me.

The wars on these issues are largely done and dusted here – and will not be visited again.

Right, because reactionary-right parties aren’t popping up everywhere screaming.

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

@Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III – tell me what the distinction is between ‘engage’ and ‘participate’ please.

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

@ Viscaria – a reality. I presume your in America or Canada. you guys still argue over this stuff – Im in Europe. Not such an issue here. Abortion is accepted, civil partnerships are accepted. The wars on these issues are largely done and dusted here – and will not be visited again.

What part of this has anything to do with anything I have said.

(FTR I’m in Canada, if that’s somehow helpful for you.)

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

@Howard Bannister – Russia ? they aint really part of Europe though … before we continue – how do you do that quote thing ?

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
7 years ago

@ woodyred — I think you just demonstrated the difference yourself.

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

@Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III – I come here initially to discuss gender issues – I stay here for the pedantry and poorly executed attempts at humor. ha

Fibinachi
7 years ago

you want to do a <blockquote> and </blockquote>

ends up with

and

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

Also I don’t want to be all “Canada is a haven for LGBT+ people!!1!” because I’m a bisexual person living here and I know that’s not true, and I also know there’s been a lot of political changes since 2005. But… equal marriage has been legal here longer than it has been throughout most of Europe. So I don’t really get your “we’re so much more evolved here” tone. >.>

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

@ Fibinachi – nice one, thanks ♥

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

@auggziliary – Freeze peach ? Freeze peach …? Freeze peach … oh free-speech .. i get it. very good, yeah. thanks for ‘engaging’ – you have added another layer of depth to this discussion, yeah.

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III
7 years ago

I come here initially to discuss gender issues – I stay here for the pedantry and poorly executed attempts at humor. ha

Cool. BTW, if the AVfM gives a platform to someone who is on record as opposing the rights of certain men, doesn’t that suggest that their goals are hypocritical at best and an utter sham at worst?

brooked
7 years ago

Actually the question of gay marriage is not the best gauge for homophobia because it’s arguably only been a debated issue for ~20 years. It was used in the 1990s by conservatives as a devisive wedge issue to rally social conservatives and only gained substantial positive support after CA’s Proposition 8 passed in 2008. There are people who are pro-gay rights that had trouble wrapping their brain around gay marriage, especially if they were middle-aged when the issue first came up. My dad was one, he was weirded out by it and only has become comfortable with it in the last few years.

Yes, the fact that Cools is a politician who actively battles against gay marriage is bad, but not unique among conservatives. The problem is when she takes her shitty traditionalism to full-on homophobic hate with her argument that gays shouldn’t be protected by hate speech because that would promote homosexuality which is a terrible thing to do because pedophillia. Seriously, why are people harping on her gay marriage stance when it’s with her “gays are pedophiles that rape kids and turn them gay” crap where she’s a complete horror show and a dangerous bigot. Like most raging homophobes, she uses the gay pedophilia shit to denounce gay parenting and to even suggest that any broad acceptance of homosexuality at all is socially destructive.

I want to know about these children out there and the impact that this is having on them, and, in addition to that, all of these children who are being seduced at youthful ages and who are discovering what is happening to them two or three years later. I have done a lot of counselling. I would like to get a greater picture of the problems out there for children on these grounds, because this sexual orientation debate is going on here as though children do not exist.

Sure lady, your demonization of gays, particular the male anal sex kind, and shameless attempt to paint them all as pedophiles is just “a greater picture of the problems out there for children”.

TL; DR Cools opposition to gay marriage is a bummer, but not uncommon. However, she should be denounced as a toxic homophobic bigot because she argues that gays are preditory pedophiles that shouldn’t be allowed to marry, raise children or receive any legal protections including hate laws. In fact she is really arguing that gays shouldn’t be granted any public social acceptance in general and is an extremist even when compared to other conservatives.

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

okay Im gonna try this quote thing …

Cool. BTW, if the AVfM gives a platform to someone who is on record as opposing the rights of certain men, doesn’t that suggest that their goals are hypocritical at best and an utter sham at worst?

The AVFM platform does not discriminate against any men – regardless of their sexuality – and no homophobic views will be expressed during the entire conference, I can assure you of that. if you have a problem with one of the speakers – fine.

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

lol – I f**ked it up.

woodyred
woodyred
7 years ago

oh – no – it worked. Im an idiot.

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