(Community Matters) I asked Kip for his comments on my Brandon Ambrosino posting. As expected, he does have a heart- felt opinion:
|Kip commented on Brandon Ambrosino(Community Matters) I welcome disparate voices in conversations on homosexuality and our equality. And, I certainly trust Ezra …
Since you asked.
I could barely recall where I’d heard Ambrosino’s name, but knew that it was probably on JMG. Indeed, back in January he posted an item about Ambrosino’s vile article “I Wasn’t Born This Way,” which ran in the “New Republic”: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116378/macklemores-same-love-sends-wrong-message-about-being-gay
His ideas are moronic, especially his equating with sexuality with sexual activity–you know, since a homosexual man who isn’t only merely gay but really most sincerely gay could, under the right conditions, perhaps after consuming plenty of alcohol and wearing a blindfold, have sex with a woman, which he would in some sense be choosing to do, being gay isn’t therefore a core part of his identity, but just something he decides to be from time to time. Because he had sex with one woman, once. QED.
Twenty-three-year-olds are allowed to be morons. Whether they should be given a national platform to display their lack of mental rigor to all the world is a different matter. And apart from Ambrosino’s garbled thoughts, his writing style seriously sucks.
John Aravosis has an epic takedown of all things Ambrosino at AmericaBlog; http://americablog.com/2014/01/gay-isnt-choice-bad-journalism.html. Highly recommended.
I’ve never been a big fan of Mr. Klein, and his hiring of Ambrosino (whose work he didn’t bother to read before giving him a job–WTF?) isn’t inclining me to regard him more tenderly. I’ve got plenty to read, and don’t really feel any need to add to the mix the ill-considered ramblings of a twenty-something with identity problems.
We read “I Wasn’t Born This Way,” differently. I read his point as being we shouldn’t rest our calls for equality on whether or not being gay is a choice, that we have the right to choose to be gay.
I think he’s sloppy in his argument about the conflating of civil rights for sexuality as well as race. I like his statement, “Maybe I wasn’t born this way. Now tell me why you think that matters.” I’ve long felt uncomfortable relying on an innateness to justify my right for constitutional equality. If I just want to be queer, even if I could be straight, I expect equality in the eyes of my governments.
Of Brandon’s other writings, I’m most disappointed in the sloppiness of his writing on transgender activism.
As to Ezra Klein, I admit I don’t read him every day, but I have spoken directly with him a few times and have listened to him enough to be impressed and to like him. In a Facebook posting yesterday, Ezra noted, “Contrary to some garbled reports, before hiring Brandon I read a lot of his previous work. Brandon’s past writing was often quite pointed and personal, and not a fit for Vox — and I told him so. The writing fellowship requires a very different approach.”
I think Brandon shows promise. I remember conversations over 25 years when I was Austin’s 2nd HRC board member after Bettie Naylor. A professor from (then) SW Texas State University drove to Austin to talk with me about his concerns when we did achieve equality – how we’d become a less cohesive community, how we’d have less identifiable enemies. I’ve always looked forward to this time, knowing it’d be a nice problem to have. We’re not there yet but closer than any of us imagined 25 years ago.