I got the following comment yesterday on the Gay Men post:
Having looked at a number of your posts, John, it seems to me that you are very interested in men, their bodies, and their sexuality. Over and above your clear bigotry toward gay folk exhibited in this post, I seen a strong desire on your part to become more involved in the gay world. I encourage you to stop hiding your desires and just be the person you truly want to be.
The comment is interesting on two levels. First, the commenter is almost undoubtedly a gay guy, yet the most scathing insult he could come up with was to accuse me of being gay.
And second was his use of the word "bigotry." If you take a look at the original post, what I did was describe the atmosphere at a Club Med as busloads of gay guys arrived and categorize the different types I observed. (They did come in several distinct flavors.)
Merriam-Webster.com gives the following definition of "bigot:"
: a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)
Does that make me a bigot? I certainly don't hate gays, or refuse to accept them as part of society; and I had gay friends long before the movement gained mainstream acceptance. I simply described a group of guys the way they were. I've always had an interest in how people differ
Why is a simple statement of facts called bigotry these days?
It seems to me that to show true bigotry, or prejudice, would be something more along the lines of me meeting a really tough guy who happens to be gay, and saying, oh no, he couldn't be tough, he's gay! That would be prejudice -- I would have pre-judged him, erroneously, based on his sexuality. But if I, say, pointed out that after climbing Mt. Everest without an oxygen tank he then spent a lot of time in gay bars, I would merely be pointing out a fact.
Are the facts themselves bigoted?
It's similar to today's conversation on race. It used to be that racism referred to judging a person based on his race. Todays definition has expanded to judging a race by its people, i.e., noticing differences. To do the former is unfair, but to not do the latter is simply ostrich-like. But today, if you merely cite a statistic on racial variations on IQ or crime, you are a racist.
It seems to me that most everybody observes human differences, but nobody feels free to comment on them, even when they impinge on public policy.
I seem to be one of the few people rude enough to admit to noticing such differences.
I will not admit, however, to what the commenter accused me of.