The quote attributed to me in Cobb’s email came from this blog post. If you read through the post and then see the quote, it will become immediately obvious that the quote is not anti-gay and I am not anti-gay. Most of the article was about my struggles as a queer soldier serving in the military during the debate about “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” my concern for the safety of gay men with the high rate of military rapes, and my conviction that we need more thorough debate and discussion about the implications of new family structures for children. It is clear in that post that I want to frame the discussion not as a gay issue but rather as a children’s issue, and that I wish to criticize gay and straight people equally for offenses against children’s rights.
But in a paragraph, with a sound bite, and an email blast, a scholar’s world can come crashing down. My wife went into labor that afternoon as I stood before 30 of my students struggling to explain to them why they just found out their professor was high on a gay rights organization’s enemy list.
As I rushed to the hospital and tried to put this out of my mind, for the sake of my newborn son, I felt the four corners of the world closing in on me. There seemed no way out of an intellectual trap. Cobb is willing to eradicate the particulars of genre and the mise-en-scène of quotes taken out of context. He is also utterly comfortable engaging in blatant deception, making it seem as though I stated that quote in a country like Uganda at an event organized by the World Congress of Families. The HRC profile on me tells readers that I delivered speeches in Minnesota and France, but then quotes obscure blog posts I wrote as a kind of brainstorming. They refuse to show my actual words from the statements in either place, for readers would see that my tone was temperate and cautious about balancing gay rights with the rights of children.