Monday, January 31, 2011

Univision wants to know: Is it OK for a priest to call gays "faggots"?

  • UPDATE 1: I posted this entry at 3:30pm. It's 4:47pm and the page is gone (reader comments remain, though). Univision must know they erred but there's been no apology yet.
  • UPDATE 2: An explanation for the disappearance of the page and the poll. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) got wind of the poll through this blog and asked Univision to remove it ("Problematic poll removed from Univision.com after GLAAD Intervenes" via GLAAD Blog)
Remember last September when those kooky kids at Univision.com wanted to online readers to chime in and say if soccer was compatible with homosexuality?

Well, kiddies, on Tuesday they went one better and posted a new poll asking "Is it correct for a bishop to call gays 'faggots'?".

On the soccer question one of the options they gave readers as a possible answer was "No, soccer is a sport for macho men".

This time they give the following options:

a) Yes, there is freedom of expression
b) No, it's an insult
c) Clergy should not give an opinion on social issues
d) Yes, it is a defense of a religious perspective
e) No, and it should be penalized

The answers here, of course, don't really make sense nor do they matter that much.  Online sites use these "polls" to engage readers and keep them on their page.

The true issue here is why Univision.com deems it fit to keep posting these homophobic polls even after they've been caught red-handed in the past (the soccer poll was quickly pulled within a couple of days after Queerty and After Elton picked up on my post).

Or does Univision feel there is any question whatsoever on whether it's OK to call gays "faggots'? That's one explanation I'd really like to get my hands on.

Background: There IS some background to the poll. I've even got some video:


As the presidential race is heating up in Peru, the issue of civil unions for same-sex couples has jumped to the forefront up with the leading political party in the polls promising that they'll back such unions - as long as it's not marriage.

The Peruvian Catholic Church has been trying to mount an effort to paint same-sex civil unions as marriages in riling against those political candidates who back the measure and are using the same tropes used elsewhere to argue against them.

In this interview, which aired a week ago today, Bishop Luis Bambarén doesn't stray from the script until the end. He says that marriages are between "a man and a woman" and are part of "God's plan" and that any attempt against changing the rules of marriage is an attack on God's plan.  Yada, yada.

If that's all he'd said to reporters, it probably would have been a blip on the media radar.  But, just as he seems to have finish answering the question, the Bishop turns back to the reporters and asks "why is there so much talk of 'gay', 'gay', 'gay'! Let's talk Spanish, in common language [we say] 'faggots'! That's how it's said, right? So let's say it clearly" [jump to the 2:43 mark on the video].

As you might expect, the comments drew immediate international attention and reproach. Australia's Herald Sun picked up on it as well as the Bishop's semi-apology which he released a day later ("Bishop apologizes after gay slur", January 26, 2011).

So, even Bishop Bambarén had apologized by the time Univision posted their most recent poll on their site yesterday.

Shouldn't Univision stop their homophobic polls and apologize as well? We'll see what happens.

Related:
  • Bishop Bambarén's apology, as transmitted on Peruvian radio, here.
    Reactions:

    8 comments:

    NG said...

    Therein lies the problem, huh? I would argue that if our so called english and spanish speaking leadership spent less time manufacturing these fake controversies like chicken and cupcakes, in some cases attacking me, Univision wouldn't be trying constantly to sneak in these homophobic pollings.

    Anonymous said...

    I dont think faggot and maricon is the same... at all!

    Ivan Vargas said...

    Funny... I didn't know Univision was so homophobic, but then again I haven't watched that channel since the mid-90s...

    Interestingly I don't find the use of the word "maricon" offensive. I use it all the time when talking about myself and of gay issues, but that's me. I can see some people being bothered by it the same way a black person would rile against the N word. And of course, Bambaen is not the right person to use the term... but I also can infer that perhaps, since gay is an anglo term and he is most definitely not Anglo, that was what he was referring to.

    NG said...

    The point, I believe, is not the word, because, really, who are we all kidding, but Univision.

    Andrés Duque said...

    @Anonymous : And how, exactly, would you translate 'faggot' to Spanish?

    @Ivan : The issue is definitely about context. I agree with you. Sometimes we appropriate the word 'marica' or 'maricón' in ways that strips it of it's pejorative intent. There is also the issue of regionalism. 'Playo', 'pato' and 'mariposa' are used in other Latin American regions in similar ways as 'fag' is used in the United States. But ultimately these words are used to indicate a man is less manly or more effeminate than another - just as 'faggot' is used to covey the same meaning in the United States.

    In this case, the bishop goes from saying that gays should not be allowed to marry directly to his quip about 'maricón' being the proper word to describe gays. Yes, he indicates that the word 'gay' is an anglicism - and in his apology he tries to say that this is all he meant by it - but he could have as easily said that gays should be called 'homosexuals', which is widely used in Latin America to refer to the gay community.

    Instead, in the context of discussing marriage rights for same-sex couples, he goes straight for 'maricón', which IS generally used to put down gays.

    @NG I still think the point IS the use of the word 'maricón' and I am often surprised by the way some people in our community are willing to give a pass whenever a homophobe uses it. But you are correct. The issue here is also that Univision saw it fit to pick up on the controversy and deem it fit to ask poll takers whether homophobia was in any way kosher.

    Corve DaCosta said...

    No it is not ok...the meaning is never positive

    libhom said...

    I don't think it is the specific word. I think it is the use of any word to describe LGBT people in a derogatory way.

    Anonymous said...

    Is it OK for a priest to call Hispanics "spics"?