TV talk show host and comedian, Ellen DeGeneres has uninvited gospel singer and preacher, Kim Burrell after a video of a controversial anti – gay sermon went viral. Burrrell was meant to perform with Pharell Williams. She confirmed the cancellation of Burrell’s invitation on Twitter:
Degeneres can have whoever she wants on her show. She can invite – or not invite – anyone she pleases. In one way, you can understand why she did it. To come out so publicly must be real hard, also, considering the backlash she received afterwards. Since then, she’s been a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community, especially gay youth. She spoke out after a number of LGBT teens committed suicide in 2010, one of which was Tyler Clementi, who took his own life after a video of him kissing another man went viral.
Degeneres isn’t the only one who’ve refused anti – LGBTQ people a platform. In fact, it seems to be common for the mainstream LGBTQ community and supporters to silence opponents, or at least give them less space/ advertising to spout their views. Australia has seen a similar phenomenon. In 2015, channels 7 and 10 refused to air an advertisement by conservative group Marriage Alliance. Controversially, the same year, SBS pulled an anti same – sex marriage advertisement from Australian Marriage Forum during the airing of the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Channels 7 and 9 ran the advertisement. SBS copped criticism from MPs and a commentator.
More recently, publisher Connor Court refused to publish a book by Australian Marriage Forum’s Dr. van Gend, which argued against same – sex parenting. To me, this goes too far. Why couldn’t Connor Court publish it, have it on shelves, have it read by prominent commentators and have it discussed on “The Morning Show”, “The Project” and “Studio 10”, etc. I doubt that any of the hosts on those shows would agree with the content, to be honest, but what’s the harm of them expressing that and offering a chance for the public to respond? The only exception I would put is if van Gend deliberately went out of his way to vilify the LGBTQ community. That should be off limits, period. Other than that, this is only a bad look for same – sex marriage supporters and the LGBTQ+ community.
Late last year, I listened to Mia Freedman’s podcasts where she aimed to “burst her bubble” and contact people who had a different ideological outlook to her. This was after the U.S. Election and the announcement that Donald Trump would be the next President of the United States. Throughout a number of the podcasts, Freedman expressed how she had to stand back and not read or expose herself to anything about the U.S. Election because of how it affected her emotionally. I get that. In the context of same – sex marriage, it is a very hard – hitting and emotional debate for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Sometimes, you need to sit back and not read or listen to anything about that topic. I felt that way a bit last year, actually. But generally, I think we – the LGBTQ+ community and supporters, need to let other people speak and be heard. We should be willing to challenge false assumptions if need be. Listen to people’s concerns about issues like freedom of religion and freedom of speech. To be honest, I think they are topics that need to be talked about properly and maturely. Confront and argue against absurd misconceptions. But banning speech, airtime, etc from same – sex marriage opponents is not going to win any hearts. In fact, I think it’ll do the opposite.
I’m not saying agree. I’m not saying that we should sit back and let ourselves get abused by others. All I’m saying is let others speak. And be willing to challenge. At least then, if, or when, same – sex marriage is legal in Australia, the other side can say that it was a fair fight and, hopefully, the LGBTQ+ community can continue gaining acceptance without backlash.
What do you think?