Anger Grows at Ezra Klein for Hiring Gay Writer Who Fuels the Animus of Anti-Gay Conservatives

Yesterday, we reported that Ezra Klein had hired writer Brandon Ambrosino, described by Americablog as a "Falwell-loving, gay-bashing gay" to write for his news and policy site Vox.com. You may recall that back in January we reported on Ambrosino's article, “I Wasn't Born This Way. I Choose to Be Gay”:

B_ambrosinoIn the article, Ambrosino never actually says that he chose to be gay. Rather, he conflates sexual activity with sexual identity, saying that “ I’ve convinced a few men to try out my sexuality." By this thinking, people “choose to be gay” only when they engage in gay sex. He later applies this thinking to transgender people too, suggesting that trans people exercise “sexual autonomy” when they follow their own modes of gender expression.

Previously Ambrosino has written articles about his experiences being gay at Liberty University (see photo with Jerry Falwell), an article on how opposing gay marriage doesn’t make you a bigot, a piece suggesting that we shouldn’t silence anti-equality celebrities and an MLK-Day column on how gay activists should try listening to and loving their enemies more.

Many LGBT bloggers have refuted Ambrosino’s piece, including a comprehensive take-down by Evan Hurst at Truth Wins Out comparing Ambrosino’s rhetoric to that of anti-gay advocates, a critique by John Aravosis suggesting that Ambrosino needs to get current with Martin Luther King’s legacy, and Noah Michelson's at Gay Voices which says electroconvulsive therapy, exorcisms and “corrective rape" all stem from the idea that people can un-choose their sexual and gender identities.

KleinKlein commented on the hiring today in an interview with Gabriel Arana at The American Prospect, saying he hadn't even read his writing when he hired him:

So the big question: Why has a string of editors, culminating with Klein, given this guy a platform? In an interview on Wednesday evening, Klein told me he hadn't read the pieces that had kicked up so much dust before bringing Ambrosino on but did so once he began facing criticism for the hire. “I don’t want to pretend that I have the context and the background to perfectly or authoritatively judge this debate," Klein said. "But when I read his pieces, I didn’t come away with the impression that he holds an iota of homophobia.”

“Homophobia”—which activists too often use as shorthand to describe anti-gay views that don’t necessarily stem from fear—may be the wrong word for it. But even a cursory read through Ambrosino's writings should raise red flags. Klein, though, seems mystified by the blowback. He acknowledges that he is new to the process of staffing an enterprise like Vox. “I gotta be honest,” he said. “With a lot of this stuff, I’m trying to figure out what success means.”

The pick has media folks scratching their heads and others outraged. Media Matters noted that anti-gay conservatives have chosen Ambrosino as their guy:

Ambrosino's gay contrarianism has won him a loyal base of right-wing fans – including Glenn Beck, Breitbart News, and TownHall.com – all of whom have lauded Ambrosino's work. It's not difficult to discern why. In repeatedly depicting the LGBT community as the real problem, Ambrosino offers the anti-LGBT right the reassuring message that they aren't doing anything wrong. And when they want to defend comparisons of gay people with mass murderers and child molesters, anti-gay conservatives have a gay writer they can hide behind to shield themselves from accusations of bigotry.

Andrew Sullivan comes to Ambrosino's defense:

He’s just got a gig as a writing fellow at Vox, for Pete’s sake. Give him time and some mentoring and editing (which is presumably what such a fellowship is for), and his 23-year-old talent might indeed go on to become more thoughtful and nuanced. And why would these harrumphing lefties want to stop that?

Could it be because they don’t actually want to continue the dialogue with people of faith, but rather seek to leverage the growing majority in favor of gay equality to rhetorically bludgeon the “bigots” into submission, to create a world in which they call the shots the way homophobes used to? Could it be that they enjoy policing the discourse now that they seem in the majority? This latest surge of gay intolerance needs to be beaten back as forcefully as the anti-gay right’s cornered animus. It’s particularly brutal when that intolerance is directed at a young gay writer whose work and life are being trashed as somehow illegitimate. If anything is anti-gay in this kerfuffle, that is.

But Michelangelo Signorile pretty accurately summed up the predominant feeling:

Comments

  1. anon says

    This is the bisexual vs gay debate writ large. Bisexual men can choose their sex partners like they choose their gym shorts, but gay men cannot, and so any bi guy going around talking about how he choose to sleep with the mailman instead of the milkmaid will no doubt get conservatives excited, but they shouldn’t, because he’s the exception, not the rule. As a rule, however, AS is an idiot.

  2. Daniel` says

    Just wow. Go ahead and fuel the neocon victim mentality. Look how horribly we’re treating a member of our own community just because he has vocal opinions that are at odds with the prevailing politically correct talking points.

    Most of the vilification I see directed at Mr. Ambrosino comes from a constituency that has already lost its legitimacy to represent the full spectrum of queer identity. Consider that many of us Millenials either agree or are sympathetic to his views.

    Quashing dissent and smearing the character of those with whom we disagree is an awful choice, and vindicates those who would paint us as bullies bent on conformity.

  3. Ryan says

    Ezra Klein is a tool. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It should surprise no one that he hired a tool just like him.

    Klein’s job is to try to use psuedo-intellectualism to justify “third way” neo liberal BS policy, so it’s par for the course that he’d hire the guy who’s doing the same thing for the right wing on gay rights.

    What “contrarian” will Klein hire next? A pretend socialist who thinks Goldman Sachs is taxed too high?

  4. oncemorewithfeeling says

    I’ve always thought Klein was an idiot and never once understood his appeal. That he would hire an idiot is no surprise to me at all.

    I was never going to have anything to do with this new enterprise, anyway, so I can’t say they’ve lost a reader — but I sure hope he loses a great deal of the ones he might have had, otherwise.

  5. Martin says

    I’m usually delighted by polemic bad-asses but given the nature, or should I say struggle, of the global struggle for LGBT equality, this seems rather self-serving. Great publicity though.

  6. Ricky says

    Daniel – Truth is a legal defense against libel – no one is smearing Ambrosino – his inexplicable narcissistic self-loathing is not a gay character trait – it is his — and definitely Andrew Sullivan’s – and has nothing to do with their sexuality though everything to do wit the fact that they will never be as attractive, as desired, as wanted as their inexhaustible vanity desperately cries out for.

    Ambrosino is not qualified to write a grocery list — anymore than the sad bear that is Sullivan is qualified to speak to any gay man about equality, dignity, or decency – since he knows nothing of the three.

    Here is a clue that you and Sullivan seem too dim-witted to see – Klein did not even bother to read Ambrosino before hiring him – which tells you all you need to know about how Klein really feels about LGBT issues.

  7. chevytexas says

    While I agree nobody pontificates as well as a 23 year old, and we hope his ego forms around a sense of inclusion eventually, who the hell is Andrew Sullivan – this kid’s archetype if ever there was one – to point that out? He’s no longer that blowhard and yet he hasn’t improved so who will temper and educate this young prick? Ezra Klein is the metrosexual version of this overhyped kid, so where’s the surprise? Nobody thought E was hiring Barney Frank, did they? Being oversure of your own popularity isn’t limited to straights.

  8. moz's says

    Klein’s statement of his desire for “diversity” would logically also mean he should hire KKK members and neo-nazis

    all for “diversity”

    If he was smart klein would have said it was an underlings hiring mistake and nix the guy, but that route is now closed with klein defending the choice

  9. Ben says

    It’s long seemed to me that Sullivan’s weakest spot is he cannot wrap his brain around the idea that conservatives don’t think gays are people. Period.

  10. Kev C says

    Instead of hiring a rational right-wing counter to liberal gay clones, they hire a flaming stereotype of all they oppose, a repellant to corral liberals, a strawman to tear down, a clown to laugh at.

  11. James says

    I’d have been more inclined to cut Klein a break if he’d said he made a conscious decision to include Ambrosino’s voice, but to say he hadn’t even read the kid’s stuff seems more than a little lazy, to say nothing of odd and insulting. Big fail.

  12. Tatts says

    How do I get a job where I’m hired with no review of my work? No cursory Internet check? No vetting?

    How clueless is Ezra Klein, and how did he get where he is with so little common sense? How did he get this possibly high-profile project funded with nobody looking over his shoulder?

    It seems that the press–especially what passes for Internet press–will hire anyone these days.

  13. Daniel` says

    “Bisexual men can choose their sex partners like they choose their gym shorts”

    “As a rule, however, AS is an idiot.”

    “Andrew Sullivan is mentally ill.”

    “Ezra Klein is a tool. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It should surprise no one that he hired a tool just like him.”

    “I’ve always thought Klein was an idiot”

    “Why hire Ambrosino when Rush Limbaugh, Ted Cruz, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are already filling the anti-gay, bigot position so well??”

    “Give the kid a break. Maybe he gives good blowjobs.”

    “his inexplicable narcissistic self-loathing is not a gay character trait – it is his — and definitely Andrew Sullivan’s – and has nothing to do with their sexuality though everything to do wit the fact that they will never be as attractive, as desired, as wanted as their inexhaustible vanity desperately cries out for.”

    “Ambrosino is not qualified to write a grocery list — anymore than the sad bear that is Sullivan is qualified to speak to any gay man about equality, dignity, or decency – since he knows nothing of the three.

    Here is a clue that you and Sullivan seem too dim-witted to see”

    “Klein’s statement of his desire for “diversity” would logically also mean he should hire KKK members and neo-nazis”

    “a flaming stereotype of all they oppose, a repellant to corral liberals, a strawman to tear down, a clown to laugh at.”

  14. says

    @Ricky
    Nailed it. Unread. Hired for clicks.

    @Martin
    Neither AS or BA are capable of taking off the blinders. It’s the primary conservative hindrance. They can’t see beyond selves to realize that their words resonate today to a global community. AS will always be an apologist for those that do him harm. Lately he’s become vindictive for being called out for it.

    Controversy sells. Ezra Klein want to be the next Roger Ailes. Or at the very least Briebart. He doesn’t even pretend that it’s about ethics in politics or quality of journalism.

  15. Daniel` says

    ^^My exact point. Not one valid data point, not one rationally reasoned rebuttal, absolutely no open debate.

    In under 20 comments, I identified over fifteen specific insults, ranging from implying Klein’s homophobia or at least apathy towards queer issues to insisting that Sullivan’s and Ambrosino’s moderately conservative point of views prove their “self-loathing”. One comment even feels the need to demean me personally – without a single rebuttal to my “dim-witted” point.

    Vitriol and hate are not exclusive to the homophobes.

  16. Hansel Currywurst says

    I know it’s fashionable to feign ignorance of something one would only know from the interwebs, but I’ve really never heard of vox.com and if this is an indication of how they staff whatever-it-is then I guess I’ll remain ignorant. Maybe they should call it pox.com instead.

  17. Eugene says

    @Daniel

    Some things should be hated. And homophobia – internalized or not – is among them. Calling it “moderately conservative” only demonstrates your true attitude. Ambrosino’s views have been discussed before so there’s no need to do it again.

  18. Daniel` says

    Again, Eugene, I am calling for rational discourse. Sullivan is indeed a moderate conservative, by any measure of the word. He’s hardly Breitbart or Limbaugh, and is to the left of Douthat – if you’re using pundits as a guide. I take exception to your view that my objective view of the alleged self-loathing homophobes somehow provides a window on my personal attitudes.

    Have any of you read the articles in question? Even Sullivan criticized the article that did indeed conflate sexual choice with sexual identity. I’ve read all of the articles and I disagree with many, if not most of Ambrosino’s points. However, how many of us could write detailed, nuanced explorations of human sexuality at 23?

    I think that this conformist, Us vs. Them attitude only hinders us. Yes, the queer community has been subjected to millenia of hatred and violence, but maybe we COULD indeed learn from the man who never said a single word about queer people, and turn the other cheek.

  19. EchtKultig says

    Mistake? We now know Ezra Klein – who I’ve thought for years was overrated – is starting a website. Good job. That’s all he cared about. Publicity.

    Also, love how just when things can’t seem more ridiculous, ambulance chaser/political whore/media-gadfly-wannabe Andrew Sullivan chimes in.

  20. says

    @Daniel
    ‘However, how many of us could write detailed, nuanced explorations of human sexuality at 23?’

    You’ve pretty much summed up the arguments right here. What possible journalistic reason would Klein have to hire BA without ever reading his work? That’s right. It’s not about journalism Daniel. It’s about exploitation of a very marginalized viewpoint in an attempt to give any form of credence to conservative arguments for their ‘religious liberty’ argument. And web clicks.

  21. Eugene says

    @Daniel

    What I think provides a window on your personal attitudes is the way you categorize their views as “conservative”. It’s hard not to interpret it as “acceptably homophobic” – no one disagrees with their views just because they’re conservative.

    And if Ambrosino can’t write detailed, nuanced explorations of human sexuality – well, maybe he shouldn’t write them. More importantly, he should realize it. His articles can be harmful – and him being gay makes them more harmful.

  22. EchtKultig says

    And to expand a bit, we’re still at the stage where we _can be_ “concern trolled” to promote some arrogant DC talking head’s website. Of course he knew Ambrosino’s angle – what the heck else is Ambrosino known for, besides being a self-hating gay? But he couldn’t hire, for example, a black who thinks all African Americans should move back to Africa, or be sterilized if they commit crimes, or any other reactionary nonsense because that really would be beyond the pale. But baiting the gay community for clicks? Still fair game. I guess we might have a decade or so more of such doucheyness before Ambrosino’s pathetic nonsense will seem as ar$e-backwards as the examples I listed.

  23. Ricky says

    Daniel – For those of us who have worked hard, gotten educations, are from loving families, have careers, have lives, and are hardworking patriotic gay Americans — we do not have to accept anything – ever – regarding who thinks that he can define the gay experience for all of us. I am not sure when Americans like Brandon lost all sense of place and remembering theirs – but that needs to stop. The common and boorish will always remain the common and boorish – and nothing about being a gay American means we EVER have to quietly accept them – ever, period.

    Brandon’s right to tell other gays what it means to be gay in America NEVER EXISTED – he is not my equal – he is an unaccomplished, self-loathing, petty, ignorant bore – which has nothing to do with his sexuality and everything to do simply with him.

    Ezra Klein’s indifference to a legitimate gay voice does NOT mean the rest of us have to stay silent.

  24. says

    Know why George Will felt he could write about ‘sore winners’? Because he was armed by Andrew Sullivan to do so. As he is doing now AS lambasted ‘liberals’ for standing against the Arizona religious liberty bill. ‘We won marriage equality so we should just all try to get along now.’ We should allow the Christians some avenue of face saving by allowing a little legal bigotry. In his mind this is the voice that should matter. Marriage equlaity is the end of it. He includes himself in that ‘WE’ as though he’s been fighting conservatives like Reagan and Bush (who he voted for and championed) right along with the liberals he now wants to crucify as the real intolerants. How would his message resonate to the kid in Texas that gets his head bashed into the lockers EVERY fu*king day at school because he has two Moms. Or to the two young men hung in Iran. Or the ones gunned down in Yemen. Or Michael Morones. Did marriage equality solve their struggles?

    AS should be thanking his lucky stars that we liberals fought this battle so that he and BA can have the platforms they do today.

    You’re welcome AS. Now please just go away. Take your self serving holier than thou opinions on our equality battle to CPAC. That’s your audience.

    Learn one lesson from this BA. Don’t be a whore for those who would oppress you but for your willingness to be a useful tool.

  25. Daniel says

    @Boom!

    That is exactly the point that should be made in this debate, as opposed to defamation.

    @Eugene

    It’s hard for me to even entertain the idea that Andrew Sullivan is an internalized homophobe. Do you have any citations that would back up that claim?

    I used conservative as a reference to American conservatism in the Burkean sense, not as a whitewash for specific statements or arguments that may be specious or erroneous.

    Saying Ambrosino shouldn’t share his views in the public forum because of alleged harm is what is usually referred to as censorship. The free exchange of ideas is the entire reason that the gay rights and marriage equality movements have prospered in this country and in those societies that permit pluralistic societies.

    Quashing dissent, maligning those who disagree with you, and attempting to silence those voices – regardless of ideology – is the opposite of pluralism and an open public forum.

    I am not defending Ambrosino’s individual views, not am I an apologist for the many things I disagree about with Sullivan. However, the tone and hostility in our community towards those who do not share mainstream views only hands ammunition to those who who demean and malign us.

    Reasoned, pluralistic discourse is the only way this country will move beyond its current polarization and discord.

  26. Just_a_guy says

    I can’t speak to someone’s whole body of work, but my preliminary sense is that this Ambrosino character is well-meaning if possibly having a negative effect; appearing to seek truth unless he is keeping himself from it.

    What strikes me the most bothersome with him is his naive idealism to trust the right-wing that anyone who REALLY knew much about their history or how they have dehumanized gay people would NEVER do.

    Also, Daniel, I hear some of your thoughts, and will posit that Ambrosino is very much a period writer; he is perhaps a George Washington Carver of gays, appealing briefly to one confused generation of gays (then blacks) that WANTS to find some way to wear ALL of their burdens as ALL their OWN with straight (then white) people carrying ZERO responsibility or need for accounting.

    Heck, for a more favorable comparison than uncle-tom gwc, I think the great W.E.B. DuBois had moments when he wanted to find a way to really follow and find hope in this sort of non-tragic surface nativity. But Ambrosino has TONS of maturing to do to earn this last too kind comparison. For instance, Ambrosino would need to actually stand up for the lgbtqa community, which I haven’t seen him do.

    As a side note–and perhaps mostly for you, Daniel–I copy below a passage from which one could objectively trace my observations above about Ambrosino’s possibly too-naive attitudes:

    “Then Raushenbush hauled out a familiar argument: “Let’s just be very clear here —if you are against marriage equality you are anti-gay. Done.”

    As a gay man, I found myself disappointed with this definition—that anyone with any sort of moral reservations about gay marriage is by definition anti-gay. If Raushenbush is right, then that means my parents are anti-gay, many of my religious friends (of all faiths) are anti-gay, the Pope is anti-gay, and—yes, we’ll go here—first-century, Jewish theologian Jesus is anti-gay. That’s despite the fact that while some religious people don’t support gay marriage in a sacramental sense, many of them are in favor of same-sex civil unions and full rights for the parties involved. To be sure, most gay people, myself included, won’t be satisfied until our loving, monogamous relationships are graced with the word “marriage.” But it’s important to recall that many religious individuals do support strong civil rights for the gay members of their communities.”

    My response to Ambrosino here: yes, I’m sorry, your Mom and Dad probably haven’t loved you like they should because they have implicitly mistreated you based on your sexuality (gay or bi) and you should probably work through that trauma. But may you are just in the denial stage, Mr. Ambrosino?

  27. Daniel says

    @Ricky – firstly, implying that I or others are lazy, uneducated, bottom-feeders from broken families undermines any point you’re trying to make. This is the attitude that concerns me in our community.

    How does Ambrosino NOT have a right to try and define the “gay experience”? Isn’t that exactly what you are doing by rejecting views other than your own?

  28. Eugene says

    I see Sullivan’s attitude towards the anti-gay side of religion as a sign of internalized homophobia. This is what he shares with Ambrosino (see above), this is why he defends Ambrosino. Sullivan is all about gay marriage – except when he’s writing about his beloved Catholic church – then it doesn’t matter anymore.

  29. Eugene says

    @Daniel
    “Saying Ambrosino shouldn’t share his views in the public forum…”

    No one’s saying that. He can start a blog. But elevating him higher is something should be done responsibly, like with any other prejudice – racism , antisemitism etc.

  30. jeff says

    ” However, how many of us could write detailed, nuanced explorations of human sexuality at 23?”

    I would answer that simply. None of us. Including Ambrosino. His writing is poorly conceived, his POVs naive and excessively contrarian. Immature, even if bold, is still immature. Poor choice. Poor writer. Poor editor.

  31. says

    @Daniel
    ‘Reasoned, pluralistic discourse is the only way this country will move beyond its current polarization and discord.’

    Did AS’s article lambasting ‘liberals’ as the intolerant bigots strike you as reasoned discourse? Are you writing to tell him that?

    I applaud you to the stars for your request. Truly. From my heart. A blog of honest discourse without racism, misogyny, and defamation would be highly welcomed. But as you asked of Ricky above … who gets to decide what voice is qualified? One of the reasons Andy doesn’t change the comments format here is because it’s one site where there are absolutely no restrictions (short of a few swear words) in what you can say. That’s the price of true free speech in America.

    While I would welcome such a site I have to say that decades of activism has shown me that respectful debate of positions is rarely achieved. Those who would oppress us are not looking for discourse. They are professionals that make a living selling our oppression. They are looking only for ammunition of any sort that can be used to further their stance. We don’t win them over. We win over their prospective clients.

  32. Eugene says

    @Daniel

    That’s just pathetic sophistry. A “positive case” why marriage should be limited to straight couples is still a negative case against gay marriage. It just sounds nicer.

    He also seems to be saying that, if he’s loyal to the church, how can the church be hateful? Well, it can.

  33. Ricky says

    Daniel – You seem – well, confused – and desperately in need of someone to fall to your knees before – while I don’t agree with your need – I do concede that you are probably only going to be happy when you have men that you can crawl after – which is certainly your right. I, however, do not have to join you – I have every right – and I have always had every right – to denounce any unaccomplished lazy intellectually-challenged bore who presumes to speak for gays or the gay experience. Sullivan has no self-esteem and as anyone who has ever seen him in a leather bar can tell you – no self-respect or dignity – Brandon is so astonishingly unaccomplished that he would not get into most gay American homes but to do the floors.

    I find Sullivan and Brandon to be patently offensive – not as gay men – but as men – and they will never, I repeat, never, and once more since you seem, well, slow – never speak for me.

  34. Randy says

    Sullivan, I have no problem ignoring the clueless youngster, but you are a clueless adult who is harder to ignore.

    There is no moral equivalence between the global and historical homophobic oppression of gay people, and intolerance of the system that spawned, nurtured, embraced, and loved that hatred of us. I won’t live to see it gone, but I’ll do my best to take it down as many notches as possible before I leave, so it can never do this again.

  35. Daniel says

    My defense of Andrew Sullivan was a direct response to defamatory attacks in this thread, as well as an object lesson in making objective points based on the available data. Note that the discourse on this thread has noticeably changed in tone.

    While I understand your cynicism, doesn’t that statement seem just a bit like rationalization? Just as everyone has the right to express their nasty opinions, I will continue to exhort our community to be gracious and kind to those with whom we disagree. My family didn’t accept me because I railed against their religion and closely held beliefs, they accepted me because I showed them through example that queer people are not the caricatures fed to them by their leaders and media.

    Leading by example seems to be the best way to ‘win over their prospective clients.’

  36. loki7329 says

    To select this callow, self-serving syncophant to write on LGBT when there are many more capable and experienced choices is an insult to the community. EK has pretty much let us know that he favors sensationalism to substance and click-bait to intellectual discourse.

  37. Eugene says

    @Daniel

    Oh, now it’s clear. It’s about religion for you – just like for Sullivan and Ambrosino. You’re selling out the gay community in exchange for acceptance. What a scumbag.

  38. oncemorewithfeeling says

    I swear this site gets the most inept trolls on the Internet, but since they’re always treated like royalty here, who can blame them for baiting the locals?

  39. says

    If anything the last decade has shown is that the exact arguments we’ve been using are indeed winning the clients and that it’s our defiance, reason, and clarity of message that terrifies them. Your parents are but one unique example Daniel. I have Catholic friends that just recently came to me to apologize for the harm their VOTES may have done in the past. Not just accept and get along but truly apologetic and saying they would do everything in their power to work to change their Church. They finally heard the truth they so long denied.

    AS can’t divorce himself from the ethos that Church teachings are not to be challenged. He is forever hopeful that someone like me will do it for him but when I do he can’t stand that I’ve had to wrestle it into the ground and drag it through courts to do it. He wants her whole and clean and in all his imagined glory welcoming him with open arms. Tell me who is dealing in reality with the Church. Is that the man to listen to when the Church is your oppressor?

  40. David says

    The anger at Ambrosino (and subsequently at Klein) is an example of progressive’s intolerance for those who dare to disagree. AS Ambrosino put it:

    “Why is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them?”

    Only Ambrosino isn’t an opponent; he’s a homosexual who’s dared to go off the reservation.

  41. j says

    Who is worse Ambrosino or the ever loathsome warmonger Andrew Sullivan ?
    A real toss up.
    Always amusing when a straight white rich man like Klien gets to weigh in on homophobia – who cares what you think is homophobia – your opinions don’t count – you never experienced it – or lived it.
    So telling and damning when he admits he had not read this former tap dancer’s pieces before he hired him.
    Ambrosino clearly understood the importance of being special – “lots of lefty queers out there – I need to push that old fat bald ugly Sullivan off his perch and be the new young cutie conservative queer – that will get me lots of attention”.
    ps – daniel – how old are you? 12? pluralistic discourse? In case you haven’t noticed, sweetie – the conservative rightwing haters aren’t open for a chat – they want us dead – BA is helping them along –
    but I was very impressed with you reference to Edmund Burke – when you dropped that in papers it must have impressed your freshman Poly Sci professor at Bard.

  42. Daniel says

    Ricky & Eugene, I have not insulted your or your characters, so I will not dignify your regards with any further response, other than my thanks for succinctly illustrating my point.

    @Boom! – I am not an apologist for any religion. I was raised a conservative Mormon in rural Utah: I’ve had my fill of old men trekking me what Deity thinks about my behavior. Your points are completely valid, and I think that it is one of Sullivan’s beliefs that I object to the most.

    I just think we can have this conversation in a way that engenders understanding, instead of perpetuating division, especially among our own community. It’s not about the attacks on us – we are unquestionably in the “right”, so much as something can be true and correct. There’s no need to wade through the muck.

  43. JMC says

    I can’t believe some people are seriously trying to paint Ambrosino as some daring rebel spitting in the face of the fascist left. He’s just another self loathing gay guy. He may have a platform that he’s using to uphold his own oppressors, but he’s not special. He just hates himself, and it’s really sad. There’s no way to defend this Uncle Tom without sounding ridiculous.

  44. Daniel says

    @J: I was raised in Utah and have lived in Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona, and Texas. I have experienced and seen plenty of homophobia first-hand. It is, in fact, these egregious examples of hate that have made me more sensitive to discrimination and intercommunal violence. I have not at any point denied the justifiable response to hate speech is to fully refute the speaker directly and clearly. I just don’t think we need to sink to their level. (P.S., I studied theatre, never took a polysci class, and read Burke as an adult. I prefer to explore multiple viewpoints and arrive at my own conclusions. Thanks for the condescension.)

  45. Eugene says

    @Daniel
    If you want to have a productive conversation, it’s crucial to recognize the “attacks on us” as attacks – and not “conservative viewpoints” and “closely held beliefs”. That’s what this whole conflict is about. If you can’t understand it – you will keep perpetuating division and using other people as illustrations to your “point”.

  46. emjayay says

    There not being a reply function or a thumbs up/like whatever function here either….Boom! and Ricky and some others, nice job. Thanks. And loki7329 succinctly summed up this hiring.

    Look, BA is getting PAID for his inept shallow delusional musings. And his hiring and being given a major platform is not just an insult to the gay community, but to VOX itself.

    It is seriously disappointing that Editor In Chief Ezra sees his job responsibilities as appearing in a very long and rather vague and content free happy talk PR department written infomercial for VOX, and that’s about it.

    Hiring people can be tricky business for some positions, but not hiring a writer seeing as how their job performance record is there for the reading.

  47. Daniel says

    Eugene, I explicitly recognized them as attacks. They are unquestionably so. Neither to I defend “conservative viewpoints”, or “closely held beliefs.” (Scare quotes and all.) My argument has nothing to do with my politics – I vote Green and am a borderline socialist. I merely urge civil discourse, especially among those of us that have more in common then not. There’s nothing wrong with muscular activism, but hate is hate, and I will speak against it wherever I see it.

  48. Eugene says

    @Daniel
    Well, the whole point is that Ambrosino and Sullivan don’t recognize religion-driven anti-gay attacks as attacks. That’s what it’s all about.

    And, yes, hate is hate. But, as I said, sometimes it’s appropriate. We don’t love racism, do we? Why should we love homophobia?

    Finally, it’s ridiculous to demand civil discourse from us when the other side keeps _acting_ uncivilly towards us. People would be more willing to debate anti-gay viewpoints civilly if gay people had legal equality.

  49. says

    @Daniel
    Never said you were an apologist. Sullivan yes. Glad you survived your Mormon upbringing. Mine was with a Pentecostal rattlesnake handling grandfather. If I could escape to the woods before he woke I was safe.

    Post is about Klein hiring BA and AS’s attack on ‘liberals’ as the intolerant bigots. I’ve tried to stay within that framework and offered no attacks on you personally. I don’t resort to personal attacks unless attacked first. Then it’s no holds barred.

    Division amongst us is an aspired to goal of NOM’s. They spent a ton of money to make it so. Some strife you can ignore, some you have to take head on no matter how unpleasant it is. While I wish AS no harm personally he sometimes gets carried away in his delusions of self-importance as the voice of our activism and needs to be called out.

  50. Daniel says

    Eugene, then it is on the topic of civil discourse that we disagree. Thank you for your views, it is obvious that you care deeply about them.

    Boom!, I think we’re about on the same page, I just may be a bit more idealistic. Thank you as well for your thoughts.

    I’d just like to leave with this thought: The good people of Maine had thousands of door to door conversations in the push to legalize equal marriage rights. They knew that a combative, extremist approach would disillusion and alienate those they sought to convince. They relied upon these strategies, as well as muscular activism. Their opponents resorted to smear tactics abd defamation. Who won?

    Thank you all for your input.

  51. says

    @Daniel
    The good people of Maine could have that discourse face to face because of blogs exactly like this one that armed them with facts and the ability to show the arguments against equality for exactly what they were. Utilizing the infosphere is what made that possible and why it is still so extremely important. Good night.

    @Eugene
    ‘People would be more willing to debate anti-gay viewpoints civilly if gay people had legal equality.’

    In a nutshell.
    When fundamental civil rights can no longer be challenged, when kids are safe in schools to get an education, when Trans women aren’t murdered on the streets, when we can earn a living without judgement, when gay kids everywhere have a home is when I stop fighting and we can have a civil discourse about how your faith is trampled because you have to bake a cake for a gay man. When you see your brothers hung & burned alive you learn quickly to fight like your life is at stake because it is.

    @Emjayay Thanks.

  52. Randy says

    First, the whole point of this vocs.com project is to be a different kind of journalism, one that explains the news to readers. Now, that leaves me just as confused as Anyone else. So I suspect it’s just another journalistic blog, probably trying to compete with HuffingtonPost post..

    so for all the highfalutin language line is trying to project, I suspect it’s all just about creating controversy in order to get clicks. The fact that he admitted he never read any of this pieces is shocking. That he would think he and inexperienced journalist whose only 22 years old has anything to say is even more bizarre. If this website is supposed to offer something that you can’t get elsewhere, then you certainly don’t hire people whose comments are just like everyone else’s.

    So I guess it made complete sense for him to hire this guy because the whole point was not to really educate readers, but you just provide contrary controversy. If you wanted a real journalist invoice that can explain gay issues to readers in a way that isn’t done before, I can personally vouch for at least three or four journalists who have the depth, knowledge, and sensitivity to write in ways that are thought-provoking and yet accurate. But obviously, that isn’t what he really wants, despite what he says.

    Klien deserves all the crap he’s getting for this. I have no interest in you looking at a website that would treat anyone, let alone the gay community, was such disdain

  53. Helene says

    I am all for having voices with different perspectives. It is healthy to have a counter to the “queer” contingent’s orthodoxy. But this Ambrosino guy is a joke. His writing is awful. He has no knowledge of gay issues. His piece about Liberty U was cringe inducing.

    If Klein wants to go center-right, why not hire Dale Carpenter or James Kirchik, people who know how to write and know what they are talking about?

  54. T. Rees says

    Always had the impression the Mr. Klein was gay, even with the right wing hair cut, and boring glasses……….One never knows. Starting to not spend so much time watching MSNBC.

  55. jmartindale says

    Any gay who is 21 years old and has completed college, and who would stand proudly before the painting of one of the worst homophobes in American history has nothing to say to other GLBT. And no, Sullivan, I have no interest in carrying on a conversation with religious bigots who wish to oppress me and my kind.

  56. anon says

    @DANIEL… You claim in one post that your family accepts you. But, in an earlier post you say they do not accept the concept of marriage equality based on religious reasons. So, they don’t fully accept you. They conflate their religious view of marriage with the concept of legal civil marriage and believe you should be a second class citizen in the eyes of the law. Yes, you say they believe gays should have all the rights involved in “civil marriage”, but not the name of “civil marriage” that straights are entitled to. They are only happy if the law of the land is written to uphold their religious beliefs over the beliefs, religious or otherwise, of everyone else. That’s not the definition of acceptance.

  57. John Roberts says

    @Daniel – How about that time when Andrew Sullivan obsessed over Sarah Palin being the mother of Trig Palin? He did not mind lobbing those public bombs and insults to her, and he was the most prominent voice advocating the conspiracy theory when every liberal moved on or rolled their eyes. Please do not lecture us on insults when jolly ol’ Andy is guilty as well.

  58. disgusted american says

    well I like Ezra Klein and know he’s gay affirming personally – I dont think he’d hire a neo-nazi, or neo-nazi sympathizer anti-semetic writer, “just for a diverse” opinion on things…..thats my take on this whole thing.

  59. anon says

    @RANDY…. But, why is that Klein has only chosen to take this “contrarian” point of view with LGBT issues? Where is his hire of someone like Clarence Thomas to write about issues of race? Where is his hire of a neo-nazi to write about the Jewish community?

  60. 1♥ says

    Mr. Ambrosino is a member of the Gay community? How? Mr. Ambrosino has stated that he choose to be a homosexual so he is not Gay. NO ONE in the Gay community made a decision to be homosexual. I believe Mr. Ambrosino is one of the many homosexuals in this world that does not believe there should be any kind of Gay community at all.
    I most certainly will speak against anyone who claims we choose to be Gay because they are telling Gay youths that there is something wrong with them which leads to their suicide. Mr. Ambrosino does not want fewer Gay children committing suicides; he’s adding fuel to the mechanism that will cause more Gay children to kill themselves. Obviously Mr. Ambrosino only cares about himself and that’s his choice. But I will stand up for Gay children and tell them that there is nothing wrong with them and there is a community that cares about them.

  61. jjose712 says

    Ambrosino is a very bad writer, so there must be other reasons behind his hiring.
    He represents all that is bad about internet periodism. All in his articles smells fake controversy for more hits in the webpage.
    Nothing is elaborate, he claims he chose to be gay, but in previous articles he talks about his struggles to accept his sexual orientation, so no chose at all.
    The sexual orientation can’t be chosen, you can act on it or no, but the fact that you marry a woman and have child doesn’t change you being gay

  62. Caliban says

    All you need to know about this guy is that he went to Falwell’s Liberty University. Nobody goes there who isn’t already fully steeped in Religious Right BS and hocus pocus, and once there they are further inculcated into that mindset.

    He’s bought the Religious Right’s POV of homosexuality, hook, line, & sinker. He isn’t a contrarian, he’s been brainwashed, probably since birth.

    I have no patience for such people so I won’t be visiting Klein’s site, Pox Vopuli or whatever he calls it.

  63. Klkruger says

    Daniel writes: I am not defending Ambrosino’s individual views, not am I an apologist for the many things I disagree about with Sullivan. However, the tone and hostility in our community towards those who do not share mainstream views only hands ammunition to those who who demean and malign us.

    Hear, hear. Couldn’t agree with you more.

  64. says

    Ambrosino is a bad writer who knows very little about gay history.

    Klein is wrong to have hired him without reading any of his work.

    Klein is also wrong about homophobia. Look it up, Ezra. Just because it’s etymologically related to phobia doesn’t mean it’s only about fear. That’s the usual right wing anti gay claim, and you’ve apparently bought it without thinking or doing your research. Sad for someone who positions himself as an intellectual. Ask Rachel about it. Or read a book. (Maybe that line wasn’t Ezra… Very hard to tell from the way it’s embedded. Whatever. It’s still wrong)

  65. says

    I’m gay and not a Democrat. I’ve come across the gay-is-a-choice thing written by other “gays”. I’ve read it both on right wing and left wing blogs. As Sullivan points: “He conflates too many issues when discussing gay identity – but, in his emphasis on choosing sexual identity, he echoes the new left rather than the gay right.”. On another left leaning blog one commentator pointed out that gays don’t need the social conservatives to advocate for our destruction, we do it ourselves. I’ve come across writers that are bisexual but will identify as gay -and married to a woman -and say “see, it’s a choice”. I’ve seen this both on the left and the right. On the Left it’s pushed as revolutionary and counter-cultural. On the social conservative Right it’s just another bat to beat us up with. As gays when confronted by these topics, rather than jumping on board with the latest trend, we should challenge them. It doesn’t matter the source or their political affiliation. We are all gays and we know it wasn’t a “choice” we made as innocent children. As grown up gay men we should look at how straight males handle the question of their sexuality…… They don’t do anything. They just exist. They like pussy and they’re proud of it. They don’t imagine their sexual identity is fluid and blah blah blah.

  66. mike/ says

    WTF? Klein never “read” what the guy wrote before hiring him? well, i guess we know what Vox.com’s prospects for survival are – nil!

    i personally have always questioned Klein’s modus operandi. he has always appeared to be a huge ego wanting to be a personality rather than an actual reporter.

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

  67. Rowan says

    Agree with Daniel, though disagree with everything Ambrosiaaaaaetc says. He IS really immature and that kind of attitude NEEDS to be discussed with, not ignored.

    The people on this blog and the left plus gays plus right plus ethnic minorities in general have a very black and white way of dealing with an issue that could be harmful. They do not believe in stopping a problem before it gets worst, no, just ignore.

    This is how Africa is right now in the hands of the crazy right wing Christians. Everyone ignored Lively instead of monitoring him.

    People never learn.

  68. Rowan says

    Agree with you Stan Schulz. I’m more to the left but 100% agree about discourse instead of SHUTTING things down which is now how we are leaving.

    It’s so sad and hypocritical. The LGBT world if you don’t fit IN with them, damn, will they bully you to death and make you feel inadequate.

    I await the article on a gay blog how Lady Gaga has swindled millions of gay kids…..yeah right.

  69. StevyD says

    Is it such a terrible thing to get riled-up and discover a reason to use ones brain to reply, refute and protest some contrarian opinion. Are we so damaged by an antiquated and hopefully declining hate, fearful for the longevity of our expanded rights or just tired of the never ending fight for universal equality, that we must silence and deny a voice (weapons often used against our own community), to those who believe differently, even if incorrectly.

  70. The Milkman says

    I think that people who have traditionally been grossed out by gay people are having a hard time with the fact that society has made such a quick turnaround from supporting that kind of bigotry (and yes, it IS bigotry) to condemning it. The worm has turned in a big way, and there’s nothing that’s ever going to change that. This young and inexperienced author doesn’t seem to understand that marriage discrimination takes two forms: the church service, and the civil/secular licensure. Our country, for better or for worse, allows people to be as ugly and as discriminatory as they want to as long as that kind of hatred is confined within the home and within the church. The problem comes when that hatred spills out into the secular public sphere, where it’s increasingly unacceptable to most people. It’s a simple distinction, the contrast between the civil and religious marriage concepts… and one that seems to be insurmountable to people who have little in the way of introspective self-criticism.

    I, for one, am of the mind that the word “equal” has only one meaning. Either we are equally treated under the CIVIL law, or we are not. I deserve to be able to marry my partner of 20 years, and will be able to do so within the next few years whether the bigots like it or not. End of story.

    Homophobia, like racism, misogyny, and anti-semitism,is a possibly biblically justifiable but no longer socially acceptable bias. It’s time to treat those engaging in homo-hatred accordingly, and to acknowledge the FACT that theirs is a belief and opinion that does not deserve equal time or consideration. It is not a reasoned, thoughtful viewpoint. It is hatred and discrimination, plain and simple.

    And my goodness, doesn’t little Brandon owe all those GLBT activists from decades past a huge thank-you? It wasn’t so long ago that his self-professed religiosity would have mattered a bit as the homo-haters, led by his idol Jerry Falwell (and his ilk), would have drummed him right out of the professional class and right into jail.

  71. The Milkman says

    And one more comment about the idea of “shutting things down” versus discourse.

    Discourse with homo-haters is not worth your breath. You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

    That’s why it’s often best to just stop arguing and allow these people to join racists and anti-semites. Theirs isn’t an opinion that deserves equal time or consideration. Don’t legitimize it by offering to spend hours and hours debating it. It’s not going to work, because they’re not working from a place of intellectual honesty. The only thing that’ll change their minds is some sort of paradigm-shattering personal experience, and frankly I don’t care enough or have the time to be able to facilitate something like that for each individual bigoted idiot out there. If those of you advocating for this kid’s opinions have the time and inclination to do that on such a massive scale, then awesome… more power to you.

  72. Johnny Fifles says

    Andrew Sullivan, you have no business at all dictating how LGBT should live. Here’s a couple of questions for you, and you better think long and hard about it real fast:

    1. Do you want to be seen as enabling anti-gay bigotry and absolutely shunned and refused service accordingly?
    2. How would you like it if you had to hire a Klansman in your program?
    3. Do you want us to scream profanity and abuse at anyone who enables anti-gay bigotry and picket their funerals when they die? Well, do you?!

  73. Johnny Fifles says

    Andrew Sullivan, you have no business at all dictating how LGBT should live. Here’s a couple of questions for you, and you better think long and hard about it real fast:

    1. Do you want to be seen as enabling anti-gay bigotry and absolutely shunned and refused service accordingly?
    2. How would you like it if you had to hire a Klansman in your program?
    3. Do you want us to scream profanity and abuse at anyone who enables anti-gay bigotry and picket their funerals when they die? Well, do you?!

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