Friday, August 26, 2016

Did the AFA just ban gays? (Update: Yes they did)

UPDATE 2/25/2017: This issue came up a couple of days ago while I was speaking with Matt Flavel, Alsheriargodi of the AFA, and the person who made the original comment that started the controversy. Turns out I was wrong; the AFA did, in fact, ban gays who weren't in the closet. I was originally told something different when I asked him back in August, but in the interests of accuracy, I felt it necessary to make this correction.

So... this seems to be a current meme; people saying that the AFA banned gay members on Sunday night.
The AFA official body has spelled out in black and white in the recent release that if you are not white, or you are gay, you are not welcome. (John Mainer, Troth Redesman)
The racist and homophobic dickbaggery of the AFA causes problems for some of the very people they claim they care about… (Heathentalk)
...the insistence on men being men and women being women in a heteronormative framework... (A Sense of Natural Wonder)
 ....Racism and Homophobia/Transphobia within Heathenry... (The Arcane Asylum)
The simple fact of the matter is that the AFA did no such thing.

It simply laid out the fact that, as an organization, the AFA promotes and encourages traditional gender/sex roles. Men should be masculine, and women should be feminine. As opposed to the current politically correct insanity of trying to establish 58 genders*.

I'm not going to get into an in-depth analysis of the historical realities of pre-Christian Germanic gender studies, but the thousand-foot view is pretty much that there was no such thing as a "homosexual lifestyle", passive male homosexuality was, while not banned, cause for social ridicule to the point of ostracism (ON ergi), and female homosexuality is pretty much not mentioned (which doesn't mean it didn't exist, obviously, but it likely was done as an adjunct to a heterosexual marriage). There was certainly no gay marriage, no people in the records that were transsexuals** (transvestism is definitely attested, but not outside of a ritual context), and families were multi-generational and long-term couples heterosexual.

So what the AFA did actually say is that it, as an organization, promotes traditional gender roles and families. But you know what?

It's entirely possible for the AFA to endorse heteronormality and not ban homosexuality. It's possible for the AFA as an organization to want to see traditional families prosper, and not go around bashing single mothers. It's possible to say having children is a good thing, while not bashing childless couples. Just because they endorse one thing does not require them to hate everything that is different.

We leave that sort of binary morality to the SJW's. They're the masters of the "you're either with us 100% on every issue or you're a moral evil that needs to be expunged" mentality.

Part of the confusion seems to have been caused by this exchange of comments, made shortly after the original post on Facebook:

Q: Am i misunderstanding the message here or does this mean that if somebody wasn't white or if they were queer they wouldn't be welcome in the afa?
A: You are not misunderstanding. The AFA is not in the practice of policing what people do in their bedrooms, but we as an organization are clear in supporting the traditional family. And yes the Asatru is an ethnic religion of European people.
I'm going to go on record as saying that could have been phrased better, and I've said so to the AFA leadership. On the surface, it does look like they're saying "queers" aren't welcome in the AFA. But the devil's in the details, and revolves around the word "queer". That word has definite connotations for endorsing and pursuing radical political action and social change. Exactly the sort of thing that the AFA is directly opposed to. It is not the same as saying homosexuals are not welcome, because many (most?) of them have no interest in promoting some radical homosexual agenda and actively fighting against heteronormality.

Neither is it the same as saying "you are not welcome." It's merely saying, that the AFA, as an organization, is going to be promoting heteronormality. If homosexuals are okay with that (along with the rest of its Declaration of Purpose, of course), they would not be excluded. PDA at events would not be welcome, but personally I've not seen a lot of PDA of any sort at AFA gatherings. It's just not part of our culture.

It's a subtle and nuanced point, I will be the first to admit. And such points are always the first to be drowned in a sea of angry rhetoric at times such as these. But it's absolutely the case, and I have personally confirmed this with the AFA leadership. There's no purge, no ban, no pogrom against gays. Just a statement that the AFA values traditional families, and traditional gender roles, and if people who are untraditional can accept that, all's well. Just no radicals who are interested in forcing society to upend norms that it has had for tens of thousands of years simply so their feelings are spared.

* Yes, there are absolutely medical conditions where people are born with genitalia for both or neither gender, or where there are chromosomal issues, but those are so vanishingly rare that they are nothing more than a distraction. They're certainly not the point of the statement.

** I'm going to leave the whole "what about Loki?" counterargument on the ground here, as not worth pursuing just now, for a bunch of reasons.

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