The Gay Agenda With Chelsey Weber-Smith
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Episode · 2 years ago

The Gay Agenda With Chelsey Weber-Smith

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You might not realize it, but America has a long history with fantastical thinking. Chelsey Weber-Smith takes us through one of the most persistent conspiracy theories of the 20th century: The Gay Agenda. Be sure to follow Chelsey and American Hysteria on IG! And catch up on American Hysteria before season 3 drops February 17, 2020. Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Sebastian Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Straw media. According to research out of the University of Chicago, about fifty percent of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory. Nineteen percent believe eleven was an inside job, and eleven percent of people believe the government is mandating a switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs because the light bulbs make people obedient and easy to control. The pervasiveness of conspiracy theories might be surprising if you don't know that our very own revolutionary war was fueled in part by conspiracies spread by a certain founding father named Samuel Adams. He believed, among other things, that the British were secretly planning to enslave the American colonists in the same way that the colonists had enslaved black people. So conspiracies are not a twenty century phenomenon and many of them are not as fringe as you may think. Today we talked to Chelsea Webber Smith, host of the podcast American hysteria, about one of the most persistent conspiracy theories of the twentieth century, the Gay Agenda, popularized by Joseph McCarthy in the s and continued by the moral majority into the S. and beyond. The idea was that there was this elite group of gay people who were plotting world domination. So where did this idea come from and does it still exist? I'M LEA by chambers and this is pride. Hi. My name is Chelsea Weber Smith and I host a podcast called American hysteria. My pronouns are they? Before we get into the gay agenda, let's learn a little more about Chelsea and their journey as a person in the LGBTQ plus community. Chelsea came into their queerness during the odds, while...

George W Bush occupied the White House. There weren't these at least to me. There weren't accessible terms really about gender variance. You could really either be gay or a lesbian, you know, or you could be bisexual, but that was its own, you know, joke of the moment on TV or whatever, and so I didn't start really think. I thought about my queerness. I came out as bisexual and then gay and all of those things, but my my gender, was a much slower thing that evolved along with culture and around with LGBTQ Trans Culture. And as soon as I started hearing the term non binary, which, my God, was really not that long ago. It resonated with me in a pretty serious way, but it was it was hard for me to take the plunge into using gender neutral pronouns because I tend to be someone who doesn't like confrontation and I know that that's that's a sad thing, but when you tell someone your pronouns, say who's a baby boomer, someone a little bit older, who doesn't have as much access or interest in the changing terms of the day, I just I hated that moment where someone would say I don't understand that. Chelsea says that now, as they've grown older, they've also grown braver, partly because the term non binary feels like such an accurate way to describe who they are. By God, I'm not a woman and I I'm not a man, but I'm somewhere possessing both of those qualities, which I mean I think everybody does, but just certain people to different extremes, and I decided that it was time for me to be brave and have those confrontations. It didn't happen overnight, though. Chelsea says. They figured out a way that they felt more comfortable having those confrontations and recognize that their gender wasn't the only way they occupied gray areas.

It's just been it's been really hard, but it's also matched up with my life in my work and that I really enjoy living in the gray area and I think the gray area between both, you know, of our constructed genders is such a valuable place to live and such a valuable bridge between what seems like or what you know. America teaches us our polar opposites and I love being Gender Queer and I just I get stuck up in some of the challenges, for sure. Chelsea's podcast, American hysteria, is a show that explores the fantastical thinking and irrational fears of Americans throughout history. Every episode is like an exploratory essay into a specific topic. They look at moral panics, urban legends and conspiracy theories and try to understand how these beliefs shape our psychology and culture and explain why we end up believing them. Will take something, say stranger danger. That's our first episode, which is a moral panic, and that we we freak out over this thing. You know that the dangerous kidnapping stranger, which is a very low risk for children, especially the suburban children, who are taught, you know, through different programs, that that they're constantly going to be picked up off their bike and, you know, going home from school. The real damage is being done within family units and we are sort of distracting ourselves with with this panic and with this more sensational fear, because we have a hard time dealing with our own nervousness over, you know, sexual abuse within our small communities. Chelsea will spend a few weeks learning everything they can to understand the origins of a certain moral panic or conspiracy theory. They'll trace it all the way back to the stories early American settlers told their wildren about indigenous people. They used to talk about and tell Tall...

Tales, basically urban legends meant to scare kids, that that indigenous people were going to come and kidnap them and take them away right, which is ironic considering what colonists did to indigenous people. The show investigates how and why people come to take crazy ideas as facts, despite the lack of evidence, and then trying to break down these things that can seem funny on their surface or can seem ridiculous, like the Illuminati, and find the really dark heart and the really dark history that often involves white supremacy. Almost always, you know, gender issues and sexuality issues and class issues. Chelsea's interest in American conspiracy theories comes from their personal exposure to fantastical thinking. I come from an angle if I was a previously an Illuminati conspiracy theorist, via my father, who is also a two thousand and twelve apocalypse prepper. Chelsea covers the two thousand and twelve apocalypse theories in the last episode of the first season of American hysteria, the end of the world, and I even talked to my dad and that episode about his what that was like and everything. The two thousand and twelve conspiracy, for those who need a refresher, was this idea that the world as we knew it would end on December twenty one, two thousand and twelve. That date was supposedly the last day of a five thousand, one hundred and twenty six year long cycle and the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar. It was where the Mayans stopped counting. The optimistic new agers believed the date would bring the beginning of a new era in which earth and its inhabitants would undergo a positive spiritual or physical change. Other less optimistic people thought the date marked the apocalypse. They believed Earth would be sucked into a supermassive black hole or it would collide with the mythical planet and Nebru, you know, who have...

...supposed to go to a cabin on Mount Rainier and save ourselves from the apocalypse. That wasn't and you know, I never, I never bought in fully but, as you can imagine, it was. It was in the back of my mind a lot, Chelsea says, growing up near the intense, fantastical thinking of their dad and even, to a lesser extent, their mom, shaped the way they viewed the world. You know, even my mom was interested in things like what's hidden under the Vaticant, you know, and these different ways of thinking that I was so obsessed with and I'm still really obsessed with, like urban legends on all that. But now it's more about not what are they, but why are they, and that comes straight out of me trying to sort of deal with and and make something useful out of, out of those odd experiences. When we come back, Chelsea takes us through the gay agenda. Welcome back. Before the break we talked to Chelsea about their experience living in the gray area, both as a non binary person and as an investigator into fantastical thinking on their podcast American hysteria. Will start our exploration of the GAY agenda The same way Chelsea does on the podcast. With the bizarre and Super Popular British kids show. Do you remember Tinky winkies, gay conspiracy, the teletubby? Yeah, Tinky winky the telesabby. See, the teletubbies is a British Preschool Children's TV series that focuses on four multicolored creatures with television screens on their bellies. Each of the different teletubbies is a different color, with a different shape on their head, and they communicate in Gibberish. They run around idealic grassy knolls and the sun is a baby.

It's a bizarre show and yes, they're still making it. Tinky winky was purple, he had the Purple Upside Down Triangle on his head which, as we know, is a gay symbol, or was in the past, and he also carried around a patent red leather purse and that was his magical purse. Right so, right away there are some very heavy gay vibes right. People made the connection a lot actually, both abroad and in the US. When the show first aired in the UK and Nineteen Ninety seven, it quickly became popular with club kids and the gay community. English writers described Tinky Winky as, quote, the first queer role model for toddlers, and the Guardian even called him a gay icon. When the teletubbies came to the US. Gay Gossip calumnist Michael Musto took it even further. He said Tinky winkie showed kids, quote, not only that it's okay to be gay, but the importance of being well accessorized. You know, it was a great it was so fun for Queer people to say, Oh my God, like there's there's someone here to look at, there's someone to guide children or something. But on the flip side of that it terrified the moral majority. The moral majority was a political organization led by Jerry Fallwell in one thousand nine hundred and seventy nine that galvanized the blending of the Christian right and the Republican Party. Today it feels like the two groups have been joined forever, but in reality this was the beginning of a new era of moral and economic conservatism. It is a human rights issue, an issue that concerns the human rights of unborn babies who, by the hundreds of thousands, are being murdered. So Jerry Fallwell saw Tinky winkie running through the hills with his red patent leather purse and decided to publish an article titled Parents Alert, Tinkywinki comes out of the closet. He said to have little boys running around with purses and acting effeminate and leaving the idea that the masculine male and the feminine female is out and gay is...

...okay is something that Christians do not agree with. Right. So it was immediately a gender panic, a gay panic. For context, the Tinky winkie scandal was happening in the late S, thirty years after America was starting to make some progress towards equal rights. That sparks a lot of changes that are positive. A lot of legislation goes through to help homosexuals and to protect people and to give more rights and to, you know, stop some of the abuses. Unfortunately, every time there's a movement forward there's an accompanying backlash. So fast forward eight years after Stonewall, in steps Anita brant and she is oof. She is a woman who was the Florida Orange Juice company spokeswoman and she was a very outspoken, lovely Christian woman, as you might imagine, to reduce our children. In addition to being the spokesperson for Florida Citrus Commission, Anita brant was also second runner up to Miss America in one thousand nineteen fifty nine and a popular singer with several gold records. She's sang Lyndon Johnson's funeral in nineteen and seventy three, and readers of good housekeeping magazine voted her the most admired woman in America in the s. She also happened to be very anti gay. So there was a a bill being passed in Dade County Florida, very famous bill, by several gay men to to get some protections and allow, you know, get some chances to teach in schools and not be barred from work and all those different things. And when Anita Brian caught window that, she was super pissed and really ready to make that her cause. So she started an anti gay political coalition called Save our children. Within four weeks of hearing of the Gay Rights Bill. She had collected sixty four...

...thousand signatures, many more than the ten thousand she needed to put the issue on the ballot, and she won. Dade County Voters rejected the ordinance by a vote of sixty nine percent to thirty one percent, and it's sparked this pretty serious and sudden focus and hatred on gay people. And so that kept going as the moral majority came into more and more power. And it's not an exaggeration to say that this issue, along with, you know, abortion and changes in women's rights, single handedly formed the moral majority as we know it now, or the fundamentalist right, who has political power. As we moved into the s Anita Bryant and Jerry Folwell's movement really started ramping up the idea that there was an organized and concerted effort by gay people to take over the world and turn everyone gay. But this story goes actual all the way back to the days of communism and the fear of communism in the Cold War. During the early years of the Cold War, when the fear of Communism was at its height, a Republican senator from Wisconsin named Joseph McCarthy led a series of trials and hearings that became known as the red scare. He believed that there were hundreds, if not thousands, of secret communist agents within the US government, the military and in Hollywood, and that they were plotting a hostile takeover. With the help of FBI Director J Edgar Hoover, the newly formed house of UNAMERICAN activities started bringing people in in mass for questioning. Besides convicting some actual spies, McCarthy and Jed Ger Hoover disrupted the lives of thousands of Americans they believed were communist sympathizers. Imprisonment, blacklisting, phone tapping, all of this was commonplace. Meanwhile, a parallel movement, also led by McCarthy and his cronies, was taking place, the lesser known lavender scare, which was a ejection of Queer people from job you know, government jobs,...

...school jobs, things like that, just like the red scare was, but it was a greater number of people were fired during the purple scare. The concept of the gay agenda is closely intertwined with the mass hysteria surrounding communism during the Cold War. Communist leader Vladimir Lenin founded an international organization whose mission was to spread communism throughout the world by any means necessary. He called this group the Communist International, or the common turn. There's an interesting thing I love to talk about here, and it's called the hom in turn, and this is a an idea that there's a secret society of gay people that are trying to take over the world. See the connection common turn, HOMON turn? Now, the word home in turn came about before the red scare and was likely coined as a kind of joke by members of a group of gay creatives and intellectuals that hung out during the s. But the word resurfaced decades later, which then was taken very seriously by people during the Cold War who were afraid of not only a communist takeover but a gay takeover. Another contributor to the rise in paranoia around the gay agenda was the work of American biologist and sexologist Alfred Kenzie, who then was saying there's one out of ten people are gay, and gay people don't have to be extract they don't have to be men who are extremely feminine, they don't have to be women who are extremely masculine. Anybody can be gay. Kinsey also said that sexuality was not binary but instead existed on a spectrum. It's what we call the Kinsey scale. The scale goes from zero, exclusively heterosexual, to six, exclusively homosexual. So Kinsey's work being published in the late s and early s coincided perfectly with the red scare. This fear of homosexuality persisted even through the Gay Liberation Movement. And so once we get to the S, once we get to Reagan...

...and we get to Bush and we see the AIDS crisis and we see all of these different horrors happening and everybody's just sort of turning a blind eye. And a lot of that came from this desire to either forget that homosexuals existed or oppress homosexuals for existing. And that really came out of the idea that you could catch being gay right, that being gay wasn't something you were born with, it was something that you were influenced into. After the AIDS crisis killed thousands of people, and Reagan and Bush just sort of allowed it to happen, possibly purposefully in some ways, also because people like Jar Jerry Fallwell, who I mentioned earlier. You know, said that that it was the gay plague and that it was God's punishment against gay men for their sins, which is one of the most horrific moments in modern American history. I think the idea people had, Chelsea says, was that if we didn't talk about it, it wouldn't exist. If kids didn't know about Gayness, they wouldn't, as the moral majority would say, be turned gay. And that's why we still see to this day protests so over Tinky winky, because it's specifically this idea that the gay agenda targets the young and the young just like any you know, any conspiracy, would target the young, because they're like the growing soldiers, you know, and so and it also is that. I mean there's no moral panic really without, like Whoa, the children. We Must Save the children. Throughout this entire time period, from the s all the way into the S and today, people theorized about the gay agenda. Psychiatrist Frederick Wortham wrote a book in One thousand nine hundred and fifty four called...

...seduction of the innocent, in which he claimed that Batman and Robin were gay together and that wonder woman was a power lesbian, and it was all part of a huge plot to subvert American youth and all of these these things that repeat. I mean we even saw it recently when adorably Mr Ratburn of Arthur married a man or a male animal. I can't remember when I wall was, but people, you know, they freaked out again about that. And it all has to do with the kids at all has to do with teaching the children, whether that be stories of of you know, rampant molestation or, you know, teachers being influencing children into a gay lifestyle which, of course, we all know is is completely ridiculous. But that's that's the heart of the gay agenda. When we come back the gay agenda in the modern age, welcome back. Before the break Chelsea took us through the history of the gay agenda in America, from the lavender scare during the Cold War to the moral majority of the S and its movement into the Tinky winky scandal of the late S. now, even in two thousand and twenty, the paranoia remains, especially as we start hearing these conspiracies come back with the trump administration, things like the Illuminati that is now renamed the deep state, and you hear, I feel like we hear, the gay agenda still we hear the homosexual conspiracy. We hear this idea that there is some kind of organizational like purposeful, I just I almost can't say it, like a purposeful manipulation by the homosexual elite. Right. That's another great buzz word. Is the elite...

...who are somehow controlling Hollywood, controlling politics, controlling economics, linkedin with, you know, this Jewish Cabal. It's also trying to take over the world, when really what it is is just a growing sense of inclusion that terrifies people who benefit from the status quo. Still, despite the continued and constant backlash from the religious right, there is more support now for queer kids in the US than ever before. It seems to the moral majority that the gay agendas winning right, and that's not a bad thing, because the gay agenda has never been to actually take over the world. The Gay agenda has been, I mean, when you talk about it from a gay, Queer, transnobinary point of view, I think generally speaking, it's just the hope that we can have as much respect as straight people and no longer feel so out of place and so lonely and no longer be made to feel that we are other. You know and disgusting and and sometimes worthy of death. Right Chelsea says that creating a conspiracy about gay people trying to take over the world is a way to make hating gay people easier. That's a big thing, is the justification of violence by by demonizing the other. Right, you don't just hate gay people because they're gay, you hate them because they're part of a conspiracy, because they're coming after your children, because they're rotting American values. It's not that way. You can make an enemy out of somebody and justify doing to them whatever you want. The newly re empowered ultra conservative voices that came to power in the S S with Anita Bryant, Jerry Fallwell and Phillis Lafty, has continued on. Now the voices with the majority of the American Conservative Party, headed by Donald Trump, seem to be getting louder and outer.

And so when we're in the middle of a culture war, which we are in the middle of one of the biggest culture wars, I think, in American history, and they're going to pull out all the stops. They already are. They're pulling out all the stops. Abortions back on the table, something decided from the S. Gay rights are back on the table, something decided, you know, under Obama, like all these things, all of these scapegoats. You know, black lives matter now is is scapegoated as a terrorist organization and there's just these these extreme ideas coming back and it all has to do, it seems, again with this this secret organization. Having this show in this moment is fascinating because every time I do an episode it's like something happens that that illuminates what I'm working on and the Obama Administration. That was a good time, man, you know, I mean it's it had its problems, it had its issues, but I don't think we could have ever in our wildest wildest dreams, imagine that we would be where we are right now politically. Now it seems that both sides of the political spectrum are experiencing this paranoia. The left fear things like the Koch Brothers Long Plan takeover of the American political conversation to move it further and further right with the help of a secret society of millionaires, and the right have a lingering fear that universities are institutions controlled by the liberal elite to brainwash young people. And I think one side, I think the left, experiences a little bit more legit paranoia than then the then the right. But, as mentioned, you know, the right feels certain power slipping away away from white men, let's just say it, you know, and power slipping away from from the affluent...

...white male who's always been the one who benefits from the oppression of everyone else. And so once that starts getting shaken up by, Oh, I don't know, a black president, you know, we're having this push back where he wants to make America great again. What does that mean? That means going back to the s when gay people were hospitalized and black people were not allowed to go to school. You know, is like you're harketing back, harketing back to this this American fantasy that is basically a fantasy of oppression for everyone else, and the only way it seems to do that is to make enemies out of the more vulnerable people by acting like they are the ones trying to take over the world and control everything, when it really does feel like it's the other side that that is doing that. Politically, it does feel like it's transitioned from being the gay agenda to now it's like the Trans Non Binary Agenda, and that's the really scary thing. You know, from like the transmilitary band things like that. It does seem like it's shifted, almost like okay, we've gone down this path where, okay, gays and Lesbians, fine, will accept them, right. The Trans people absolutely not, you know. Yep, absolutely. It's like it's evolving and it's the same thing with like non binary. I can't tell you how many people we get comments. We're on the pride instagram where it's about an episode could be about gay pirates and will have tons of comments. There are only two genders or if I had a dollar for every gender, I'd have two dollars and it's stupid thing. Right, right, right. So it does feel like the political climate has shifted it and now it's about Trans and nonbinary people. Yep, and you know what it is? To me, that is just the same. It's about supremacy and it's about the idea that if we have two genders, then one of them gets to rule over the other, and that is pure American history at its core. Right. And so when you start...

...must and around, like when you start blurring the categories of power, people freak out and I think that it's just a scary thing for people to face, even if they don't understand why they're scared, because what it does, again, is it shakes up the status quo. It changes the landscape of gender. That landscape has had to go through many different seasons throughout American history, from when the Puritan settlers first observe the existence of third and fourth genders and indigenous people and decided it didn't belong in their America, when there are direct quotes that I've found from puritans and colonists that said things like we're going to stamp out this behavior, like we are going to change the landscape of sexuality and of gender by violence. Chelsea says that the impetus behind that is likely the idea that having only two genders makes it easier for one to claim dominance over the other, and I think that, as hard as it is for people to face, some people probably say me and stuff to me. It's it's a scary thing to change a structure that has been in place for so long and has benefited one half of our society so much and has, you know, been so painful and oppressive for the other half. Chelsea thinks the push back against Trans and non binary people comes mostly from fear. When people find out I'm non binary, there's immediately, more than anything, a fear, like a fear of messing up and getting my pronouns wrong and then offending me and then having to deal with being an offender. And you know, right now in our in our Internet culture, people get called out in ways that scare them. So, rather than try and fail, people instead choose a hard stance on the opposite side. And that's again, I mean...

...that's making it about yourself, right, which we do a lot when we are afraid of being racist or were afraid of being sexist or were afraid of, you know, saying something offensive, because the rise of PC culture has been quick and it's been then there's it's a culture war. So there's a lot of intense emotions running high and in a culture war what we're doing is we're reasserting new values and then the old values are gearing up to fight against that change. Right. So we see these two forces of the far right and the far left battling it out. However, Chelsea says there's a big disconnect between the ways people fight these battles on the Internet versus how they fight them in person. Being behind a computer screen creates a sense of safety that has two sides. There's the dark side, the bullies, the trolls, the death threads, the nasty comments, and then there's the other side. The Internet is a place where people can demand a quality and respect more safely than they can in person. We have this this ability to to ask for what we've always wanted and needed and also say hey, if you don't come along with us, if you don't evolve with us, then you're not going to be part of this anymore. You're not going to be you know, you're not going to be part of the social changes and you're not going to be invited into spaces or conversations because you're not trying to catch up. All of these differing beliefs held by people within and out side the LGBTQ plus community are, in the end, shaped by the way we move through the world. They're influenced by the stories we hear about power and violence and safety. To learn more about the gay agenda and other urban legends and conspiracy theories, make sure you check out Chelsea's podcast American hysteria. You can find American hysteria on instagram at American hysteria podcast and then myself at Chelsea Webber Smith. Were also on twitter at a mare hysteria and then facebook at American Hystoria podcast,...

...but instagram is really where we do most of our stuff. season three premieres on February seventeen, so you have a little time to catch up on seasons one and two and you can subscribe to American hysteria on Apple, Google, spotify, stitcher, pretty much wherever you listen to podcasts you can find it, so make sure you subscribe and come and listen to the rest of our episodes. We have plenty more than just the gay agenda. Pride is a production of strahot media. If you like the show, leave us a rating and a review on Apple, pod cast, spotify or wherever you're tuning in from. Share us with your friends, subscribe and follow us on Instagram, facebook and twitter at pride. You can follow me at lead by chambers. Pride is produced by me, Maggie Bowls and Ryan Tillotson, edited by Sebastian Alcoholm. Well, now I want to know what's under the Vatican H I don't know. That's the GNOSTIC Gospel Bible Stuff.

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