Daugaard, the deaf community, and LGBT rights.
Both Cory at Madville Times and David Montgomery at the Argus Leader seem confused today. Montgomery “blink[ed] a little bit” and Cory found himself surprised that LGBT deaf people and their allies within the deaf community “went ape” over the fact that the National Association for the Deaf invited the governor to speak at their national conference. (Daugaard later backed out, citing a scheduling conflict, which surely saved both himself and people in the National Association for the Deaf from an even nastier fight with part of their membership.)
It’s not surprising, nor should it make you blink, that people from the disability rights movement would have a problem with inviting an anti-gay governor to speak at a NAD conference. Perhaps I and the rest of the Dakota Women can bring some concepts from feminism, LGBT rights, anti-racism, and disability rights to bear. Especially in the last 20 years, the concept from the social sciences of “intersectionality” has helped those of us concerned about oppression in all its forms to find allies in other movements. We’ve learned that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and all the other -phobias and -isms in our society operate together. In other words, you can’t talk about equal rights for deaf people without also thinking about racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and so on. You can’t fight homophobia without fighting racism, classism, ableism, and sexism. These systems are linked and cannot be untangled, because these systems of oppression operate together in people’s lives. David Montgomery is simply wrong when he says that the civil rights issues that face deaf people have “little or nothing to do with the issue on which Daugaard’s being criticized.” Obviously, there are deaf LGBT people who would disagree with that, but that’s also untrue on a bigger level.
So it doesn’t matter that Dennis Daugaard is maybe less homophobic than Fred Phelps. (Though I’d also point out to Cory and David that Daugaard’s assertion that he doesn’t “support discrimination against any class of people” is completely meaningless and absolutely not evidence of being “center-right” on LGBT issues. Give me examples where he has ever openly supported LGBT folks in anything and maybe we can talk.) No matter Daugaard’s upbringing or his ability to sign, he gives his assent to a system of oppression that ultimately hurts all of us.