Half-ass, pseudo-acceptance of gay people sure is in right now. (Let's call them the half-assers.)
Half-asser Sherri Shepherd of The View recently commented on the public perception that she's homophobic: "I might not agree with your lifestyle, but I love you."
The Bachelor's steamy Latino star and half-asser Juan Pablo Galavis threw in his two cents, too, when responding to a reporter asking about the potential of a gay Bachelor: "I respect [gay people], but honestly, I don't think it's a good example for kids."
And then there's the king of politically correct, institutionalized homophobia, Russia's own Vladimir Putin: "You can feel calm, relaxed," he said indirectly to LGBT people regarding the country's crazy ass anti-gay policy and the upcoming Sochi Olympics. "But leave children alone, please."
Leave children alone. Please.
What, like, don't talk to them? Don't touch them? Don't run circles around them wearing a speedo and dripping in sun tan oil?
OK, so Putin is more of a huge douchebag than a half-asser, but still.
The "but I still love you"s, and the "I respect you, but"s and the "love the sinner, hate the sin"s don't cut it. This half-ass acceptance of gay people is the new black for many in the middle chunk of America — the ones who fall somewhere between the Gay Pride float and the "God hates f--gs" rally.
Being blatantly homophobic is no longer accepted in mainstream American society, so this newer, passive acceptance has taken its place. Reality television stars and overweight uncles alike can no longer proudly state their belief in traditional marriage without looking like idiots, so they smile pleasantly and say, "I love everybody", instead.
Make no mistake: whether you're holding a sign for Westboro Baptist Church or you're uncomfortable sitting between your cousin Bethany and her partner Brooke at Thanksgiving, a part of you is homophobic. If you don't believe an LGBT person should have all the same rights and responsibilities — to marry, to have children, to live in their neighborhood without discrimination, to serve openly in the military, to donate blood without having to lie, to be given equal transparency and opportunity in the media —there's at least a part of you that is, in fact, homophobic.
It also doesn't matter that the environment you were raised in or the church you attended as a child taught you otherwise, Sherri Half-Ass Shepherd. So? Tough shit. Some Americans alive today attended churches that didn't accept black people as whole human beings. Should that excuse their racism against you in 2014? Don't use your ignorant upbringing as a scapegoat for your current homophobic viewpoint.
The main idea these half-assers fail to recognize, however, is that their homophobia cloaked in kindness hurts just the same as when a Duck Dynasty lunatic compares gay sex to bestiality. It doesn't matter if you're smiling at us, or telling us you love us, or hugging us, or "respecting" us: when you're not unconditionally, wholeheartedly accepting of who we are, it still hurts. Deeply.