SEATTLE — American Christian cartoonist Joe King’s calendar, “I’m Not Gay, I’m Just a Sissy,” drew a firestorm of criticism from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and LGBT bloggers, who this week denounced the calendar and its sale through internet retail giants Amazon and Barnes & Noble, both of whom have since removed the calendar from their sales offerings.
The controversy began earlier this week when New York-based gay blogger Andy Towle detailed the contents of King’s calendar, which includes jokes about AIDS and gay lifestyles, and negative stereotyping of gay men.
“This calendar has no business being sold and supported by reputable retailers,” said Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs and Communications for GLAAD, in an e-mail statement. “King has a right to his opinions, however anti-gay or anti-transgender they may be, but retailers also have the right to decide that they don’t want to support hateful and dehumanizing content like this.”
Barnes & Noble has since yanked the calendar for sale on its website, and a spokesperson for the company told GLAAD that it has never been made available in its retail stores. Amazon has also removed the item.
The calendar — which is dedicated to the memory of the U.S. revolutionary hero Paul Revere, and to gay rights opponent Anita Bryant — promises “12 months of sexual confusion” and has drawn staunch criticism for what many some deemed homophobic humor and imagery, including one illustration which appears to poke fun at the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Another cartoon is a parody of Revere, showing him on horseback shouting, “The sodomites are coming! The sodomites are coming!”
Few in the LGBT community are laughing about the calendar and as the fury built, its author hit back at critics.
“I feel like David vs. the gay Goliath,” King writes in one post. In another, he adds, “All the hysteria is coming from those nice folks who haven’t bothered to actually purchase and read my collection. Stranger still — these are REPRINTS of nationally distributed work several years old. No outcry then.”
Critics were quick to point out this post in which King writes:
The “truth” is that AIDS is an “elective” disease. It STOPS the day guys quit sticking it to each other. And for the tragedy of women and children infected… THAT stops the day their gay husbands and fathers stop cheating on them. Anyone need MORE education, science or funding to understand THAT?
King, responding angrily to complaints, and commented: “Hoo-we! Hell hath no fury like a he/she scorned… The telephone tree of tantrums is lit up like a Las Vegas marquee for ‘Boy-Lesque’ today with hate mail, threats of boycott and even the risk of Jesus spitting on me for my ‘Sissy’ calendar.”
“Aint the first time I’ve been banned – won’t be the last,” King wrote to his Facebook followers on Tursday. “I was born with a loud mouth and an itchy shirt, bury me next to the Baptist. [sic]”