Exclusive - Michelangelo Signorile Extended Interview

June 14, 2016 - Michelangelo Signorile and Eddie Huang 06/14/2016 Views: 3,607

Michelangelo Signorile, author of "It's Not Over," examines how the LGBT community can move forward in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, FL. (7:57)

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My first guest is an author,

editor at large atHuffington Post Queer Voices,

and host of The Michelangelo Signorile Show on SiriusXM.

Please welcomeMichelangelo Signorile.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

-Thank you so much.-Thank you.

First of all, may I say you havethe most amazing name ever.

-Ah, thank you.-You sound like the person

who knows where Jesusis really buried.

Michelangelo Signorile,he knows where it is.

-Welcome to the show.-Thank you.

Thank you for being hereat, uh, honestly,

one of the mosthorrific, uh, moments

in America's history.

Uh, you have always been

one of the most outspoken voices

in the gay community in America.

Apart from the coreof the tragedy,

which people are sayingis-is terrorism,

what does this tragedymean to you?

What has this meant to youand your community?

It's yet another attack

on a, uh, LGBT space,

a place, a, uh, sanctuarywhere people meet,

where, um, historically,

people have gatheredin bars and clubs

and gone there to, you know,

find refuge because theirfamilies didn't accept them.

And we've seen attackson, uh, bars

going way back, uh, you know,

into the '60s, the '70s,the '80s, uh, in the '90s.

And just last fall,attacks in Dallas as well.

Uh, so, you know, we've seenthis over and over again,

and it's by peoplewho hate, uh, gay people.

And, uh, sometimes it'sreligion-based, religious-based,

sometimes it's just, you know,run-of-the-mill hate

coming from, uh, those who hate

black peopleand everybody else, right?

-Run-of-the-mill hate.-(chuckles)

Uh, but we've-we've seen itover and over again.

Uh, and, uh,we now see this one,

the worst ever,and it-it's just, uh,

um, horrifying to people.

It-it scares people.Uh, it-it frightens them,

but I think it also,uh, makes people wake up

and see that, uh,it's still out there

and that becausewe won marriage equality,

uh, it didn't meanthat hate went away.

In fact, we're seeing thebacklash all across the country.

Do you believe people are wakingup and seeing that, though?

Because a large amountof the conversation

has been steeredtowards terrorism.

It is nowa terrorism conversation,

it is now a guns conversation.

You see very littleconversation, uh,

aimed at homophobia as a whole.

Do you think that is somethingthat is being overlooked,

and maybe people move past it?

Absolutely.From the beginning,

uh, and-and I was on Twitterright away saying

what is going on here?

Um, the media weren't reportingthat it was a gay bar.

They-they were...Because they were so focused

on this idea of, you know,they had the narrative written--

ISIS, ISIS, ISIS, right?

Um, CNN, The New York Times,

didn't even have the word "gay"in their, uh, reporting.

And on Twitter, on social media,it really took off.

People were-were pushing themand they did,

they put it in there,but it-it...

the narrativewas already written,

and it's this ideathat it's terrorism,

uh, of an international,uh, perspective.

And yet, uh, the gay thing

doesn't quite fitin that narrative.

Why did this happen?

Now we know this mansaw two gay people kissing,

that motivated him,it triggered something.

That doesn't quite fitin the narrative, I think,

a lot of the mediawanted to push.

In terms ofthe attacker himself,

what has beenparticularly disturbing

is hearing that he spent yearsgoing to these bars.

He was on gay dating apps.

He was engagingwith the community.

And then, obviously,there... you know,

people are speculating,

but some people saywas he closeted, you know?

Uh, an ex-classmate says that

and so on and so forth.

Is there somethingto the self-hate?

Is there...

Like, how do you processthat information, you know?

If a person may themselveshave been gay

and then...and then taking this...

you know, this rageout on other people,

how does...how do you process that?

It's still hate,

and it's a hatethat the culture inspires.

A hate that so many people,uh, in this country

have grown up with, whetherthey're gay or straight.

And if you're gay,it's, uh, it's inside of you.

You hate yourself in that way.

And-and so many, uh, gay,lesbian, bisexual,

transgender people tell thatstory of hating themselves

as they grew up, of their-theirfamilies or their religion

teaching them that.In this case,

-we still don'tknow everything, right? -Yeah.

It... He could have beencasing these places,

maybe, for a long time,I don't know.

He could have been dealing withsexual identity issues

and never acted on it, right?Hated it about himself.

-Always reached out, went to thebars... -Well, we know

-his father expressly hated it,you know? -Yeah.

And-and so, growing upin that kind of household

would explain a lot of that.But-but, again, we don't know.

You really allude to thisin your book, It's Not Over.

You talk about the fact that itseems really peachy right now.

It seems like gay people arein a great place,

but there is a lotof homophobia,

there is a lot of hatred, thereis still a lot of backlash.

Is that true, though?

Well, people have a tendency--

and I think it happensto every minority group--

after a big win, after they havemoved forward in a dramatic way,

to really wantto believe it's over.

I mean, you're fighting againstthis bigotry for so long.

And I call it"victory blindness" in my book.

That idea that, you know,

you've suddenly arrivedafter so much hatred.

But you can see the backlash,and I saw it.

-And in the book, I researchedwhat was happening... -Yeah.

...at these anti-gay conferencesand whatnot.

You can see it building,

and you can see them planningon ways to thwart us

even as we were winning,and now we see the backlash.

You can see,in states across the country,

these religious liberty laws,right,

meant to protectthe religious people

and allow themto keep discriminating.

And I don't meanreligious people,

of course, all religious people.

I meanreligiously bigoted people--

allow them to continueto discriminate.

We see these transgenderbathroom bills

regulatewhere people go to the bathroom.

All of these were being plannedover the past several years

to thwart equalityafter marriage came along.

I think we are...

We are at a tipping pointin America.

I think you would agree.

A lot of people in the worldlook to America

as a prominent memberof the gay community.

What do you seeas a path forward?

What do you see as a pathwe need to try and take?

I think that there's an impulse,often,

among membersof the community to say...

And again it's this...

They buy into this ideathat we're winning,

we've won, it's over.

To be magnanimous,

to allow a spacefor your enemies.

"Those poor people--they're defeated now."

That's a trap.

They're not poor peoplewho have been defeated.

They're people who are funded

-with millions and millionsof dollars. -Yeah.

And they're ensconcedin the Republican party.

And the strategy is to actuallykeep being confrontational,

keep pushing forward,

keep demanding full equality.

Don't settle for, um, you know,crumbs or exemptions.

They're looking for exemptionsto protections for us.

Don't, uh...don't be magnanimous.

Say, "No, we want it all.

"We want full equality.

That's whatthis country's all about."

'Cause as you say in the book,"it's not over."

-Yes.-Thank you so much.

-Thank you so much.-Thank you for being here.

Thank you.

The Michelangelo Signorile Show airs weekdays at 3:00 p.m.

on SiriusXM, and It's Not Over is available now.

Michelangelo Signorile,everybody.

(cheers and applause)