America is a nation built on, among other things, the idea of not being a phony.
You’ll notice that whenever pundits and politicians refer to blue-collar, Middle-America-types (read: White People™) as “hardworking” on the teevee, the word “honest” almost always precedes it. America is a nation that, for good and for ill, sees itself as unflinchingly honest and forthright, and has plenty of powerful mythologies to back it up. One of our favorite stories Americans tell our children has to do with our first president coming clean about chopping down a tree after he lied about it, for Chrissake. Hell, Abe Lincoln stayed mealy-mouthed on the question of abolition until the Civil War was nearly concluded and the body count was well over half a million , and they called him “Honest,” too.
America’s notion of itself as a nation with integrity, combined with the myth of our exceptionalism, have again, for good and for ill, made us into the most powerful nation in the world. But these things have also made “honest” Americans believe themselves are the sole arbiters of global truth, based on a narrow set of Judeo-Christian (read: White People™) values that no more reflect who we are as a nation than some Evil Queen’s magic mirror when she says “tell me I’m pretty.”
Where that narrow set of Judeo-Christian values collides with the realities of human sexuality, chaos almost always ensues. Generally speaking, anyone who doesn’t look, act, think or fuck like Republican Jesus says “honest” Americans should is an apostate, an impostor, and probably looking to bugger your children and/or your spouse. Sadly, for the coalition behind of our nation’s most colorful acronym – LGBT – this usually spells big trouble when it comes to interacting with straight society, or as “honest” Americans like to put it: society. Discrimination, violence, and death are not just common: they’re baked into the value set itself.