2013 has barely begun, and it is already shaping up to be the year of the anti-gay non-apology. A non-apology is a faked or forced apology that "apologizes" but is bereft of any true sincerity. It's usually given when a public figure is caught doing or saying something wrong but really doesn't want to admit to the wrongdoing, so he or she offers up a non-apology. The gay community is apparently the new poster child for recipients of the non-apology.
We've got bad-boy actor Charlie Sheen offering up a non-apology for dropping an anti-gay slur at the opening of a new bar in Mexico. Charlie's non-apology centered on making sure that everyone knew that he "meant no ill will and intended to hurt no one," and that he actually "meant to say 'maggot'" but supposedly has a lisp and was misunderstood. Did any of you ever notice Charlie Sheen having had a lisp in the past?
Then we've got Fantasia Barrino, a former winner of American Idol, offering up a non-apology for an Instagram rant about a world "gone mad" in which gay marriage and marijuana are legal yet she still feels judged! Barrino now says that her words, which many blogs and publications quoted verbatim, were somehow taken out of context.
And last but certainly not least, we have President Obama's apparently favored choice for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, offering up one of the most, if not the most, blatantly unbelievable non-apologies when he decided, after 14 years of silence, to finally apologize for his repulsive anti-gay remarks about the first openly gay American ambassador, James Hormel, but only after President Obama started floating his name as a potential Secretary of Defense. And even then Hagel couldn't actually admit that his comments were wrong, saying that he just feels that they were "insensitive."
Let me step in here and give a helpful hint to all politicians, public figures and celebrities of world renown: Feel free to pay us lip service, but please know that no one believes non-apologies. And if you really want us to believe you, then actions speak louder than words. Live your truth. If you say something stupid, then give a sincere apology and be done with it. Everyone makes stupid remarks from time to time. If you live your truth and people know by the example you set that you didn't really mean offense, then your apology will be believed. No need to blame a lisp. If you make seemingly derogatory remarks about gay equality issues but you feel that your words have been taken out of context, then you need to take the time to explain exactly, and in very clear terms, what the context was in which you made those remarks. Do you support full equality or don't you? Live your truth, but you can't have it both ways. And if you are a politician who finds himself or herself on the wrong side of the arc of the moral universe as it finally bends toward justice for LGBT Americans and you want to make a sincere apology for bigoted and anti-gay statements you made in the past, then I would suggest that you make a sincere apology promptly; waiting 14 years to offer a weak apology for "insensitive" remarks that border on blatant bigotry doesn't even come close to cutting it anymore.