How You Can Fight Against Everything Milo Yiannopoulos Stands For
The Internet's head troll just got himself in hot water. Milo Yiannopoulos is finally feeling the heat of the right. The gay Greek-born Brit and darling of the "alt-right" movement has long been in the sights of progressives for his controversial, oftentimes offensive political and social views. Now, finally, the left is not alone in criticizing him. So given the camaraderie you're feeling from across the political spectrum, here's how to fight against everything Yiannopoulos stands for.
As for the recent haterade from the right, it seems Yiannopoulos finally said something that offends them. Yiannopoulos was disinvited from the Conservative Political Action Conference and his book deal with Simon & Schuster was cancelled after making comments that the right took to be an endorsement of pedophilia.
Talking in a live stream, Yiannopoulos said sex between young boys and older men can be a "coming-of-age relationship … in which those older men help those younger boys discover who they are," The Guardian reported. Yiannopoulos argues that he was talking about sexual relationships between teenagers and older men (say 17 and 29, as in Yiannopoulos' case), and I would actually agree that his comments are being misconstrued, for once.
He does talk about consensual sex between older men and boys as young as 13, but that's actually the cutoff age for pedophilia, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. That is Yiannopoulos' point: Lots of people don't approve of those relationships, with good reason, but it's technically not pedophilia. In any case, it's appropriate that a sound bite takes him down.
However, Yiannopoulos has said far worse. His ideology covers the spectrum of bigotry. He's spoken out against women, trans people, Muslims, people of color, and everyone who disagrees with him. He's also obsessed with the idea of free speech and his ability to spew this kind of garbage at the nation's colleges, and he started a scholarship that's only available to white men. All in all, it's exactly the kind of rhetoric no one needs — even if he does have the right to say it. So do what you can to fight against what he stands for and the hate his ideology spreads.
Become A Trans Ally
For any of the controversial (read hateful) opinions that Yiannopoulos shared, you should probably find a charity and give money. But with these suggestions, I'd ask that you do more than give money: Give your time, your talent, and your cash.
Take trans issues for example. Yiannopoulos was known for being extremely anti-trans. During one of his "Dangerous Faggot" talks at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he put a photo of a transgender student up and then blasted against Title IX for letting "men into women’s bathrooms." Even though parts of the LGBTQ community has made great strides toward equality (take Milo and his privilege as an example), there are plenty who haven't.
Take the time to learn about trans issues completely; educate yourself. Then use your talent to teach your family and friends about gender identity and expression, about violence trans women face. Figure out how you can make a difference.
The progressive community, and the gay male community in particular (Milo proves the point here), both need to be inclusive of everybody. That means understanding that some members of your community — whether it be the LGBTQ community or the Park Forest PTA — are women, racial minorities, immigrants, Muslims, disabled, poor, etc.
Basically, not everybody has the same life and experiences as you do. How can you better understand the multiple identities of others and the issues they face? Learn about and start thinking about life from an intersectional perspective. Where do you benefit from privilege? And where don't you? Try to understand that and we'll all be better off. Then when people like Yiannopoulos attack one group of people, we're all there together to fight back.
Support Religious Tolerance
It's hard to single out the offensive comments that Yiannopoulos has made, but President Donald Trump's travel and refugee bans make the journalist's statements on Islam all the more important to counter. After the Orlando attack on an LGBTQ nightclub, Yiannopoulos went on the attack against Islam, trying to use homosexuality as a way to turn people against the religion. The LGBTQ community hasn't taken the bait, however.
A lot of Republican voters are religious Christians, which brings me to the point of religious tolerance and understanding. We must stand with the Muslim community, and convince conservative Christians to do so as well, to welcome in refugees from Syria and other Muslim-majority nations facing political and economic instability. Interfaith work may be the best way to do this, by building bridges and understanding. If you're religious, consider pushing this in your faith community.
Buy A Better Book
We have to be ready to counter any and all of these arguments, because even if Yiannopoulos is no longer tweeting hatred, or espousing it in books, there are others who will. So go buy a book and better your arguments against it. GoodReads even has an anti-Trump activism list for you to help find the perfect title.
Above anything, Yiannopoulos stands for vanity. His main goal is to become the center of attention and monetize the spotlight. He wrote a column on Breitbart that I normally wouldn't link to, entitled "How to Beat Me (Spoiler: You Won’t)." There are two points that suggest this is where you'll really succeed in fighting him. He writes:
Because of my success, I have accumulated a large audience. I have over 181,000 Twitter followers, 54,000 fans on Facebook and nearly 75,000 subscribers on YouTube, which I barely even pay attention to.
But then he goes on to brag that his impressions on Twitter are more than some news organizations. The other point he makes is to stay calm in dealing with him. By holding these huge protests, it actually draws more attention to his message. So now that his stages are disappearing (the book and CPAC could just be the beginning — Breitbart employees supposedly want him fired too), just pretend he doesn't exist.
This will be the best way to bring him down — and not only does it fight against Yiannopoulos, but it helps center the conversation where it should be: on social justice for all. Let Yiannopoulos sashay away quietly, because that's the only way to beat what he ultimately stands for: himself.