Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ex-Gay is so Gay: The Marcus Bachmann Conundrum

I've been traveling a lot lately, which has meant that I've had time to catch up on some of my favorite podcasts, including Dan Savage's Savage Love Cast. Which means even if I weren't a political news junky, I'd have heard a lot about the rumors that Michele Bachmann's husband Marcus was gay. I'm mildly conflicted about it. On the one hand, I do agree with Slate's June Thomas that simply pointing to the fact that Marcus Bachmann doesn't conform to the heteronormative ideal of masculinity isn't actually evidence that he's gay, and may in fact perpetuate gay stereotypes. On the other hand, I think her argument that attacking Bachmann is the same as grade school bullying is idiotic and find myself far more in line with Barney Frank's position in Outrage, when he said that "I think there's a right to privacy. But the right to privacy should not be a right to hypocrisy. And people who want to demonize other people shouldn't then be able to go home and close the door and do it themselves." Which is why I ultimately have to come down on the side of Dan. If you make your living attacking gay people, you lose your right to live in the closet.

Which by the way is why I'm convinced that Dan Savage is right. While I'm not sure that lisping or a keen fashion sense are actually evidence that Marcus Bachmann is gay, the fact that he runs a "Pray away the gay" clinic is. I have a long held belief that in this day and age anyone who makes a living being homophobic is secretly gay. Maybe the guy in your office who was upset that Will and Grace was on the air isn't gay (though he probably is too), but anyone who goes on national television to rant about the dangers of homosexuality definitely is. It's not just the high profile Republicans who've turned out to be gay like Roy Ashburn, Larry Craig, Mark Foley, and Ken Mehlman. It's not even that seemingly half of the leaders in the 'ex-gay' movement have already come out of the closet. It's that they spend more time talking (and thinking) about gay sex than any gay person I know. It's 2011, and honestly the only reason I can come up with that explains the level of fixation and hatred necessary to dedicate your life to 'curing' gay people is a deep self-loathing. And while that does evoke some pity, it's wrong to allow it to be a shield for bigotry.

Then again, while I care deeply and personally about a great many gay people, I'm a straight white male, so I don't exactly have a lot of first hand experience with bigotry. What do you think?

1 comment:

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