Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On Sen. Larry "Wide Stance" Craig

Okay, so I seriously couldn't care less if Larry Craig is gay or not.

Well, okay, I do care, but not because anything is wrong with being gay. I wanted to get that out of the way first, because folks (conservative folks, Freeperish folks, of course, and others) like to talk about how hypocritical Democrats are that we support equal rights for gays and then are all, "Oooh, he's gaaaay," but the gay isn't the problem.

The hypocrisy is the problem, really. His hypocrisy, and the hypocrisy of the rest of the Bible-beating family-values conservatives who like to step out on their wives with a man, or a hooker, or an undercover cop, or a meth dealer who's a man (Ted Haggard, Doug, you missed one).

In all of those cases, and in Larry Craig's, it's not the gay sex that's the problem. The problem is the fact that these men have made their careers holding their Bibles high above their heads, parading their perfect nuclear families around in dirndls and knee-pants, cursing teh gheys straight to hell, pushing legislation to punish gay couples and gay families and unmarried people who have sex and women who get pregnant and low-income families and single parents and everyone else who doesn't conform to this unrealistic, idealized image that they swear is the life they live. They set themselves up - themselves, this isn't something that's been thrust upon them - as unblemished paragons of virtue, as standards up to which the rest of must live or else, while living the very lives that they seek to punish.

Larry Craig is the worst kind of hypocrite, because he's so ashamed of his homosexuality. He finds it shameful and evil and filthy and wrong, and everyone around him, everyone in his party and every religious leader who bends his ear, tells him that every day. He's so desperate to hide his shame that he's willing to force every comfortably out gay person back into the closet, to punish them for who and what they are, to make them feel the shame that he feels every day. And hide it all under the blanket of "family values." He's like the grumpy guy at the party; seeing all of these happy people only makes him grumpier, and the only way to soothe his grump is to make everyone else just as pissed-off as he is.

As far as outing and closeting are concerned, I'm not going to tell another person what to do with his or her life. Pam at Pandagon has written extensively on the politics of the closet and the damage it does to the gay rights movement, and as a straight woman, I won't question her on that. But I also won't tell anyone else what to do with their lives. I can't imagine the pressure involved in coming out, and if you don't feel comfortable doing that, it's no one's place to force you to do it, even if doing so would benefit the movement as a whole. All we can do is try to create a world where gay people do feel comfortable expressing that part of themselves without the discrimination and antipathy that Larry Craig promotes.

So go ahead, Lar, you're totally straight. It's rather common, actually, for straight people to plead guilty to soliciting gay sex in a public restroom just to keep the media quiet. It's completely common for a straight man to have a long history of soliticing gay sex in public restrooms. You just shut that closet door tight and pretend that you're not one of the people you've so hatefully railed against your entire career. Because God forbid you should have to actually step out of that closet and live in the world you've created.

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