Thursday, October 05, 2006

Let's Lump All the Perverts Together

I apologize for being so absent lately - and thank you to my loyal readers who keep checking back to see if I've posted anything new. There's a lot changing in my life right now, including the job that's afforded me the ability to blog on work-time, rather than on me-time. I'm still trying to figure out whether I'll be able to maintain this to the extent I'd like, but on my drive home last night, I was reminded why I started the blog in the first place. Sometimes, I just need a forum to rant about sexual politics here in the U.S.

Indeed, I've been trying to figure out what, if anything, I wanted to write about this whole situation with Rep. Mark Foley. Last night, as I sat in traffic caused by the season's first rain, listening to NPR and screaming at my radio, I realized I'd gotten to the point where I was ready to write.

The thing is, for me, and probably for you, the Foley scandal is about a sexual predator. Would it have made a difference if he had been coming onto 16-year-old girls? Not to me it wouldn't have. But there is an undercurrent to all of this that shouldn't be ignored: for many Americans, the issue is that Foley's a homosexual. Because, you see, pervert goes hand-in-hand with homosexuality for so many people. If Foley is gay, then it's a given that he is molesting boys.

How do we handle this then? The man deserves to go down, whatever excuses he may make for his behavior. But it's a difficult line Democrats and the left and the queers walk right now. How big a scandal should this be? How far reaching? Should Hastert have treated Foley differently because the object of his inappropriate affections was male? That's what one bystander interviewed on NPR said yesterday - the problem was that Foley was homosexual, and Hastert didn't do anything about it. Whose agenda do we help by making Foley the poster child of Republican corruption?

It's so easy for me to forget that most Americans don't really have contact with gays and lesbians in a normal, day-to-day kind of way. Or, maybe they just don't know that they have contact with us because the ones they know are closeted. So what is their image of homosexuality? It's slivers of queer life - bacchanalian pride festivals, outed perverts, maybe some Brokeback Mountain.

Imagine if we judged straight people based largely on the two men who walked into schools in the last week and selected girls to sexually assault and kill. Imagine if we judged straight people based largely on men who frequent strip clubs, suburban swinging couples, wives who cheat? These are slivers of straight life, but they do not constitute the whole anymore than Foley represents the whole of queer America.

But that's not what many people understand or believe. And today I am at a loss as to how to convince people otherwise. I want the sexual predators (gay and straight) routed out. I want the Republicans out of office. But I'm scared I may get what I want on a foundation laid by incorrect assumptions about who gays and lesbians really are.


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