George V. Reilly

Family Values Hypocrites

Larry Craig

I’m traveling in Europe at present (Ireland last week, Italy this week and next), so I have little op­por­tu­ni­ty to keep up with U.S. news, but the Larry Craig case leapt out at me. Craig is the second U.S. Senator to be exposed in the last few months as a major sexual hypocrite who espouses ‘family values’ but can’t keep his pecker in his pants. Schaden­freude is just the right term for the pleasure I take in seeing these dickwads hoist on their own petards.

David Vitter (brother of one of my professors at Brown, Jeff Vitter) repeatedly consorted with pros­ti­tutes. Larry Craig has pled guilty to soliciting sex in a men’s restroom, joining the long line of homophobic Republican closet cases, such as Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, Mayor Jim West of Spokane, and Florida State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bob Allen. The homosexual homophobes par­tic­u­lar­ly irk me. I don’t know what particular pathology drives them to be so homophobic. All of the names that I just mentioned repeatedly went out of their way to attack gay people, to deny them equality, to whip up fear around gay marriage. Is it self-loathing, a hatred of their own forbidden sexuality? Is it a cynical act of mis­di­rec­tion: to be so virulently homophobic that no-one could possibly think that they’re secretly sucking dick. In the end, I don’t really care: I’m just glad to see them taken down, while enjoying the irony of the manner of their political demise.

I do feel sorry for those like Gov. Jim McGreevey of New Jersey, who sublimated their sexuality and hid in the closet for years, but who did not hyp­o­crit­i­cal­ly attack fellow gay people. (Though McGreevey apparently abused his office and sent sweet deals his boyfriend’s way.)

I have some experience of the closet myself, as I hid my bi­sex­u­al­i­ty for a decade before coming out. It’s an ugly, fearful place to be, and no-one should ever have to hide such a fun­da­men­tal part of their makeup, but that’s no excuse for virulent homophobia.

Alan asks a good question: Why were the police staking out an airport bathroom in the first place? Sex stings for acts between consenting adults are a waste of taxpayer money, and a way to punish closeted gay men by ruining their rep­u­ta­tions. I must say, however, that an airport bathroom doesn’t seem like a smart place to get your rocks off.

Good riddance, Larry Craig.

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