Joyce Arnold is a liberal Independent activist whose weekly column “Queer Talk” appears on Saturday.
Back in April I wrote about Dan Ramos, Bexar County, Texas, Democratic Party Chair, who compared “homosexuals” to termites — “white termites who have infiltrated the party much like termites infiltrate your house.” I said at the time that I didn’t think, as a lesbian, I’d ever been called a “termite” before. The more extreme anti-LGBT folks are often boringly predictable, but “termite,” that shows some kind of creativity. I thought about the Ramos and termite thing recently because of another label applied to Queerdom that I don’t recall ever hearing before, either: barbarian.
You’ve likely heard the story. Republican presidential candidate contender Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has said a lot of not-very-nice things about LGBTs. But it was her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, who made the connection between “the homosexuals” and “barbarians.” Sarah Bufkin, guest blogging at Think Progress first reported the story on June 29. Here’s an excerpt:
When trying to figure out where presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) gets her stringent, anti-gay views, you only have to look as far as her husband. Dr. Marcus Bachmann, who has described himself as his wife’s ‘strategist,’ runs a Christian-based counseling center in Minnesota that has been rumored to offer reparative treatment for those looking to ‘ungay’ themselves.
Dr. Bachmann was offering advice to parents who think or know, and probably fear, that one of their children is gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender.
We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps …
And let’s face it: what is our culture, what is our public education system doing today? They are giving full, wide-open doors to children, not only giving encouragement to think it but to encourage action steps. That’s why when we understand what truly is the percentage of homosexuals in this country, it is small. But by these open doors, I can see and we are experiencing, that it is starting to increase.
This is a “where to start” kind of thing. First, “barbarian”? As in uncivilized or brutish? Or maybe Bachmann is thinking more of the foreigner or outsider meaning. I could certainly see him thinking “outsider,” and wanting to be the doorkeeper who maintains the purity of the “insider” space. There seems to be some hope offered the uncivilized outsider “homosexuals,” because Bachmann is talking about education and discipline. Maybe those speculations about his possible use of “reparative therapy” and unqueering are accurate. What such education and discipline looks like … well, I guess only the civilized and insiders are in a position to determine that.
One other comment by Bachmann leaps out at me, when he uses the familiar “be very afraid” tactic, by claiming that the “percentage of homosexuals in this country … is starting to increase.” Because, you know, the door to the inner sanctum of those who deserve equality isn’t being appropriately guarded. He doesn’t go to the “homosexuals have to recruit our innocent children” line explicitly, but the implication is certainly there. It’s an argument that the adamantly anti-LGBTs can’t afford to lose. They have to maintain the “it’s a choice” argument as foundational, even when some are willing to acknowledge there may be a “born with” trait that contributes to the “homosexual condition.” It’s still a “lifestyle choice,” see, because you can fight it. You can “leave” it, if you just pray hard enough, and position yourself so that your “natural” opposite-sex attraction can kick in. And if such positioning coincidentally includes some paid time at a “Christian counseling center” you and your wife happen to run …
As Cher tweets: (via JoeMyGod ) “omg! Is This true? He has a Christian clinic where he de-programs gay Boys & Girls! I’m gonna strangle him with my Boa!”
I doubt Cher could get close enough to the not-only-good-but-better-than-you-homosexual-barbarians doctor to make use of her “Boa”. His wife, after all, once ran screaming from a women’s bathroom when two women tried to talk with her. As reported last month by The Daily Beast, via The Advocate, “Rep. Michele Bachmann … had claimed in 2005 that she was almost abducted by two women in a bathroom,” a “lesbian and an ex-nun.” Bachmann had “refused to speak about gay rights at a constituent forum,” and the women in the bathroom “questioned her on the subject.”
Pamela Arnold, a 5-foot tall lesbian now in her 50’s, began a conversation with the then-senator, when Bachmann screamed out, ‘Help! I’m being held against my will!’
Arnold stepped aside and opened the door. Bachmann rushed to an SUV waiting outside and shortly after, filed a police report stating that she was ‘absolutely terrified … .’
No charges were filed in the case, as the Washington County attorney deemed the incident to be a simple conversation between a politician and her constituents.
Remember Bill Clinton saying, during his initial run for the WH, that with Hillary, voters would get a “two-fer”? Well, I’m wondering what a two-fer Bachmann presidency would look like. And then I think, maybe we homosexual barbarians would storm the White House. We could use the opportunity to release swarms of gay termites. And maybe hold both Bachmann’s hostage in an Oval Office bathroom.
I’d be happy to hear about any ideas you might have, even if you aren’t one us barbarians. We’re fairly civilized that way, wanting to include others.
(Photo of Marcus and Michele Bachmann via the LA Times)