Situation facing Idaho senator arrested for public lewdness perfectly defines the difference in the definitions
His karma ran over his dogma.
A case of beer says Sen. Larry Craig will have announced his resignation by the time you read this article.
Congressman Mark Foley, facing media reports of an MSM sex scandal last fall, resigned the very next day. Retail media reported Larry Craig’s bad news on Tuesday so, by comparison, his apologists may someday spin his decision not to “cut and run” as culpably laudable “staying the course.”
One of D.C.’s worst-kept secrets revolved around this Idaho senator’s homosexuality. Though I agree with nothing else Mr. Craig has tried to finesse this week, he is unimpeachable about one thing: Full of passionate intensity, he stood with his (legally wed) wife Tuesday afternoon in Boise to proclaim, “I am not gay. I have never been gay.”
Sen. Larry Craig is dead right about that. He is homosexual, by his own guilty plea after being arrested for public loo trolling on June 11, 2007 (Craig’s Waterloo, this scandal’s basis). But being gay requires, at the barest minimum, self-identification and acceptance of a same-sex orientation.
The words have fundamental politically, historically and emotionally charged differences in usage.
Homosexual was America’s first whack at a term suitable for growing public discourse. It was accepted, adopted usage roughly from the early 1950s [Kinsey’s classics date to 1948 and 1953] until the mid-1980s because its clinical roots could neutrally frame the public debate coming to a head in sex-shy America.
We needed to bring sexual orientation up publicly because it formed the basis of the rampant bias against us. The conviction of the best began winning that debate more than three decades ago. Lawmakers were convinced to enact anti-discrimination laws across all types of jurisdictions not special treatment, as the pernicious spin du jour would wheedle, but laws prohibiting actual, widespread mistreatment of certain citizens.
The 14th Amendment was working when it came to us, so government needed to enact laws specifically guaranteeing our equality, freedom to assemble and so on.
I believe Americans needed to witness the debate, with only the smallest demographic publicly taking sides in it.
In seeing our struggle, Americans became convinced of our sincerity and the most basic of things we wanted to have what Americans all wanted and most had (surely more than gays did then). We wanted and we needed laws to protect us from almost ubiquitous discrimination in employment, public accommodations, health care, credit transactions, public assembly, consentual sex in our homes and other fundamental rights.
The debate entailed incremental yet inevitable change for non-gay America, just as it changed us. A historical struggle is just that it changes history and, logically, the very groups who struggled.
We no longer had to explain or excuse ourselves to other Americans. Roughly by 1985, we ceased being a biological out-lier and reclaimed our humanity.
The terms gay and homosexual are, therefore, historical and political. Accepted, adopted American usage identifying us as gay pigeon-holed the term homosexual to its currently somewhat archaic usage, preferred only in the most technical of writings and speech, and often distinguishing human from non-human same-sex orientation.
Playwright Larry Kushner used an anti-hero to immortalize the perverse illogic 15 years before it disgraced outgoing Sen. Larry Craig more than any homosexual act ever could. At then end of “Bad News,” the first scene of “Angels in America,” Republican star Roy Cohn is diagnosed with AIDS by his doctor, Henry. The setting is Manhattan in November of 1985:
“Your problem, Henry, is that you are hung up on words, on labels, that you believe they mean what they seem to mean. AIDS. Homosexual. Gay. Lesbian. You think these are the names that tell you who someone sleeps with, but they don’t tell you that.
“Like all labels they tell you one thing and one thing only: where does an individual so identified fit in the food chain, in the pecking order? Not ideology, or sexual taste, but something much simpler: clout. Homosexuals are not men who sleep with other men. Homosexuals are men who in 15 years of trying cannot get a pissant anti-discrimination bill through City Hall. Homosexuals are men who know nobody and who nobody knows. Who have zero clout.
“This is not sophistry. And this is not hypocrisy. This is reality Roy Cohn is a heterosexual man, Henry, who fucks around with guys.”
Sen. Craig is absolutely not gay, importantly not gay. He may well be a homosexual so inculcated with radical, madrassa-like hatred of gays that he now hates all other men who sleep with men. That’s result based.
Here’s its cause-based inverse: American political leader Larry Craig and other homosexuals like him may have prodded the Republican Party into its current, thinly veiled yet no less violent for that irrational homophobia.
One of signs of such radical blowhards is that they prefer using the term homosexual. Some can’t even use the term gay without a sneer.
Just look at the Tuesday, Aug. 28, YouTube video of Sen. Craig saying he isn’t gay and has never been gay.
Damned straight, Mr. Craig.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2007