We came across this article over at ABCnew.com – you know, the folks who pulled the article by J. Jennings Moss on Foley – and we find it more than appropriate for a few reasons. First, it’s a fairly interesting piece on where gay conservatives fit in the grand governmental scheme of things. Second, it helps us answer a question we’ve been asked more than a few times over the past few days: why we’re covering this story so aggressively.
A British reader writes:
Why is the Foley scandal getting so much coverage on queerty.com. Is it a gay issue? Admittedly coverage of some of the more homophobic and ignorant media outlets is appropriate, but most of your coverage is sensationalised and seems to me to reek of the same associations made between paedophilia and homosexuality that these other reports rely on.
Of course, those of you who know us must realize that such we’ve never intended such a reading. And, yes, we’ve considered the fact that covering the scandal would somehow implicate homosexuality in Foley’s kiddie-loving ways, but we feel the story needs to be addressed, not because we want to link homosexuality with pedophilia, but because it points to glaring flaws and debates in the American political system.
The Republican party has long upheld homophobic beliefs and, in fact, touted them as one of their greatest strengths. Now, as the Foley stink grows even more pungent, Republicans are questioning whether or not they should include gays at all. ABC reports:
Conservative activists are beginning to discuss the Mark Foley scandal as indicative of a GOP that has become too tolerant of gays in their midst. Regardless of the party’s efforts against gay marriage, the argument goes, the fact that Republican officials accept gay congressmen, such as Foley, and staffers will mean the party will have problems.
While we can’t wait to hear what the Log Cabin Republicans have to say about all of this, President of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins has this morsel of homo-hatery to share:
As a society we’ve made diversity and tolerance the guidepost of public life…Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that we have Congressmen chasing after sixteen year old boys.
We all know – well, we hope you all know – that Foley’s interest in young men nothing to do with him being gay, but stems from larger psychological issues. Conservative homo-journo, Andrew Sullivan, boils the issue down to the continued immutability of the closet, particularly in Washington:
The closet is so psychologically destructive it often produces pathological behavior. When you compartmentalize your life, you sometimes act out in one compartment in ways that you would never condone in another one. Think Clinton-Lewinsky, in a heterosexual context. But closeted gay men are particularly vulnerable to this kind of thing. Your psyche is so split by decades of lies and deceptions and euphemisms that integrity and mental health suffer. No one should excuse Foley’s creepy interactions; they are inexcusable, as is the alleged cover-up â€¦But there’s a reason gay men in homophobic institutions behave in self-destructive ways.
While we agree the closet’s one of the most dangerous societal constructions, we’re hestitant to chalk Foley’s behaviour up as simply the “self-destructive” result of closeted life. We do feel, however, that this whole mess raises pertinent questions about the role of gays not only in American politics, but American society in general.
The political anxiety regarding homos in America’s nothing new, as ABC reports:
The debate over the role of gays in civic life has been a part of the American story at least as far back as March 11, 1778, when General George Washington approved the court martial of Lt. Gotthold Frederick Enslin for homosexuality.
Even since then, Americans have been obsessed with politico-homos.
So, to answer our reader’s question: we’re covering the Foley scandal as both as way to shine some light on the hypocrisy of American politics, to highlight the traumas caused by the closet, and to examine the failures of our government to acknowledge both homosexuality in its midst, as well as to monitor its own actions. Plus, it’s a great way to poke fun at Republicans. What could be better?