Two conservative anti-gay pundits this week agreed that the violence Russia’s gay population is currently facing is “the natural way people react to homosexuality.” So why isn’t the GOP speaking out about this kind of rhetoric?
Brian Camenker of the designated hate group MassResistance sat down with Mission America’s notoriously anti-gay Linda Harvey to discuss Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law and gay rights groups’ plans to demonstrate at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Harvey, at first seeming keen to engage in a bit of denial, asked Camenker whether gays were just making up stories about violence Russia’s LGBT population is currently facing. Camenker didn’t take that bait. Instead, he had something worse in store. Gay people, he contends, are instead provoking these attacks.
Via Right Wing Watch, emphasis mine:
Harvey: They’re maintaining that people that are homosexual, who in anyway display that they are homosexual in Russia are beat up by gangs, do you have any documentation that that is actually happening or that it is actually happening and is not being punished as it ought to be or is just hype by them?
Camenker: Well, it’s hard to say. I would say that a lot of it is probably true. The natural way people react to homosexuality — outside of all the diversity training — is a certain amount of revulsion. So if two men start kissing in the public street, you can expect a certain reaction from people.
Harvey: From certain levels of people, thugs and the people inclined to violence anyway, right?
Camenker: And the other thing is, and it even is true here, if you’re going to do something that most of the population considers bad or immoral or disgusting in public, you’re going to get a certain reaction. I think that they push that as far as they can and sometimes you just can’t do it.
Harvey: Right. There’s some provocation going on. Not justifying violence in any way for all of these people listening and wanting to spin this the way they will want to do.
In the interests of not wanting to have appeared to “spin” this, the above is verbatim but it is truncated to exclude Camenker’s waffle regarding gay people in the United States. Right Wing Watch has more excerpts from the show, which are just brimming with idiocy, for instance that you don’t get many gay athletes because of the mental state homosexuals are in, and more bleating about how the Russian propaganda law is a “good” law that “protects” kids.
We might consider Harvey and Camenker to be on the fringe of anti-LGBT religious conservative extremism, but when the Republican Party is readily mining for support among the likes of Harvey’s listenres, we quickly see that opinions like these aren’t being given the short shrift they deserve.
While at the recent ultra conservative Value Voters summit, for instance, very few active politicians attending, including Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), mentioned LGBT rights, but they did amp up the Christian persecution myth which directly feeds this kind of rhetoric while also sharing the stage with former politicians and media personalities who are blatant about shaping Republican and, in particular, Tea Party politics with disgusting victim blaming and outright lies about LGBTs.
For instance, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee decried California’s groundbreaking trans student rights law, implying it would be used by male students to ogle female students in the school showers. Former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), now of the noted anti-gay Heritage Foundation, opined that no one has the right to “redefine” marriage while adding that the issue should be decided by the people and the church — apparently, he didn’t see the irony.
All this was positively tame compared to some though, including Fox News contributor Sandy Rios claiming that being gay shortens a man’s lifespan (it doesn’t) and that children are now being exposed to “an absolute ocean of propaganda on the homosexual issue.”
Regrettably, even that pales to recent comments made by Todd Kincannon, a former South Carolina GOP executive, who recently took to Twitter to say “There are people who respect transgender rights. And there are people who think you should all be put in a camp. That’s me.”
He didn’t stop there. Over the course of several dozen tweets, he used incredibly offensive slurs: “I have plenty of compassion for trannies. They should all be locked up in mental institutions and their care paid for by the state,” and worse, calling trans women “dickchicks.”
The GOP as a whole has remained silent about these comments despite Kincannon still being enormously influential among Republican ranks. While he might have a right to say whatever he wants, the GOP can still decry such blatantly offensive and dehumanizing sentiments. But it won’t, and that’s a massive problem.
Examples of Tea Party extremism are abundant, not just on gay rights but women’s rights and immigration, and yet lawmakers like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio appear willfully blind to how damaging this rhetoric is and will regularly share a stage, a talk-show couch or a radio microphone with said extremists.
What is needed is for Republicans to firmly renounce this kind of rhetoric because, as the lines blur further between true political differences and extremism, silence is no longer an option and the longer this is allowed to continue the more difficult it will be to clear this hateful infestation of public discourse.
Photo credit: Thinkstock.
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