Fey Ways

I posted something on Facebook recently about Marcus Bachmann, Michele’s light-in-the-loafers husband, and a straight female friend commented: “What a fag.” She followed it up almost immediately with, “I hope that didn’t offend you.”

My response was clear: “Not at all. Maybe he’s a fag, but I’m just gay.”

Of course, the rumors started because the would-be First Husband is about as fey as a man can get—in the words of Jon Stewart, “not just gay, but center-square gay.” One listen to the sibilant voice, one glimpse of the jazz-hands dance style, is enough to make the casting director for La Cage aux folles want to run off to Minnesota to recruit him for the touring production.

The blogosphere is having a field day making fun of Bachmann’s fey ways—mincing down a hallway, lisping his way through a radio interview about “disciplining” homosexuals, dancing with Michele like he’s about to have a seizure. I have to admit that if I heard jokes like this about an out gay man who happened to be effeminate, I’d probably be offended. But when it comes to Bachmann, I laugh along with everyone else.

Of course, feyness alone does not a homosexual make. I have met the occasional straight man who irons his jeans and knows a little too much about flower arrangement. But when you consider Bachmann’s effeminacy in the light of his dedication to “conversion therapy,” the circumstantial evidence is a little hard to overlook. As Shakespeare, another celebrity of ambiguous sexuality, would say, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

So maybe it’s just semantics. On the schoolyard when I was a kid, fag meant “homosexual,” but then again, in those days of burgeoning puberty, homosexual didn’t mean much more than “sissy.” So who knows or cares who Marcus Bachmann sleeps with–or who he wants to sleep with? But if he is a homosexual, then he’s also a hypocrite and a coward-and those are kind of, well, faggy. His so-called clinic receives federal money while practicing a type of therapy that has been denounced by reputable clinicians as little more than psychological abuse. Homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses nearly 40 years ago, but this crackpot still tries to “pray the gay away.” You might as well try to pray away the color of your skin, Marcus.

It’s the very notion that homosexuality needs to be “cured” that has led people to turn on this man so quickly, and to use his mannerisms against him. It’s the idea that he and Michele are probably royally pissed at the “accusation” that he might be gay—because, in their repressive world, homosexuality is indeed an accusation. (On the other hand, if I called her a fascist, would she find it a compliment?) Trying to cure one’s sexuality amounts to little more than sheer denial-and denial is the coward’s way out. True courage lies in accepting who you are in the face of prejudice and oppression, not kowtowing to the power elite and hiding behind your homophobic beard’s skirt.

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