Gay-Bashing a Republican

We’ve made note of various Republican slanders and lies in the current election, so to be fair we should consider a case where the left has been equally bad. Mitch McConnell has been a Republican senator from Kentucky since 1984. A staunch conservative, McConnell has been dogged throughout his career with rumors that he’s a closeted gay or bisexual. In particular, there is a longstanding rumor (almost certainly false) the McConnell was discharged from the army in the 1960s as a result of his sexual orientation. As Mark Kleiman notes on his blog Same Facts an independent political group in Kentucky (not the Democratic party) is playing up these stories in order to defeat McConnell’s reelection bid. (For a particularly vile ad, see here).

Is McConnell a closet case? If he were, would it be ethical to out him, especially considering his anti-gay voting record? Or do the anti-McConnell ads cater to the homophobia of the electorate (in the way that some right-wing ads about Barack Obama cater to anti-Arab feelings)?

These are all good questions but I think we should take a broader perspective:the problem with outing McConnell is that the categories “gay” and “straight” really make no sense. Let’s say McConnell did have gay sex in the army: that’s true of lots of men and women, many of whom are ostensibly straight in civilian life!


I’m old-fashioned enough to believe that everyone is basically bisexual. The form our sexuality takes is contingent on social and psychological factors but in the right circumstances any of us could have sex with either gender. In a healthy society, “straights” would acknowledge the “gay” side of their personality and “gays” would also admit to having “straight” tendencies. It’s not just Mitch McConnell that needs to be outed, it’s the whole human species.


3 thoughts on “Gay-Bashing a Republican

  1. More to the point, McConnell has made gay-bashing/gay-baiting a plank of his reelection platforms, and part of his legislative agenda.

    If he were, in fact, a larry craig faggot, he deserves to be hoisted on his own petard.

  2. Luke,

    “If he were, in fact, a larry craig faggot, he deserves to be hoisted on his own petard.”

    The point is that ordinary gay people don’t deserve to be on the receiving end of the anti-gay prejudice which this ad is designed to exploit. Using gay-baiting as a means to get back at him doesn’t help gay people in any way, and can only do harm. It won’t be just McConnell who is affected. How do you think gay members of that union feel about their leadership exploiting that prejudice?

  3. Well, speaking as a gay non-union member, fuck it, bring the pain. Though I wish the Union would explain the issue as “he’s a hypocritical self-hating bastard” unions are notoriously homophobic. Given that, McConnell shouldn’t be allowed to profit from bigotry, and should, in fact, suffer like the rest of us as he wants us to suffer.

    I do wish that we could achieve this another way–like Larry Craig or Ted Haggard–given that this has a non-trivial utilitarian argument against doing this, but I’d also like to remind the GOP that, by their standards, the party is riddled with anti-American sleeper agents. Thus, the GOP can get to the point where it’s completely batshit and no one regards its stance on gays as worth a warm bucket of piss, or it comes back around to societal norms.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s