Oh my God, it?s almost Thanksgiving.
How did that happen? I just started getting used to writing ?07? on my checks, and soon I?ll have to reprogram my brain?s pathways to ?08.?
It?s time to take that annual inventory of things for which we need to be thankful.
I could say I?m thankful for my wonderful partner, Lynn, or for our brilliant golden retriever, Bailey. Or for the fact I?m still getting up each morning, pulling on my jeans, and going to work. And I truly am happy for all these things.
But perhaps the one thing that I should be more consciously thankful for but take for granted is being comfortable in my own skin. I make no excuses for my sexuality. I?m proud to be a dyke. It?s my everyday.
I can?t imagine my everyday being the living hell of the closet. I tried it once for two years while I was figuring out exactly who I was, between the ages of 18 and 20. It was 1976 and 1977, my freshman and sophomore years in college. I was carrying on a relationship with my first girlfriend in the dorms. No one knew. What a nightmare – sneaking around, hoping no one would see, even, dare I say, finding a secluded bathroom with a cot in it (a lot of ?ladies rooms? had them when I was younger).
Ugh. Coming out of the closet was such a relief. It felt like all the pieces of who I was finally came together. For the first time, I really felt comfortable in my own skin. I knew girls were ?it? for me. (And it wasn?t for the lack of trying with guys ? I did give it, as they say, the old college try!)
Sexual repression is just such a waste of time and energy. It?s too bad that such duplicitous, closeted homophobes as Larry Craig, the toe-tapping, hand-running, tissue-picking-up, U.S. Senator from Idaho who met his untimely political demise in a bathroom stall never got the message.
Neither have a bunch of his GOP colleagues.
In their new book The Brotherhood of the Disappearing Pants: A Field Guide to Conservative Sex Scandals, Joseph Minton Amann and Tom Breuer give us a hilarious look at neo-con sexual peccadilloes ? both straight and gay.
Some of the straight guy stories make the sexual repression, hypocrisy, and duplicity of the closeted gay Republicans seem like child?s play. Some of these heterosexual pervs were into child porn, incest, gang bangs, and all kinds of kink.
?For years now the GOP has tried to corner the market on family values,? Amann and Breuer write in the intro to section one of the book, ?Republicanicus Libidinus.? ?Yet a little research shows how it?s not all post-nuptial missionary-position boot knocking for the far right. What you?ll often find instead is deviant sexuality repressed to the breaking point. And when they do finally break, these upstanding leaders of community and country make an East Village leather bar look like a Hello Kitty-themed bar mitzvah.?
They had me at page one! They did their number on Mark Foley ? one of the more recent ?Repressican? poster boys. We all know his story. But did you know that the rising star of Andrew Buhr, an up-and-comer Repub from Missouri whom George W. appointed to the Commission on Presidential Scholars, imploded when it was discovered that he carried on with an underage boy at his local Y?
It seems Buhr thought the young man in question was 18: ?He was a big guy, well over six feet, well over 200 pounds,? Buhr said in an article published in the St. Louis LGBT bi-weekly Vital Voice. ?Plus the fact that it was a steam room where I?ve met other men…?
And then there was the outing of Arthur Finkelstein, a Republican political consultant, whose strategy kept gay-basher extraordinaire Jesse Helms in office, and whose counsel kept former New York State Governor George Pataki from recognizing same-sex unions from Massachusetts in the Empire State. That?s pretty funny, since Finkelstein married his partner of 40 years in 2004. I guess when you have the kind of money Finkelstein has made working his trade for the GOP, you don?t mind not being legally welcome ? you can buy your freedom.
We can?t forget Maryland Congressman Bob Bauman, the anti-gay rights, anti-ERA, anti-choice, ?pro-family? chairman of the American Conservative Union. In the fall of 1980, he was charged with soliciting sex from a 16-year-old boy – his charges came just a month before his hero, Ronald Reagan, was elected to office. The devout Catholic (ahem) and married (in 1980, at least) father of four saw his political career circle the toilet as he blamed his alcoholism for his behavior (sound familiar? That?s what Mark Foley said, too!).
There are plenty more stories where these came from.
I?ve always thought that those who protest the most are protesting too much because of what is really deep inside them. The Brotherhood of the Disappearing Pants bears me out.
Thank God, I?m out of the closet.
Libby Post is the founding chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and a political commentator on public radio, on the Web, and in print media. She can be reached at LesbianNotions@qsyndicate.com.
Oh my God, it?s almost Thanksgiving.