The gay blogosphere has been buzzing in recent days about a candid video posted online that shows the husband of Michele Bachmann sashaying down a hallway with a drag queen’s strut and an audio of him speaking out against gays in a high-pitched, almost lisping voice.
“He’s a flamer,” commented a visitor at Truth Wins Out.
“Come out, Mary,” exhorted another.
"Who'll be running the country if Bachmann gets elected? The queen of the Tea Party? Or the old queen she married?" asked a writer at The Stranger.
But some charge that the assault on Marcus Bachmann’s effeminate mannerisms is an unseemly display of internalized gay self-loathing. They content that it’s hypocritical for gays to level comments at Bachmann that would be labeled “gay bashing” if they were expressed by non-gays.
The motivation behind the animus is Bachmann’s own hateful statements about gay people. A so-called “Christian” psychotherapist, he uses the Bible to try turning gay people straight. His attitude toward LGBT people stands in sharp contrast to what many would consider his stereotypically gay behavior.
In an interview Bachmann gave last year to a syndicated Christian radio program, he compared gays to barbarians and said they need to be disciplined:
“We have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated,” he said. “They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps.
“And let’s face it: what is our culture, what is our public education system doing today? They are giving full, wide-open doors to children, not only giving encouragement to think it but to encourage action steps. That’s why when we understand what truly is the percentage of homosexuals in this country, it is small. But by these open doors, I can see and we are experiencing, that it is starting to increase.”
Bachmann’s statements are consistent with those of his wife, who represents a right-wing district of Minnesota in Congress and recently announced that she’s seeking the GOP presidential nomination. In fact, Michele Bachmann has made her opposition to equality a cornerstone of her political career. She has said that homosexuality is “from Satan” and that encouraging young people to be tolerant of gays amounts to “child abuse.”
The founder of the congressional Tea Party caucus, Bachmann has also made her opposition to government spending a key issue in her public life. She’s come under fire in recent days for hypocrisy on that front amid revelations that her husband’s clinic accepts payments from Medicaid.
The Bachmanns, who met and married in college, have produced five children and have been foster parents to an additional 23, mostly troubled teens. Perhaps they believe such a display of heterosexuality puts Marcus Bachmann’s sexual orientation above suspicion.
But many LGBT people are understandably wary. They’ve watched one married fundamentalist Christian family man after another caught up in a same-sex extramarital scandal. For them, a right-wing leader's level of animus toward gay people has become an indicator of how much he's trying to hide about his private life.
As long as the Bachmanns continue to display traits that seem to be at odds with their positions on the issues, they’re sure to inspire more ridicule. Whether that ridicule is justified or unseemly is a debate within itself.
Photo: Michele McGaughey