Friday, December 08, 2006


There are many things I’d like to be called. Provocateur is one of them. If last weeks commentary in the Baltimore Sun could be described in one word it would be normalizing. This weeks commentary in the Washington Blade in one word? Provocative. I’ve excerpted the beginning below or you can click here and jump to the full column.

Stop using sex as a weapon (Gay)Spinning gay ‘sex panic’ scandals to our political advantage will eventually backfire.
By JULIE ENSZERFriday, December 08, 2006

LAST MONTH’S ELECTION results were filled with victories large and small for gay rights supporters, but those results were achieved in part by using sex panic, a political strategy that always damages our community.
One of the keys to the Democratic victory was the exposure of former Rep. Mark Foley’s (R-Fla.) inappropriate messages to congressional pages.
The Foley incident was a contemporary sex panic, similar to the controversy that surrounded Gerry Studds, the late Democratic congressman from Massachusetts.
Certainly 20-plus years altered the rhetoric from Democrats and Republicans, as both feared being labeled homophobic, but sex panic still works, and it still works in hackneyed and hurtful ways. In Foley’s case, the sex panic unfolded like this: a closeted Republican’s homosexuality is exposed in conjunction with lurid references to his potential as a child abuser. The Republican Party is shamed by a homosexual in its midst, termed, at best, abusive of his power, or, at worst, a child-molesting pervert. The silence of the Democrats and the gay and lesbian leadership allowed the issue to linger, leading to victory for the Democrats. It’s a reliable formula: link someone to homosexuality, perverse sex, extend it to their associates and watch them fall.
Read the full column here.

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