(WNS)--I wonder how people who identify themselves as gay feel about being stereotyped, mocked, made fun of, and bullied. Oh wait. I know. They’ve made it perfectly clear. They don’t like it. And it’s dangerous. It can lead to hurt feelings and even suicidal thoughts, they keep telling us.
There’s even an entire campaign called “It Gets Better” started by gay activist Dan Savage, which is designed to reassure gay teens that any mocking and bullying they experience will pass.
And yet that same Dan Savage apparently thinks it’s perfectly OK to mock someone and disparagingly suggest he must be gay because of the way he speaks. Stereotyping is acceptable when it suits Savage’s purposes, I guess.
On one of his recent radio shows (“Savage Love,” which can be listened to online), Savage sneeringly goes after Marcus Bachmann, husband of GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. He asks listeners to turn on their “gaydar” and listen carefully to how Bachmann speaks. He plays a clip three times, mocking Bachmann each time by imitating him with an exaggerated lisp.
He hints that Bachmann must be gay and hiding it. After all, his appearance does bring Liberace to mind (at least in Savage’s mind). He jokes that if Bachmann becomes “first lady,” he won’t be making obesity his issue. So I guess making fun of someone for his weight is OK, too.
Of course, what’s really going on here is that Savage is reacting to the “investigative reports” by a gay rights group that ostensibly prove that Bachmann’s Christian counseling centers will, if asked, help homosexuals with unwanted same-sex attraction.
He accuses Bachmann of “spiritually brutalizing LGBT kids.”
What’s worrisome—beyond the obvious double standard when it comes to bullying—is that Savage is becoming a media darling. The New York Times Magazine devoted a recent cover story to Savage’s contention that infidelity can be good for marriages. That got him a stint on The Colbert Report. Media outlets across the country hailed his It Gets Better project.
But I don’t see any major media outlets calling Savage out, as it were, for making fun of someone because his speech patterns—to his ears at least—sound gay.
Marcia Segelstein writes for www.worldmag.com.
Publication date: July 27, 2011