Bombs Away! The California Highway Patrol swung into high terror mode last April after arresting a sixty-year-old man (on a drug charge) who was found to have “a suspicious wire, with an on/off switch” in his pants pocket: “The wire was found to extend from the pant pocket to the subject’s anus,” according to a CHP report. Although the arrested man explained to the police that the wire led to an anal vibrator, the police decided to evacuate their facility and call in the explosive ordnance disposal unit for El Dorado County. The bomb squad arrived at 5:45 a.m. and, according to the police report, had “rendered the device safe” by 9 a.m. And, guess what? It was a vibrator. Unexplained in the report is why it took over three hours for the would-be bomb to be removed. On the other hand, the spectacle of a squad of presumably straight bomb defusers trying to figure out how to remove something from a sixty-year-old man’s ass might help to explain the delay.
Hypocrisy with Benefits What more can be said about the fall of George Alan Rekers, that “ex-gay” psychologist and Family Research Council cofounder who was caught returning from a ten-day trip to Europe with a male escort named “Lucien” that he’d found on Rentboy.com? Rekers was the stuff of daytime hand-wringing and late-night send-ups for a week or more, his hypocrisy and mendacity amply noted and lampooned. The best part was not the absurdity of this supposedly “ex-gay” evangelical turning to Rentboy.com for a traveling companion, but instead the excuse—or, rather, excuses—that he offered when he got busted. At first he claimed that his purpose was to evangelize this misguided young man and set him on the path of righteousness. Quickly sensing that this wasn’t flyin’, he decided to claim that he’d hired Lucien, following back surgery, to carry his bags, whereupon the Miami New Times journalist who broke the story released a photo showing Rekers hauling a suitcase from a tram while Lucien looked adorably on.
But the saddest, sickest part of the story wasn’t stressed by the press. Rekers isn’t in the “ex-gay” game to rescue souls or to bolster his own heterosexual creds or even to advance a homophobic agenda; he’s in it for the money. He’s one of several “homophobes-for-hire” who travel around the country as an “expert witness” against marriage equality and other gay causes for huge sums of money. For example, he was paid $120,000 to testify in favor of Florida’s ban on same-sex couple adoption. He nabbed another $165,000 in Arkansas for similar testimony—but only after a long legal battle. He testified against gay foster parenting in Arizona for another large fee. It seems the flimflam man was able to go from state to state and rake in the bucks so long as he kept a low profile—and then he met Lucien.
Gay Men Can’t Throw? There’s no such thing as a “Straight Softball World Series,” which would be redundant, since the straightness of the players is widely assumed. But there is a Gay Softball World Series, whose membership is presumed to be mostly gay, if only because of the name and all. And yet, this is the subject of a lawsuit in Washington state, where a team that was competing in the playoffs near Seattle was stripped of its second-place finish after a ruling that too many of its players were heterosexual. The defendant in the case is the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (nagaaa), which has a rule that a team can include only two non-gay members to qualify for the competition. Upon losing to a San Francisco-based team called D2, the Atlanta Mudcats complained that their opponent had more than two straight players. To settle the dispute, nagaaa marched the members of D2 before a board in a crowded room and asked each player about his “private sexual attractions and desires,” along with other questions that plaintiffs described as “very intrusive, sexual questions.” In its lawsuit against nagaaa, D2 is being represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, so it’s very much a “gay versus gay” affair. On the one hand, given the hetero-dominance of sports in general, one can understand nagaaa’s desire to keep things off the straight and narrow. On the other hand, the spectacle of guys being brought before a gay court and grilled about their sexual orientation is a little weird. Now the pressure to keep one’s straightness under wraps to avoid forfeiture could give rise to a whole new phenomenon: the closet heterosexual.
Dingo Lingo Down Under It was the gag story for a full cable news cycle, maybe less, some time last April: an incident that occurred at a restaurant in Adelaide, Australia, when a blind man named Ian Jolly was refused entry after his female companion informed the staff that he had a gay dog. What she really said was “guide dog,” but someone misheard and decided to bar the trio. The U.S. media jumped on the hilarity of the word confusion, which was due to the way those crazy folks “down under” pronounce the word “gay.” Still, quite a few more leaps of error (or idiocy) were needed for all this to happen: someone had to believe that a dog could be “gay” in some meaningful sense of the term, and then had to conclude that this was sufficient grounds for excluding the dog, its owner, and his friend from the establishment. But the story has a happy ending—this is Australia, after all: the restaurant apologized and gave Jolly $1,400 for his embarrassment.
Bonus: Top Ten Homophobically Gay Politicians
We’ve covered a lot of them in past BTW’s—those lying, self-loathing conservative politicians who spend a lifetime pushing homophobia and blocking gay rights—but it’s hard to keep track of them all. Now, a website called Ranker.com has thoughtfully compiled the worst offenders into a “top ten” list. Summarized here are the rankings of “Joanne.” Cases covered in previous BTW columns are marked with an asterisk.
10. Troy King, the Alabama attorney general who spent a lifetime opposing gay rights and trying to outlaw sex toys, was caught by his wife while having sex with a local homecoming king from Troy University. *
9. Jim West, mayor of Spokane, supported a bill to ban gays and lesbians from working in schools, daycare centers, and some state agencies, but that didn’t stop him from having sexual relations with boys and young men from his community over a 25-year period—and even offering them jobs with the city of Spokane in exchange for sex.
8. Richard Curtis, a Washington state representative, always voted against same-sex domestic partnerships and anti-discrimination laws, but then he was caught by the police cavorting with a male prostitute whom he’d offered $1,000 for sex. Best of all, pictures surfaced of Curtis wearing a pink negligée earlier that evening—taken by the hustler as revenge when he discovered that Curtis had only $200.
7. Bruce Barclay, the homophobic Republican commissioner of Cumberland County, PA, got busted when he was accused of rape by a twenty-year-old male sex partner. Police investigated the scene, found no evidence of rape, but did find a gigantic stash of videotapes showing sexual encounters that Barclay had had with hundreds of young men. *
6. Roy Ashburn, California state senator and a reliable opponent of all gay rights legislation, was a BTW subject in the last issue. Arrested on a DUI after leaving a gay bar with an unidentified man… the usual story. At least this guy didn’t try to deny that he was gay. *
5. Larry Craig, former three-term senator from Idaho, had a 0 rating from the Human Rights Campaign. You know the rest: the airport men’s room, the tapping foot, the “wide stance,” all revealed after his arrest for lewd conduct. (Joanne wonders if the HRC could start giving out negative ratings.
4. Ed Schrock spent two terms in Congress vehemently opposing all gay-rights issues, especially letting gays serve in the military, but in 2004 he was caught on tape soliciting sex from a male prostitute, at which point he dropped out of the race for a third term in Congress, never to be heard from again.
3. Robert Allen, Florida state rep, married with children, voted against all gay rights legislation, was arrested for offering to pay an undercover cop $20 to let him perform fellatio in a park men’s room. The wackiest thing about Allen’s case was the excuse he offered for the solicitation, namely that he was afraid of black people and “didn’t want to become a statistic,” so … he offered to give a dude a blow job in the men’s room. All right, then.
2. Ted Haggard of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, wasn’t really a politician, but he spent plenty of time campaigning against gay rights before being outed by a prostitute and professional masseur, Mike Jones, who revealed a three-year relationship involving sex, money, and crystal meth. *
1. Mark Foley, former congressman and head of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, was caught having unlawful Internet conversations with two former pages, age sixteen and eighteen. (Other reports from pages followed.) Foley took the “poor me” approach to excuse-making, citing the sexual assault of an unnamed clergyman as a child. When at first he denied that he was gay, all of Washington guffawed: his proclivities had been an open secret for years. *