Friday, May 7, 2010

George Rekers and His Rent Boy: In Which Yet Another Virulently Anti-Gay Homophobe turns out to be a closeted, self-hating GAY man.

So it hit the news this week that George Rekers, the co-founder of the anti-gay Family Research Council (he founded it with James Dobson) the organization called the "standard-bearer of the nation's extreme right wing," and the man who has been testifying as an "expert witness" in favor of gay adoption bans in both Arkansas and Florida, found a young man through an advertisement of his sexual services on a website, and had that young man accompany him on a 10 day trip to Europe.

They were photographed coming back into the country at the Miami airport.

Rekers acknowledged traveling with the young man, but explained that he needed someone to help him with his luggage. (Amusingly, the photo shows Rekers pushing the luggage cart.)

The article that broke the story in the Miami News Times (a warning - there's some explicit quotes in the article from the Rent Boy's online advertisement. The article is here) explains how complicated it would have been for Rekers to find his young traveling companion, and that he couldn't have just happened upon the ad:

To arrive at Lucien's site, Rekers must have accepted's terms of use, thereby acknowledging he was not offended by graphic sexual material. He then would have been transported to a front page covered with images of naked, tumescent men busily sodomizing each other.

Then Rekers must have performed a search. Did he want a "rentboy," a "sugar daddy," or a "masseur"? In what country? And what city? If Rekers searched for a rent boy in Miami, he would have found approximately 80 likely candidates. He must have scrolled down the first page, past the shirtless bears and desperate ex-models, and on to page 2. There, at last, was Lucien.

So why is it that the most virulent homophobes turn out to be closeted, self-loathing gay men? That time and again, the people working hardest to destroy queer rights and lives are acting out of some warped spy-movie premise that

No one will suspect I like guys in that way if I'm the loudest oppressor and opponent of gay rights and people. If I stand up and shout about how wrong it is to be gay, and tell people that men who find intimacy with other men are making a terrible choice and they could change if only they wanted to badly enough, then no one will think I would ever do those things. I'll fight to make sure gays won't get any civil rights (and that way I'll get to keep my rights and privileges, and no one will ever know...)

If anyone needed proof that being gay isn't a choice, just look at the men who have made their professions and fame by preaching hatred of and discrimination against gays and then were caught, pants down, with other men in - shall we say - compromising positions.

Senator Larry Craig, voted to ban gay adoption in Washington, D.C., and voted against every gay-equality civil rights bill he could. (He received a 0% rating by the Human Rights Campaign in December 2006.) He was arrested in an airport bathroom in June 2007 and many men have since come forward claiming to have had sex with him.

And just back in March, Anti-Gay California State Senator Roy Ashburn was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (Drunk Driving) after leaving a gay bar.

Oh, and don't forget Ted Haggard, the Pastor who was outed by his prostitute!

In fact, I started to make a list, but then I found this great one at Ranker! Thanks, Joanne!

George Rekers is only the latest in this sorry roster.

"While he keeps a low public profile, his fingerprints are on almost every anti-gay effort to demean and dehumanize LGBT people," says Wayne Besen, a gay rights advocate in New York City and the executive director of Truth Wins Out, which investigates the anti-gay movement. "His work is ubiquitously cited by lobby groups that work to deny equality to LGBT Americans. Rekers has caused a great deal of harm to gay and lesbian individuals."

It must be a strange kind of hell, to make your fame - to build your whole life - on holding down others like yourself.

A possible silver lining? We may have arrived at what I'm going to call The Queen in Hamlet Tipping Point:

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

(Act III, scene 2, line 230)

We may have arrived at the place where anyone who is too rabidly anti-gay will be perceived by the larger culture as probably another closeted, self-hating gay man, trying to throw us off the scent.

Because really, who's next? Will Anita Bryant be revealed to be a lesbian?

Oh, I shudder at the thought of our community having to claim her.

Stephen Colbert sums the Rekers scandal up nicely (with some funny moments!) which you can watch here. Thanks to Lynne for the heads up on the Colbert Report segment!


Denise said...

All I can say is that more than anything I feel sorry for this man. Sorry that for whatever reason he was told and then acted upon the idea that being gay was wrong, or something shameful. It's a sad thing to happen, to anyone.

I hope the lesson people get out of this is that it's not shameful to be who you are, and lying will only make the you that was made to shine turn into a shriveled up unhappy hateful person. God said “love”, and the things that these people do are not my version of Christianity. Nowhere, anywhere does it say to live a life with a heart full of hate and discriminate against fellow man for something that is just as natural as the whatever you are (in some cases what you are). I don’t care how “right wing” you are, you shouldn't be hating, the damage that hate does lasts a lifetime, and spans generations.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Didn't Anita bow out because she found out her son was gay? And there was that politician in San Diego (mayor, senator?) who was all for Prop 8 until the last minute and made a wonderful tear-filled speech about how he could not deny his lesbian daughter the right to marry.

If being gay were not stigmatized so much, then the self-loathing closeted men would cease to exist or something very close to that. They create the very same atmosphere that makes them hate themselves.

ivanova said...

I don't feel sorry for this guy, or the other self-hating homophobic gay politicos. Whether he got caught with a rent boy or not, I still judge him by his actions.

I was lucky enough to have loving and accepting parents, but many of my friends were taught as children that being gay was wrong. And yet they figured the truth out anyway, and became the happy, awesome gay people that they are today. They didn't turn into hypocritical jerks like this guy. I wish with all my heart that kids didn't have to grow up with anti-gay prejudice, but I think it takes more than that to make an enemy of love like George Rekers, There must have been other factors at play to make him what he is. Having tortured thoughts is totally not a free pass to do the wrong thing and be a hater.

Amen to the thought that there's no need for a hate-filled heart, no matter what your political stripe. And amen to the hope that the LGBT community never has to embrace Anita Bryant as one of us--yuk!!

Hayden said...

Lee, you have to check this out.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Denise, I hear you, and admire your compassion (though my compassion goes out to those this guy has spent his life oppressing.)
Sarah, Yeah, there WAS something about Anita Bryant's son being gay I remember. I agree that it's a bit of a cycle - they do create the very atmosphere that makes them hate themselves.
Ivanova, you're right on - feeling conflicted is no free pass to be a hater.
Hayden, Yes! We've reached the tipping point - it's in a comic!
Thanks to you all for your comments and being part of this community of ours!

Sailor July said...

This is HORRIBLE! As a lesbian woman, I am VERY proud of my sexuality. And I have never hid nor have I even tried to hide mine and my wife's marriage. I love her more than anything!

Hello, Lee! I'm Angela. I was directed to your blog via Denise. I am really enjoying reading your posts.