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Monday, October 29, 2007

But Who Will Cure the Unhappy Heterosexuals?

posted by on October 29 at 12:38 PM

Barack Obama gave Donnie McClurkin a platform and he seized the opportunity to attack gays and lesbians. (And bloggers!) And he attacked gays and lesbians in front of a largely female audience, too, a detail that makes my head explode. After African American gays and lesbians, straight African American women bear the lethal brunt of homophobia in the African American community. The homophobia stoked by African American preachers like McClurkin keeps many African American gay men closeted—and closeted African American men place their wives and girlfriends at greatly increased risk of HIV infection. But, hey, who cares about a few million sick or dead African American women? Not McClurkin and not, it seems, Barack Obama.

Anyway, Barack Obama pumped out a press release yesterday meant to make everything all better:

The concert was to be the highlight of this outreach and while the crowd left excited, it was clear the campaign still regarded the controversy as complicated. Aides gave reporters a three-page memo detailing McClurkin’s and Obama’s views on gay rights that noted in capital letters “MCCLURKIN DOES NOT WANT TO CHANGE GAYS AND LESBIANS WHO ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR LIVES AND HAS CRITICIZED CHURCH LEADERS WHO DEMONIZE HOMOSEXUALS,” with quotes detailing those statements from the singer.

Well, duh. Religious bigots don’t “want to change” happy homosexuals; contented gays and lesbians aren’t the kind of low-hanging fruit (sorry) that ex-gay ministries target. Religious bigots go after miserable, unhappy homos because—duh—they’re likelier to fall for the snake oil McClurkin is selling. Ex-gay ministries encourage unhappy homos to blame all their problems on their sexual orientations because it couldn’t possibly be anything they themselves did or failed to do.

If you’re gay and unhappy it’s because you’re gay. If you’re straight and unhappy… well, uh… gee. Maybe you need a hobby?

Pointing out that McClurkin only “wants to change” unhappy homos isn’t going to mollify people that are angry with Barack Obama over this attack. So McClurkin only wants to “change” the unhappy homos—that’s what all the anti-gay bigots say, Barack. How can and/or your handlers not know this? Pointing out that McClurkin only wants to change the unhappy homos doesn’t set him apart from other raving anti-gay bigots. It’s him squarely in the mainstream of anti-gay bigotry.

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Too little too late Obama and I want my $500.00 contribution back with interest!

Posted by Just Me | October 29, 2007 12:47 PM

As nifty as it is to express concern over the safety of African-American women, they bear some responsibility for sitting in that audience and applauding that fuckwad.

Who do you think drags all those young men off to church every week to listen to all that claptrap about gay people? Mom, aunt Myrtle, etc. are often the main vehicle by which their kids are inculcated with religious bigotry.

Duh alert: I'm not saying they deserve HIV. Just that they aren't entirely innocent bystanders in this rotten situation.

Posted by Moltarr | October 29, 2007 12:55 PM

I find it amusing that the MSM like The Stranger are so obsessed with this, and not with any of the other fine Dem candidates.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 29, 2007 12:57 PM

I supported Obama when I first heard this story, because the guy is just a gospel singer and was going to sing a song. I said you all were blowing it out of proportion, and giving Clinton a free ride on the same issue. That's still true.

But having heard the story of the event, I've changed my mind. Obama blew it big time the instant he allowed McCluskin to speak. And now his damage control is incompetent.

I realize Obama is between a rock and a hard place here; he can't get out of it without pissing off a large constituency either way. But that's part of what politics is about: not getting into this situation is what he had damn well be able to do.

He just threw the nomination to Clinton.

Posted by Fnarf | October 29, 2007 12:59 PM

If anything, I'd suspect that the fear over their [i.e. religious women's, African American or otherwise] deeply closeted husbands making them sick or causing them pain probably makes it easier to sell an antigay agenda to them. It could be easier to deal with the notion that your husband has fallen prey to some evil outside force than the notion that he might just be that way.

Posted by tsm | October 29, 2007 1:00 PM

@4 - actually, a recent poll says he's almost tied with Clinton in Iowa right now; it seems like he could still win the nom yet.

Sigh. I was leaning towards Obama, too, but this is making it tougher.

Posted by tsm | October 29, 2007 1:03 PM

Ah, the old "we're only after the unhappy homos" argument. Yeah, I've heard that one before. In fact, some ex-gay ministries intentially prey on queer folks with unresolved childhood sexual abuse issues, mental illness, and inverted homophobia. The conservative church (white and black) make life miserable for queer folks, then after bashing us with the Bible and heterosexism, they graciously offer us a cure.

But the newest twist is that some of these same programs now target the unhappy parents of homosexuals and the children themselves. They set up Myspace pages and clever ads to try to lure minors into the ex-gay fold. While once they accused us queers of recruiting and converting America's youth, they now have adopted these very practices all in the name of Jesus. "Let the children come unto me, and then I will totally mess with their heads."

-Peterson Toscano

Posted by Peterson Toscano | October 29, 2007 1:04 PM

Much as I hate to agree with Andrew "Little Roy" Sullivan and his belief that this was a fuck-up on the part of Obama's staff, so many of us were drawn to Obama's message and campaign because of his openness and integrity, and that has been singed (perhaps seared for some) by the campaign's now calculated attempts to play both sides.

Of course I still believe that Obama DOES believe in bringing both sides of an issue to the table, but he clearly didn't handle this opportunity well.

Then there's this from
A September poll conducted by Winthrop University and ETV showed that 74 percent of South Carolina African-Americans believe homosexuality is "unacceptable."

It's about votes. If the Black Candidate doesn't do well in this largely-Black Democratic electorate, it creates doubts in his ability to win the nomination, shallow as that may be. This is politics and shouldn't surprise us. Anyone who wants a kinder-gentler always-progressive candidate is going to place their bets on a losing horse.

While I'm still sad over the whole mess, I've been fucked over by "liberal" candidates in the past, and remained hesitatingly supportive only because the alternative was so much worse (Romney? Giuliani? bitch, please...). This Obamaton may be bruised, but he'd rather back a flawed but idealistic black man rather than the Hillary Dem-bot or that whole pack of white elephants on the Right.

Posted by Andy Niable | October 29, 2007 1:05 PM

This is a good example of Obama's lack of experience. He's just not badass enough to be President.

If you narrow the field down to those candidates who are capable of winning, then it's Hillary, or, umm, well, Hillary. She's the one - suck it up.

Yeah, yeah I know. You don't like her, the war vote, etc. Whatever.

Posted by gavingourley | October 29, 2007 1:07 PM

It'll be a memorable day when Donnie McClurkin gets caught getting his ass pounded by some dude. The public sympathies about how "we all fall from grace" contrasted with the private shunning of the man from his entire community will be a delicious mix of hypocrisy and irony.

Posted by Moltarr | October 29, 2007 1:08 PM

I'm really surprised and disappointed that a bright seemingly in touch polititian would get this so wrong.

Who the fuck is on his consulting team? This should have died in the planning room. Now it has a life of its own, and Barack is looking REALLY bad.

Posted by Mike in MO | October 29, 2007 1:09 PM

Wanna cure an unhappy homosexual? Go out and get me a man!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 29, 2007 1:11 PM

There is no such thing as bad publicity, eh Obama? Especially when it comes at the expense of the gays. You get lots of mileage and media coverage (well, not yet on this gospel gaffe, but it's growing) by accidentally kicking a fag in the ribs.


The demise of ENDA legislation is being blamed on the T community for ruining everything for the LGBs in a sick stab at political correctness and left wing insanity. How dare the Ts do this to the LGBs!

Obama - eager to get a slice - picks a religious fanatic dujour to lead the ignorant to the ballot box and as far from enlightenment as possible. How dare he be so calculating and insensitve!

Clinton advocates - without questioning or pressure to explain from anyone - for states rights to take priority over the rights of same sex families to have equal protections and due process (not to mention exist). Hurrah for Hillary!!

When will she get her comeuppance? It is way overdue and I will enjoy every moment of it.

My point: Obama isn't alone and no one should allow Hillary to live in her bubble at the expense of LGBT citizenship.

Posted by patrick | October 29, 2007 1:18 PM

I read that Obama added an openly gay preacher to his entourage. In my mind, that helps somewhat while also being an interesting example of solving problems through INCLUSION of more views, rather than EXCLUSION of views you don't agree with.

I dunno. I'm still with Edwards.

Posted by Raindog | October 29, 2007 1:19 PM

Dan, your willfull ignorance is stunning. Donnie McClurckin is so obviously not "in the mainstream of anti-gay bigotry" because he opposes discrimination. That's a huge deal.

I mean, the only freaking reason he even mentioned homosexuality at this event is because attack poodles wouldn't shut up with the character assassination.

Posted by Kevin Erickson | October 29, 2007 1:24 PM

obama is trying to appease two factions, and one is larger than the other. here in seattle we are much closer to accepting homosexuals as equals than many other parts of the country.

i bet that this episode has made obama more popular in other parts of the country.

Posted by infrequent | October 29, 2007 1:26 PM

Isn't the whole point of US politics today that horrible people will never get what they deserve?

Even when caught in the act of diaper-wearin', hooker-bangin', airport bathroom blow-job givin', phony war-startin', Constitution shreddin', etc, the guilty parties remain totally unscandalized and in power.

Christopher Durang had an awesome op-ed not too long ago where he said that the entirety of the Bush years has been like a "ghastly and upsetting novel in which the villain never receives his comeuppance."

Posted by Original Andrew | October 29, 2007 1:27 PM

Holy God. It's like every time someone gets angry at an error, he thinks, "How can I make this even worse?" and then does it.

Posted by Gitai | October 29, 2007 1:32 PM

Can we start calling him Obamanation yet? Please, please?

Posted by subwlf | October 29, 2007 1:33 PM

Anti-gay bigots only worry about unhappy homosexuals? What are you talking about? Last time I checked, the religious right and all their hate-spewing mouth pieces opposed marriage between happy gay people and sad gay people alike.

On to the meat n' potatoes. The line is, "MCCLURKIN DOES NOT WANT TO CHANGE GAYS AND LESBIANS WHO ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR LIVES AND HAS CRITICIZED CHURCH LEADERS WHO DEMONIZE HOMOSEXUALS." You interpret that to mean that McClurkin wants to change unhappy homos into happy straight folk. You and I both agree that this makes McClurkin an idiot. What about the other side, though? The idea that McClurkin doesn't have a problem with gay people who are happy and satisfied with their lives? You're trying to cut McClurkin out of the same cloth as Jerry "Fags caused 9/11" Falwell or Pat "Homos brought on huricane Katrina" Robertson. Those guys are/were stupid AND hateful, McClurkin is just stupid (or misguided, depending on how kind you're feeling.) I know that you're an incendiary blogger and not a journalist, and jumping to tidy conclusions is your bread and butter. But you're exagerating this one ad nauseum. Remember those ACTUAL enemies of the GLBT community? Why don't we keep picking on them?

Posted by Ganza | October 29, 2007 2:02 PM

I have a family member who counsels at an aspiring megachurch in Everett where they also target (what they call) "repentant homosexuals." The one time I tried to get hard answers out of him regarding the methods and real objectives of their ex-gay counseling, all I got was a bunch of rhetoric about "removing them from the Lifestyle." I actually met one of their purported success stories, and was overcome with pity at the sight of a normal gay man making himself miserable because he's convinced it's what God wants...

Posted by Hernandez | October 29, 2007 2:07 PM

This really didn't have to be such a big deal but it was just handled reeeeally poorly. It's a shame really because I (still) think Obama is a really good guy.

Why does this election feel so much like a reality tv show?

Posted by monkey | October 29, 2007 2:10 PM

Shit. I know shit's bad right now, with all that starving bullshit, and the dust storms, and we are running out of french fries and burrito coverings.

Posted by infrequent | October 29, 2007 2:33 PM

Hey, McClurkin's come a long way, baby. This is what he grew up reading:

Leviticus 20:13
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them.

Posted by Mainstream Anti-gay Religious Bigot | October 29, 2007 3:31 PM

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Especially ye lovers of popcorn shrimp!

Leviticus 11:9-12 says:

9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.

12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

Posted by NapoileonXIV | October 29, 2007 3:40 PM

@ 25

I ate the shrimp, and now I have the bloodguilt :(

Posted by tabletop_joe | October 29, 2007 3:51 PM

It's the salmon mousse that'll get you, in the end.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | October 29, 2007 3:59 PM

Mo Nig-Nogs for me!

Posted by IMAdrgQ | October 29, 2007 4:08 PM


Posted by Will in Seattle | October 29, 2007 5:32 PM

I think all of you should do what I did today, call the Obama office and be VERY POLITE to the volunteer and state your willingness as I did, to DISGOURAGE EVERYONE I KNOW from voting and giving filthy lucquer to the Obama campaign because he has sinned the sin of omission. He has NOT said that LGBT Americans should be treated the same way Str8 Americans should be. He says a Civil Union is good enough. Next he'll suggest we have our own drinking fountains and swimming pools. Yes Sir Massah Obama. STOP your bitchen you silly dizzy queens and make the call to the Obama office. The number is on the website. FYI Clinton is not much better.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | October 29, 2007 7:12 PM

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