Alex Blaze

Steve King is worried about transgender sting operations and flamboyant, litigious gays

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 13, 2010 8:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: closet cases, Democrats, ENDA, interview, iowa, LGBT, Republicans, steve king, students, transgender

Rep Steve King (R-Iowa) is ready to whip the base into a frenzy over ENDA. Check out what he told a local radio host:

KING: Well Tony, I can imagine someone coming in and interviewing one day in man's clothes and come back and interview for a job in women's clothes and then setting up a lawsuit -- a sting operation that can harass, especially our religious organizations, but anybody, anybody who is operating in a responsible fashion.

You know, I just go back to this incident that took place when I was in the Iowa Senate. The gay activists would come and lobby about once a year, and senator Jerry Behn, he sat next to me for year. And he had four or five students and the University of Iowa lobbying him to provide special protected status for sexual orientation, gender identity, the Iowa ENDA Act, they were trying to pass. And he said, 'let me ask you a question.' 'Am I heterosexual or am I homosexual?' And they looked him up and down, actually they should have know, but they said, 'we don't know.' And he said, 'exactly, my point. If you don't project it, if you don't advertise it, how would anyone know to discriminate against you?' And that's at the basis of this.

So if people wear their sexuality on their sleeve and then they want to bring litigation against someone that they would point their finger at and say ' you discriminate.' It is an entrapment that is legalized by the ENDA Act, it appears to. And it's a violation of individual rights of employers to, at their own discretion, decide who they want to hire, who they want to fire...This is the homosexual lobby taking it out on the rest of society and they are demanding affirmation for their lifestyle, that's at the bottom of this.

What about the Jewish person who gets offered a job and then comes in the next day wearing a big cross? I bet they just did that so they could sue responsible employers.

First, there's the flaunting it argument. An employer can find out someone is gay in so many ways that staying in the closet at work is a job unto itself. No mentioning a partner or lover, no discussing what someone did over the weekend, no discussing previous employment if it was for an LGBT org, bar, bookstore, or *ahem* blog. Since most people don't just meet their coworkers once, look at them, and judge them to be gay or straight or bi, that little experiment is meaningless if you live in the real world.

Second, he seems to have assumed that the students were gay, instead of just students concerned with anti-gay discrimination. Maybe they introduced themselves as gay, or maybe the fact that they were working on this particular issue led King to make assumptions about them. Considering that he says that they should have known his friend's sexuality, it doesn't seem like he's entirely unfamiliar with the fact that people can figure out other people's sexual orientations without watching them have sex.

Third, who are these people who set up sting operations dressing one day in one gender's clothes and the next in the other? When has that ever happened?

Fourth, he seems to hold the idea of "not flaunting it" in high esteem. I remember a former head of LCR, in the film Outrage, describing how closeted Republicans in politics would take pride in their ability to keep it a secret, as a sign that it's no big deal and not something that consumes their lives.

Fifth, the exemption for religious employers is rather generous. That was supposed to short-circuit that argument against ENDA. But extend these people an olive branch and they'll use it to build their own cross. It's how they roll.

Sixth, that's not what entrapment means. Really.

But what annoys me the most in Steve King's rant against ENDA is the "boo-hoo for employers" tone. He acknowledges the "religious" arguments against ENDA, makes fun of the gays and trans people, but that stuff is just a formality. His main concern is that it will be unfair to employers, saying that they (should) have complete discretion over who they hire and fire (they don't in the status quo in the US, and the US is much more permissive when it comes to hiring and firing than most wealthy nations).

With union membership down, deregulation of the workplace à la mode for decades now, health care still in the hands of employers, and litigation against employers getting harder and harder as courts are stacked against working Americans, they have the upper hand in countless ways.

The point of ENDA is to draw at least one little line, to say that employers can't use the fact that they control employees' access to an income and health care and shelter and food to determine their sexuality and gender presentation and identity. Even though we know it won't be that well-enforced, that there will be plenty of employers who'll discriminate against LGBT people without any repercussions, we're asking for the most egregious and obvious cases to be taken care of with the force of the law.

And Steve King says that that's asking too much.

Even with the Republican Party saying it's attaching itself to a new populist movement, that it's against established power and that working class Americans would benefit from being governed by good ol' boys like them, this is what it always comes down to. They just can't not shill for the ruling class.

At least it's expected from them. Democrats, on the other hand, would be wise to try to garner some pro-labor creds to show off in the midterms. People who work but don't own the place are a fairly large constituency. You'd think they'd be willing to show more guts than this.

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battybattybats battybattybats | May 13, 2010 9:03 PM

Why then isn't he demanding a removing of the employment protection for Religious belief then?

I mean if he really wants employers to be able to fire people for whatever reason they want what about for being christian? A little consistency would be good no? So either he condemns religious protections or retracts that its about free employer choice or is publicly shown to be a hypocrit (something the media are far too feeble on).

I know. What about the person who gets offered a job as a Jew and then comes in the next day wearing a big cross? I bet they just did that so they could sue responsible employers.

The queers will stop "wearing their sexuality on their sleeves" when straights stop wearing their sexuality on their fingers.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 14, 2010 7:32 AM

Thats a GREAT line!

Wonderful analysis, Alex!

I'd like to add one thing. ENDA is also a straight male protection act.

In the USA things now considered mainstream for straight women are still off limits for men particularly if they're straight. Want to cross-dress and you're a gay male? Perfectly normal. If you're straight then you have "Transvestic Fetishism."

The example of a person dressing in male and female gender clothing on alternate days in the workplace is only considered perverted if it involves men, particularly straight men. Women dress in traditionally male and female gendered clothing in the workplace all the time. Why I've even seen women who wear pants one day and a dress the next! Shocking, I know.

God forbid you're an affectionate male who is seen hugging another male off duty. You'll be fired in a heartbeat by many employers. Yet women hug openly in the workplace.

Our societies prejudice against straight male sexuality goes outside the workplace too. While ENDA does not address these issue ENDA may be a start to helping people think about these things.

For example, who thinks twice about women who are with men having been with women in the past? Bigals are almost a trend today. Yet men who admit to some same sex attraction are doomed in the dating market with women.

Men are also much more restricted in their job choices than women since so many jobs might make people think they're gay when they're not.

Prejudice against men even extends to recreational activities. Women can do anything they please but straight men have to be careful a hobby or interest not be seen as gay.

The largest gender non-conforming group in the USA is the massive closeted group of primarily straight men who have some traditionally feminine interests whether they be in how they dress, desired hobbies and careers or perhaps even some male attraction. This, in fact, is the main reason for the resistance to ending DADT. Our nation is scared shitless that primarily straight men might be allowed to safely show their feminine sides. It is OK to come back from war with stories about raping civilian women but we wouldn't want a man returning from war with stories of good times with his male friends, now would we?


In the DSM-IV-IR:

DSM-IV-IR: 302.3: Transvestic Fetishism

Over a period of at least 6 months, in a heterosexual male, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving cross-dressing.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 14, 2010 7:39 AM

Well there are still limits of how far women can go before getting negative treatment, but indeed there is still a massive disparity.

friday jones | May 14, 2010 9:08 PM

Women have a different set of criteria that people use to determine if we're straight of lesbian: If a guy makes a clumsy pass at us and we're not interested, THAT'S when they know FOR SURE that we're lesbians. After all, what straight woman would turn down free dick?


This is an impressive article.

So is this Steve King having a problem keeping his sexuality off of his sleeve? HUMMMMMM me thinks he has a problem and it isn't us.

Those lobbyists were probably just being polite and not guessing because they weren't certain. Afterall, even the queers who "wear their sexuality on their sleeve" don't necessarily give solid confirmation and one would still be guessing.

The reality is that if they all said they didn't know, then Jerry Behn most likely was displaying plenty of straight symbols. Enough that one could hazzard a guess that he is either straight or trying to fit in as straight.

The reality is that if someone isn't displaying queer cultural markers, they are going to be displaying straight cultural markers. It's only self-delusion that allows people to think straight cultural markers are the same thing as not displaying your sexuality.

I think the biggest straight cultural marker he was wearing was his idiocy when it comes to these issues.