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A lot of people suspect that South Carolina's Repulican Senator Lindsey Graham is a closet case, or at least like to joke about the possibility. Here's Americablog making the case for speculating on the topic without any actual evidence. Now it's certainly not the case that Graham is alone in this kind of treatment. Anderson Cooper of CNN was long a subject of speculation, and hey, it eventually turned out to be true! Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist is another one whose sexuality is a frequent subject of speculation.

This kind of speculation always makes me slightly uncomfortable, because a lot of people have assumed that I was gay for similar reasons: a long time bachelor who doesn't appear to be dating women. The fact that I've lived with a gay man for almost thirty years seems to seal the argument. Looked at objectively, I can't really blame people for drawing this conclusion, but it has bothered me from time to time to be misunderstood in this way. (It was particularly maddening at one point to discover that the entire staff of the Big Time Brewpub assumed I was lovers with a male friend with whom I frequently drank there, even though the reason I was always drinking *there* was so I could pine after one of the female bartenders.) To my mind it demonstrates the limitations of how we understand sexuality and its many variations. At various times I've tried half-heartedly or humorously to come up with terms to describe my own sexuality: autosexual (or wanker), perhaps, or maybe closet heterosexual. The fact that my sexuality is hidden or difficult to discern makes people project assumptions onto me, and while I haven't really suffered any kind of discrimination or ostracism as a result, it can be a lonely feeling to find that people don't see me for who I really am.

Because of this personal experience, I always feel a pang when people make jokes about Lindsey Graham (or Charlie Crist) being a closet case. On the other hand I do agree with the argument that Graham invites this treatment with is own vicious homophobia. It's a kind of quid pro quo or revenge. Nonetheless I think it narrows the range of human possibility to engage in this kind of counterattack. In an ideal world there would be room for closet heterosexuals (and asexuals) in the social imagination. Meanwhile, we deal with the reality we are served.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
akirlu
Apr. 5th, 2013 07:46 pm (UTC)
Very nice, but do you also sympathize with Lindsey Buckingham?

Oh, no reason. Just that according to my inexplicable brain, they have the same name. Weird old world it might have been if Lindsey Buckingham were Senator from South Carolina and Lindsey Graham wrote songs for Fleetwood Mac...
randy_byers
Apr. 5th, 2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
I'm just guessing, but I'd probably prefer it if Buckingham were the Senator from South Carolina rather than Graham. On the subject of who might make the better Fleetwood Mac songwriter I remain agnostic.
kalimac
Apr. 5th, 2013 11:33 pm (UTC)
On the one hand, it's truly astonishing how many vehement opponents of gay rights do turn out to be self-loathing closeted homosexuals. It's striking enough that I'd go this far: if anyone worries that allowing gay rights or gay marriage will threaten the future of the human race (I don't know if Graham is among those who've implied or stated this), that's sufficient prima faciae evidence that they're among that group.

On the other, you identify some extremely tiresome leapings to unjustified conclusions: the idea that any man who's not conspicuously boinking women must be secretly boinking men (maybe he's actually seeing a woman on the side that you just don't know about), that homosexuality is contagious (why isn't heterosexuality equally contagious, then?), and, worst of all, that there is no possible reason that two people (of whatever sex, actually) might enjoy hanging around together other than a desire to jump each other's bones.
randy_byers
Apr. 6th, 2013 02:31 am (UTC)
It's certainly true that the sheer number of ardent homophobes who have turned out to be gay themselves is an argument in favor of the Graham-is-gay thesis. He probably doesn't help his case by releasing statements to the effect that he's sorry to disappoint gay men with his straightness ...
dalmeny
Apr. 6th, 2013 09:58 pm (UTC)
I hear you on the routine mis-identification, I truly do. Still not sure what to do about it in my own life, short of tattooing my forehead.
randy_byers
Apr. 7th, 2013 01:37 am (UTC)
We could form a club, but it would be hard to come up with a name.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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