Dear Larry Craig:
Now you know what it’s like. I don’t say this in a mean way, I’m just pointing out a simple fact: Now you know what it’s like.
You already knew what it’s like to be terrified of being found out. You already knew what it’s like to hide who you are. But like millions of other Americans, now you know what it’s like:
- To lose a job because of your sexuality
- To be entrapped and then busted for inviting consensual, adult sex
- To be told you don’t belong where you know you do belong
- To suddenly be seen as totally different because of one private thing
- To be told that your sexual interest is the only important thing about you
- To be told that your “perversion” is the only important thing about you
- To be an acceptable butt of jokes, with no moral standing to protest
- To suddenly have your rights taken away even though you didn’t hurt anyone
- To go from being one of “us” to one of “them,” even though you haven’t changed
This has been the typical experience of millions of gay and straight American men and women for over a century. They’ve been bullied, beaten, and banished. They’ve been treated like some repulsive “other.” Just because they liked sex with or loved someone of the same gender.
Just like you.
As you know, it still goes on today. People losing custody of their kids because they’re into S/M; people losing their jobs because they appear nude on the internet; people losing their scholarships, apartments, or rights as athletes because they work at a strip club. People losing their cherished American freedoms because their private, consensual sexual activity makes some busybody or person in charge uncomfortable.
Let’s put aside the fact that you’ve energetically fostered America’s atmosphere of self-righteous hatred against non-conforming private sexual expression.
Now that you know what it’s like to live in–and be punished in–this environment, won’t you speak out? Won’t you stop saying “I’m being persecuted by mistake” and instead say, “No one should be persecuted”?
Larry Craig, this is your chance to stand up for real American values and be a true American hero. With every camera and tape recorder in America aimed at you, you have a unique, historical chance to make a difference. If you’ve ever wanted to serve your nation, your time has finally come.
Having Sex With Men Does NOT Make Larry Craig Gay
Larry Craig says he’s not gay. I believe him. A lot of men who have sex with men aren’t gay.
When biologist Alfred Kinsey collected data on Americans’ sex lives in the 1940s, he discovered that almost half of American men had both heterosexual and same-gender experiences as adults. Heterosexual women also had same-gender sexual fantasies, preferences, desires, and even experiences. As Kinsey said, “people are not so easily divided into sheep and goats.”
This would help today’s America understand Senator Craig’s behavior, including his firm repetitions that “I am not gay.” If Craig could simply say, “I’m straight, I just like to have an occasional sexual adventure with a man,” he might not have to spend his life desperately trying to convince himself that he’s not gay. He might not have to spend his professional career viciously trashing homosexuality and preventing gays from accessing their full civil rights.
He might have a marital crisis on his hands, but that’s his private business. As almost everyone agrees, lying to your spouse about having sex with someone else is immoral, regardless of their gender. Craig’s fears about his “immorality”–and his rantings about others’–have been focused on the wrong thing.
Freedom from government interference is one of the two conditions people need in order to freely express their sexuality with other consenting adults. The second condition is freedom from the crushing internal criticism that can result from inadequate categories of sexual identity.
Larry Craig helped prevent all of us from enjoying the first condition. He suffered from the lack of the second condition. He knew he wasn’t 100% straight, and he was terrified by the only alternative he knew–that he was gay.
It is increasingly evident that those who moralize the loudest about others’ sexual immorality are typically those who are most shocked by their own erotic impulses. Like Craig, those people need more than two internal categories to describe their sexuality–“wholesomely semi-sexual innocent” and “ravenous sexual pervert.”
Until all Americans know that few people are either, and that most “good” people’s psyches contain complex, intense (and harmless) sexual fantasies and impulses, our nation will continue to suffer under the tormented moralizing of “leaders” terrified of their own sexuality.
Which they express by condemning ours.
Dr. Marty Klein is a certified sex therapist and sociologist with a special interest in public policy and sexuality. He has written six books and 100 articles. Each year he trains thousands of professionals in North America and abroad in clinical skills, human sexuality, and policy issues.