Another anti-gay reaction formation – a growing list.

March 4, 2010 | By | 19 Replies More

Here’s the report from Huffpo (with video):

Early Wednesday morning, State Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Calif.) was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving. Sources report that Ashburn — a fierce opponent of gay rights — was driving drunk after leaving a gay nightclub; when the officer stopped the state-issued vehicle, there was an unidentified man in the passenger seat of the car.

Based on the constant stream of incidents like this, we ought to just assume that men who disparage gays are gay. Freud calls this type of situation a reaction formation.


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Category: Bigotry

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (19)

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  1. I suspect that in many instances this is true, but I also suspect something a bit more sinister is operating as well—and just as unconsciously.

    Those in power have privileges. Some of those privileges are private. Legitimizing certain behaviors would make these privileges less the province of the powerful.

    Consider the number of evangelical preachers caught in exactly the kind of pecadilloes they regularly condemn. I think they condemn it in a twisted attempt to define those actions as segregated only for the use of the privileged.

    The rich and powerful have always had access to exactly those things they deny "common folks." I think they like it that way.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Mark: I hadn't before thought of all the secret things the elites do as yet another expression of elitism. But you're convincing me . . .

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's another example from today, this one coming out of the Vatican:

    "Angelo Balducci, a Gentleman of His Holiness, was caught by police on a wiretap allegedly negotiating with Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 29-year-old Vatican chorister, over the specific physical details of men he wanted brought to him. Transcripts in the possession of the Guardian suggest that numerous men may have been procured for Balducci, at least one of whom was studying for the priesthood."

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    From the Daily Dish:

    "It's not exactly startling to see that Karl Rove has denied he was aware his own father was gay, even as he guided the GOP into anti-gay wedge politics in the last decade (the Christianists, he coolly calculated, had potentially way more votes for the GOP than gays and their families). But it is important to note that it is untrue that he had no idea his dad was gay or that he was unaware it was the reason for his parents' divorce."

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Anti-gay bigot George Rekers is the latest of a long string of examples of hypocrites.

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    Shall we simply pass a national law that anyone speaking out against gays, or who holds a position of authority in an organization that bashes gays, should be deemed to be gay unless proven otherwise?

    Ken Mehlman, who headed the Republican National Committee between 2005 and 2007, has come out . . .

  6. Erich Vieth says:

    Carl Paladino goes into the reaction formation Hall of Fame for this:

    He might have doubly earned his place in the Hall, based on the vigor with which he attacks gays.

  7. Erich Vieth says:

    A New Jersey pastor who said Facebook was a "portal to infidelity" and told married church leaders to delete their accounts or resign once testified that he had a three-way sexual relationship with his wife and a male church assistant.

  8. TheThinkingMan says:

    This is becoming more and more frequent. Hypocrites exist everywhere in society, and especially among those who are the staunchest naysayers about any specific activity.

    Though, also, I sometimes wonder whether there may be some sort of even more sinister "agenda" going on here. Just like the anti-gay group always wants to point fingers at a "gay agenda," they undoubtedly have their own hidden plans.

    Seeing more and more "gay sex scandals" automatically condition people who watch this going on on the news to believe that homosexuality is intrinsically wrong, and the actions that these hypocrites are doing is only reinforcing the cognitive bias against it. They believe "well, clearly that have been subjugated to the immorality of that activity" and continue to believe that it is "wrong" that those people have simply been weak and been caught up in the sin.

    It's almost as if it was planned that way, and its these scandals that actually hurt the gay rights movement and continues to legitimize what they have and will always say.

  9. Erich Vieth says:

    Michelle Bachmann's husband is now in the spotlight. And why not? Give me a better indication about whether someone is gay than the fact that they are obsessed the the purported evil of gay sex. Michelle Cottle gives this analysis, which with I concur:

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  10. Edgar Montrose says:

    Does the premise generalize?

    For example, do people who obsess over the evil of athiesm secretly not believe in God? (Or is it that they secretly fear that there is no God?) Do misogynists secretly want to be women? (Or is it that they secretly fear that women really are as capable as men?) Do Conservatives secretly want to be Progressives? (Or is it that they secretly fear that Progressive policies may actually have merit?) Etc.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Edgar: Good point. I'd suggest this: American non-theists are constantly being told that they are not moral and not even American. They are vocal because they are under attack. Now I realize that many Americans feel like they are also "under attack" when they consider that lots of gay couples are having sex in the privacy of their homes, so maybe they are pushing back too, at least in their own minds.

      Nevertheless, I raised this example because it has become a fairly common occurrence that the EXTREMELY VOCAL and highly public attackers of gays have quite often turned out to be gay. I don't know if you saw Religulous, but Bill Maher did a most excellent job of chopping up one of these "formerly gay" guys who was then claiming to be "helping" gays by converting them to God's chosen form of sexuality, heterosexuality. It was hilarious. I'd love to see Maher have a chance to interview Bachmann's husband. I'd put my chips on him being gay–he fits the profile for one afflicted with reaction formation.

      Actually, you can see Maher and his panel take some shots at Marcus Bachman.

  11. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's more on Marcus Bachmann. He claims he doesn't try to convert gay people to become straight through the power of prayer (drawing on federal funding in the process), but an undercover reporter established otherwise.

  12. grumpypilgrim says:

    The hypocrisy mentioned in this post strikes me as one example of the broader truth: "People tend to see in others what they desperately need to see in themselves." It's not just homosexuality. Michele Backmann rants against government spending while her own family rakes in government dollars. Others in the GOP rant against pornography while appearing to spend a lot of time viewing it. Ditto adultery. Ditto alcohol use. Ditto drug use. Ditto financial improprieties…

  13. Erich Vieth says:

    Peter Kinder, a family values Republican who is running for governor of Missouri, gets today’s reaction formation award:

  14. Erich Vieth says:

    It’s Republican state rep Phillip Hinkle’s turn to shine in the reaction formation limelight. He’s voted to ban gay marriage, he’s married with two children, and he has been caught seeking to pay for intimacy with another man on Craigslist.

  15. Erich Vieth says:

    Another anti-gay gay man gets exposed. This time it’s the anti-gay blogger Jonathan Merritt, the son of famous evangelist James Merritt.

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