Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Larry Craig and Sexual Identity

Larry Craig’s affirmation  “I am not gay! I have never been gay!” to reporters at his press conference was taken by many with a grain of salt- couldn’t be true if he was hanging around restrooms engaging in hand signals with an undercover vice officer.  But such could be true since many men, possibly the majority of such men who hang around  restrooms for sex with other men do not consider themselves as gay.  If reporters had asked Craig if he engaged in homosexual acts in restrooms, they may have been asking Craig to respond to a more difficult question to answer truthfully. In my work as well as just about all sex researchers, it has been found over and over again that sexual identity and sexual behavior are not necessarily  consonant. Manipulating ones sexual identity to be consonant with ones publicly presented self is not at all exceptional.  The fact that ones sexual behavior is at times dissonant with ones sexual identity can be minimized.  The sociologist Edwin Lemert referred to this process as remaining in the primary stage of deviance, not seeing ones behavior as impacting on ones self as being a deviant or stigmatized person.  For Lemert what facilitates the transition to secondary deviance, the embracing of a stigmatizing identity, is the public labeling of the person; of course, Craig has gone thru such a public labeling, and it is rather safe for one to assume that he was thrown into a major identity crisis as well as a crisis of how he would now engage in a public presentation of self.

What I also found surprising in reference to Craig’s affirming that he was not gay was the implicit assumption by the public media that one was either gay or heterosexual, that bisexuality was not even considered as a possibility.  It is difficult for me to believe that the sophisticated media are so unsophisticated to assume that sexual behavior and sexual identity are always dichotomous.  After doing a blog search, I did find one blogger, Skeeter Sanders, who gave serious consideration to this possibility. Sanders is amazed, and I share that amazement, that  mainstream society appears incapable of acknowledging that bisexuals exist.  Maybe this reflects a chasm between mainstream society and youth culture; many youths embrace bisexuality as being hip and in.  In the mainstream it appears  it is simply out. 

I am also amazed that Sanders made some preposterous remarks in his blog arguing that Craig could not be gay since a man in his terms who was really gay would not marry a woman,and could not father children as Craig fathered three children.  Sanders ends up in never never land when he refuses to consider the possibility of gay men passing as straight, yes even passing as straight with their wives. Such often occurs via homosexual ideation during heterosexual intercourse.  Straight men often engage in this process in prison  by engaging in heterosexual ideation while having sex with other men.  And it is sexual ideation that may be the most significant clue as to ones sexual orientation.  The key question is what one thinks about and/or looks at during masturbation, not whether one is heterosexually married.  Of course, marriage to a woman by a man who was only attracted to men was often in the past the only viable alternative.  If one goes back 100 or so years, the primary sexual identities available at that time in the United States were normal or abnormal.  Heterosexual marriage was the primary way for all men to escape the abnormal label. So in a bizarre way the norm for the so-called abnormal was to engage in normal marriage with normal unsuspecting women.

September 4, 2007 Posted by | Larry Craig, Senator Craig, sexual identity, sexual politics | 1 Comment

Toe Tapping and the restless leg syndrome.

The more I read about the Senator Craig case, the clearer it becomes that Craig could have gotten away with it legally since legally he should have been able to walk, there simply was nothing there if Craig chose to argue that there was nothing. But instead he pleas guilty to a lesser charge, disorderly conduct, and said charge had no relation to the original charge. In no way  could it be demonstrated that Craig had engaged in any form of disorderly conduct.   Of course, a fallacious argument could be bought by some that in the name of protecting men from unwanted solicitation, any means would be OK.  Such of course could be viewed as a subset of the culture of comfort that has been promulgated on American university campuses- an unwanted look, a stare, using the wrong epithet- is enought to warrant a sexual harassment charge in the context of protecting fragile female egos. But such would not be applicable to the Craig case since unwilling others, the naive and/or fragile had no idea as to what is going on; if  the code is truly arcane then knowing nothing means perceiving toilet toe tapping as just another case of restless leg syndrome.  In any case, the good senator went looking for sex in all the wrong places while wrapping himself in a breastplate of righteousness, and he has paid the price for his moral turpitude.

If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor.

September 4, 2007 Posted by | Senator Craig, sexual politics, sexual rights, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senator Craig as a toe tapping menace?

Best article the dankprofessor has seen on the arrest of Senator Craig.

DANKPROFESSOR’s take on the article-

Mac Donald had an excellent incorporation of  Laud Humphrey’s work in providing perspective on Craig and the breastplate of righteousness and the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to live a secret life.  Such is ironic, one engages in ‘public’ sex to preserve one’s secrecy.  Such are the sort of dilemmas faced by those who are sexually closeted.  It should be apparent why there has been so much emphasis by the gay movement to come out of the closet and those who view such coming out as a form of flaunting meriting stigmatization.  Of course, if the Senator did not closet himself he would not have been the senator from Idaho advocating against gay marriage; instead he may have been a “free” gay man minimizing any discrepancy between private self and public self.  And, of course, taking vice officers away from policing  of  unobtrusive consensual sex would be a step in the right direction.  However, on our university campuses, we have quasi vice officers posing as university administrators policing the private lives of students and professors who are involved in  sexual relationships.  Now almost all professors who are involved or who have been involved in such relationships are in the closet- often living in fear that they will be exposed by campus informants and various and sundry academic moral zealots, and attempting to protect themselves at times by wrapping themselves in a moral breastplate of righteousness.  

 

September 2, 2007 Posted by | Senator Craig, sexual politics, sexual rights | 1 Comment

Dissent on Senator Craig

A dissenting viewpoint which asserts that Craig’s behavior appears not to be criminal; such may be the case.  But there are two bottom lines here- he pled guilty to a lesser charge, and his behavior as described is morally reprehensible, particularly for a person in a leadership position, i.e, to secret himself in a public restroom either to solicit or be solicited for impersonal sexual behavior.  In addition, he obviously puts himself at risk and many other people who have put their faith in him. Whatever one may have thought of Clinton, he engaged in a sexual relationship in private with a person who was known to him.  Soliciting a stranger for impersonal sex by a person in a position of public trust is dangerous behavior, dangerous to self and potentially to many others.

August 30, 2007 Posted by | Senator Craig, sexual politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senator Larry Craig

Watching Senator Craig opine “I am not gay” was surreal.  If Senator Craig believed that he was gay, it is quite likely that he would not have ended up in a tearoom cruising scenario and become a part of a sting operation.   For those who wish to maintain a heterosexual facade  and are same sex attracted,  mens rooms have functioned for persons of this genre as a psuedo public and pseudo private cruising ground.  As pointed out by Laud Humphreys in his infamous study TEAROOM TRADE, heterosexually married homosexually attracted men have found such scenes particularly attractive for impersonal sex in a same sex setting in which any man can enter with no implication concerning ones sexuality.   Bathrooms in transient settings, such as roadside bathrooms and airport restrooms facilitate said impersonality.  Of course, the Senator has put not only his career at risk but also his his friends, relatives and wife to whom he probably lied to about who he is in his attempt at passing.  Of course, the Senator Craigs of this world have lived lives via passing in a breastplate of righteousness; they did not flaunt their homosexuality but rather denied and repressed, a denial and repression that was a product of homophobia.  How tragic!  I remember when I was doing research in the 1970s on heterosexually married homosexually attracted men, I was particularly taken by one man who I had interviewed- he was about 50 at the time of the interview, and had accepted himself as being homesexual for the last 5 years.  Prior to that time he had denied to himself he was homosexual, had heterosexually married and was the father of two children.   At the time of his arrest in a mens room for soliciting sex, he had been a minister for some 20 years.  The woman he had married who he had always loved and always lied to was traumatized and humiliated by his arrest; she saw her primary role in life as being the minister’s wife.  Unfortunately, she dealt with the situation by taking a gun and killing herself.  Her husband when I interviewed him was overwhelmed with guilt and bemoaned the fact he could not have come to terms with his homosexuality at younger age so that he would not have involved an innocent woman who married him and believed in him.  At the time of the interview he was giving all the support he could to his son who was gay and was a president of a university gay students union.  What a difference a generation made.  Of course, the irony being he did whatt the dominant society wanted him to do- pass as straight, providing homage to the powers that be.  Now those powers will be morally outraged, will distance themselves from this disgusting pervert believing that they had nothing to do with how this man ending up living his life, living a life of lies; I guess such a life is not all that much at odds with living the political life.

August 30, 2007 Posted by | homosexual, Senator Craig, sexual politics | Leave a comment

   

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