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This Is How You Handle A Wingnut

Jim Burroway

December 22nd, 2010

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) responds to right wing CNS “news” reporter Nicholas Ballasy’s question about gay servicemembers showering with straight servicemembers.

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Mario Marin
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“AAAAH! Shower with homosexuals?!!”

LOL

Dave H
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

It amazes me that CNS news still broadcast this interview even after the reporter got flattened.

Kate
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Barney Frank ROCKS! That was an epic smackdown, and exactly what that reporter (and that issue) deserved. Thanks for posting that clip – that’s what I call Christmas Cheer!

L. Junius Brutus
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I don’t want to shower with other people either. And I certainly don’t want to blame a 19-year old Marine for not wanting to shower with gay people. Solution: private stalls. People shouldn’t have to shower with gay OR straight people.

justsearching
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

The mock horror on the congressman’s face was priceless. I wish some of my older relatives could have such a lighthearted attitude towards this issue. As it is, for them them the DADT repeal is just one more sign that America is going to Hell faster than ever.

Emily K
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I know that when *I’M* in a communal shower, all I can think about is jumping the wet naked body next to me.

Oh, wait. that’s actually a lie. Really what I’m thinking about is how shy I’m feeling about being naked in front of others, because I’m a modest person. That and trying to get myself clean because I must be pretty filthy at that moment.

Ray
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

How it actually plays out:

I lived in the barracks for several years and one had a communal shower while others had individual shower stalls. At some point, every person who lives in the barracks has CQ (Charge of Quarters) duty and has to scrub the damn showers so ones relationship with them isn’t anywhere near romantic. It’s sort of a reminder that when you use the place, you are going to have to clean it up at some point and there’s definitely a universal attitude among your fellow barracks mates that you’d better clean up any mess you make lest you get reported to your unit commander for being slob and end up getting assigned a little extra time scrubbing toilets and shower for the nice guys.

By the time you get through basic training, about 99.99 percent of the troops are in permanent nice-guy mode. Unmitigated slobs have a tendency to reveal their hand in basic training and they get cast back onto the street with welcome regularity.

I’d say falling for some guy you work with (like I did) and totally wrecking your head over him because he’s most likely straight (like I did) is far more realistic a worry than any shower scene.

Regan DuCasse
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I’m a gym rat, and these sorts of idiot questions or fears from the anti gay make me laugh my ass off.

I don’t worry about the orientation of the woman next to me, even when I KNOW she’s gay.

I worry more about the gym keeping good enough hygenic standards so I don’t get a foot fungus.

Rob San Diego
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I’m surprise he didn’t ask about soldiers sleeping next to each other out in war zones.

Is this guy worried about all the straight soldiers looking at the crouches of gay soldiers to compare the size of a gay soldier to a straight soldier, or is he worried about all the straight soldiers who like to slap the ass of their fellow soldiers?

I mean is he worried about all the gay stuff that straight men do?

Richard Rush
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

It amazes me how some straight soldiers are brave enough and tough enough to willingly face the very real possibility of losing their lives or some body parts, yet showering with a gay person is much more than they can handle.

Craig
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Whenever I hear a straight men complain that he doesn’t want a gay man “looking” at him, I suspect it says more about the straight man and the way *he* looks at (and sexualizes and demeans) women, and his fear that some gay man might look at *him* the same way he sexualizes and demeans women, than it says about his “fear of showering” with them.

I see “projection” all over this, and I’m not inclined to sympathize with men who fear being treated the way they treat others.

Emily K
December 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Craig, that’s a fascinating point! I never thought about it as projection. I guess I always just considered the possibility of “sexualizing and demeaning” the potential object of affection to be a human quality that anyone/everyone could have. But maybe it’s only those individuals that protest too much.

Ryan
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

How is “sexualizing” someone demeaning them? Of •course• gay men look at attractive straight men (and other attractive gay men) and sexualize them every single day, just as straight men do to women and vice-versa. It’s human nature. If I see a hot guy in a communal shower, I’ll check him out, but I won’t leer or be overt about it. If a straight solider can’t handle that, he ought not be in the military.

vince
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

what did they think happened before the repeal? straights had even hour shower times and the closeted gays had odd hour??

cowboy
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Ryan is quite right. Plus, any man secure in his sexuality wouldn’t give a rat’s ass who looks at him in the showers.

L. Junius Brutus
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Cowboy: “Ryan is quite right. Plus, any man secure in his sexuality wouldn’t give a rat’s ass who looks at him in the showers.”

I suppose any woman who doesn’t want men to look at her naked body is also not secure in her sexuality.

Way to prove the bigots right, Ryan & Cowboy.

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Manners are always important, Brutus. And that is the key issue.

If someone cannot be discreet, then he needs to take Gay 101 all over again.

Jason D
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

I think some people are lumping things together.

There’s a difference between looking, glancing and staring, oggling, drooling etc.

People look at other people’s naked bodies for a variety of reasons:

“Does she know he has that giant pimple on her ass?”

“I wonder what that scar is from?”

“Is that a tattoo or a birthmark?”

“well somebody’s had knee surgery”

“wait, are his nipples the exact same color as the rest of his skin? How?”

“God I hope I look that good when I’m that age.”

Quite frankly you can’t control who’s looking (and I do mean just LOOKING) at you in a communal shower, nor should you care. As long as their not gawking, or drooling, or laughing, or pointing, or making remarks, or trying to touch you it’s really no big deal.
I thought people got over this in middle school?

I work out six days a week. There are stalls in my shower area, but that doesn’t mean everyone closes the door, or keeps themselves covered. A good deal of the men get buck naked to weigh themselves and the electric scale is in the middle of the locker room. There’s quite frankly, not much to look at.
And I, like I presume a lot of other gay men, have learned that common courtesy and respect are pretty damn important in this situation. Quite frankly I’m there to get my stuff done and go, I don’t have time to stare at people. And even if I did, the odds are pretty high that it would do more harm to me than good. I wouldn’t want some dude eye-f*cking while I’m putting on deoderant, so I give everyone the same courtesy.
Even still, it’s possible someone’s sneaking a peek, or checking me out descreetly, and I don’t really care. Long as they keep their hands to themselves, they can enjoy the view. I’ve invested a lot of time and work into this body, and I’m certainly not ashamed of it.

That’s why God invented porn, those naked people WANT me to look at them.

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Jason– thanks for fleshing out what i had to say.

L. Junius Brutus
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“There are stalls in my shower area, but that doesn’t mean everyone closes the door, or keeps themselves covered.”

Well, that’s their own problem then. If they like to show off (or don’t care), then let them. But a 19-year old Marine joins the military to serve his country, not to be “checked out” by Ryan. And he’s not a bigot or a hater for that. Hell, I don’t want to be “checked out” by him. If you can’t be a professional, then you have no place in the military, and you should be drummed out.

It’s a shame that only bigots are making a fuss about this issue, because it’s a real issue. A recent New York Times article showed that even combat troops who are not bigoted at all, and who support DADT-repeal have this concern.

Emily K
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Not to downplay anyone else’s shower concerns, but I think with women (speaking AS a woman) the biggest reason they’d discretely look at other girls – as well as the biggest cause for insecurity – is to compare body notes. As in, “I wish I had her legs.” “I think she lost weight! I’m jealous.” “I must look like a freak, everyone else here has such normal body types/proportions.” or even, if you’re lucky, “Hey, I’m not so different. I have nothing to be afraid of.”

Maybe men have similar types of issues in the shower too.

Speaking of foot fungus, Regan, the most memorable shower conversation I had in the communal showers was when a member of the Crossmen colorguard (I was in the hornline) chastized me for not wearing sandals. She gave me a sobering account of her terrible case of foot fungus that was so painful she couldn’t operate her car pedals. It got so bad she needed surgery. I wore sandals from then on!

Jason D
December 23rd, 2010 | LINK

“Well, that’s their own problem then. If they like to show off (or don’t care), then let them. But a 19-year old Marine joins the military to serve his country, not to be “checked out” by Ryan. And he’s not a bigot or a hater for that. Hell, I don’t want to be “checked out” by him. If you can’t be a professional, then you have no place in the military, and you should be drummed out.”

If Ryan is discreet and therefore undetectable, how is this (a) harmful and or (b) unprofessional?

Please explain how looking at someone is harming them. I’m still not getting the point of that.

Everyone “checks out” everyone all the time, clothes or no —-it’s just human nature.

justsearching
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

“I suppose any woman who doesn’t want men to look at her naked body is also not secure in her sexuality.” I agree with the sentiment behind that statement. If I were a straight guy, I think I would be uncomfortable with the idea of knowing that gay guys were “checking me out” or, to use Ryan’s phrase, “sexualizing” me.

Jason D
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

justsearching,

how about just the real life situation?

You do know that women and gay men check you out currently, right? Having never seen you, I can’t tell you how many or how often, but it has happened. Even if you never catch them. Even if they never approach you, someone has checked you out. Does this make you uncomfortable? Why?

Do you never check men out?

Regan DuCasse
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

Oh yeah, Em..I’ve ALWAYS worn shower sandals in the gym facilities. And you’re right. Women check out other women because we’re made much more acutely aware of our image and the esteem that goes with it in our culture.

Of course, it’s not sexual objectification in the same way it is from men, it’s competitive assessment for the most part.
Which is true also of men. That showers are at the fore of this conversation and objection for the anti gay, is like an extension of insecurity trying to disguise itself as a rational defense.

We are of course, at our most vulnerable and insecure when we’re naked. Even in front of lovers and spouses.
It’s still VERY laugh worthy, what the subtext of the fuss from the anti gay really is all about.

Regan DuCasse
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

I might add, gay men check me out almost more intensely then men do. But it’s NEVER in as such a way that feels threatening or wolfish.
And lesbians, don’t feel that way either because being women, they are a similar physical match.
When I worked at Universal Studios, the performer’s locker/dressing room and showers were a busy place. We had several lesbians on the staff that were in the room all the time because they were our friends, we loved them and they were very popular women.
Two of them were a couple. There was no discomfort or feelings of insecurity from the rest of us.

And it doesn’t seem to occur to the anti gay in ANY of these conversations that gay men and women have more to fear from straight people than the other way around.
But, we all know how cynical that crowd can be and how they use it.
The slightest misunderstanding or unwarranted accusation from an insecure straight person could have more devastating effects in a professional setting with no non discrimination protections in place.

I know the gravity of things like that.
But since I’m a person whose had exactly the intimate environment with lesbians that these anti gay people fear, some of us straight folks know good and well that there is no there there for them to behave this way.

Regan DuCasse
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

oops, grammatical error, I meant more than STRAIGHT men do.

justsearching
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

@jason- I was referring to shower situations. It just seems that the “checking out” you guys are referring to in the showers seems far more, um, thorough then the average casual checking someone out on the street. I’ll take a look at guys walking down the street, sure, but I’d make it a point to try not to do so in public showers.

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