When I hear right wing conservatives make sense of gay people, I assumed their rationality belonged to a different plane of thinking. After Tuesday’s class, I realized that they subscribed (inflexibly) to a an essentialist view of a heterosexual matrix. For review:

Sex

  Gender   Sexuality/Sexual desire
Male

——>

Masculine ——-> Loves women
Female ——> Feminine ——-> Loves men

 

Within this framework, there just simply isn’t a way to make sense of gay people. Instead of creating a new framework that works to legitimize the existence of all people in our society, Michelle Bachmann says something like this,

“It isn’t that some gay will get some rights. It’s that everyone else in our state will lose rights. For instance, parents will lose the right to protect and direct the upbringing of their children. Because our K-12 public school system, of which ninety per cent of all youth are in the public school system, they will be required to learn that homosexuality is normal, equal and perhaps you should try it. And that will occur immediately, that all schools will begin teaching homosexuality” Senator Michele Bachmannn, appearing as guest on radio program “Prophetic Views Behind The News”, hosted by Jan Markell, KKMS 980-AM, March 6, 2004.

According to Bachmann’s thinking, if we legalize gay marriage, then we are legitimizing the identity of GLBTQ.  This is correct. For some, this sounds like a wonderful next step for gay marriage advocates. But Bachmann sees a conflict with the heterosexual matrix and simply can’t process behind that. Instead of being read books about heteronormative families in grade school, children may be exposed to families that have two mommies or two daddies. *GASP!* And goodness, what a problem for it to be if children were raised to believe that all families were ok.  For a child to be welcomed in the school system, and realize that his or her parents are nothing to be ashamed of.  If I have to give Bachmannn credit for anything, it’s realizing that schools “teach” children how to behave in society, and right now, most schools teach children that only straightness is ok. Does that mean she is slightly, just slightly, a constructivist?

Unfortunately, complicating the matrix to allow for more sexual desires in the last column is beyond Bachmann’s capacity. I’m not sure she has anything much to say about transgender folks because she doesn’t want to process just how screwed up her basis of thinking, the heterosexual matrix, is!

-Jenna Graham

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