A House Republican went on a bizarre rant against gay and transgender people on the floor of Congress earlier this week, bringing up the Bible, the Founding Fathers, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and space colonies.
In this particularly bizarre ramble, Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, questioned whether same-sex couples would be allowed on a space colony should Earth be on the verge of the apocalypse.
"Whether it was an asteroid coming, something that would end humanity on Earth, as dinosaurs were ended at one time," Gohmert said. "Okay, we've got a spaceship that can go as Matt Damon did in the movie [The Martian], plant a colony somewhere. We can have humans survive this terrible disaster about to befall. If you can decide what 40 people you put on the spacecraft that would save humanity, how many of those would be same-sex couples?"
The implication here, as Gohmert clarified throughout his rant, is that homosexuality is unnatural and wrong because 20 same-sex couples couldn't reproduce. Of course, this seems to ignore that if we have the technology to colonize other planets, we probably have the technology for artificial insemination and perhaps an artificial womb. Also, a gay man is actually capable of having sex with a lesbian woman, and some same-sex couples very likely include bisexual people. (Besides, a gay space colony sounds like a lot of fun!)
What's more, some opposite-sex couples are unable to have children themselves. Does Gohmert consider these couples unnatural and wrong?
Gohmert also suggested that transgender people, who identify with a gender different from the one assigned to them at birth, are disordered and "perverse," pointing to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). "A man that didn't know which he was," Gohmert said, referring to the old days, "was pitied, loved, encouraged, but educated people said that's perverse."
The DSM does include gender dysphoria, a state of emotional distress caused by how the gender someone was designated at birth conflicts with their gender identity. But not all trans people experience severe dysphoria. And to the extent that some do, medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association, recommend letting trans people transition without discrimination as the right way of medically treating dysphoria — essentially the opposite of what Gohmert is asking for.
Anyway, this is all probably taking what was really just a bizarre rant too seriously. But the entire event is a reminder that even as the country moves ahead on LGBTQ rights and guarantees same-sex marriage rights, there are still political leaders who think it's okay to use their time on the floor of the House of Representatives to decry gay and trans people as perverse and unnatural.