Liberals just can’t seem to quit homophobia when it comes to Donald Trump.
As Andrew Kahn argued at Slate, the past week has seen liberals once again weaponize anti-gay attitudes in an attempt to mock Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Frank Bruni, who’s himself gay, penned a New York Times column last week titled “Donnie and Vlad: A Love Story” — comparing Trump and Putin to Romeo and Juliet, and calling the two men’s relationship “gross.” John Dingell, a former Democratic Congress member and prolific Twitter user, tweeted about the “young love” between Putin and Trump after they met for two hours last week. And Michael Ian Black, a comedian and Democrat, said that “Trump must be terrible at blowjobs if it's taking this long,” referring to the two-hour Trump-Putin meeting.
Trump must be terrible at blowjobs if it's taking this long. https://t.co/Q90QKwavjy— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) July 7, 2017
This, of course, is not the first time these kinds of jokes have come up. There are murals of Trump and Putin making out. In May, comedian Stephen Colbert ran into a bit of trouble when he said, in a monologue directed to Trump, “The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.” (Colbert sort of apologized after the outcry, saying that he “would change a few words.”) And there are many, many similar jokes all across social media.
The only way these jokes work, though, is by demeaning gay people and reducing being gay to a punchline. The underlying implication here is that gay relationships are somehow extra funny — that Trump engaging in sexual acts with Putin is hilarious because it’s gay, and that Trump is lowering himself by submitting to sexual acts with another man.
In situations in which liberals are deliberately trying to find ways to insult Trump, it’s telling that they resort to suggesting Trump is engaging in sexual acts with another man. The suggestion is that the worst thing that could happen for these men is if they engaged in homosexual acts together, as if that devalues them as men, makes them submissive, or emasculates them.
This came up back in 2013 when Alec Baldwin — now also a progressive darling due, in part, to his anti-Trump comedy — after he called a photographer a “toxic little queen” and “cocksucking [inaudible].” Baldwin said at the time that he didn’t understand why his comments were homophobic.
CNN host Anderson Cooper gave a good explanation on Howard Stern’s radio show: Baldwin was in a situation in which he was trying to find the most insulting thing he could call a photographer he didn’t like, and he landed on characterizing the photographer as gay. “The worst thing you can possibly think of to say, which is what this situation was, to talk about a sexual act between two guys as being the worst thing you can possibly think of,” Cooper said.
Cooper clarified back then that he didn’t know if Baldwin is homophobic, because “I have no idea what’s in his head.”
Liberals will argue that they are trying to use Trump and Putin’s own bigotry against them. As men who oppose LGBTQ rights (although Putin is much worse than Trump in this regard — for violently enforcing anti-LGBTQ laws in his country), they may find accusations that they’re gay especially offensive.
That this seems okay speaks to the entrenchment of homophobia in America.
Bigotry is never supposed to be okay, not even to counter other bigotry. Would it be okay to make racist comments in response to racist beliefs? Or sexist comments in response to sexist beliefs?
The reality is a lot of liberals are making homophobic remarks to mock Trump — and that simply doesn’t fit the inclusive, progressive vision of America that liberals are supposed to espouse.