Douchebag Decree: Americans for Truth About Homosexuality


This week the douchetacular group Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, whose name invokes vague ideas about democracy and justice while its agenda promotes hate and intolerance, basically awarded the Douchebag Decree to itself. AFTAH encouraged the Transportation Security Administration to actively discriminate against LGBTQ workers and ban them from doing security screenings in light of the new pat-down policies in airports.


Seeing as TSA workers are now no longer required to use only the backs of their hands during pat-downs, and seeing as they're also allowed to touch many of the bits they weren't allowed to touch before, and seeing as this CLEARLY means that LGBTQ workers will get way too turned on in the workplace (the airport security line being such a sexy, sexy place) and make everybody all uncomfortable (that's sarcasm, folks), AFTAH thought it pertinent to call for TSA to totally flout the fact that it is blatantly illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ federal employees. Nice work, AFTAH. You win two prizes: the Douchebag Decree, and my everlasting disgust!

In a press release, AFTAH president Peter LaBarbera had a lot to say, much of which I don't want to republish here since it's, as you might imagine, totally bigoted and clueless. But here's one snippet I found particularly laughable:

The reality is, most traveling men would not want Barney Frank to pat them down at the airport security checkpoint. Neither would it be fair to assign Ellen DeGeneres to pat down female travelers.

To this statement I'd like to respond in two ways: First, by saying that, as a woman, I'm not sure how "traveling men" would feel about Barney Frank patting them down, but I would hope that they would feel extremely confused, since Barney Frank has a lot of work to do advocating for LGBTQ people in Congress and probably shouldn't be hanging out in airport security lines. I'd also like to say that if Ellen DeGeneres were chosen to pat me down in the airport, I would actually be pretty thrilled, and I'd use the opportunity to ask her 1) if she could teach me some dance moves and 2) why in the world she decided to do that silly Cover Girl campaign. But I suppose this isn't what LaBarbera meant; he was probably, as this article from Salon suggests, just mentioning the only two LGBTQ people he's ever heard of.

Meanwhile, this new TSA policy is its own issue, and it's giving everyone the heebie jeebies. The other day on NPR I must have heard Robert Siegel use the phrase "getting your junk touched" half a dozen times. He was quoting the man who was thrown out of an airport for refusing a pat-down, but still. Like Katie, I too think of NPR as the media version of my cool Great Aunt Tutu (RIP), so if they're throwing around the word "junk," this must be an uncomfortable situation for everyone. As that same Salon article pointed out, AFTAH's nasty comments bring attention to some pretty interesting questions, like: What is it about same-gender pat-downs that is supposed to make us more comfortable, anyway? Is AFTAH really assuming that if we ban LGBTQ workers from administering pat-downs, it'll make people breathe more easily while they get their "junk touched"?

And what about the TSA workers themselves, AFTAH? The ones you approve of because they're straight? Are we supposed to ban LGBTQ people from traveling because we're afraid they'll get all hot and bothered while they're being patted down?

No way, AFTAH. Now take your junk and get out of my airport.

by Lindsay Baltus
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15 Comments Have Been Posted

You know...

It's kind of like male gynecologists. You know? I've had male gynos peek at my lady parts during an examination, and it wasn't a big deal as far as being uncomfortable went. I go to a female gyno now for other reasons, but when I did have a male gyno I certainly wasn't concerned that he was secretly getting all hot by looking at my vagina. I should imagine the LGBTQ airport security would be the same way. So Sally is a lesbian and is patting you down. So what? She's patted down a million other women before you got here. You're nothing particularly special, she does it every day, it's her job, etc. There's no valid excuse for this -- it's homophobia, plain and simple.

It's kind of like male

<blockquote>It's kind of like male gynecologists. You know? I've had male gynos peek at my lady parts during an examination, and it wasn't a big deal as far as being uncomfortable went.</blockquote> Odd, isn't it, then, that the Americans for Truth about Homosexuality don't also campaign against straight male gynecologists?

I really don't see the

I really don't see the problem with LGBTQ security officials or gynecologists or whoever. I mean, a pat-down that involves areas I'd rather not have strangers man-handling isn't going to be made any better (or worse, I expect) if the person administering it is of a gender I am attracted to, or am attractive to, unless they are being very unprofessional indeed. I honestly don't see how it applies. As far as I can see, there are two man fallacies with that nonsense, the first being that I would be far more concerned about whether or not they were being professional than what gender they are (I'm bi, so who pats *me* down? Eh?); and the second being that just because one is (whatever) doesn't mean that one is automatically going to be attracted to every single member of the appropriate gender. I mean, honestly, look around you in any public space; even if one ignores all the women or men or whatever gender one *isn't* attracted to, who honestly would look at the rest of them and go, "Hey, I get to touch them all over! Woo!"? I think most of us would be going, "Hey, I have to touch them all over. Oh, god."

This reminds me very strongly of a joke: What does the gynecologist say when his wife greets him at the door, naked?

"Oh, god, dear. Not another one."

Frankly, as an American woman

Frankly, as an American woman I would travel speciafically to any destination if it meant I got a pat down by Ellen Degeneres

no to Ellen DeGeneres

I wouldn't want to be patted down by Mrs. E. DeGeneres. How am I supposed to stand still for patting down when my security official is in the midst of a hilarious monologue about the secret thoughts of the bag scanner? or what your method of shoe removal says about you? We'd be there all day...

Robots: D-bags of the Future

We're talking in the office about the actual scanner being a douchebag nominee- it essentially shows you naked to all of the employees present, and TSA workers have complained they're getting harassed by their peers because of their penis size, etc. (employees have to be scanned every day when they get to work).
Still, a robot beats a human who sucks at being human. Enter AFTAH.

Trans Issue

Having just participated in Trans Remembrance Week I can't help but wonder how I would feel as a transgendered person when walking through the full body scanner. Issues of violence aganist Trans people are already bad enough but imagine how unsafe one would feel having to reveal all parts of their body while going through a full body scan. Not to mention that there will be no trans person that could pat me down, and even if there was having to request that would out a person anyways.
Just sayin' So yeah, agreed the machine sucks too!

Beyond the potential of being

Beyond the potential of being harassed by my co-workers over because of penis size (or breast size for that matter) - I'd be a hell of a lot more worried about being exposed to that much radiation on a daily basis.

I understand the need to be safe, but this is freakin' ridiculous. I'd rather not be patted down by anyone (I don't like being touched by strangers, I find it triggering) - and I don't need any more possibilities of getting cancer (it runs like wild fire on both sides of my family).

I think from now on, I'm taking the train or the bus. At least until things make sense again.

I completely understand where

I don't like pat-downs,

I don't like pat-downs, period, because I hate being touched by strangers, male or female. However, for the few times a year that I fly: if it happens, it happens. And seriously: how can anyone tell who's gay and who's straight? (And what about bisexual people?) I guess you can go totally by the stereotypes, but that's pretty boneheaded as I've met plenty of people who "fit the stereotype" of a gay person and were straight or bi, and vice-versa. And it's not like most people have the kind of conversations with airport security workers which would lead to the workers saying: "Oh yeah I'm gay." LaBarbera seems to assume that every single other person is just as bigoted as he is, too--I have friends who are lesbians. I don't fear lesbians touching me as a routine part of their job. Plenty of other (straight) people also know someone who is gay and feel as comfortable around gay people as they do around straight people.

As a woman, I want to be

As a woman, I want to be patted down by a lesbian TSA worker about as much as I would a straight male TSA worker. And that's not at all. In fact, I don't want to be patted down by a gay TSA worker or a straight female TSA worker either. I don't really care what their sexual identity/orientation is, please don't touch my privates in public. Thanks.

All I have to say is that ...

... this new security policy just goes a tad too far. I know we need to be a better-secured nation, in terms of being kept safe from terrorism. But this isn't solving anything. It's just piling on the excuses for stifling more real, humane progress, if you ask me.

Holy Orwell Batman!

Americans for Truth?!?

I think it's official: the

I think it's official: the terrorists have won.

Refusing to fly

I have an odd dilemma, and I refuse to fly until the TSA screenings ease up. I had cancer, so I absolutely cannot go through the scanner. I can't even have dental x-rays, any kind of x-ray, or any kind of scan for the next 3 years (unless I get cancer again, and I have to have another CT scan or MRI). I'm also a victim of sexual assault twice (once in high school by a friend, once in college by a friend) so the thought of a stranger touching me, even though it would be a woman, upsets me.

So if I have to fly, absolutely have to, before these "enhanced procedures" are changed, I will be wearing a bathing suit under my clothes, refuse a scan due to medical problems, refuse a pat-down because of my history as a sexual assault victim, and take off my clothes so they don't have to touch me, and I won't be showing underwear, and will be in a normal public clothing, a bathing suit.

What enrages me most about the TSA is their discrimination of disabled persons. I think that warrants a whole article in and of itself. People in wheelchairs are humiliated, women with breast protheses are forced to remove them IN PUBLIC, and recently, a bladder cancer survivor was patted down in private (after he vehemently insisted) and the TSA agent didn't listen to him and messed up is urostomy bag (sp?). People with leg and arm protheses are also forced to take them off. It's just disgusting how TSA treats people with cancer and disabilities, treating them as if they're terrorists, and as if they are a threat.

And then we have this. People tend to forget how the TSA agents feel, having to sexually molest people as part of their job. I would quit out of protest. And then you have organizations like these, who think its OK to discriminate against gay, lesbian, and trans people, and at the same time, insult them by saying that they shouldn't be able to do their job because of the AFTAH's preconceived notions about gay, lesbian, and trans individuals.

Lastly, I have a dear friend who travels for her job, she flies around the country and travels for 95% of her job, and flies every 8 weeks. Kind of like <i>Up In the Air</i>. And she had to get patted down and said it was one of the most humiliating experiences of their lives.

What have we come to as a society where we fear our own citizens and treat them as sub-humans? I get it that the threat of terrorism is real, but to treat American citizens and other travelers like animals is the wrong way to go. Oh, and I think it was Stephen Colbert who said that those 80% of Americans who support these new regulations haven't yet been sexually molested by a TSA agent.

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