This article by Mike Nowatzki, whose work I typically hold in high esteem, leaves me feeling a little disgusted.
Why is it presumed that Rep. Randy Boehning should resign simply because he is gay and was soliciting consensual sex via an online app that exists for the purposes of soliciting sex?
That’s the assumption in Nowatzki’s article which is now being touted as “breaking news” on the Fargo Forum website.
Here’s why this is problematic.
First, this isn’t breaking news. The news about Boehning being outed as gay is nearly two months old.
Second, Boehning didn’t do anything wrong. Nowtazki (and the Associated Press, I see) are touting the fact that Boehning sent an “unsolicited” nude picture to a another man he was chatting with on Grindr. But that’s a bit of a stretch. The whole point of apps like Grindr is for people to exchange photos and hook up for sex. Maybe there are some prudes who find that sort of behavior, even from a single man, to be inappropriate. But so what? It’s his private life, and we’re living in the 21st century.
Third, there’s nothing wrong with being gay and Republican, and I think that’s kind of the subtext here. There seems to be this idea that Boehning is somehow doing something wrong by being a homosexual with a generally conservative voting record and views on social policy which don’t always line up with what gay activists think they should be.
Running a story about how Boehning is refusing to resign makes it seem as though he has done something to be ashamed of. While I’m certain Boehning was embarrassed to have his efforts to get laid making international headlines, and I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have something as deeply personal and private as your sexuality used as political leverage, he has nothing to be ashamed of.
The folks running this story sort of do, though.