Rick Perry: Always Terrible. All the Time.

[Content Note: Homophobia; disablism.]

After saying last week that homosexuality is like alcoholism, Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry was challenged by CNBC anchor Joe Kernan to explain his comment:
"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," Perry said Wednesday at an event in San Francisco. "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."

...Kernan then tried to get Perry to confront the psychological implications of his comment. The Texas Republican Party had endorsed "reparative therapy" for gays at its annual convention days before Perry made his disputed comment.

"In terms of changing the behavior of someone, you wouldn't think that someone who's heterosexual that you couldn't change them into a homosexual, or if someone who's homosexual, you don't think there should be therapy to change them into a heterosexual?" Kernan asked.

"I don't know," Perry responded. "The fact is we'll leave that to the psychologists and the doctors."

"Well, the psychologists, they've already weighed in," Kernan shot back. "They've dismissed the idea that sexual orientation is a mental disorder."

..."I don't necessarily condone that lifestyle. I don't condemn it, either," Perry concluded.
See, here's the thing: Sexuality isn't a "lifestyle." For most people, it's not a choice; for some people, it is. Either way, it's not a "lifestyle." And neither is alcoholism, which is a disease.

This is just another iteration of conservatives' bootstraps bullshit: If only you try hard enough, you can accomplish anything! Perry is saying that it's his willpower ("I have the desire not to do that") which determines his sexual orientation and health. Which is utter claptrap.

Everything always comes down to "hard work," because it's the only way to elide the institutional privilege that confers unquantifiable advantages, and the only way to elide the luck, or lack thereof, that shapes all of our lives.

What Perry is saying is reprehensible—first and foremost because it denies LGB people the right to be authorities on their own lives, denies them the expertise of their own lived experiences. And secondly because it's just more horseshit about bootstraps, that flattens the human experience and judges each life according to a metric defined by the most privileged among us.

Fuck off, Rick Perry—and take your toxic ideology with you.

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