By D’Anne Witkowski
Something truly terrible happened in Minnesota. An elementary school teacher and his husband were busted for having sex with underage teenagers and filming it. Once they knew they were caught, they fled and killed themselves.
My takeaway: the whole story is sick and sordid and sad and I hope that all of the kids these guys hurt get the help and care they deserve and need. As for the abusers, at the risk of sounding insensitive, (string of expletives deleted).
Of course, some see it differently. Professional homophobe Gordon Klingenschmitt’s take is, “See! This is why gays shouldn’t be teachers!”
It is, of course, a ridiculous argument. But then, Klingenschmitt is a ridiculous man.
It’s important to note, though it will surely surprise and disappoint Klingenschmitt and his followers, the vast majority of LGBTQ people aren’t pedophiles. They aren’t child molesters and never will be. Full stop. This is, of course, true for all humans, regardless of sexual orientation, but I feel the need to make the distinction since LGBTQ people have had to contend with the pedophile accusation since forever in large part because there are folks who forget that they are, in fact, human.
It is also important to note that the majority of child sexual abuse victims are girls who are abused by men who identify as heterosexual. Does this in any way diminish the severity of abuse when it is committed by a man against a boy? No, of course not. But it would be just as illogical to point at a specifically heinous case and declare it evidence that heterosexual men shouldn’t be teachers. Or you could point to the various cases where heterosexual women teachers had sex with their underage students and declare het ladies unfit for the classroom. And then you’d essentially have no one left to teach at all.
But, of course, Klingenschmitt has a long history of being hatefully anti-LGBTQ and so he wasted no time once a case “proved” he’d been right all along.
“These two men were deceived on so many levels,” Klingenschmitt said during his Jan. 9 online program which he kicked off by putting the word “husband” in scare quotes because of how gays aren’t really married and all.
“Who is to blame for this spiritually?” Klingenschmitt asked, describing the gay men as people “who don’t know Christ, who are lost in their homosexual sin.”
Klingenschmitt is deliberately equating the sin of abuse with sexual orientation as if they are one in the same. They aren’t. Can’t repeat that enough.
“As a culture now, the demonic spirit of homosexuality has taken over and redefined marriage,” Klingenschmitt continued, “to tell these boys that it’s OK.”
It is not clear to me who Klingenschmitt is referring to as “these boys.” Surely he doesn’t mean the two adult abusers. But it also doesn’t make sense the other way around. Is he saying that because of marriage equality the boys who were abused were taught to think abuse is OK? Just because marriage is legal for gay men doesn’t mean that abuse is. There’s a really big difference.
But not to Klingenschmitt who claimed that “the demonic spirit of deception” took over whoever hired this gay teacher in the first place. “If anything, they should have been disqualified immediately because of their immorality,” he said, which is something even Ronald Reagan disagreed with during his California governor days.
“This is evil upon evil,” Klingenschmitt said. “It is our laws as a society that need to be changed to prevent and protect children from this kind of abuse in the future.”
And he’s right! Sexual abuse is some evil shit. And there are definitely laws and aspects of society that need a-changin’! Except what he would like is to see marriage equality erased, which would not protect children at all. But it would hurt gay people, which seems to be his ultimate goal.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.