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.