I first encountered her in an article about same-sex marriage that ran in The Isthmus, the local alternative weekly in Madison. In this article, she actually said that “I think we’ve been extremely tolerant in allowing them to live wherever they choose”, them meaning gay folks. That quote has shown up in various places around the Internet, but what is missing is the context. I wish that The Isthmus had archives online somewhere.
In the article, she actually said that she thought that we (obviously straight folk) have been extremely tolorant in letting them (homos) live wherever they want unlike blacks during segregation and before the Civil Rights Movement. I don’t know why people don’t quote her whole bit because from the moment I read it, I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say. I’m paraphrasing of course, but I assure you, the original statement still hits you like a brick to the face.
Besides the obvious issue of othering going on here, the entitlement of this statement makes me nauseous. Here is a straight woman saying gays don’t have it that bad because we can share her drinking fountains. Because she has “let” us buy property instead of running us out of her neighborhood. Because we haven’t been hung from the highest tree for wolf whistling her or consorting with straights. It is all ok because the straights haven’t burned down our homes or excluded us from their colleges. Everything is hunky fucking dory because we don’t have to cross to the other side of the road when we see her coming.
What kind of fucked up statement is that???
I’ll tell you what it is, it is a warning. It is Julaine Appling’s way of saying that if she wanted to, she could treat us a whole lot worse. She could destroy our homes, she could exclude us from the neighborhood and beat, intimidate, and terrorize us into submission. It is her way of saying “Give me a fucking medal because I haven’t annihilated you the way I would like to”. She is saying “We straights deserve a big pat on the back for letting you exist”. She is saying to the gay community that we only deserve what she is willing to give us.
I say “fuck that”. I say “fuck you Julaine”. I get angry and I think she is batshit insane.
But I worry about people like her, because win or loose on the vote for this ban on same-sex marriage, what is going to stop her from taking this ideal further? What if she doesn’t want to “let” me have children? What if she doesn’t want to “let” me be a public servant? What if she doesn’t want to “let” me do my job or buy my sandwich or walk down the street unmolested? I’m terrified of the Julaine Appling’s of the world because I fight for the right to live a life that she doesn’t want to “let” me have, and I’m scared shitless that someday someone might take what little of that right I do have away. I’m terrified because her entire way of thinking can easily lend itself to something more sinister and I see nothing in her ideology that would hold her back from taking whatever action she thought necessary to not “let” us do whatever it is we could, would, or should be wanting to do.
And that is why Julaine Appling scares the all mother living shit out me.
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