Ben Carson and the GOP’s Juvenile Understanding of Sexuality

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Ben Carson's recent comment on CNN that being gay is a choice prove that when it comes to understanding sexuality, the GOP seems stuck in junior high.
Ben Carson’s recent comment on CNN that being gay is a choice prove that when it comes to understanding sexuality, the GOP seems stuck in junior high.

Well, he apologized, so no harm, no foul, right?

By now, you’ve probably seen it, the GOP’s “black friend” and possible presidential nominee Ben Carson saying that not only is being gay a choice, but he has proof of that. And proof is within the American penal system.

Watch for yourself:

That clip was from Wednesday morning on CNN’s “New Day.” Asked by host Chris Cuomo whether being gay was a choice, Carson succinctly replied: “Absolutely.” How does he know for sure? He went on to say that “because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”

That was Wednesday. The day before, Carson announced via his Facebook page that he’s formed a presidential exploratory committee, an announcement that’s garnered more than 135,000 “likes.” So I guess we have that to look forward to?

Read more: Ben Carson’s Nazi Comments Deepen Appalling Right-Wing Sinkhole

Later on Wednesday, and after some intense media scrutiny, Carson released this (I have to admit, a rather gay man’s) apology: “I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.” Basically, I’m sorry … that you’re upset. Read carefully, he’s apologizing for his choice of words, not the concept. So, in a nutshell, according to Carson, gays are still awful, but he’s sorry for saying that out loud.

And we all know what this really means. First, Dr. Carson has seen “The Shawshank Redemption” too many times or somehow mistakenly thought “Orange is the New Black” was reality television. More importantly, this Republican fascination with sex, rape and sexuality continues and, frankly, it’s beyond bizarre. Regarding sexuality, this idea of choice is so terribly outdated at this point. And many on the right still have trouble separating acts from identities. You have to wonder if they fear visiting Disneyland, thinking that upon leaving the park, they’d be an animated rodent. Or visiting Ireland, they’d leave Irish. Or visiting a junior high school, they’d leave with a juvenile understanding of sex and sexuality, which I guess is what happened to our Dr. Carson. Carson seems to be content with being the Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin of sex and sexuality. And it seems like the rightwing can’t seem to shut up about sex. As a gay man living in Washington, D.C., I’m confident they talk about it more than I do.

Read more: Dear Republicans, Shut Your Rape Obsession Down

Yes, I am gay. And in many ways I choose to live as a gay man rather than, say, a miserable life in the closet. Have I ever slept with a woman? No. Could I have? Yes, in junior high when my hormones were raging with the intensity of the brass section of a Wagner opera, yes, I could have. But, I didn’t. I left all that back in junior high when my ideas of my identity become clearer over time. Junior high was a long time ago. Our good Dr. Carson seems to be still stuck there, however.

Brock Thompson is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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