Imagine your favorite food, hands down, is hamburgers. You can think of nothing tastier. Problem is, you’ve been told all your life, by most everyone you know and care about, that liking hamburgers is an abomination and that giving in and actually eating them is pure evil. I’m sure it’s obvious where this is going, but even so, please indulge me for a moment. Imagine confessing these burger longings of yours to these people. So long as you agree with them that it’s wrong, they may deign to afford you some pitying acceptance, but you’ll be expected to go through your entire life seeing hamburgers everywhere you go—in magazines, on billboards and TV, and smelling them as you pass fast food joints and when you’re sitting there not eating one in every restaurant you go to while the approved people are scarfing them right under your nose—all without ever following through with your unabating desire. If they find you’re actually eating hamburgers, well… Bad to worse. You’re deemed a pox on the very essence of all that is good. Less than a person. Your closest family might even disown you. And rightfully so; you’re fucking disgusting. Oh, and when you die, they say, your spirit will live on to be endlessly tortured for your burger blasphemy. Okay? Now mull that scenario over a moment. Really imagine how you’d probably feel. Now imagine how much worse it must be for many gay folks who grow up in evangelical families. Everyone who’s come anywhere near puberty knows a weakness for McDowell’s ain’t got nothin’ on a sexual preference.
Which brings me to the recent internet hullabaloo that is Kony 2012 and its architect, or, perhaps more fittingly, its choreographer, Jason Russell. When I first saw his smug little propaganda video, I figured “So what if it’s really douchey and weirdly egomaniacal? If it works and this Kony fuck is dealt with, then fine. Who gives a damn?” Then there was the backlash. Then the back story began to fill in…His evangelical upbringing and connections with anti-gay groups… Then the guy went ape-shit on the streets of San Diego and into the laughing academy for a few nights. All in a handful of days. Whoa. But it never crossed my mind when I first saw the Kony 2012 video that this Jason Russell weasel was a closeted gay man.
I usually think of my gaydar as pretty decent. Definitely above average, but it has been known to fail me once or twice. In this case, I think I went in focused pretty intently on the message and the claims being made, but the overwhelming douchiness and arrogance was a huge factor in my distraction as well. In fact, it was probably the biggest factor, as I was more or less mesmerized by it. Seriously, it was almost difficult to think of anything else while watching this thing. That and maybe his hetero marriage and the cute little beard of a son he trotted out so manipulatively helped to throw me off. At any rate, I should have picked up on it.
The following day, I saw out of the corner of my eye that this guy was on CNN and un-muted the TV. Then, for some reason, he didn’t get more than a few sentences in before it occurred to me very, very strongly that he was probably gay. The way he moved, his manner of speech, the way he expressed his enthusiasm…I picked up on all these little clues at once. Of course I can’t know it for sure, and it’s not an accusation of any sort. In my view, being gay is nothing particularly remarkable in itself, and certainly nothing negative. It’s merely what I thought at the moment.
I was further convinced when I saw this video of Jason at the evangelical Liberty University, espousing his love of Christ, and—as if there could be a better clue—musicals. Then there was this video for his organization, Invisible Children, wherein he sings and dances his little heart out. And after that? The breakdown:
Is that or is that not the single gayest breakdown possible for a supposedly straight man? Not the nudity of course, but the walk, the posture, and the gestures. As a friend posted on Facebook, “The closet really is a deep, dark place I guess. That’s it, girl. Sashay the gay away!” Really, anybody who knows gay will tell you: GAY.
As you probably know if you’ve been trying to follow this story, his wife says he wasn’t on drugs or alcohol at the time. Or rather, more specifically, that he doesn’t do drugs or alcohol. It doesn’t much matter to my point. The official story is that old bullshit favorite of people in the public eye who act a fool before it: exhaustion and dehydration. But for those of us who are observant and aren’t members of the Kony 2012 cult or the Christ cult, it’s looking more and more like a big part of the explanation probably lies somewhere in the beginning of this post.