Last week, a reader told me that my opinion pieces weren’t opinionated enough. Noted.
This week, let me take the opportunity to state my opinion clearly: Sen. Mike Enzi is a dick.
If you haven’t heard by now, the Republican senator from Wyoming (un-ironically nicknamed the ‘Equality State’) told a group of high school and middle school students “that in Wyoming you can be just about anything you want to be, as long as you don’t push it in somebody’s face.” Enzi went on to say that he knows “a guy who wears a tutu and goes to bars on Friday night and is always surprised that he gets in fights. Well, he kind of asks for it. That’s the way that he winds up with that kind of problem.”
Where do we start unpacking this? Maybe begin with the senator engaging in old-school, did-you-see-what-she-was-wearing victim blaming for hate crimes and assault, or that he told this to an audience of children? With all of that on their minds, leave it to the fun-loving kids of D.C.’s Stonewall Kickball to stage their own protest. D.C. resident Emily Myers, coach for the Scorgies team, joined up with third baseman John Skic of Field of Kweenz for “Guys and Gals Who Wear Tutus to Bars” this past Sunday. Throughout the all-day event, dozens of kickballers and their supporters proudly wore their tutus to Dupont’s Stead Park.
According to the Scorgie’s Myers, the league prides itself on self-expression. She noted that, “the mission of our league is to create safe spaces for everyone and support our community through philanthropy. We want to send a message to everyone out there, especially LGBTQ youth, that you are beautiful. Express yourself how you want to. No one has the right to take that away.” Stonewall Kickball currently has more than 700 members.
For the District, for kickball and the young adults who play it, it’s far more than a big red bouncy ball and some Sunday Fundaying. What’s created is a stronger community with a good sense of purpose and awareness of issues far outside our little 68 square miles. And we can hope that images of their tutu protest will reach the one transgender boy that was perhaps sitting in the audience when Enzi delivered his clueless remarks. And remember, Enzi represents Wyoming, the “Equality State” and the scene of Matthew Shepard’s horrific murder almost 20 years ago.
For the senator, for his comments to center around clothing, always a cornerstone of queer self-expression and individuality, that was deliberate. As for bringing up the tutu itself – frilly with no real utility, something typically worn by women – that was surgical. As for the senator himself and what he chooses to wear, in this case, a converted leather sofa of some sort, you can tell he doesn’t know any actual gay men, here in D.C. or back home. And to be fair, the senator has since apologized, saying that he regrets “a poor choice of words.” Right. Why is it always the words’ fault? But he did add that “all individuals should be treated with respect … it is such a simple lesson … it is never permissible to hurt another.”
It does take a man to apologize. But in this case maybe the real men are wearing the tutus.
Brock Thompson is a D.C.-based writer who contributes regularly to the Blade.