In an effort to sully the story of Michael Sam's coming out and possibly becoming the first openly-gay player in the NFL, Rush Limbaugh is voicing his concerns that gay men, like Sam, might try and sexually assault his teammates in the shower.
"By the way, I probably shouldn't ask this, but if it's OK for a man who has sex with other men to be in a shower in an NFL locker room with other men, is it OK for a guy to be in a shower with women?" Limbaugh asked during his show on Wednesday.
The implicit, and what Limbaugh believes is most important, message here is that a person cannot be in the same locker room as someone who might be attracted to. And further: a person (a gay man or straight man) might sexually assault the person they might be attracted to (men, or women). It's a shopworn fear-mongering tactic that's been trotted out in the past few years by conservatives in response to gay, lesbian, queer and transgender groups being given more rights. Bill O'Reilly has said similar things in response to transgender women being able to use women's bathrooms.
Going by Limbaugh's logic, gay men should shower in the company of women, but what about lesbians? Should they then shower with men? Maybe they shouldn't shower at all?
It's not very well thought out. But it's also incorrectly assumes that gay men haven't ever shared a locker room or a shower setting with straight men and that gay and straight men have never shared the same locker room in professional sports. This has been happening probably since locker rooms have been invented, and there have been gay athletes to come out after their professional stints, and so far society hasn't collapsed.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.