(Cary Bass-Deschenes / FlickrCC)

I will be perfectly honest with you in a way which may make waves: I would never wish gender confusion or homosexuality upon my children.

I can feel it right now, the anger response. Let me go further, please, before you throw this article across the room, and send me nasty-grams.

I would never wish this upon my children because I would never, ever want them to encounter the hateful ugliness of willful ignorance and judgement like that displayed recently by Wyoming state Sen. Lynn Hutchings (R-Cheyenne),. Shame on you, senator.

To the members of the Cheyenne High School Gay-Straight Alliance who were subjected to her rant: You are courage. You are strength. You represent many who are afraid to speak. Thank you.

Senator Hutchings: You claim, according to Nick Reynolds’ reporting in the Casper Star Tribune, that “Race, sex and color are things you can never change. They happen to us at birth. Sexual orientation and sexual identity, you can change that at any time.”

Really? Perhaps you should speak with John Paulk the ex-ex-gay former chairman of Exodus International, a Christian ministry that devoted itself to reparative therapy — psychotherapy aimed at “curing” a person’s homosexuality. For 10 years, he spoke in support of being able to go straight through prayer and counseling. For 20 years, he was married — yes, to a woman.

In 2013, Paulk completely renounced his message. In a 2013 Washington Post story, he apologized to the gay community and stated, “Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people … From the bottom of my heart I wish I could take back my words and actions that caused anger, depression, guilt and hopelessness. In their place, I want to extend love, hope, tenderness, joy and the truth that gay people are loved by God … Today, I see LGBT people for who they are—beloved, cherished children of God.

Senator, if anyone could have prayed his gay away, I think Mr. Paulk could have and would have. The reality is, he was not able to change no matter how hard he tried.

Then, senator, there’s science. Yep, I am totally aware that those who don’t wish to believe in science don’t believe in global warming, the World Bank’s rejection of coal, the pointlessness of standardized testing, etc. But then, there’s science. In the April 25, 2017 Scientific American, Debra Soh wrote:

“Several correlates of male androphilia — sexual attraction of biological males to men — have been shown across different cultures, which is suggestive of a common biological foundation among them. … On top of these observations, studies in molecular genetics have shown that Xq28, a region located at the tip of the X chromosome, is involved in both the expression of anxiety and male androphilia. This work suggests that common genetic factors may underlie the expression of both. Twin studies additionally point to genetic explanations as the underlying force for same-sex partner preference …”

Oh boy, and here’s a really uncomfortable study point from an article in the MIT Technology Review of Oct. 18, 2018, “DNA signals linked to gay sexual experiences also appeared more often in straight men who had a larger number of sex partners.”

Ultimately, I agree with Soh’s statement, “The etiology of homosexuality, biological or otherwise, should have no bearing on gay individuals’ right to equality.”

Moving on.

Also, according to you, the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ society pales in comparison to the discrimination faced by African Americans like yourself. Hmmm, let’s look at that.

According to Pace v. Alabama, 106 U.S. 583 (1883):

“Whatever discrimination is made in the punishment prescribed in the two sections is directed against the offense designated, and not against the person of any particular color or race. The punishment of each offending person, whether white or black, is the same. [My emphasis]

Gosh, doesn’t this sound like what our very own Legislature said just months ago?

As reported in the Cheyenne Tribune Eagle “Incoming Senate President Senator Drew Perkins, R-Casper, said there was no need to include protected classes in the discrimination and harassment policy. He said before he voted for the change that the protections included in the Wyoming and U.S. Constitutions provide protections for everyone.”

Do you recognize the first quotation? It is the Supreme Court ruling supporting miscegenation. You see, if a biracial couple attempted to marry, they could be charged on two counts. Any one officiating a biracial marriage could be fined or imprisoned to hard labor. If the couple decided not to marry, then they could be prosecuted for adultery or fornication and sentenced to hard labor for between two and seven years (See Julie Novkov, 2002).

Here’s what the children of Cheyenne’s Central High School heard you say to them Feb. 1: “If my sexual orientation was to have sex with all the men in there and I had sex with all of the women in there and then they brought  their children and I had sex with all of them and then brought their dogs in and I had sex with them, should I be protected for my sexual orientation?”

So let’s compare your statements with statements made in the 1800’s against miscegenation.

In the 1850’s Thomas Drew stated blacks were inherently savage and needed slavery to domesticate them. As soon as slavery’s restraints were removed, the “happy darky” would revert to the savage monster. Samuel Cartwright argued that blacks were some of the animals created before Adam and Eve. Jefferson Davis and W.W. Wright argued that prejudice against color was actually a natural aversion to hybridizing; giving white power a scientific ground.

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Your statements are no different, Senator. You stoop to talking about animals — just like those who tried to oppress the African Americans.

And as for the use of violence and terror to enforce such ill-informed and hateful ideology, please don’t make me bring up Matthew Shepard, who with final grace and dignity was buried in the National Cathedral just last year.

Should we talk about Women’s Suffrage? About how women did not deserve the same rights as men? Perhaps you should refer to an 1882 pamphlet about why women do or do not deserve the same rights. The headings read:

  • It would never do for women to vote, it would lead to divisions in families
  • The polls are not decent for women, at present
  • Politics are necessarily corrupting
  • I should not wish to hear my wife speak at a town meeting
  • Woman is sufficiently represented already, through her influence on men
  • Women are entirely distinct from men, altogether unlike, quite a different order of beings
  • A woman who takes proper care of her household, has no time to know anything about politics
  • Women, after all, are silly creatures (Higginson, 1882)

In conclusion, Senator Hutchings, you have ridden on the shoulders of women who fought for suffrage, and as a senator, benefit from their fight. You have ridden on the shoulders of those who fought for civil rights and against miscegenation, and benefit from their fight. And yet you stand above those who are fighting for their own civil rights, and blatantly shame and discriminate against them.

Look in the mirror, Senator Hutchings, the person looking back at you is the same person who would put you down.

Jeanne Raney

Jeanne Raney is a speech language pathologist who has worked in preschool, public school and medical settings working with the special needs population. She has a master’s in communication disorders...

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  1. Very well said and my thanks for putting into words what I could not. Who would possibly choose this most difficult path in life if given any choice or options? Just does not make rational sense.

  2. According to the Bible she loves to bang, she probably shouldn’t be in the legislature.

    ” but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. “

  3. Best righteous put-down I have read in years. Well said, and you have my gratitude. And I hope open permission to show your essay to some ossified denigrators in conservative Cody the next time they start a sanctimonious faux sermon on the topic.