More ’Barbarian’ Hordes Show Up at Bachmann Clinic
For the second time in as many months, a gay "barbarian" horde of protesters has stormed Marcus Bachmann’s clinic in Minneapolis.
A throng of GLBT equality activists protesting Bachmann’s statements to a Christian radio program that gays are "barbarians" in need of "discipline" staged a demonstration outside one of the two Christian counseling centers owned by Bachmann and his wife Michele, a member of Congress and a contender for the GOP nomination for next year’s presidential elections.
"We have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated," Marcus Bachmann said on the May 12, 2010 broadcast of "Point of View," a radio show that purports to promote a "biblical Christian worldview."
"They need to be disciplined," Bachmann continued. "Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps."
Marcus Bachmann has since claimed that he did not make those statements, and said that what appears to be a recording of him speaking on the air is actually the result of his comments being re-edited and taken out of context.
The Bachmanns’ clinics reportedly traffic in so-called "reparative therapy," a mode of treatment promoted by anti-gay religious groups. The claim is that such therapy can "cure" gays.
Reputable mental health professionals dispute the notion that being gay is a pathological condition, and warn that such treatments are bound to fail if applied to gays. There is some question as to whether bisexuals looking to focus on one gender exclusively might find such therapy useful.
Marcus Bachmann has denied that anyone at his clinics tries to press reparative therapy onto gay clients.
A staffer for Truth Wins Out, an organization dedicated to countering the message that gays are somehow unhealthy because of their sexual orientation and can be "healed" from their sexuality, went to one of the Bachmanns’ clinics undercover, posing as a Christian struggling with unwanted homosexual urges. The TWO staffer, John Becker, attended a series of sessions at Bachmann & Associates, carrying concealed video cameras to record what his counselor told him.
Among other things, Becker heard that God had meant for him to be heterosexual, and that no one is born gay.
The counselor told Becker that God had created male human eyes to register the female form with delight, and suggested that there are no such thing as gays or lesbians -- only heterosexuals who have somehow become confused about the who it is they find attractive. He also speculated that Becker had "become gay" in part because he had seen gay pornographic magazines as a young child -- a memory that Becker made up for the occasion.
An ABC News segment on Becker’s experience included commentary from mental health experts who lambasted the practice of so-called "ex-gay" therapy. Dr. Jack Drescher, who is the president for the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, told ABC News that reparative therapy "is so far outside the mainstream it’s practically on Mars."
"This is mostly faith healing," Drescher said during the segment. "There’s a lot of technical language that sounds like mainstream psychology or mainstream psychiatry, but it’s not."
Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, told EDGE something similar.
" ’Ex-gay’ therapy is junk science used to justify a fundamentalist worldview," Besen wrote in an email to EDGE. "Anti-gay activists realize that they cannot beat back LGBT equality with religious arguments alone. So they try to win over mainstream voters by distorting real scientific studies or inventing fake science that appears to back their beliefs. So-called ex-gay therapy fits into this mold."
Mental health professionals have expressed concern at the idea that state and federal funds Bachmann’s clinic has taken in -- more $160,000 -- might have gone toward counseling gays that it was possible for them to "convert."
The Aug. 25 demonstration outside the Bachmanns’ clinic was a protest against reparative therapy. "Glitter bomb" protester Nick Espinosa, 24, organized both the Aug. 25 protest and a similar action on July 21. Espinosa has started something of a trend in "glitter bombing" by targeting high-profile anti-gay personalities. Espinosa threw glitter on Newt Gingrich in May.
Gay equality activists have also glittered Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty, another anti-gay politician, was until recently also a Republican contender for the 2012 nomination.
Unlike hurling a pie into someone’s face, glittering is not definitely assault, though the legal ramifications have yet to be set by legal precedent. To date, no charges have been leveled in glitter actions. Espinosa told the Associated Press in a June 23 article that anti-gay politicians would not wish to risk public ridicule by pressing charges against glitter throwers. Espinosa also called glittering ""a silly and fun action, with a serious message behind it."
In an interview with EDGE, Espinosa spoke more about glittering high-profile homophobic personalities and the controversy surrounding the tactic.
"It’s almost laughable that people like Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee claim that glitter is assault," Espinosa wrote EDGE in a message. "I would laugh if they weren’t assaulting people’s humanity on a daily basis, and if their constant inflammatory rhetoric didn’t produce real violence in the form of the attacks we’ve seen from abortion clinics in the U.S. to summer camps in Norway.
"The fact that they get so upset over something as fabulous as glitter just goes to show that their hateful views are heading towards extinction as a new generation shows its power-we are winning."
The antics at the Aug. 25 demonstration closely paralleled the horde’s tactics during their first visit, when they demanded to see Marcus Bachmann and declared themselves in need of discipline.
The repeat performance also featured a round of Lady Gaga’s "Born This Way," a gay anthem that has been embraced by the GLBT community. Moreover, reported Minnesota online news resource City Pages in an Aug. 25 article, one activist portrayed Marcus Bachmann, wielding a whip and crying out, "You barbarians need discipline!" The protestors then poured glitter over the Bachmann proxy, who responded by going into a "dance frenzy," City Pages reported.
The staff of the clinic had locked the doors when they saw the group approaching, some of them dressed in "barbarian" garb. When police arrived, responding to a trespassing complaint, the horde had long since left.