“You can’t pray away the gay—baby, I was born this way!”

Is what a group of gay activists were screaming as they bombarded Michele Bachmann’s hubby Marcus’s anti-gay center wherein he “reforms” those “gay barbarians.” Their ask? To tame away the gay–they wanted to be disciplined by Marcus Bachman himself. The new trend in glitter flash mobs already took my breath away, but asking an anti-gay evangelist to discipline you, while sprinkling glitter, is the very stuff of liberal comedic success.

Marcus Bachmann has tried to claim that his counseling center doesn’t engage in reparative therapy–a process that has been strongly advised against by the AMA and the APA because it can lead to depression and suicide. Debate is still going as to the extent of how much they engage in this practice, but their stance on homosexuality as a social ill and something that can be prayed and taught away has always been clear. And clinging to a story of their “ex-lesbian” friend is not exactly convincing us otherwise.

The Bachmanns have a long history of anti-gay politics and distancing themselves from their anti-gay message isn’t going to change the reputation they already have. And we should hold them accountable every step of the way, even if with glitter.

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/fragglera/ Rachel

    love love love this response. Its true to our foremothers and fathers of the Stonewall Riots, its creative and non-violent. I think that showing up with feathers and glitter and fabulousness really produces the visual clash, who feels the love and who preaches hate? Well in this situation its obvious. As my beautiful GF likes to say “there’s nothing better than being queer” :)

  • http://feministing.com/members/amale/ a male

    Here we have not just praise of a “glitter mob” “bombarding”someone’s place of business, I am reading a call to continue doing so.

    How do readers feel about “glitter mobs” “bombarding” Planned Parenthood or offices of other causes dear to their hearts while shouting mocking slogans? Would you still call it creative and non violent? Would you still “love love love” it? Why the different standard?

    • davenj

      Unethical types of intervention are okay so long as the target is justified. So says Feministing (and George W. Bush regarding torture, and a whole lot of other people throughout history who turned out to be wrong).

      Planned Parenthood is the obvious example. If people threw red paint around a PP office and chanted about them being baby-killers I imagine this site would be horrified, and rightly so.

      The rightness of your argument does not confer on you the right to employ unethical means of convincing others.

      • http://feministing.com/members/zeenacheda/ Dan C

        The abortion clinic comparison seems off. People visiting clinics and working in clinics have been hurt and killed. So far, this is just glitter.

        As useless as I think this sort of protest is, it’s just glitter.

        • http://feministing.com/members/amale/ a male

          Planned Parenthood is just an example of something Feministing readers agree with.

          What if people went en masse into NOW or RAINN offices and glitter bombed them? Is that also ok? What if high profile Feministing staff had strangers who disagree with them and their views suddenly move on them in public and put pies in their faces? What if posters advertising local performances of the Vagina Monologues (or property of the nine remaining feminist bookstores in the country) were defaced or altered to reflect anti-woman messages?

          The message is quite irrelevant. Would you still agree with those methods of protest, which I sometimes see praised, or in this case, promoted, here? Or is it only ok when you agree with the message or the victims “deserve” it?

        • davenj

          I’m not comparing this to shootings or bombings. Rather, if this was done in a PP clinic I doubt we’d view this as “just glitter”.

          It’s a type of harassment, and it’s wrong.

    • http://feministing.com/members/avtorres/ Avtorres

      The difference in my opinion is that people “bombarding” a planned parenthood are infringing their personal beliefs onto the rights of others…a right that is legal, safe, and doesn’t infringe on others…a right that is supposed to be protected by law. The women going to that clinic aren’t doing anything to violate another persons rights. The protesters aren’t bombarding a pro-choice politicians office…they are directing their opposition on individual people. It’s wrong. Additionally, clinic protesters are often threatening violence and in fact have a long history of using violence against clinic staff, clinics, and women accessing legal services from the clinics.

      In contrast, people running for political office or people who already hold public office, have real power over individual lives, power that has the ability to deny, limit, or take away people’s rights. Politicians’ beliefs about things like abortion, or a belief in “praying away the gay” is absolutely information that the public has a right to know and act upon. I believe the public has a right to protest against those politicians and the policies they represent as elected officials, particularly because it has a direct impact on the rights of individual lives and because politicians are elected by the people.

      • http://feministing.com/members/amale/ a male

        Before I continue, I’d like people to realize that I don’t give a damn about Rupert Murdoch, whom I’ve disliked for his business practices since I first heard about him over 20 years ago, and I probably believe the same things about Bachman or “curing” gays that other readers do. It’s not about the message, or whether or not I agree with the message itself.

        People do indeed have a right to gather peacefully and protest. Groups could gather and picket outside the homes and businesses of people and causes they disagree with. Depending on the jurisdiction, hundreds or thousands of sign wavers might be legal on public sidewalks or streets. However, that is not what glitter bombing or putting pies in people’s faces is doing.

        So what if individual clients and visitors to Planned Parenthood were left alone? What if protestors “only” went onto property and entered facilities en masse, declaring themselves to be “barbarians,” dressed in “fabulous” costumes, and “bombarded” the interior with glitter while chanting mocking slogans? What if “only” doctors were “only” subject to pies in the face?

        You still don’t see what’s wrong? It’s irrelevant that it would be an improvement to what anti-choice groups actually do. It would still be wrong to trespass on these properties or to commit assault and battery when against individuals such as Murdoch or Gingrich.

      • davenj

        “a right that is legal, safe, and doesn’t infringe on others”

        Anti-abortion protesters dispute this point. Their entire position is that a fetus does have rights, and that an abortion infringes on those rights. That it’s legal isn’t a point, either, as they want it to be illegal, or less legal.

        Anti-abortion protesters are protesting targets that practice what is, in their minds, an unacceptable practice.

        This clinic was targeted for the unacceptable practice of gay remediation.

        I’m really not seeing the differences.

    • http://feministing.com/members/fragglera/ Rachel

      for someone who seems to be advocating non-violence that’s an awfully pointed and direct response to my comment, downright hostile, I’d suggest. lets agree to disagree, shall we? An analogy that actually *would* be accurate would be, say, if pro-lifers used ‘its a boy’ or ‘its a girl’ confetti bombs at protests. Compared to how they actually protest: threats, violence, sometimes murder… I’d prefer confetti any day of the week.

      • http://feministing.com/members/amale/ a male

        It’s not an issue of what’s better. So really, no one is considering the trespass or violation of personal space, disruption of business or lack of consent aspects? I’m a survivor. You know what I would think if someone suddenly came at me with something in their hands or their hands hidden? I wonder if it’s a weapon or if they are going to try to kill me. “Oooh! Glitter!” will not be on my mind. And I will react accordingly.

        Here on Feministing, we can read how women have acid thrown in their faces in public. How are people to know they are not under attack when someone comes at them with “only” glitter? How do you know the intent of a stranger who comes at you in public?

        Perhaps some on the left or high profile activists really do need to experience glitter bombing or pies to the face by those hostile to what they believe in, so they can tell us how fabulous and harmless it is.

      • http://feministing.com/members/amale/ a male

        Since my comment made it through moderation I would like to apologize for my hostile tone, and my initial response was not directed at you personally. It is that sort of praise for glitter bombing, pie attacks, graffiti, defacing of property or paid advertisement, and other forms of civil obedience which I disapprove of. I simply do not understand why it is alright to violate the space, person, or property of those whom activists disagree with, while also protesting violation of their own rights. Or for that matter, not caring whether or not they cause offense, while protesting the language of others offends them.

  • http://feministing.com/members/vicarinatutu/ Sam

    I have to say, I feel rather ambivalent about interventions like these.

    I don’t know if I was born this way; I am queer now and have been for as long as I can remember, but that’s pretty much all I feel confident enough to claim. I don’t think being this way is particularly fabulous, and I wonder whether such a flashmob doesn’t make being queer seem rather frivolous, when it’s anything but.

    I am British, though, so maybe there’s some sort of cultural mistranslation here. FWIW, I do like glitter.

  • http://feministing.com/members/goolia/ Julia Baldini

    glitter bombing, protesting, sit-ins….whatever you want to call it. It’s awesome and it’s the peoples right to take the most appropriate form of protesting they choose. And I’d rather have those against PP or other human rights organizations out doing that in public then sitting behind closed doors planning things. Hatred, racism and bigotry should be out in the open…so that we can identify, talk, educate and fix.

  • http://feministing.com/members/fragglera/ Rachel

    I can understand why some folks are ambivalent but I still don’t think glittering homophobes = fake blood at PP b/c of what those substances suggest. While I agree that great care needs to be taken to not harm anyone in the course of displaying disagreement, I honestly don’t think glitter ever hurt anyone. It can be a pain to clean up, but I don’t think its akin to assault. We don’t all have to agree on what is and is not an appropriate method to voice our opinions, as long as nobody gets hurt.

    I DO feel glittery and fabulous as a queer girl, and that’s valid for me. For others, perhaps a pop cultural appropriation/stereotype of queer culture may be a huuuuge turnoff and thats a valid way to feel too. Just cuz someone else doesn’t like glitter or musical theater or drag, doesn’t mean I can’t.

    • http://feministing.com/members/amale/ a male

      “I honestly don’t think glitter ever hurt anyone. It can be a pain to clean up, but I don’t think its akin to assault.”

      Throw some in the faces of people you know without their consent. Like your boss. Or a police officer. Try not to get it in their eyes. Tell me how they like it. Tell me again how harmless it is.

      It is the attacking individuals with pies in the face which I consider assault. Perhaps if it happened to some people you cared about, in public, against their consent, committed by total strangers who happen to disagree with what you stand for, for (in your mind) no reason, you’d reconsider. I believe it would be triggering or traumatizing for many.

      So it’s alright if “barbarians” arrive en masse and “bombard” offices of causes you believe in without their permission (i.e., trespass), because it’s “only” glitter? It’s alright for a strange man, or group of strange men, to go right up to a woman or intrude on her place of work without her consent, and “bombard” it with glitter while chanting mocking slogans, just because they disagree with what they stand for or don’t like (in their mind) the negative influence they have? Again, I believe it would be triggering or traumatizing for many.

      Or do people simply not believe that their ideological enemies do not have rights or feelings like they do? They do not have PTSD? There are no survivors of abuse or assault among them? It’s alright to do these things because they’re wrong and they deserve it?

      I’d need proof to see people can live with what they dish out. I’d like to see some people have strangers hostile to their cause glitter bomb them, or disrupt their places of business, and have them tell us how “fabulous” and harmless it is.

    • davenj

      “Just cuz someone else doesn’t like glitter or musical theater or drag, doesn’t mean I can’t.”

      Nobody’s asking you not to. Throw glitter on yourself all you want.

      Throwing glitter on others, on the other hand, is different. It’s harassment, and in some of these cases it has been assault.

      “Nobody getting permanently injured” is not a good standard for us voicing our opinions.

  • http://feministing.com/members/fragglera/ Rachel

    I think this is a creative and non-violent approach to a civil rights issue. These folks showed up singing and dancing and throwing glitter in the air. I think its dope, y’all think it akin to assault. I guess we disagree and ain’t nothing gonna change that. I’d suggest that prejudice, bullying and demonization of the LGBT community are a heck of a lot more traumatizing than glitter. But like i said, I likes glitter. I don’t go around throwing it on people, or in their eyes. But you know what? If someone was in a position of power and authority AND pushed a systematic disenfranchisement of an entire group of people within any given society, I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to sing, dance and toss some glitter in the air in order to make my presence known.

    Were my boss to start on tirades that insisted that me and my community are evil and undeserving of basic human rights, I’d probably just quit rather than throwing glitter all over her office…but I’d consider it… this isn’t ‘we disagree’ this *IS* religious extremists wish to deny an entire group basic human rights.

  • http://feministing.com/members/tgirlkara/ Kara Michelle Sabia

    ALL protests and sit-ins somewhat violate the rights of others. Protesters are intruding into the lives of others, drawing unwanted attention, and generally inconveniencing them — it is the nature of the protest. The question we need to ask ourselves is: “how much impact are we comfortable with protesters having on the lives of others?”

    I personally think that glitter bombs fine and consider them non-violent. These protests don’t hurt people, they aren’t attempts to intimidate or terrorize, they dont destroy property. Those things are what’s important, not whether or not the protest involves a “projectile”.