This Idaho Conservative is Afraid Gay Men Will Come to Work in Tutus

Despite overwhelming consent among Idaho Republicans who wish to overturn discrimination based on sexual orientation, Cornel Rasor is the lone GOP who opposes the reform. Why? Because he wants the legal right to fire a gay man who comes to work in a tutu.

If you think this statement by this current chairman of the resolutions committee of the Idaho GOP is ludicrous ... you're completely correct.

According to an article from the The Spokesman-Review, Rasor said “I’d hire a gay guy if I thought he was a good worker. But if he comes into work in a tutu … he’s not producing what I want in my office.”

So Rasor supports the current law that discriminates between gay and straight workers in order to retain the right to fire such an employee. 

Six cities within Idaho have succeeded in passing the non-discrimination law in the past year and a half; Idaho Falls is the seventh city looking to overturn the ordinance, but now "the Idaho GOP wants them halted," reported the Spokesman-Review.

Under the Idaho Human Rights Act, the state bans discrimination based on race, religion and disability in housing, employment and public accommodations. Nonetheless, "lawmakers have resisted efforts to add sexual orientation and gender identity to that law." In the absence of such an ordinance, employers have the discretion to fire an employee simply for being gay.

The lack of protection for gay workers in Idaho is upsetting, but Rasor's comment reveals a deeper layer of prejudice that Rasor, among other Americans, continue to possess. 

The Spokesman-Review reported that Rasor said “if a guy has a particular predilection and keeps it to himself, that’s fine ... But if he wants to use my business as a platform for his lifestyle, why should I have to subsidize that? And that’s what these anti-discrimination laws do.”

Why would it be more distracting for a gay man to come to work in a tutu than for a straight woman to enter the office wearing the same thing? If an employer has a problem with an employee showing up to work in a tutu, it should be framed as a violation of proper behavior and comportment in the workplace —-- NOT a matter of being gay. Rasor's tutu reference serves as a metaphor for something larger, namely, the discomfort that many Americans feel when faced with "alternate lifestyles," especially when those lifestyles are made open to the public.  

"All I see is more and more laws making things more and more difficult, more and more restrictive, more and more controlled ... I like to be left alone. I like to make my own decision,” Rasor said, in defense of his position.

No Rasor, you've got it all wrong. This law isn't about limiting your freedom to make your own decisions; it is about protecting people who are denied freedoms based on their sexual preferences. 

Tony Stewart, member of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, argued that to maintain Rasor's position "would be sending a nationwide message that the LGBT community is really not welcome in Idaho and they can be discriminated against."

Stewart is right: we must send a message of inclusion and equal protection. America has made significant progress protecting people of different genders, sexes and races — -- why should sexual preference be any different?  

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Hannah Loewentheil

I am a Senior at Brown University where I am studying international relations and non-fiction writing. Follow me on twitter @hrl792.

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