Anti-LGBTQ haters, mounting a resistance in Biden’s America, are targeting the rainbow symbol
This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.
I wrote a few weeks ago about several jarring incidents in which rainbow flags symbolizing queer Pride were vandalized or had triggered acts of violence against people, in addition to demands of removal from property.
Now comes this story this week out of Eastland Cove, a condo development just north of gay-friendly Fort Lauderdale, in Broward County, Florida. A gay couple, Mike Ferrari and Bob Plominski, have lived there for over 10 years, and have hung Pride flags in the past. But this year they received a letter from the Eastland Cove Homeowners Association that they must remove their flag from their mailbox or be fined $50 and $10 additionally for each day they refuse to remove it. They’re standing firm, and have taken their story nationally.
A Florida homeowners association has ordered a gay couple to remove a small rainbow flag from their front yard or pay a $50 daily fine if the flag is not removed by June 15. The couple said they will continue to fly it until the end of the month. https://t.co/IHAz2eEESi
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 19, 2021
Sure, homeowners associations have wide discretion on decorations, including flags, and some are quite strict. But the key issue here is that Ferrari and Plominki have flown a rainbow flag for years. The association’s rules state that only American flags, state flags or military flags may be flown, but no one complained in the past. Now, however, one or more people lodged a complaint and the board says it was compelled to demand the couple remove the flag.
Why didn’t anyone care enough in the past to file a complaint, but now they have? It could be any of a number of reasons — including someone new moving in — but I’m betting, looking at what’s happening all over the country, that it’s more of an assertion of backlash by people who were emboldened by Donald Trump’s expressions of hate. That included his administration’s stripping LGBTQ rights and removing rainbow decorations and Pride flags from embassies around the world. The Trump White House had reversed course from the Obama White House, not marking Pride month with a proclamation, nor flying a rainbow flag or lighting the White House in rainbow colors.
But President Joe Biden, in rapid pace, reversed Trump’s horrific executive orders that harmed LGBTQ people. And now the embrace of Pride by the White House is back — and the flags are flying at embassies around the world, including at the Vatican — while the haters are lashing out now in an act of resistance in Biden’s America.
Certainly there have been hateful attacks on Pride flags since the time it was created by activist Gilbert Baker in 1978, through some of the most overtly homophobic times this country has seen, including during the escalation of the AIDS crisis. But in 2021 the attacks seem to have escalated in a way that shouldn’t be happening at this point in time. It’s like we’re gong backwards — or there is a backlash by people who feel very threatened by the current reality, in which Trump lost the election but they believe it was stolen and their rightful place was taken away. As I wrote a few weeks ago:
A Sacramento church had its Pride flag burned last week. A student in Florida was brutally stomped on for bringing a Pride flag to a picnic. Boaters terrorized people in another boat on a lake in Washington state two weeks ago because they flew Pride flags on their boat (Ironically, the only harm came to the harassers, whose boat exploded, ignited by an engine fire during the altercation). Wisconsin homeowners were told by their association to remove Pride flags; they got creative and doused their home in rainbow floodlights.
Since then, a Pride flag was vandalized at a vintage shop in a town in Maine. A church outside of Cleveland reported its Pride flags were stolen two dozen times. Pride flags were stolen from the streets of Boise, Idaho. A teen at a Washington state university allegedly burned a Pride flag. A California city even refused to fly the flag at the request of residents.
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Fetterman Vows to GOP ‘Jagoffs’ He Will ‘Save Democracy by Wearing a Suit’ but He Has Two Conditions
Amid several days of right-wing, Republican, and Fox News outrage targeting U.S. Senator John Fetterman after Senators were told they may now wear casual attire on the floor, the Pennsylvania Democrat is promising to “save democracy by wearing a suit,” but he has two conditions.
Senator Fetterman stands at least six feet eight inches tall and weighs in at 270 pounds, according to The Washington Post, which attempted this week to debunk right-wing conspiracy theories that he has a “body double.”
He is known for wearing Carhartt sweatshirts and shorts more often than suits and ties, and after he was elected last year many in the media worried how he would transition to the more formal restrictions expected of sitting U.S. Senators. As it turns out there is no actual “dress code” that applies to Senators, and some, like Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), have taken advantage of that fact on occasion.
Ted Cruz came in t shirt and shorts and nobody said boo. pic.twitter.com/PSRqhKm48x
— Myron Nelson (@Myronnelson) September 19, 2023
Some, like one menswear editor, have taken the opportunity to mock other unique dress aspects of some political figures.
i hope republicans institute a stricter dress code
1. no low-rise pants with short jackets and insane shoes
2. no black dress shirts with light-colored ties; no suits without a jacket
3. no tan shoes with dark suits; no dress sneakers or “fun socks”
4. no scotch tape on ties https://t.co/rAMx7S8uia pic.twitter.com/AkXYfWkoQf
— derek guy (@dieworkwear) September 20, 2023
On Tuesday Sen. Fetterman mocked his detractors, including Fox News, which has aired at least several segments on his casual attire while suggesting the relaxed enforcement of the already non-existent “dress code” in the nation’s top deliberative body is an example of the “decline of standards in everything.”
One of Fetterman’s detractors has been having her own challenges this week: U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), caught vaping, taking photos, and allegedly engaged in sexual groping during a performance of a family-friendly musical.
In response to a Fox News social media post that claimed “People are furious after the Senate dropped its dress code requirement,” Sen. Fetterman said: “I figure if I take up vaping and grabbing the hog during a live musical, they’ll make me a folk hero.”
On Wednesday, Fetterman continued his colorful remarks, while mocking his critics – namely, House Republicans – who, he suggested, feel sweats are the end of the American republic.
The House is currently mired in “chaos,” a word Reuters, Fox News, MSNBC, The Hill, Axios, The Washington Post, and others have used to described the state of Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s conference just eleven days before what appears to be a likely shutdown of the federal government. It appears less and less likely Republicans will be able to pass legislation that will keep the government open after September 30, and continue funding Ukraine’s defense against Russia.
“If those jagoffs in the House stop trying to shut our government down, and fully support Ukraine, then I will save democracy by wearing a suit on the Senate floor next week,” Sen. Fetterman wrote.
See the social media photos above or at this link.
‘Declaring the Office of Speaker to Be Vacant’: Reporter Finds Possible Gaetz Resolution in House Restroom
A reporter says he found a House resolution dated just days ago, with marks identifying it as from U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s office that would, if passed remove Congressman Kevin McCarthy from his elected role as Speaker of the House, according to New York Magazine.
Journalist Matt Laslo, who is also a former Johns Hopkins University professor and has bylines at Wired, Vice, Rolling Stone, and Raw Story, posted photos of the document (below) and wrote on social media: “Found on a baby changing table in restroom underneath House floor: ‘Declaring the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant,’ from Rep. @mattgaetz, Sept. 15, 2023, 11:22am.”
There is no confirmation the document is authentic, and it could have been intentionally placed there by anyone, just so a reporter would find it, but even if drawn up or left as a joke it is yet another indication of the acrimony and hostility building among House Republicans over the likely impending government shutdown. On Tuesday, after a continuing resolution to keep the federal government running for another 30 days was scrapped, Fox News described Speaker McCarthy as being “in a bind as GOP factions, and factions within factions, [are] at loggerheads.”
As a condition of being elected Speaker, Kevin McCarthy agreed to allow any one member file a “motion to vacate,” meaning a motion to remove him as Speaker. It would require a vote in the House. In January NBC News reported it would require a simple majority vote to oust McCarthy under the rules he agreed to.
Last week Rep. Gaetz threatened to remove McCarthy.
“Because McCarthy probably has enough votes to survive any coup attempt, Gaetz’s threat is probably empty. But the method of the leak here is worth noting — either a brilliant or extremely dumb way to pass off information in Congress,” New York Magazine reports.
“Oh. My. God. The Republican House is in complete shambles. What a joke,” Sawyer Hackett, a Democratic strategist and Senior Advisor to former Obama Cabinet Secretary Julián Castro, wrote in response to Laslo’s post on social media.
CNN’s Melanie Zanona responded, “omg.”
Punchbow News cofounder Jake Sherman offered the most dramatic yet noncommittal response:
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) September 19, 2023
See the social media post and photos above or at this link.
‘I Dress Like He Campaigns’: Fetterman Smacks Down DeSantis Amid Sweeping Right Wing Attack on His Attire
U.S. Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) is striking back amid attacks on his iconically casual attire led by Republican lawmakers and Fox News.
Senator Fetterman, who often wears sweatshirts instead of suits, found himself once again targeted in the past few days.
“The Senate no longer enforcing a dress code for Senators to appease Fetterman is disgraceful. Dress code is one of society’s standards that set etiquette and respect for our institutions. Stop lowering the bar!” demanded U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
Over at Fox News, co-host Greg Gutfeld, wearing a shirt, no tie, and sneakers, insisted “women know how to dress. They enjoy looking good,” while admitting, “men enjoy looking comfortable,” which is why “the dudes should stick to the suits.”
“This isn’t a poker game or a strip club,” he continued.
“It’s not going for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory,” Gutfeld added, lamenting the “decline of standards in everything.”
Co-host Dana Perino, presumably sarcastically, added: “You know, this happened in the fall of the Roman Empire. They let people wear togas everywhere. Next thing you know — no empire.”
Dana Perino on the Senate dress code change: “You know, this happened in the fall of the Roman Empire. They let people wear togas everywhere. Next thing you know — no empire.” pic.twitter.com/rZ6vUApDSm
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) September 18, 2023
Earlier on Fox News Business, Maria Bartiromo had told U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) there was a “cover up underway.”
“Chuck Schumer certainly didn’t consult with me,” Haggerty replied, discussing the new dress code.
“It’s just another step in the movement by the Democrats to ‘transform America,’ to take us to a different place, and to take us to a place that is much less respectful than we historically have been,” he claimed.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) attacks Majority Leader Chuck Schumer loosening the Senate’s informal dress code:
“It’s just another step in the movement by the Democrats to ‘Transform America’ … and to take us to a place that is much less respectful than we historically have been.” pic.twitter.com/XTtjbrhQGO
— The Recount (@therecount) September 18, 2023
And then there was Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, campaigning despite currently being behind Donald Trump by an average of 43.9 points, telling supporters that Senator Fetterman “has a lot of problems.”
“Let’s just be honest,” the governor said, “like, how he got elected, well – I mean, he got elected because they didn’t want the alternative but, um, he wears like sweatshirts and hoodies and shorts, and that’s his thing so he would campaign in that.”
DeSantis, wearing an outfit that is almost exactly a copy of Donald Trump’s regular red tie and blue suit, insisted America needs to be “lifting up our standards, not dumbing-down our standards.”
Senator Fetterman had a simple response: “I dress like he campaigns.”
I dress like he campaigns https://t.co/IXgGmIRNb4
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) September 18, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
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