I have it on good authority that U.S. Representative James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma’s 5th District, was called Opie by absolutely everyone while he was director over at Falls Creek Church Camp. I will now always refer to him as such.
I mean just look at him
Representative Opie Lankford held a town hall meeting where another elected bigot, OK State Representative Sally Kern, engaged Lankford in conversation about why A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Individuals was going to Ruin Absolutely Everything.
Specifically, Sally said it was 98% about pushing a homosexual agenda, and Opie said, “they like to function in the dark” and said the “power of humiliation” would be helpful to curb that problem. You can watch a video of it if you really want to, but Think Progress has a transcript if you can’t stomach the yammering.
Opie Lankford compared queer people and health providers trying to offer adequate treatment to cockroaches, or a fellbeast, or like something emerging from hell only kept in check by his saintly presence in the US Congress.
I know we like to laugh about this stuff because it’s so ridiculous. Oklahoma has more than its fair share of these UGH moments. But we shouldn’t forget that Lankford and Kern both have institutional power to make our lives harder; if this little echo chamber giggle fest motivates either of them to sign off on legislation that prevents providers from receiving government funds and using LGBTQ specific training or resources, we will be wounded directly.
The words hurt, sure. It’s gross to know my elected officials are legitimately shocked I dare to continue to exist in the 405, and that they’re talking trash about people like me in public spaces in front of my neighbors. But it hurts queer folks again when we seek help for mental illness, domestic abuse, substance abuse and addiction – all things we suffer from at disproportionately higher levels than cishetero people – and we get turned down or inadequate care because the bigots in charge have the power to move dollars and sense away from genuine help.
This is a problem in red states that can’t be ignored. You might not live in a state where someone can compare queer people to cockroaches at a public town hall meeting and get away with it, but we all live in states affected by the legislative trends shaped by bigotry.
Maybe drop Opie Lankford a line and tell him he’s not Gandalf or Jesus and certainly doesn’t represent your wish that all Oklahomans could receive competent and sensitive medical care.
[Nerd Alert] Jen wishes the Doctor (in David Tennant form) would help them throw Sally Kern and Opie Lankford into the void with the Cybermen and the Daleks so we could all move on with our own personal timelines.