This bubble of ignorance that conservatives live in when they treat LGBT stories as “other” isn’t just bad for academics, however—it’s also dangerous to our country’s ongoing struggle for equality. Excluding LGBT people from one’s worldview means it’s easier to see them as less than deserving of empathy—or less than human.
Ted Cruz gets it wrong. Sgt. Phillip Monk wasn’t fired:
One military training instructor who worked for me and counseled young airmen told them: “Homosexuals were the downfall of Rome, and now they’ll be the downfall of the military, and the military will fall because of their lust and greed.” About 13 trainees filed a complaint against him. Those complaints went straight to my boss, who told me we had to do something about it.
I went to legal, and legal said, “You have to do something about this.” We had a zero tolerance policy on discrimination. I went back to my staff and told them. Monk said, “He’s got freedom of speech!” But we had to discipline the instructor. It wasn’t even a huge punishment. It was a warning.
Monk was up in arms. He came to me and said, “You know, ma’am, I can tell we’re not gonna agree on this. My replacement is already coming in. Do you mind if I take leave while this happens?” I said, “Sure, it’s your prerogative.” He walked out of my office, filled out the paperwork, gave it to me, and I approved.