Fagged Identity Politics


Of all the possible reactions to the momentarily famous Oui interview, the last one I would have predicted is that Arnold would be accused, by activists and even newspaper columnists like the Los Angeles Times' Steve Lopez, of committing (in Lopez' words) "slurs against gays."

Huh? Here is where the alleged slurs occur:

OUI: Do you get freaked out by being in such close contact with men in the gym?

ARNOLD: Not at all. When I was playing soccer at the age of 14, the first thing we'd do before going out onto the field would be to climb up on one another's thighs and massage the legs; it was a regular thing. None of us had a thought of being gay, absolutely not, and it's the same with most bodybuilders. Men shouldn't feel like fags just because they want to have nice-looking bodies. Another thing: Recently I posed for a gay magazine, which caused much comment. But it doesn't bother me. Gay people are fighting the same kind of stereotyping that bodybuilders are: People have certain misconceptions about them just as they do about us. Well, I have absolutely no hang-ups about the fag business; though it may bother some bodybuilders, it doesn't bother me at all.

To sum up: He professes easy-going tolerance and comfort, argues that homosexuals are unfairly stereotyped, and risks ridicule by posing for a gay magazine. In 1977. But, since he uses the word "fag," and (maybe!) because he's not a Democrat, this apparently makes him a homophobe. From a San Francisco Chronicle story:

"I think he's got a problem, bordering on a fixation" about gays, said Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

Michael Andraychak, president of Los Angeles' Stonewall Democratic Club, which opposes the recall, called on the actor to apologize, saying gays react to "fag" much as African Americans react to "the n– word."

Well, at least they're not trying—yet!—to out him, like Democrats (including a lesbian politican) tried to do with Ralph Nader.