Rachel Maddow Schools Rich Cohen on His Ex-Gay Rhetoric, Dude

RACHEL MADDOW: Rachel Maddow spent almost 18 minutes talking to Richard Cohen, author of “Coming Out Straight,– a book which hopes to teach you how to “reject” your “homosexual tendencies”. Hey remember Uganda? They’d like to kill the gays for being gay and guess what — they’re citing this asshole’s book in their reasoning! Isn’t that fabulous? Not as fabulous as being this man’s wife, but hell, that’s another story for another day!

Here’s what you’re about to do: watch this video. It’s long but more worth it than anything else you’ll watch online today. Rachel Maddow continues to be the most outspoken ass-kicking lesbian we know and the best part? SHE’S ON YOUR TEEVEE FIVE NIGHTS A WEEK.

Also, “I’m reading it from your book, dude” is our new ringtone and favorite line ever. Actually Rachel has several amazing moments in this video, especially the wrap-up at the end FTW.

Rachel's reaction to Rich claiming he's the victim of a hate crime

Rachel’s reaction to Rich claiming he’s the victim of a hate crime

HIPSTERS: The Evolution of the Hipster over the last 10 years, from emo to meta-nerd. (@paste)

GAY STUDENTS: Gay Students Wanting to Be Seen: “For many teens, the adolescent experience is defined by a desire for acceptance among peers. But for gay and lesbian students, in schools across the country, there’s another issue at stake. It’s the fight to be represented publicly in high school and college rites of passage: the yearbook, the big school dance, the homecoming court.”

GENDER ROLES: Testosterone, Anger, And Greed: How Gender Stereotypes Influence Us: gender stereotypes may be so ingrained that they influence how we see faces — yet what we believe about sex differences may be more influential than biology. (@jezebel)

GIRL-BASHING: Girl-bashing and its consequences “Most people have a compulsive urge to divide so-called sluts into the categories of innocent and guilty … girls labeled “sluts” who are sexually innocent do not deserve to be mistreated, while other girls are guilty of the crime of having been sexual and therefore deserve to be bullied. According to this logic, only those who are innocent and “good” are worthy of our empathy. The rest of them? Who cares–they’re “sluts”!”(@huffpo)

Rosie Cruise 2006

Rosie Cruise 2006

GAY TRAVEL: A recent survey has found that 51% of gay families prefer to go on holiday with other gay people, ideally other gay families. We consider all gays our family, except the asshats, and therefore agree, mostly because we are afraid of other kinds of vacations with less hot girls. Personally, we enjoy Sweet or R-Family!

BOOKS: Intern Emily says: “This makes me sad because Internicaine Katrina took me there when I first met her in DC!” Lambda Rising bookstores in DC close their doors. Lambda Rising, a bookstore serving the LGBT community in the nation’s capital for 35 years, is closing its D.C. store in Dupont Circle and its remaining out-of-town store in Rehoboth Beach, Del., in January. (@dcagenda)

Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here. She's 37, has two kids, two dogs, one cat, one Megan, and some personal essays.

Laneia has written 858 articles for us.

40 Comments

  1. Interesting. Being the backwards backwater of fashion that we are, most of Seattle’s hipster community seems to be trapped in 2005-2006, although we have caught on to the wonders of bright plastic sunglasses hanging from our v-neck t-shirts. Mostly we’re just really excited about flannel being back. We invented that look, yo!

  2. ohhh noo about Lambda Rising! I went there this summer when I was on holiday in D.C and they told me where to find a decent meal for cheap in Dupont Circle and were generally lovely, aswell as it being a brilliant bookshop. sad times. Also they have giant rainbow flags.

    I watched the Rachel Maddow video after staying up all night revising and it made my whole life infinitely better! I think she is my hero.

  3. his face looks permanently stiffened or something.
    that’s probably what happens when you force yourself into a box you don’t fit in. and then also stuff a wife in it and then also stuff three kids in it. and then stay there for a while and the bones of your face adjust to the surroundings.
    cramped and uncomfortable.
    does anyone else think his face looks weird?
    just me?

    hipster evolution drew me to contribute this:
    http://www.latfh.com/

    • That dude’s still completely gay. It’s tempting to feel sorry for him, because he’s totally oblivious to the fact that his torment is being used by the Christian right to fuel their oppressive cause.

      It’s tempting, that is, until you read the crap in his book.

  4. That Racheal Maddow video is disturbing. And yet I can imagine the Powers That Be in my country of origin (Malaysia) would use Uganda as an inspiration.

    • I love DAR comics, and have many many feelings about them/Erika. I don’t think it’s really the same thing, though; although Erika’s in a relationship with a man, she is not not not an “ex-gay,” and still identifies very much with the queer community. I think she’s more an example of the ways in which sexual identities are fluid and complicated and not always what we want or expect – she didn’t want or plan to be in a relationship with a man, and so I think it’s almost more proof that you can’t change who you love than that you can. Although that’s not to say douchefaces like this guy wouldn’t interpret it however they wanted.

      • I totally agree with your perspective. I was mainly struck by panels 2-5, about how people assume she’s telling other gay people to “get married straight” and how gay folk find her as a disappointment. I’m also reminded of a website called Gay by Choice, which is for people who *choose* to be gay (or some other ‘alternative’ sexuality).

        Either way, it’s interesting. There are gay people in the world who absolutely *hate* being gay and are trying every way to do so (the awesome documentary A Jihad for Love has one Arab girl in it with this precise dilemma). There are people like my best friend who wish they were gay but can’t help their straightness. Then there are people like Erika and myself, whose sexuality is fluid and defies definition.

        Ultimately, whether sexuality is a choice or a psychological construct or genetic or whatever is a red herring – it shouldn’t matter *why* someone is gay, and if they ever stay gay (or straight or lesbian or what have you). If Rich Cohen really did go straight and have a happy marriage then more power to him. The point should be that _regardless_ of your sexuality or its source, you have the right to be treated as a _human being_, and to be given as much support for your sexuality as you want or need.

        • I agree! I have a lot of friends who are religious, and who struggle with whether they should choose a straight lifestyle and straight relationships even though they may not be straight. As hard for me as it is, I support them – it’s a really hard and a really personal choice, and as long as they’re not hurting or judging me/others, I respect them. Ultimately, everyone needs to do what they feel called to. Although this obvs does not extend to demanding that others make the same personal choices that you did, or judging them for it – OH HEY RICH COHEN, what’s up.

          thanks for commenting! I don’t know if I’ve seen you around here before, but please keep sharing wonderful insights with us!

          • I’ve commented once in a while but mainly I lurk except when I really want to seek attention XD

  5. Rachel Maddow is my hero.. 🙂 I freakin LOVE this interview. and ya know it would be HILARIOUS if one or all three of this guy’s kids came out gay…this guy is a PSYCHO! Wow…I really really don’t like ignorant crazies. 🙁

  6. Ugh. Thank goodness for Rachel’s eloquence. I want to beat Richard Cohen over the cranium with his book. I know, I know, violence isn’t the answer, but my huge homosexual hands are having a heterosexual attraction to squeeze his neck right now.

    Instead, I’ll just wait on him to pull a Ted Haggard.

  7. I was alerted to the Maddow Show interview last night when I was in class, and it was killing me that I had to miss it. Now I’m sort of glad I didn’t see it until today, I would have been too angry/frustrated to sleep! Yay to Rachel to schooling that guy. Too bad the people who need to hear that most are probably at home with his book, and MSNBC is blocked from their tv…

  8. If only all the haters would actually watch Maddow instead of Glen Beck or some shit, maybe they would see how wrong they are.
    Evolution of the hipster cracks me up because I’ve witnessed my brother and several cousins literally go through every stage over the past decade.

  9. This is the same guy that was whacking the pillow with the tennis racket in Bryan Safi’s That’s So Gay video calling it his mom. He’s clearly seriously traumatized/repressed/damaged and needs REAL therapy. You don’t get to INVENT therapeutic techniques based on your own pathological coping mechanisms and start peddling them to vulnerable people.

  10. This one time, my gay bff and I were underage (like 17) in this gay bar when we were in high school, and we were joined by this guy and girl at a table. When I was coming back from the bathroom my friend crossed paths with me and said, “I told them you’re a 22-year old music student at Ottawa U, and I’m a 25-year old computer programmer” and then just left me to return to the table under this persona. So then I had to pretend for the rest of the night to be something I wasn’t, and it turned out one of them actually WAS a music student and was trying to talk to me about campus buildings and stuff. THAT is what I think being “ex-gay” would be like, only all the time.

  11. Doesn’t offering therapy for something imply that you think it’s a problem for the people with it? How can he offer “treatment” but still believe in the tolerance (I hate that word) and acceptance of people who are gay?

  12. Rachel Maddow is like gay ChristmaHannuKwanzakuh. It’s like we went to the lesbo draft and they were like “Ok, you can recruit 1000 straight women randomly picked out of a hat or you can choose your own pick but you only get one”. And we pick the latter and chose the greatest human being of all time to be on our team. SCORE ONE FOR THE LESBOS! I feel like she just led our team to victory in the Gaybowl.

  13. so this guy was talking about how having bad relationships with other boys made him gay, but couldn’t it be the opposite a well? i know sometimes i didn’t get along with girls in junior high, but looking back, it seems like that was because i was gay and didn’t know how to handle it. anybody else?

  14. True story: Richard Cohen is an ex-moony, as in he used to be in the Unification Church, which is coincidentally the religion I was raised in. So, of course, my mom knows him, and she told me that he was kicked out of the church because his views on gay people were too LIBERAL. As in, he was too nice to gay people so the church kindly asked him to leave. Also, my mom let me know that his views are very reasonable. FML?

  15. HEY KIND OF STILL GAY BUT PRETENDING NOT TO BE DUDE, I’m really happy that your not disgracing the gays by calling yourself one anymore, and Imma let you finish, but Rachel Maddow had one of the best arguments of all time. OF ALL TIME

  16. I think the whole issue is doing much better these days than say 10 years ago. People are slowly becoming more accepting but there are still those who are hard against it.

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