Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi has apologized for telling a high school class he knows a man who likes to wear a tutu into bars, and who shouldn't be surprised to get beat up a lot.
He didn't, however, say he doesn't actually believe what he said, though:
In an emailed statement to CNN, Enzi said he does not believe "that anyone should be bullied, intimidated or attacked because of their beliefs" and that his message "was intended specifically to be about promoting respect and tolerance toward each other."
"I hope if people look at the entirety of my speech, they will understand that," he added. "I regret a poor choice of words during part of my presentation. None of us is infallible and I apologize to anyone who has taken offense. No offense was intended. Quite the opposite in fact, and so I ask for your understanding as well."Enzi wasn't talking about beliefs on April 20 when he mouthed off at Greybull High School, however. He was justifying assault:
I know a guy who wears a tutu and goes to bars on Friday night and is always surprised that he gets in fights. Well, he kind of asks for it. That's the way that he winds up with that kind of problem.Alert high school reporters produced not only a story but a recording and a transcript.
Enzi's bloviations have kicked off the kind of response they most deserved: mockery.
Oh my glory! @HuffPostPol posted another one of my tweets! *happy dance* #LiveandLetTutu #LGBTAlly https://t.co/S5tH1aYhCy— Siobhan Muir (@SiobhanMuir) April 29, 2017
Totally forgot to mention this! NPR shared my Tweet! #LiveandLetTutu #LGBTQAlly <3 https://t.co/A42MoLI8dG— Siobhan Muir (@SiobhanMuir) April 29, 2017
NPR reports,Who wears a tutu? You do. Do what? Wear a tutu in Wyoming. #LiveandLetTutu pic.twitter.com/ojOdDt8V2l— Siobhan Muir (@SiobhanMuir) April 28, 2017
Protest parties are also scheduled through the weekend, and on Friday, people have been using the #LiveandLetTutu hashtag to share images of themselves wearing tutus. One image posted today showed University of Wyoming student Tyler Wolfgang wearing a suit and a tutu, posing at a campus building that bears Enzi's name.
"Our hope with the state-wide [efforts] is that even in small communities we'll get a handful of people to share a photo of themselves in the bar wearing a tutu," one organizer, Patrick Harrington of Laramie, tells member station Wyoming Public Media, "so we can show Senator Enzi that he really is representing a large group of people and a really diverse group of people in Wyoming."
Those efforts include a "tutu family game night" at a church in Cheyenne. Pub crawls are planned in Laramie, Pinedale, and Sheridan; bars are offering discounts to anyone in a tutu, and at least one establishment is also contributing part of its proceeds to gay pride events.Traditional gay-baiters like former Red State editor Erick Erickson quickly picked up the cudgel from Enzi's trembling hand, writing,
If a guy walks into a bar in Wyoming wearing make up and a tutu, he’s probably going to be asked to leave, if not picked on or punched. If you don’t like that, don’t go to a bar in Wyoming wearing a tutu. It really is that simple. This is not a justification of violence, but let’s not kid ourselves that there won’t be an expectation of violence, however unjustified.*
If you want to keep pushing boundaries and making people uncomfortable, don’t be surprised when people try desperately to revert to cultural norms.
For Pete’s sake, that’s what we are seeing on the left right now. They are shocked and horrified that their neighbors secretly voted for Donald Trump because they had convinced themselves that everyone agreed with them. Now they are lashing out to try to revert to their comfort state of denial. The violence is wrong, but the protests are understandable. Their world has been shattered and they’re going to double down like the guy who throws the punch in the bar in Wyoming.Enzi, a Senator since 1997, is consistently ranked one of the most conservative Republicans in the Congress. Human Rights Campaign rankings on LGBT votes on in Congress give Enzi a 0 for five of the last seven two-year sessions.