I am a 28-year-old gay white male living in Houston, Texas. In the six years since I came out and became sexually active, I have used various apps off and on, for dating and for sex. I like to think I have done my best to be respectful of the people I have slept with. Recently, I have noticed a handful of profiles that explicitly state "I do not sleep with republicans" or "Trump supporters swipe left."
As you might have guessed by now, these labels apply to me.
I am asking you to set aside the (I imagine) revulsion you feel toward me and think clinically of the choices presented to the object of these proscriptions. So far, I have always blocked, left swiped, or ignored messages from these profiles. This is the most charitable course, and is self-respecting.
However, it is also an ethical requirement? There is nothing that betrays my political affiliation on my profile. If I wanted to sleep with one of these people, I could. I could subsequently reveal my voting history or could vanish without my partner ever becoming wise of it.
I view written proscriptions against groups of people as mean spirited at best, but I think everyone has the right to their own filter (even if I view it as the moral equivalent of a Gryffindor saying "I don't sleep with Hufflepuffs" - and yes, this is your chance to joke about Slytherin). If I sleep with someone while declining to volunteer information that would have caused them to withdraw consent, am I functionally sleeping with them without their consent? Does the interaction (however satisfying their orgasm) devolve into some sort of rape?
Curious to know if you would also reach this conclusion, how you might weigh it relative to other sexual sins and misdemeanors, and more broadly, how you think those of us on the right should treat our woke counterparts when our paths cross romantically.
Sorta Wondering If This Commonly Happens
I had literally just looked up this article when your letter arrived:
A new paper by political scientists Brian Schaffner, Matthew MacWilliams, and Tatishe Nteta puts the blame back on the same factors people pointed to before the election: racism and sexism. And the research has a very telling chart to prove it, showing that voters’ measures of sexism and racism correlated much more closely with support for Trump than economic dissatisfaction after controlling for factors like partisanship and political ideology.
So first let me say: Fuck you, SWITCH. Fuck you for being part of the racist, sexist problem. Fuck you for your deplorable vote in 2016.
Not quite moving on...
Voting for Donald J. Trump—being a gay Republican—doesn't make you a "member of a group" that has historically faced "proscriptions," discrimination, and state-sanctioned violence. It doesn't make you a "member of a group" in the sense that being gay or person of color or Muslim or an immigrant or trans makes you a "member of a group." You aren't a member of a protected class. You aren't being discriminated against on Grindr, Scruff, Recon, et al, for who you are, SWITCH, but for what you've done.
Sensible, self-respecting gay men don't wanna fuck you because you did real and lasting harm to millions of your fellow Americans. I don't know if you've been following the news since January 20th, SWITCH, but in addition to attacking immigrants, people of color, reproductive freedom, our air and water, the media, our small-d democratic norms, etc., etc., the Trump administration has attacked and continues to attack gay men and other queers. In case you missed these headlines:
Washington Post: Trump administration rolls back protections for transgender students
JoeMyGod: Log Cabin Republicans Leader Gregory T. Angelo: Trump Is Better On LGBT Rights Than Obama Was (And Log Cabin Republicans wonder why they're hated. Also, too: Log Cabin Republicans have been failing for forty years—and where did these failure choose to celebrate forty straight years of failing? At the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.)
So, SWITCH. Honey. Baby. Darling. The question you should be asking yourself isn't, "Why won't some gay men sleep with me?", but rather, "How on earth do I sleep at night?" (Alone and poorly, I hope, if you wanna take the question literally. But I don't mean it literally.)
And for the record, SWITCH: even if Trump weren't attacking gay men and other queers—and even it hadn't been abundantly clear before the election that, if elected, Donald Trump would attack gay men and other queers (THE ASSHOLE PICKED MIKE FUCKING PENCE AS HIS RUNNING MATE)—you still shouldn't have voted for him. Even if he weren't an anti-LGBT bigot, SWITCH, he's a racist bigot and an anti-Muslim bigot and a misogynist and a sexual predator. You should've cared enough about women and people of color and immigrants—many of them queers—to vote against Alternative Universe Pro-LGBT/Anti-Everyone Else Donald J. Trump.
Here in our universe, Trump is attacking queers and it makes sense that queers don't want to sleep with queers who helped make those attacks possible and continue to support Trump despite them. The homo who puts "no fats, no femmes, no Asians, no blacks" on his profile? That guy is mean spirited and that shit is unnecessary. (There are kinder ways to express your precious "preferences," guys.) Someone who puts "no Trump supporters" on his profile? That gay guy doesn't want to be alone in a room with someone who approves of gay bashing and who can blame him.
Moving on to your question: while academics and scholars have been wrestling with the concept of rape by deception for years—and that's essentially what
you're humping my leg about this thought experiment is about—the Iowa State Supreme Court issued a ruling last week about the validity of consent obtained under false pretenses.
Take it away, Des Moines Register:
A man who impersonated one of his high school classmates in order to trick a woman into having sex with him is guilty of the crime he was charged with, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday. The court upheld Michael Kelso-Christy's conviction for second-degree burglary, finding that the woman did not legally consent to a sexual encounter with him because she believed he was someone else. "We conclude such deception does not establish consent to engage in a sexual encounter," Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady wrote in the court's 4-2 opinion.
In a previous ruling the court drew a distinction between "fraud in fact," a case where the sex act performed was not the sex act both parties had consented to, and "fraud in inducement," a case where the sex act performed was the sex act both parties had consented to but one party lied to obtain the other party's consent. "Fraud in fact vitiates consent; fraud in the inducement does not," the court ruled.
The Iowa man who led an old classmate to believe he was someone else only engaged in the sex acts both had agreed to but since the woman believed she was consenting to sex with someone else entirely, this amounted to a "fraud in fact" case and the dude was found guilty—of, um, "burglary."
Eugene Volokh, Professor of Law at the UCLA, weighed in at Reason:
The line between "fraud in the factum," which is enough to make consent invalid, and "fraud in the inducement," which is not enough, is an important line—but it is the label for a legal judgment, rather than a tool for making that judgment. The key question should be the one identified at the start of the excerpt from the majority opinion: whether the deception is "substantial enough to negate a prior consent." That is a policy judgment, based on our experience about just how important certain things are to most people in deciding whether to have sex, and also on how intrusive it would be to have the law police particular kinds of lies.
I'm inclined to say that a lying about whether you are a particular person known to the victim should indeed be treated as rape by fraud, while lying about one's sexual history or wealth or accomplishments (or even about one's current legal or romantic attachments) should not be. But that's a judgment call, rather than the application of some logical factum-vs.-inducement distinction.
It seems to me that "who you voted for in the last election" belongs on Volokh's list of deceptions that should not be treated as rape by fraud.
Zooming out: Responding to a hookup ad from someone whose profile says, "I do not sleep with Republicans," or, "Trump supporters swipe left," isn't the legal or moral equivalent of signing an affidavit. And everyone understands that people lie—by commission and omission—on dating and hookup apps. People lie about their ages, their heights, their dick sizes, their gym habits, and their relationship statuses. If someone absolutely, positively doesn't wanna sleep anyone over 6' or under 6", he can say so on his profile and emphasize both points during the initial chat. But he'll still have to verify those stats when his Grindr pickup/gentleman caller arrives at the door. A size queen who doesn't do his due diligence and consequently winds up in bed with a man whose dick is under 6" won't be able to make a claim of rape by fraud.
Likewise, SWITCH, a man who says "no Trump voters" on his profile has to do his due diligence too—and since there's no way to verify who someone voted for, the "no Trump voters" guys on Grindr/Scruff/Recon will have to ask probing questions. And since there's no way to independently verify someone's vote, they'll still have trust their guts and their bullshit detectors in the end.
So you could get away with it, SWITCH. You could sleep with guys who wouldn't sleep with you if you told them the truth. It would be wrong, ethically speaking, but it wouldn't be rape. Just assholery.
I'm running out of Internet, SWITCH, so I'll have to make my three final points quickly...
1. Don't drag Harry Potter into this. Trump vs. Clinton can't be compared to Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff—or Coke vs. Pepsi or Cubs vs. White Sox or cup-the-balls vs. finger-in-butt. Our environment is being despoiled, immigrants are being terrorized, children are being taken from their parents, trans men and women could be left to die untreated in emergency rooms, the right of women to control their own bodies could be stripped from them, and our federal courts are being packed with judges who will spend the next four decades ruling against LGBT civil rights—and there'll be no carve out for gay white men who were stupid or selfish or racist or sexist enough to vote for Trump.
2. You're not the only gay Trump voter out there whining about not being able to get the D from gay men who didn't vote for Trump. I know why I wouldn't fuck you but I don't understand why you guys don't fuck off and fuck each other. Unless... maybe you subconsciously find other gay Trump voters to be just as damaged and repulsive as A. Trump voters are and B. the rest of us are consciously aware you are.
3. It's really tempting to close by saying, "I don't care if you get your cock sucked ever again—in fact, I hope your cock falls off," but that would be petty and it doesn't allow for personal and political growth. So instead I'll end with this: I'm hoping you eventually see the error of your ways, SWITCH, and that you won't vote for racists, rapists, xenophobes, homophobes, transphobes, and wannabe authoritarians in the future. And, hey, pull your head out of your ass before 2020, SWITCH, and you might have an easier time finding a guy who wants to stick his dick in there.