Last Friday, Florida's scandal-embroiled Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll was confronted about allegations that she fired an employee after the aide caught her just about to get some hot, hot lesbian love from another female employee. And rather than gracefully deny the charges, Carroll instead opted to go the Heck No, I'm No Muff Diver! route, claiming in front of TV cameras that she couldn't possibly be a lesbian because she's too — uh, something. Pretty? Feminine? — to be a lesbian and besides, her accuser was just jealous because she wasn't married. Jennifer! Don't piss off gay people, black people, single people, and their friends in the age of the internet! Have we learned nothing from Rick Santorum?
Just for fun, let's review the Republican politician's statement in its bizarre beauty.
My husband doesn't want to hear that. He knows the type of woman I am. I mean, my kids know the type of woman I am. For twenty-nine years – I'm the one that's married for twenty-nine years. The accuser is the one that's been single for a long time. So usually black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that.
Thanks to that little quip, Carroll has elevated what could have been an itsy bitsy footnote of a scandal into what may end up being the foot-in-mouth quote that defines her entire career. Articles have proliferated across all corners of the internet, with titles ranging from "Dear Lt. Gov. Carroll, Yes You Do Look Like a Lesbian" to "Black Lesbians are So Pissed at Jennifer Carroll Right Now." People have started a petition urging her to apologize for being such an ass. A Twitter tagpage for #whatablacklesbianlookslike has popped up. And people on Facebook are mad. Here are some sample posts that haven't yet been deleted from Carroll's page:
Are you serious!!! Since when can you tell what a person's sexual identity by appearance! Very ignorant response and people like you further sterotypes; it's terrible that you are in public service!
WOW...I KNOW PLENTY OF BLACK GAY WOMEN WHO LOOK JUS LIKE YOU! AND THE FACT THAT YOU'RE QUICK TO DEFEND BEING GAY, BUT NOT BEING UNFAITHFUL IS TRULY DISTURBING! YOU OWE THE LGBT COMMUNITY AN APOLOGY! THEN SEEK THERAPY!!!!!!!
Of course, since Carroll's a woman and she sort of made her defense a backdoor brag about how she's too straight-looking/conventionally attractive/ blazer wearing to be a lesbian, some users took it upon themselves to tell her that there were plenty of black lesbians who are prettier than she is, which is sort of missing the point. It's what's inside that counts, and as of right now, what's inside the series of tubes we call the internet is a big Google problem for Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.
A quick search for "Jennifer Carroll" and "lesbian" yields more than 200,000 results. If you replace "lesbian" with "homophobia," you get 153,000 or so results. And as she continues to dig herself into a giant, vagina-shaped hole, those numbers will only increase. She's lucky a onetime contestant on Top Chef shares her name and that no one has yet thought to include that quote in her Wikipedia page. Maybe 15 years ago being transparently homophobic would have served her well among certain constituencies, but this is 2012. Most Americans support gay marriage now. Even Republicans are tired of talking about marriage equality. Her way of thinking is about to go extinct.
One one hand, I'm glad clearly homophobic women like Jennifer Carroll don't get to perfectly choreograph every public statement in order to gloss over their secret, backward agendas, that the web doesn't allow hateful Freudian gaffes to fly under the radar. But on the other hand, it's upsetting that people who are literally running the country don't understand that the internet is a thing and that it's used to quickly spread information around, like information about that one time it looked a lot like you implied that you were too pretty to be a lesbian and that all single women are jealous of you.