Karen Fratti
April 28, 2017 5:34 am
Alex Wong/Getty Images

This week, in response to a student’s question, Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi showed that he doesn’t understand bullying at all. A student at Greybull High School in Enzi’s home state asked the senator during a visit what he was doing to make life better for the LGBTQ community and how he would help the state live up to its “The Equality State” reputation. If anything, it should have been a chance for the Republican senator to show that he was on the side of his LGBTQ constituents. But it went really wrong. He sort of implied that some people “ask” to be bullied. Enzi said:

He added that not everything can be fixed with laws. “The biggest thing that we need is civility,” Enzi said. Yikes! This is all the more troubling if you really think about it, since at the same Q&A session, Enzi also spoke to Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has been tasked with doing an audit of schools and identifying places where federal laws “go too far” in telling states and school districts how to educate children.

Some of those laws or guidances could likely be Obama-era recommendations for schools — like anti-bullying initiatives or allowing transgender students to use whatever bathroom they feel comfortable in. 

Later, after his remarks made headlines, Enzi responded by saying that his comments were about promoting respect, which is just totally backwards. Especially since Wyoming is where Mathew Shepard was brutally beaten in 1998 because he was gay.

He apologized to anyone who “has taken offense” at his remarks and said:

For what it’s worth, you can listen to the full audio here. There’s not a lot more than his statement about his tutu-wearing buddy, but everyone can decide for themselves. The point that Enzi seems to have missed is that people don’t just “get into fights” (well, maybe SOME people do) for wearing whatever they want to wear. People who have a problem with someone being themselves are bullies. And people who don’t stand up for other people are bullies, too, just by association.

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