January 28, 2009
Posted by: Chris
You know that when Fox News publishes commentary opposing repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell by a Marine reservist who has a history in gay porn and prostitution that the result is going to be a fun read.
Matt Sanchez made headlines back in 2007 when his queer past surfaced after he had been feted by conservatives for whining about derogatory language he claims a couple of socialist students used against him at Columbia University. He later admitted to performing in a handful of XXX gay films in the early '90s under the names "Rod Majors" and "Pierre LeBranche."
Sanchez claims he was strictly gay-for-pay, though gay blogger Andy Towle has written about meeting Sanchez in a San Jose gay bar back in 1989, and the two subsequently went on several dates. Sanchez also acknowledged (after initial denials) that he was running gay adult massage ads in the New York Blade as late as 2004, the year after he joined the Marine reserves.
With that background in mind, here are a few snippets of what Sanchez the Fox News "war correspondent" has to say about Don't Ask Don't Tell, the very policy he violated back in 2004:
Although “the primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise”, forcing the military to legitimize same-sex relationships will be a Trojan Horse for imposing gay marriage nationwide and all in the name of “change.”
The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) would force the United States military to accept the future same-sex marriages of those serving. Activists would use this federal recognition of gay marriage in the military to challenge and force a repeal of state constitutional amendments, but wedding bells are not the only reason why gay advocates and military officials should not be heading to the altar.
I've been in and around the gay rights movement for more than a decade, and this is the first I've ever heard of this alleged strategy -- for which Sanchez provides absolutely no citation, of course.
Many pro-gay groups hold up the example of international armed forces throughout the world that have lifted bans on homosexuality. It is true: France, Germany, Italy and Spain all permit openly gay service members. But in Afghanistan, neither France, Spain, Italy or Germany will confront the Taliban.
Sanchez conveniently leaves out the U.K. military, which has joined the U.S. in battling the Taliban, and which not just allows gays to serve but aggressively recruits them.
Will gay service members have to be separated from their non-gay service members? Will separate showers and living quarters be required? Or will there be all-gay military units? Will gays who don’t wish to self-identify be forced to do so?
Ahh yes, the old personal privacy canard, one that clearly poses no personal problem for Sanchez, the exhibitionist. As Sanchez himself proves, gays have been able to lawfully serve in the military since 2003 1993, when DADT replaced the outright ban on gays in the military, so whatever privacy issues exist are already dealt with.
What's more, allowing gays to serve openly would actually improve the privacy of heterosexual soldiers and sailors, who currently have no idea who among their compatriots is gay. Once a service member comes out, those with want to hide their naughty bits can do so much more effectively, and the openly gay soldier will no doubt make much more of an effort to avoid anyone thinking he might be leering.
The new commander-in-chief can unilaterally repeal Don’t ask Don’t Tell with a stroke of a pen, but [President Obama] has held back.
Wrong again, Matt. Congress passed DADT, and President Clinton signed it into law. Only a new act of Congress can repeal the ban and allow gays to serve openly.
March 11, 2007
Posted by: Chris
It turns out that Marine Reserves Cpl. Matt Sanchez may not have been completely honest about just how far back in his past some of his time in the gay sex industry. His porn work, he claims, dates back 15 years, and he has said up until now that his escort work does as well.
But in a radio interview with Alan Colmes — the leftie punching bag for Fox News' Sean Hannity — Sanchez is confronted with a personal ad he placed in the New York Blade as recently as 2004 offering his "massage" services. Sanchez at first denies the ad is his, and Colmes doesn't help matters by mangling the publication name. Eventually, Sanchez "owns up to everything" even while claiming someone could be placing fake ads with his name and phone number.
You can understand Sanchez's need to stay vague. Not only does he risk blowing his conversion-to-conservativism story, if he's been tricking out for money so recently, he also risks getting tricked right out of the military.
Sanchez joined the Marine Reserves in May 2003, long after the (apparent) end of his porn career. But if he was selling "massage" services that involved "homosexual conduct" as defined by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, then he could get the boot from the Marines, and not in a good way.
Maybe now is the time for Sanchez and his conservative friends-standing-by-him to call for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Here's the interview (audio only):
Hat tip: AmericaBlog
Posted by: Chris
Matt Sanchez may have left his gay porn-escort past behind him, but it is coming back to haunt, and I don't mean angry Ann Coulter phone calls. The Navy Times reports that the U.S. Marines have begun a probe — er, investigation:
Homosexual behavior is prohibited by an article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that forbids “sodomy.”
As a member of the [Individual Ready Reserves], Sanchez falls under the authority of Marine Corps Mobilization Command in Kansas City, Mo., where the commanding general’s staff judge advocate, Lt. Col. Michael Blessing, has begun an inquiry into the revelations about his past, according to command spokesman Shane Darbonne.
“We’re looking into it and we’re going to verify facts and determine if any further action is warranted,” Darbonne said.
As of Friday afternoon, officials at Marine Forces Reserve in New Orleans were unable to confirm whether Sanchez had enlisted prior to the end of his film career or if Reserve Marines were prohibited from doing porn when not in a drilling status. Sanchez has not returned phone calls seeking comment. He joined the Corps May 14, 2003 and is a refrigeration mechanic.
On Friday officials at Marine Corps Recruiting Command were unable to say whether past participation in gay porn disqualifies a potential enlistee because it was unclear how the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy might apply.
If liberal and gay bloggers can get over their (understandable) glee at the fact that O'Reilly-Coulter-Hannity put a gay porn star on their right-wing pedestal, the real focus of the Sanchez flap ought to be here. Or, as Matt Foreman of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force put it, this is "the real 11 inches" of the Matt Sanchez story. Says Foreman:
There’s no inherent contradiction between Matt Sanchez being pro-military and being part of the ‘adult film’ industry. The real hypocrisy expresses itself in two different and important ways. First, the failed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law requires Matt Sanchez and thousands of other loyal Americans to hide their sexual orientation to serve their country in the military.
The important 11 inches in this story? That is the approximate distance between berths on U.S. naval submarines, so defamatorily measured in front of TV cameras by then-Sen. Sam Nunn in 1993, who immorally intimated that openly gay service members could not be permitted to bunk next to straight service members. From that shameful episode, Nunn led Congress to adopt the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ law, which should now be repealed. Let’s be done with officially enforced closets.
It's not a juicy hypocrisy, but it's certainly wrongheaded, that adult consensual sodomy between two people of the same sex is still a crime under the Military Code of Justice, almost four years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down civilian sodomy laws.
It's little known outside legal circles that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" actually depends on that military sodomy law. Since the Clinton Justice Department (9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick in particular) wanted to hide how the policy is actually based on the "status" of being gay, they constructed it to be based on "conduct," in particular the UMCJ prohibition on "homosexual conduct."
So now Sanchez might get caught up in "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," even though he's not technically "telling," since he claims he was so "bad at being gay" that he isn't anymore. (Huh?) Ironically, that ludicrous defense just might work. There's a loophole that allows a service member to stay even after being identified as gay if they can prove that they have no "predilection" for future homosexual conduct.
Let's hope this whole ridiculous house of cards comes tumbling down when the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston considers an appeal in a suit challenging the policy brought by the gay vets and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Or maybe the Democratically-controlled Congress will step up to the plate, and listen to a much more impressive handsome gay Latino Marine — Eric Alva, the first American injured in the 2003 invasion of Iraq — and repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
It's disappointing that Sanchez hasn't added his voice to that call, perhaps because he still hopes to curry favor with those conservatives who've been so accepting of his porn past. Whether or not he is actually gay — and Andy Towle is insisting he as "pretty good at it" back in the day — Sanchez ought to know as well as anyone that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is unfair, and may well result in his own ouster.
March 10, 2007
Posted by: Chris
Marine Reserves Cpl. Matt Sanchez posted an interesting essay on Salon.com where he argues that his history in gay porn is not only not hypocritical, as some gay and liberal pundits are charging, but helps explain why he wound up so conservative:
Porn reduces the mind and flattens the soul. I don't like it. That's not hypocrisy talking; that's just experience. I sometimes think of myself, ironically, as a progressive: I started off as a liberal but I progressed to conservatism. Part of that transformation is due to my time in the industry. How does a conservative trace his roots to such distasteful beginnings? I didn't like porn's liberalism. In porn, everything taboo is trivialized and everything trivial is magnified.
Why did I become a conservative? Just look at what I left, and look at who is attacking me today. Let's face it: Those on the left who now attack me would be defending me if I had espoused liberal causes and spoken out against the Iraq war before I was outed as a pseudo celebrity. They'd be talking about publishing my memoir and putting me on a diversity ticket with Barack Obama. Instead, those who complain about wire-tapping reserve the right to pry into my private life and my past for political brownie points.
Sanchez seems to be arguing that he turned right mostly over his distaste for those on the left. I can identify with him in a sense. When I arrived at a different Ivy League grad school in the late '80s, I had been branded a liberal and, by some, "a nigger white" for pushing diversity issues at a conservative Southern school.
I learned very quickly that conservatives had not cornered the market on intolerance, and it bothered me even more coming from liberals because it seemed so at odds with all their sermonizing about tolerance and respect. But really, which is worse? Intolerance from the right on the basis of ethnicity, religious beliefs or nationality? Or intolerance from the left based on ideology.
Sanchez wrote in Salon that his conservative colleagues have been far more accepting of his gay porn past than his liberal critics, a claim that surprises me, and I can't help wonder if it's wishful thinking or if it will last.
Regardless, I've come to realize that judging an ideology by its followers is not a particularly effective strategy. There's plenty of intolerance and hypocrisy to go around, along with respectful and thoughtful advocates. Powerful ideas can result in powerful abuses, as well as powerful progress.
Ultimately, choosing sides on an issue or more generally ought to come down to the merits of what's said, and not so much on who is doing the saying.
March 06, 2007
Posted by: Chris
The blogosphere is all a-twitter with news that the handsome Latino Marine on all the news programs this week once worked in gay porn and advertised his services as an escort.
No, not that handsome Latino Marine, Edward Alva, who appeared at a press conference with Democratic Rep. Marty Meehan of Massachusetts calling for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
I'm talking about that handsome Latino Marine, Matt Sanchez who did the "O'Reilly" "Hannity" rounds to complain about how some socialist students at Columbia University were mean to him for being a minority in the military.
Blogger Joe.My.God gives the blow by blow:
If you are familiar with Cpl. Matt Sanchez, you probably know him as the handsome 36-year old Columbia University junior and USMC reservist who recently made the rounds of right-wing talk shows like "O'Reilly Factor" and "Hannity & Colmes," where he received praise for coming forward and complaining about his treatment at the hands of Columbia's "radical anti-military students" who called him names and mocked his military service. Sanchez was then feted at the CPAC conference where Ann Coulter made her "faggot" remark. Sanchez wrote an op-ed piece on the Columbia experience for the NY Post and began a blog and MySpace page chronicling his media exposure. …
Sanchez' face tinkled a few gay bells out there in fairyland, and [it turns out] Sanchez has had a lengthy career in gay porn, working under the names Rod Majors (NSFW) and Pierre LaBranche.
Sanchez hasn't denied anything, and since early posts by Joe and Tom Bacchus, blogger extraordinaire Andy Towle revealed that he actually went out on a few dates with Sanchez back in the late '80s. Since then, Sanchez has apparently given Joe a half-hour interview that left the liberal blogger impressed that the Columbia conservative is no "dumb bunny."
It will be interesting to see how the Sanchez story breaks. Liberals will scream "hypocrite!" which is their absolute favorite catch-all criticism. As applied to Sanchez, the charge seems particularly unfair. I'm not particularly sympathetic to his argument that Columbia should discipline his tormenters — if anything, there's your hypocrisy, since conservatives are supposed to be against campus speech regulations. But if you believe that gays should be able to serve in the military, and that there's nothing wrong with adult entertainment, then it's Sanchez service in uniform, not his servicing out of uniform, that should matter.
Or maybe some liberals will argue, as they did with Jeff Gannon before, that somehow it's hypocritical to be gay, conservative and have a sex life. I'm not sure they realize what they're really arguing: that something about selling sex for money (whether on film or in person) should make you a leftie.
The real travesty here is that coverage of Sanchez will dwarf coverage of Alva, who was the first U.S. service member injured in Iraq — he lost part of his leg — and his story of service with fear that he would be outed and discharged.
For video of Sanchez (on "O'Reilly," alas, not from his early work), follow the jump: