Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll must be kicking herself in the aftermath of her comment about how she doesn’t look like a lesbian. The statement, which she gave to local news affiliate Tampa 10, followed rumors that she and her female travel aide had engaged in an affair:
“The problem is that when you have these accusations that come out, it’s not just one person you’re attacking. It’s an entire family. 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 29 years? I’m the one that’s married for 29 years. The accuser is the one that’s single — for a long time. So. Usually black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.”
If the allegations are untrue, Carroll has a point that it’s unfair to her family the rumors have persisted. But the justification for her comments ends there. There’s bigotry and assumption all up in and through the rest of it. Essentially, what she’s saying is that lesbians are readily identifiable by physical appearance and that women who are attractive “aren’t usually lesbians.” She’s also making assumptions about what causes women to engage in same-sex relationships, and, to her mind, it has to do with them being single for a long time and thus bereft of heterosexual marital options. What’s worse is that she’s saying it all with chuckles and grins.
The comments ignited a great deal of online outrage, which led to a #ThisisWhataLesbianLooksLike Twitter hashtag campaign, encouraging lesbians to post pictures of themselves to illustrate their diversity. At the time of this article’s posting, Lt. Governor Carroll had yet to issue an apology for, amendment to, or retraction of her comments. Even if the remarks were made without forethought or considered to be “lighthearted,” she should’ve been able to realize how offensive they were to a great number of her constituents.
What do you think? Will Lt. Gov. Carroll apologize?