—U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), speaking to TMZ in response to a tweet by comedian Chelsea Handler that he is a closeted gay man. Graham’s sexuality has long been the subject of speculation, particularly following his failed presidential run in 2015, when there was a proliferation of stories about his “bachelor” status. He was also forced to defend himself as “not defective” just because he had not married.
In her tweet, issued on National Coming Out Day, Handler tweeted: “If you’re wondering why Republicans took a sick day today, it’s probably because it’s #NationalComingOutDay,” she wrote. “Looking at you @LindseyGrahamSC.”
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) October 11, 2018
Graham said the comments did not reflect well on Handler, adding: “I don’t know how it makes us a better country, but it’s up to her, not me.”
“It’s a free country; she can say what she wants to say. I don’t care,” Graham said. “I don’t think much about what she says at all. She wants to live her life that way, it’s up to her.”
He also said that he thinks the county is “moving on” from making fun of others for the sake of comedy, adding: “Belittling people is not as funny as it used to be, and that’s a good thing.”
In fact, many people criticized Handler for attempting to cast being gay as something negative.
“Why is there such a gulf in understanding this fact: being gay is not something to shame or embarrass someone with. It’s staggering that, at this point, people who appear to be our community’s allies still don’t get it,” tweeted artist Jean-Paul Bevilacqua.
Why is there such a gulf in understanding this fact: being gay is not something to shame or embarrass someone with.
It's staggering that, at this point, people who appear to be our community's allies still don't get it.
— Jean-Paul Bevilacqua (@jpbevi) October 11, 2018
“So constantly disappointed by ‘allies’ who turn LGBTQ identities into punchlines and sources of malevolent shame. Again and again and again,” tweeted author and actor Cory Collins.
So constantly disappointed by "allies" who turn LGBTQ identities into punchlines and sources of malevolent shame. Again and again and again.
— Cory Collins (@CoCoCoryCollins) October 12, 2018
“Because Liberals are not now nor have they ever been LGBT allies,” tweeted user V Eppler. “They never fight for the individual liberties, rather force-feed misconceptions guised as inclusiveness. They are anything but allies or inclusive. The LGBT community is mearly (sic) a useful tool for them.”
Because Liberals are not now nor have they ever been LGBT allies. They never fight for the individual liberties, rather forcefeed misconceptions guised as inclusiveness. They are anything but allies or inclusive. The LGBT community is mearly a useful tool for them.
— V Eppler (@VEppler2) October 13, 2018
So far, Handler has not apologized or deleted the tweet. But that’s seemingly par for the course for Handler — despite receiving similar backlash for comments she made about Graham back in January, her past tweets disparaging his sexuality remain online for all to see.