Tim Scott is running for president. It’s an impressive feat as the only African American Republican in today’s U.S. Senate and the first Southern Black senator since Reconstruction.
Scott checks off many boxes to win over Republican voters except one: he’s unattached.
When you probe into this box, you discover that Scott, 57, is not publicly known to have ever been partnered. And as Boston Globe columnist Renee Graham points out in her article “Tim Scott has a woman problem,” Scott’s “bachelor status” is often coded for “sexual identity.”
Being married or single should not be the litmus test for presidential electability any more than one’s religion; however, queries about his unattached status would go away, as it has for New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker, 54, if he were not anti-LGBTQ.
“The people of South Carolina have voted overwhelmingly to protect the traditional definition of marriage, and I stand with their decision,” Scott told his audience. As one who opposes marriage equality, a real stand-in or fictive female is requisite to deflect attention from the looming questions about his sexual identity.
“My girlfriend wants to see me when I come home,” Scott is quoted in the recent Washington Post article “Tim Scott’s girlfriend.” And at an Iowa campaign stop, Scott called his no-named girlfriend a “lovely Christian girl.”
These passing references to his girlfriend have become tantalizing since no one has seen or met her. The now dogged insistence by the public to know Scott’s mysterious woman reminds me of my days of being closeted and engaging in compulsory heterosexuality with tales of dating guys — real and fictive — to keep a job, to go to church, and to stop the questions. My adventures got more elaborate to fit the needed heterosexual script people wanted to hear, as it appears that Scott is doing, too. Also, the trauma of a broken home life can make one uncommitted and unattached.
“As a guy who was raised in a single-parent household mired in poverty, I understand the devastation when a family breaks up. I had to live with the consequences of a father who was not there. I made a commitment to make sure that never happened in my life.” Scott explained in his message about the importance of upholding family values.
However, Scott’s tales of a girlfriend and having grown up in a dysfunctional home environment bolster his presidential bid in a Trump-controlled political party that fashions itself more on lies than the truth.
Closeted Republicans have always had to tote the party line. Everyone knew how they comported in the daylight differed from how they crept in the night. For example, when Senator Lindsey Graham, a life-long confirmed bachelor, gets on the anti-LGBTQ bandwagon with his other homophobic Republican cohorts, rumors of his queer life as “Lady G” among D.C. male escorts always surface.
In 2010, The New York Times Magazine flat-out asked Graham if he were gay. Graham smirked with this reply: “Like maybe I’m having a clandestine affair with Ricky Martin,” he said. “I know it’s really gonna upset a lot of gay men — I’m sure hundreds of ’em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge — but I ain’t available. I ain’t gay. Sorry.”
However, in 2013, it was first reported that Graham allegedly hired male escorts. According to “Towleroad Gay News,” gay adult performer and escort Sean Harding took to Twitter (now known as X) to out Graham.
“There is a homophobic republican senator, who is no better than Trump, who keeps passing legislation that is damaging to the LGBT and minority communities. Every sex worker I know has been hired by this man. Wondering if enough of us spoke out if that could get him out of office. Fellow sex workers, I invite you to stand with me during this crucial time. EVERY major news network is in my inbox, including high-profile lawyers willing to take this case. There’s strength in numbers — I KNOW you’re out there because EVERYONE has a story about L.G. when we talk.”
Back in the day, to point out the hypocrisy of gay anti-LGBTQ politicians, gay Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) threatened to out Republican colleagues in the late ’80s in cases where these Republicans were using “gay” as a weapon to pass antigay bills.
Scott may be a confirmed heterosexual bachelor. However, he brought the queries about his sexuality — on both sides of the political divide — on himself with his strident anti-LGBTQ agenda since he took office in 2010. It seems apropos that the homophobic vitriol Scott legislatively employed to police the behavior and civil rights of LGBTQ Americans is now turned on him.