People across Wyoming are living up to its 'Equality State' nickname.
"I know a guy who wears a tutu and goes to bars on Friday night and is always surprised that he gets in fights. Well, he kind of asks for it," said Senator Mike Enzi.
"That's the way that he winds up with that kind of problem," the four-term Wyoming senator continued, responding to a question from a local student about his views on LGBTQ rights on April 20.
As one might expect, Sen. Enzi's statements secured him some major blowback from LGBTQ individuals, allies, and just about anyone who thinks that what outfit you wear determines whether or not you "ask for" assault.
Across Wyoming, people responded in the best way possible.
They donned tutus of their own and headed out to their local bars in a powerful statement of solidarity.
#liveandlettutu was a success! 2 stepped with Sissy at the @buckhorn bar & @sweet Melissa's/thank you Laramie! https://t.co/2s7ohIQtPK— WyomingEquality (@WyomingEquality) 1493437889
Yes, there is a man from Wyoming who wears tutus and dresses in his daily life. His name is Sissy Goodwin (pictured in the tweet above), a former rodeo cowboy and aircraft mechanic and probably the man Sen. Enzi was referring to. And, yes, Goodwin has been physically assaulted because he likes to wear dresses and tutus.
Wearing dresses and tutus is just part of who Goodwin is. He's not harming anybody, and he's certainly not "asking for" assault.
In droves, people turned out at Wyoming bars wearing tutus.
You gotta admit — it's pretty cool to see people come to his defense (and that of anyone else who eschews gender norms) in person and on social media in response to Enzi's remarks.
Wyoming may be known for things like cowboys and rugged masculinity — but it's also known as the Equality State, and this protest shows why.
"When LGBTQ Wyomingites are faced with discrimination, harassment and violence, we’re 'not asking for it,'" Wyoming Equality wrote on its website. "All Wyomingites deserve respect and dignity and to feel safe in our state — no matter what they’re wearing at a bar."
#liveandlettutu at the Lander Bar https://t.co/xPvVFx9sP7— Katherine Boehrer (@Katherine Boehrer) 1493431316
Hey @SenatorEnzi three friends walked into a bar wearing tutus and they weren't "asking for it". #liveandlettutu… https://t.co/SmMAevLS7r— AM Cuprill Comas 🇵🇷 (@AM Cuprill Comas 🇵🇷) 1493427083
Enzi has apologized for his statement, but when it comes to protecting LGBTQ rights, his voting record tells a pretty clear story.
As they say, actions speak louder than words.
As senator, Enzi has voted time and again against pro-LGBTQ measures (including votes against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act — Shepard, who was tortured and murdered for being gay in 1998, was from Wyoming — and against the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization). Additionally, he's introduced legislation that would make it legal to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples seeking to adopt children.
For the past two sessions of Congress, Enzi has received a score of 0 from the Human Rights Campaign, and in 2014, he was named to the group's "Hall of Shame."
I reiterate. No one is ever asking for it. Ever. Not only were your words cruel, and your message discouraging and hurtful, to young LGBTQ youth but it was beyond unprofessional. I have heard the argument for the generational gap, and I can not accept that. We live in a time of change and movement, Wyoming is the "Equality" state. That being said, you sir as a voice for our state should also continue moving forward, and trying to better yourself. The only thing I'm asking for is to be treated as though I have a right to exist in the same space, and time as anyone else. #liveandlettutu #notaskingforit
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The fact that people in reportedly the most conservative state in the country are ready to take a stand in the name of equality and LGBTQ rights is a major reason to smile.
Red states, blue states, and everywhere in between — there are good people doing good things across the nation and across the political spectrum.
If there's a silver lining to Enzi's clumsy and unfortunate remarks, it's that it gave the rest of the country a chance to see just how great the people of Wyoming can be.