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Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: Janit
Date: December 07, 2017 08:34AM
When is physical touch sexualized and when is it not? Was Rep. Daryl Metcalfe micro-assaulted in a sexual way, or is he an oversensitive homophobic bully? Is it Metcalfe or is it Bradford who is in the wrong in this case? Is it possible to decide from this single episode, or is the context of all previous meetings important?

Discuss.

[www.washingtonpost.com]

Quote

‘I don’t like men’: Lawmaker brings meeting to a halt after male colleague touches his arm

By Marwa Eltagouri December 6 at 7:39 PM

Lawmaker interrupts meeting after male colleague touches his arm: 'I don't like men'

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe interrupted a male colleague who tapped his arm to say "I don't like men," during a committee meeting in Harrisburg, Pa., on Dec. 5. (Pa. House/Youtube)
While debating a land-use bill at a state government committee meeting on Tuesday night, Pennsylvania state Rep. Matt Bradford laid his hand — for just a moment — on the left forearm of the colleague sitting next to him.

That colleague was conservative Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, who interrupted Bradford mid-sentence with a personal bit of information.

“Look, I'm a heterosexual. I have a wife, I love my wife, I don't like men — as you might. But stop touching me all the time,” Metcalfe told Bradford, who then began laughing.

Several other members of the committee, which Metcalfe chairs, giggled and smirked.

“Keep your hands to yourself,” said Metcalfe, a Republican from Butler County. “If you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle who might like it.

“I don't.”

In the wake of Metcalfe's comments, an openly gay member on the committee and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party have called for Metcalfe's resignation. On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf urged Republican House leaders to consider removing Metcalfe as chairman of the committee, which in part oversees civil rights legislation, in light of his "offensive and discriminatory" statements.

Metcalfe is a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage who has said he does not believe in civil-rights protections based on sexual orientation.

Bradford, a Democrat, appeared to be stunned by his colleague's comments on Tuesday.

“Okay, chairman, chairman,” he told Metcalfe during the meeting, grinning as committee members laughed. One member appeared to conceal her face from the camera with her hand.

“We're officially off the rails,” Bradford said. “My intent was just to beg for your permission for about 30 seconds.”

“Then beg, don't touch,” responded Metcalfe, who is serving his 10th term in office. Bradford continued to laugh.

“I don't know where we go from here, really,” said Bradford, who is married with four children, according to his online biography.

Neither Bradford nor Metcalfe could be reached for comment.

Wolf said in a statement on Twitter that Metcalfe's comments were “part of a disturbing pattern of behavior.”

Metcalfe responded Wednesday to the governor's comments and said they were a “partisan attack” made partly in response to Metcalfe's criticisms of him, according to Philly.com. Wolf and Metcalfe differ on social issues — particularly those involving protections based on sexual orientation.

“I think it should be offensive to everyone in this state, and they should really question whether or not this governor has any principles at all that he would stand on the side of a perpetrator,” he said.

Metcalfe told Philly.com that he does not think Republican House leaders will remove him his position as committee chairman. As for the Democratic Party's call for his resignation, Metcalfe said that it wasn't the first time the party asked him to step down and that he has no intention of doing so now.

“To try and label people as being sexist, homophobic, or racist, or whatever they want to use as their label … the fact is the majority of men in our culture will not want a man who they don’t know touching them,” Metcalfe told Philly.com.

Pennsylvania's first openly gay legislator, Rep. Brian Sims, sits on the state government committee and turned to Facebook to express his outrage toward Metcalfe, whom he called the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus's “head bigot.”

“PA State Representative Daryl Metcalfe disrupted a State Government Committee meeting this morning — about a land use bill! — to loudly declare his heterosexuality!” wrote Sims, a Democrat. “You can't make this stuff up! The most homophobic, transphobic, racist, sexist, xenophobic member of our government is using legislative time, and tax payer dollars, to interrupt a meeting to announce his sexual orientation.”

Brandon Cwalina, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, in a statement Tuesday said that Metcalfe was a "walking, talking embarrassment to Pennsylvanians and doesn’t deserve the honor of serving in public office.”

In an interview with TribLive, Bradford said Metcalfe's comments were “unpleasant and awkward and appalling.”

“In this day and age, that's really inappropriate,” he said.

When asked by TribLive if he meant to suggest that Bradford is gay, Metcalfe said he did not know.

“I don't know what [Bradford's sexuality] is,” he said. “But I know from him touching me all the time that he indicates he likes to touch men.”

When informed of Metcalfe's response, Bradford told TribLive he often tries to calm Metcalfe down during contentious committee meetings and smooth disagreements between Metcalfe and other members.

“I speak with my hands,” Bradford said. “I've tried to calm him down.”

Metcalfe has repeatedly spoken out against same-sex marriage. In 2013, he invoked a House rule to stop Sims from speaking about the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage rulings.

“For me to allow [Sims] to say things that I believe are open rebellion against God are for me to participate in his open rebellion,” Metcalfe told the Associated Press at the time.

He also led the charge to impeach then-Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who he said created a “constitutional crisis” by refusing to defend the state's same-sex marriage ban, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

When the Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriages across the country in 2015, Metcalfe said the justices displayed “judicial tyranny,” according to PennLive.

“It shows what tyrants they are when they think that they can place themselves above God's law, above natural law, and above the will of the American people as we've seen it expressed in state after state after state,” Metcalfe said.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2017 08:38AM by Janit.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: December 07, 2017 08:53AM
Ultimately, a**hats will be a**hats. And Daryl is one. Jerk.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: December 07, 2017 08:55AM
Absolutism requires adherence (and adherents).
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: beagledave
Date: December 07, 2017 09:11AM
So he never gives any dude a high five or shakes their hand?

And if he hugs his daughter. he's making a sexual gesture?

These GOP types are the special kind of snowflakes, aren't they?
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: December 07, 2017 10:48AM
Translation: I don't like men = I like men.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: neophyte
Date: December 07, 2017 10:51AM
Metcalfe's outburst seems to indicate he is uncomfortable in his own skin.

Poor guy.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: December 07, 2017 02:44PM
Metcalfe is so far back in the closet that he's in Narnia.



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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: Ammo
Date: December 07, 2017 04:43PM
This is not a funny story - it’s scary. sad smiley



Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination.

"The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow." Jim Hightower



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2017 04:44PM by Ammo.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: December 07, 2017 04:44PM
Credibility is what matters because it's our best clue about things we can't personally know about. Metcalfe has none, so his attempt at claiming he was accosted is sad and bizarre.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: Blankity Blank
Date: December 07, 2017 07:16PM
Quote
cbelt3
Ultimately, a**hats will be a**hats. And Daryl is one. Jerk.
This.

Quote
deckeda
Credibility is what matters because it's our best clue about things we can't personally know about. Metcalfe has none, so his attempt at claiming he was accosted is sad and bizarre.
And this.

Transparent, cynical, clumsy attempt by a not very intelligent Neanderthal to drag an opponent into what he pathetically thinks will be a #metoo situation. Political intrigue on the level of a fourth grader.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2017 07:18PM by Blankity Blank.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: Janit
Date: December 08, 2017 12:02PM
I did not post this as a joke. I wanted people to think deeply about all the foundations of this episode.

What if the complainant was a woman, who said instead "Stop touching me. You are demeaning me by touching me." Or alternatively, "Stop touching me. I am not your sex object."

Is the dynamic here the same or different? Why? Is there a power differential in these cases or not? Do cultural attitudes and practices make these scenarios the same or different? How? Is one fear/anxiety reaction more legitimate than the other? Explain. Is either of the complainants being disingenuous? Is it appropriate to belittle either complainant?

What might be done to address all the ways that all of these scenarios are problematic?

You have an hour to write your essay. You may open your blue books now.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: December 08, 2017 12:36PM
Quote
deckeda
Credibility is what matters because it's our best clue about things we can't personally know about. Metcalfe has none, so his attempt at claiming he was accosted is sad and bizarre.

I took the question to be about who determines WHAT or WHERE is the boundary of acceptable behavior, NOT how do we determine the truth of an accusation that the boundary has been breached.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: pdq
Date: December 08, 2017 02:42PM
It's a good question, because the boundary was breached. One person touched another person, and it's been stated on these pages that that is "not OK" without a specific invitation from the person being touched.

But those of us who live in the real world recognize that these are inevitably shades of grey in things like this, and that in some situations it may actually be okay to touch someone to get their attention. If they object, you apologize and make a note in your mind - he/she doesn't like being touched.

But it doesn't mean it was meant as a slight, or a chance to demean, or sexually. That's pretty apparent here, but in a number of other cases the very possibility that the event was innocuous is discounted.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: December 08, 2017 04:23PM
Quote
DeusxMac
Quote
deckeda
Credibility is what matters because it's our best clue about things we can't personally know about. Metcalfe has none, so his attempt at claiming he was accosted is sad and bizarre.

I took the question to be about who determines WHAT or WHERE is the boundary of acceptable behavior, NOT how do we determine the truth of an accusation that the boundary has been breached.

In that case I do not understand what the difference is. If the audience/attendees/constituents/viewers/gadflies have an opinion about the veracity and yeah, credibility of the claim, then The Who and Where are automatically included.

In a practical sense, what matters is how many people agree.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: December 08, 2017 09:38PM
The guy has a right to not want to be touched, even though he was really weird about it, and while he way overdid it he was correct to tell the person to their face instead of waiting eight years to decide that he was not comfortable with it and announcing it to social media.

I had as much fun mocking Metcalfe as the next guy, but seriously if being touched makes him feel assaulted then he should tell people. Which he has.



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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: Pam
Date: December 09, 2017 08:41AM
Quote
$tevie
The guy has a right to not want to be touched, even though he was really weird about it, and while he way overdid it he was correct to tell the person to their face instead of waiting eight years to decide that he was not comfortable with it and announcing it to social media.

I had as much fun mocking Metcalfe as the next guy, but seriously if being touched makes him feel assaulted then he should tell people. Which he has.

Women and men need to be trained on how to speak up and also how to react. If you do not like a behavior you speak up. Firmly, but politely and professionally. If you are the one doing the touching you accept the admonition without defense or requiring an explanation. Harassment and diversity classes should include this type of training.
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: Janit
Date: December 09, 2017 10:06AM
Quote
Pam
Quote
$tevie
The guy has a right to not want to be touched, even though he was really weird about it, and while he way overdid it he was correct to tell the person to their face instead of waiting eight years to decide that he was not comfortable with it and announcing it to social media.

I had as much fun mocking Metcalfe as the next guy, but seriously if being touched makes him feel assaulted then he should tell people. Which he has.

Women and men need to be trained on how to speak up and also how to react. If you do not like a behavior you speak up. Firmly, but politely and professionally. If you are the one doing the touching you accept the admonition without defense or requiring an explanation. Harassment and diversity classes should include this type of training.

agree smiley
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Re: Who gets to set the boundaries?
Posted by: pdq
Date: December 09, 2017 03:10PM
I agree too.
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