Since engaging in misogynistic attacks on Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh has lost at least 50 advertisers and has been the subject of widespread criticism. In addition, two radio stations have reportedly dropped his show. But Limbaugh also has a long history of using his show to engage in bigoted attacks, including using it as a platform to attack LGBT people and issues.
Despite his reported support of civil unions, Limbaugh has frequently mocked and attacked the LGBT community. Here are some of Limbaugh's worst anti-LGBT comments.
On November 5, 2004, Limbaugh responded to a high school English teacher who was concerned about the “vilification” and “demeaning” of her openly gay students by claiming that openly gay students are “trumpeting” their sexuality and “inviting dissent”:
LIMBAUGH: What's -- what's important when you go to school, Claire? Is it your sexual identity or learning? What's important when you go to school? Learning how to prepare yourself for the rest of your life or trumpeting your sexuality? You know, there --
CALLER: I don't think anyone's trumpeting their sexuality.
LIMBAUGH: Well, how do we know then that they're gay if they're not --
CALLER: Certainly (overlapping conversations; inaudible) --
LIMBAUGH: -- how do we know it? I mean, there's -- there's -- how do we know who's gay and who's straight unless somebody's out there making a big case about it? I think --
CALLER: No, no one's making a big case --
LIMBAUGH: -- some people are inviting dissent.
On the November 22, 2011, edition of his show, Limbaugh claimed that Larry King, a 15-year-old openly gay student who was killed by a reportedly homophobic classmate, was exploring whether he needed a “chop-a-dick-offa'-me operation,” stating:
LIMBAUGH: He was showing up in school dressed as a woman -- was wearing dresses. He was bothering the other boys. His mother called the school. She was worried about her son's behavior. She asked the school to keep a sharp eye out for him, that she was worried that his behavior was going to cause something unfortunate to happen to him. We're talking 14-, and 15-, 16-year-olds here. Her son dresses up as a woman, goes to school, and starts lavishing attention on other boys.
When she told school officials about this, she says, again, that school officials told her that there was nothing they could do. That her son had a civil right to explore his sexual identity, meaning he had a right to come to school dressed as a girl. He had a right to come to school dressed in female attire -- he was wearing dresses. He had a right to explore whether or not he was a woman in a boy's body. He had the right to explore whether at some point he was going to need a chop-a-dick-offa'-me operation.
On the January 19, 2011, edition of his show, Limbaugh called gender reassignment surgery an “add-a-dick-to-me” procedure, saying:
LIMBAUGH: Let me put this in perspective for you, folks. The Democrats and the media put forth this challenge -- oh, what are you gonna cut? You're saying you're going to cut spending -- what are you gonna cut? What are you gonna cut? And then we hear that the city of Berkeley is going to start paying for chop -- add-a-dick-to-me's. Sex change operations. And they -- what do we want to cut? Well, I ask you.
On the June 9, 2004, edition of his program, Limbaugh responded to accusations by what he called “mainstream journalist leftists” that President Reagan “didn't do enough to stop AIDS ... so he's anti-gay.” He said that claims from “AIDS activists” in the 1980s that AIDS would affect people who aren't gay were untrue, because AIDS “hasn't made that jump to the heterosexual community” :
LIMBAUGH: And remember, back then in the '80s, one of the accompanying -- there -- there -- there -- there was a lot of fearmongering going on around -- about AIDS, as a lot of people were scared about it. And one of the things that -- that the -- the AIDS activists said regularly back then was, oh, this is only a matter of time before it spreads to the heterosexual community. It's only a matter of time.
And they used that as -- as one of the weapons to try to get people like Reagan to start talking about it from their standpoint. And of course it -- it hasn't. It -- it didn't, and it hasn't, other than in Africa, and in Africa it is -- it is being spread not just by -- it -- it --it's promiscuity that -- that -- that spreads this, if you want to know the truth. It's promiscuity.
But it -- it hasn't made that jump to the heterosexual community.
On the November 28, 2011, edition of his show, Limbaugh mocked Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who is openly gay, by airing a “Barney Frank update theme by Millie Small” that consisted of playing the song “My Boy Lollipop” while Limbaugh made slurping sounds. Limbaugh concluded the “update” by saying:
LIMBAUGH: No, no, no, no, Barney would not. Somebody just told me that Barney would love being spanked in an election. No. No. No. Not in an election.
Limbaugh also attacked Frank on the January 7, 2009, broadcast, playing a parody song titled “Banking Queen,” featuring an impersonation of Frank. During the beginning of the song, Limbaugh said:
LIMBAUGH: Well, it certainly was the way the subprime mortgage thing went down. It certainly was the way. Congress was in charge of telling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac what to do. Barney Frank leading the way, folks. He was -- and is -- a Banking Queen.
On the November 18, 2011, broadcast, Limbaugh complained that media figures did not identify former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who has been charged with child molestation, as gay, due to pressure from the “gay lobby.” During the segment, Limbaugh asserted that “Sandusky has to be -- he's a gay guy. Nobody's mentioning that aspect, because it's just too dangerous.” He also said:
LIMBAUGH: Sandusky does not represent all of homosexuality, just like the priests in the Catholic Church don't represent all of homosexuality, just like the aberrant criminals in heterosexual society don't represent all heterosexuals. But because the gay lobby is very powerful, people don't go there. People don't address it, they don't talk about it, and as such, an element of the problem never gets dealt with.
On the February 24 edition of his show, Limbaugh reacted to “a federal judge this week in San Francisco ... rul[ing] that the Defense of Marriage Act signed by Bill Clinton is unconstitutional” by saying:
LIMBAUGH: Just took it upon himself to say that a piece of legislation is unconstitutional. Defending traditional values is not modern? It's off topic? Attacking them is modern and good politics? That's what we're to believe here? All we're doing is defending traditional values. All we're doing is defending the institutions and the traditions that have made this country great, and apparently that's what you're not supposed to do? “No, no, don't do that! Mr. Limbaugh, you're just gonna make people nervous. Women aren't going to understand.” You wouldn't believe the emails. “Rush, women's brains can't compute this way. You're making a big mistake here by just bringing this up.” Oh, so we can't defend all these great traditions, but the left can attack them? The left can attack them and rip them apart and tear them down, and that's good politics? Is that what we're to believe? We're supposed to sit by while great traditions and institutions like marriage are ripped to shreds.
Limbaugh also forwarded vicious smears against former Education Department official Kevin Jennings, including during his December 9, 2009, broadcast, in which he called Jennings a “raging pervert” and said:
LIMBAUGH: We've had news this week of the safe schools czar and last week, too. This guy is a raging pervert who taught fisting -- and if you don't know what it is, I'm not going to describe it -- to grade-school and junior high school students back in the year 2000.