Congressman Allen West Defends Remarks Comparing Homosexuality to Choosing an Ice Cream Flavor

In an interview earlier this week with Florida's Sun-Sentinel, Congressman Allen West insisted homosexuality is a behavior and compared it to choosing an ice cream flavor or riding a scooter.

Allen_west "You cannot compare me and my race to a behavior. Sexuality is a behavior. I cannot change my color. People can change their sexual behavior. I've seen people do that. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. So Ive seen a very different perspective on human behaviors. That's where I'm coming from with that. Everyone has the same basic rights. And no one is telling people in the gay community that they don't have the same basic rights that anyone in America has."

When asked if he thinks gay people should change their behavior, West responded:

"No. I don't think that. You know, I like chocolate chip ice cream. And I will continue to like chocolate chip ice cream. So, there's no worry about me changing to vanilla. I like to, you know, ride my motorcycle. What do you want me to do, change my behavior and ride a scooter?"

Watch the video HERE.

Yesterday, after being condemned by Rep. Lois Frankel for the remarks, West insisted they were taken out of context, and defended them, adding an attack on the repeal of "Dont' Ask, Don't Tell".

"I think that what I said was that is behavior. And so what I talked about is, I prefer, I like chocolate chip ice cream. And I'm not going against what someone prefers as their behavioral preference in their life. But when you start to understand about the United States military. The United States military serves one mission and that is to fight and win our nation's wars and if we start to take the military and try to conform it to individual behaviors no matter what those individual behaviors are we're going to lose the essence of what the United States military is."

Watch the video HERE.

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  1. jason says

    While behavior is a choice, orientation isn’t. Your sexual orientation is automatic, not chosen. Your sexual interests and feelings come automatically. This is something that Allen West has failed to address.

  2. mike128 says

    I’m confused by his statement about growing up in Atlanta. Is there something about Atlanta we don’t know?

  3. jpeckjr says

    The behavior / orientation question is the primary debate in any conversation about LGBT equality. People who think it’s a behavior oppose equality. People who think it’s an orientation support equality.

    Asking my straight friends and family: “Could you change your sexual orientation? Could you stop being attracted to people of the opposite sex?” has done more to change their perspective and understanding than anything else. The answer is “no” and “no.”

    Experimenting with a same-sex encounter does not change a person’s sexual orientation. Stopping having sex altogether doesn’t either.

  4. Derrick from Philly says

    Oh, my Lord, help me. I acually agree with and respect something that JASON posted. Are you the same JASON who hates that straight guys like female to female porn , but find male to male porn disgusting? If you’re not that JASON, I apologize.

    Congressman West is a conservative, and he is stupid on the issue of homosexuality. He is not alone in his stupidity in this country. He and Michele Bachman should indulge in misegenation together. Her husband can join them to make it even more sinful to the conservative American mind.

    I really don’t feel like race stuff today, so this is a preemptive strike.

  5. Derrick from Philly says

    “miscegenation” is the correct spelling. Who the hell needs to know the correct spelling of such a stupid word anyway?

  6. james says

    And what did we learn about Allen West from this interview? We already knew he doesn’t like gay people.

    Now we know he’s not into vanilla.

  7. Grover Underwood says

    and why is anyone surprised that he said this? the man is a sexist and a homophobe and pretty much an idiot to boot

  8. Rick says

    Somebody should point out to him that, although he cannot change his color, he could change HIS behavior to eliminate every aspect of it that reflects African-American culture and the way it differs from the majority culture. They should then point out that if all African-Americans were to do so, it would make society a much more harmonious place, since it would reduce the potential for conflict and misunderstanding.

    That being the case, should he not, in the interests of what is best for society, completely assimilate?

    One should also point out that “behavior” is not a determining factor in whether people are granted the basic rights of citizenship–if it were, then all kinds of people could be denied it if the majority did not like them for some reason.

    These are the best ways to counter the hypocrisy of bigoted African-Americans whose belief in “civil rights” is motivated only by their desire to further their own self-interest, rather than by devotion to any principle.

    They are, indeed, the lowest of the low.

  9. ant says

    “And no one is telling people in the gay community that they don’t have the same basic rights that anyone in America has.”

    Gay people don’t need to be told we don’t have the same basic rights as other Americans – we live with our 2nd class citizenship every day. Even here in NY, where we have the right to marriage now, DOMA prevents married couples from exercising the same federal rights that any other married couple would have.

    This is not unlike, say, the situation of black people in America before equal rights legislation.

    Mr. West is a very stupid man who is talking himself into a hole.

  10. Matthew says

    okay, so because you like chocolate chip ice cream you cannot have the same rights and benefits as those afforded to people who like vanilla. Now explain to me why that makes sense.

  11. Rick says

    @Derrick Well, you know, Derrick, there is an easy way around that. Just call Mr. West the hypocritical a-hole that he is, the same way you would with a white politician who said exactly the same thing. Pretty simple, really, and I don’t see why you should feel conflicted about it.

  12. say what says

    so he is admitting he might have had and very likely will have sex with a guy

    There are many times when someone wants butter pecan ice cream but it available isn’t available so will eat rocky road just because it is the only flavor available

  13. say what says


    You know what Derrick from philly meant, don’t play dumb

    He doesn’t feel like dealing with the 1-2 GOProud racists under different post names trying to make this a race thing

  14. Rowan says

    The biggest issue you have in the US especially that you will keep on having is of preference vs orientation.

    Not once have I heard a straight gay ally or a gay activist say that it is NOT a preference.

    Many times you guys are drooling over some straight ‘ally’ who has used the word and everyone on this blog is gushing over them.

    So what do you expect these guys to think?

    Another thing is that because there are so many pious gay men/women who marry people of the opposite sex, these people again think that well if they can, why can’t you?

    Lastly, with so many gay men either sleeping with their fag hags or women but claiming to be gay, again what are these guys supposed to think?

    Didn’t Andy have that post about the gay guy that wants to sleep with his best female friend to have a kid? And it’s this hilarious comedy? Well, as far as these guys think-if gay men can sleep so easily with their female friends, then why isn’t them choosing to call themselves gay a preference?

  15. says

    Breyer’s New Flavor: Allen West’s Tea Party DipSh*t Ice Cream; a delicious blend of extremely vanilla ice cream, chocolate flavored chips, roasted Bill of Rights, imitation Constitution flavor and bits of shredded Medicare and Social Security cards. Purchase one and get a coupon for a free half-gallon of Breyer’s gay flavors–the one’s GOP members can eat on the down low.

  16. Rick says

    @Say What Well, Mr. West himself made it a “race thing” by trying to draw a distinction between race and sexual orientation, saying that one is a state of being and the other is a behavior. It would certainly be helpful if a gay African-American would confront him with the kind of argument I laid out above rather than for me to have to do it…..

  17. db says

    Uncle Ruckus in the hizzle!

    I think he and Santorum are just making analogies of whatever they see in front of them–napkins, ice cream–they’ll just choose whatever they see in front of them “homosexuality is like metal folding chairs!”

  18. scollingsworth says

    Someone inform this dumbass of some history. The U.S. Military wouldn’t be the U.S. Military without homosexuals. It was a ‘mo who wrote the Military Handbook for the Continental Army and taught them how to be a REAL army. Major General von Steuben.

  19. Derrick from Philly says

    Thanks, Say What, for giving a clearer statement about what I was trying to say.


    You’re going to force me to go there, arent’ you? Very few Black Floridians like Congressman West. He won with a majority White conservative vote. The vast majority of Blacks would vote for a White Democrat over this Republican idiot (and that has happened before).

    Don’t mess with me today, Rick. I not in the mood–I still have that time of the month.

  20. Rick says

    @Rowan Good points. The fact is that most people do not choose their basic orientation, BUT the orientation of most people is not totally homosexual or totally heterosexual, as Kinsey discovered in his groundbreaking work.

    What we need to do at this juncture in history is encourage the removal of all artificial sexual taboos so that people can pursue whatever combination of sexual activities suits them best, which for most will include at least a degree of bisexuality, albeit with a strong preference for homosexuality or heterosexuality.

    The tired old defensive posture of “We are born this way”, which presumes that there is something “immoral” about anything other than pure heterosexuality……has become outdated….and even dangerous, since, if a “gay gene” ever really were discovered, it would open the door to the possibility of homosexuality being made extinct through genetic engineering.

    Time to embrace the 21st Century and leave the 20th and 19th centuries behind……

  21. Rick says

    “Don’t mess with me today, Rick. I not in the mood–I still have that time of the month”


  22. Bob says

    Wow. A black, anti-gay bigot. Who would’ve thought?

    No doubt NY2.0 and Chuck and Eric ad nauseum would say, “Oh, you must excuse him. Four hundred years of slavery and no opportunities and bad education, blah-blah-blah.” But none of that puffery changes the fact – look up and see the face of the New American Bigotry.

  23. GregV says

    Ignorant people like Allen West tend to set up this strawman argument (that people CAN change their behavior) when nobody any side of the debate ever said otherwise.
    Of course people can change their behavior. They can NOT change their sexual orientation.
    In any case, DADT is not about behavior, it is about free speech discrimination.
    To use his own analogies (i.e. race and ice cream), the rough equivalent of DADT would be if the military had a policy that if anyone is asked their favorite flavor of ice cream they must say vanilla. Ifd someone slips up and tells the truth that he likes chocolate chip in any casual conversation even off base, then he gets fired.
    Or everybody has to pretend he’s attracted to white women only. If anyone in the military lets it slip that his wife is black, he gets fired.
    Of course, someone with Allen’s brand of ignorance might argue that that’s NOT about free speech; it’s about someone’s “behavior” of having a black wife back home.
    Having a partner who is male is no more a “behavior” than having a partner who is black.
    The racial analogy works if you insert it into a parallel situation, but in exactly the opposite way that he’s trying to twist it.

  24. NY2.0 says

    @RICK, since the majority of blacks in Florida will not vote for Allen West and it is white, conservative Republicans from which he gets the lions share of his votes, maybe you as a Republican can stand up and speak to him about his bigotry? Or maybe not!

  25. Derrick from Philly says


    NY2.0 wouldn’t like a right-wing conservative whether he’s Black, White or Off White.

    And who the f..k are Eric and Chuck? You must be on the wrong blog–go where ever the hell ad nauseum is and stay there.

    We have some real nuts posting today.

  26. Sargon Bighorn says

    Towleroad has an Allen West campaign advertisement. Hey the Gay folk might not like his politics but the money sure is fine.

  27. Yeek says

    Allen West, is it really true that you “cannot change” your color? Have you ever tried? I bet if you put in a solid two years of effort (shorter than many ex-gay programs) you could find medical ways to change your skin color. Heck, look at Sammy Sosa after just a few months. Would changing your color change your identity? Should anyone be entitled to base your rights on making this sort of change?

    The world is weird. You might even end up like this guy:

  28. JT says

    Always a comparison. If Mr West had simply espoused his nonsense and left his race off the table, I would chide anyone from commenting on it. But, alas, as usual…he used it as a point to try and invalidate the LGBT community as “simply acting and choosing to be that way”.
    Being of a biracial background myself (white/black/latin) I always have mixed feelings, as I know the feelings of being treated poorly from all angles. Never white enough, never black enough, never gay enough…or…too much of any of them.
    This mentality that all of the minority groups have to squabble like baby chicks fighting for that last bit of the worm is tiresome at best. I have talked to my black father at length about this…and he says its just as prevelant within the community…lighter skin versus darker, “good” hair versus kinky, educated versus not. So the outward projection of these conflicts onto other groups seems only expected. Im definatly in the camp of “you should know better”…sorry…but they should.
    If an adult fights with a child, you look at the adult and say “cmon, you should know better”…an experienced employee starts making the same mistakes as the new guy, you say “you have been through this before, get it together.”
    And, if you as a minority group know the pain of being treated like less than, then you should be a little more sensitive to other groups going through it.
    Not that the LGBT community is any better, as racism is alive and well there too, but I have given the same lecture to my LGBT brothers and sisters when the topic came up.
    And Derrick, drop the “dont mess with me” nonsense. Plus, I find it funny that you are always “so tired” of this topic, yet, put a black person on this site making an anti gay comment, and you cant seem to get to your keyboard fast enough.

  29. NY2.0 says

    @Derrick, BOB is the type that would still vote Republican even if Allen West was on the ticket for VP with say Romney, Perry or Bachmann.

  30. Derrick from Philly says

    “And Derrick, drop the “dont mess with me” nonsense. Plus, I find it funny that you are always “so tired” of this topic, yet, put a black person on this site making an anti gay comment, and you cant seem to get to your keyboard fast enough”

    And who would I be responding to, JT? The Black Bigot or some White Gay Bigot making slurs and insults against all Black people? Did you tell your Black daddy about that? Would he care? Maybe your mamma would.

    Funny, I never remember you responding to the nasty anti-Black comments by White supremacist Gays…can’t get to your keyboard slow enough, huh?

    You’re messin’ with me, JT. You know Tiger Woods can use a new caddie…bet he’d love to have one who shares his beliefs

  31. Zlick says

    The whole issue of preference vs. nature is a straw man deal. Let’s say I prefer gay sex and prefer to spend the rest of my life married to someone of my own gender. SO WHAT? Am I free to do so or not? If not, why the hell not? No one gets to decide my pursuit of happiness that harms no one.

    I understand we tend to prevail only with people and courts that see one’s sexual attraction is certainly NOT like choosing an ice cream flavor – but of course, when it comes down to it, free choice should be the crux of the matter, and vanilla or mint chip should be up to each of us.

  32. MrJ says

    His mention of Atlanta I assume, is to do with a larger population of gays and african americans and the fact that those gay African Americans are often forced to hide in a closet so as to not be kicked out of their families and that is what he is wrongly referring to as a changed behavior. That is a hidden behavior, not a changed one and this fool doesnt know or care about the difference.

  33. Ryan says

    I really wish African American politicians like Allen West would stop using the “I cannot change my color” argument… Michael Jackson did it.

  34. Roman Bolliger says

    Would this congressman have chosen intelligence if his destiny had not been stupidity?

  35. Gregv says

    Whenever I hear these analogies to choosing among various equally tempting choices like flavors or color of shirt, I always highly suspect the speaker is bisexual. True heterosexuals, as well as gays, don’t see a hot woman at left and a hot man at right and feel a sense of conflicting choices, as if either one could tickle their fancy.
    He may seriously not get that most of the world is very much lopsided in their natural attractions toward one sex or the other.

  36. Brian in Texas says

    The people above making the ignorant Michael Jackson comments are just about as repugnant as Allen West. Michael Jackson didn’t choose anything. He had a skin disorder called “vitiligo”. Do a Google image search for “vitiligo” and you will see the many different people who that disorder has affected.

    Now as far as the nose jobs….that was his choice!

  37. Redebbm says

    This man is so unhinged from reality, why his district voted for him i will never know. Florida 22nd, please vote for someone who actually has your interest in mind and not gays holding ice cream cones or whatever he imagines up in that head.

  38. Maxine Black says

    Alan West chose to be black. He can change. Look at Michael Jackson.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 11, 2011 1:41:16 PM

    Obviously you too David..Are you white???