This weekend I attended the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association meeting in DC. On Friday evening I went to an exciting party. There were no closeted right wing hypocrites in line for dry martinis - as Mike Rogers and Michelangelo Signorile were in the house!
Here's the deal - I absolutely loathe the closet. I despise the hypocrisy of some gay people. But a witch-hunt is a witch-hunt, and it's wrong. So I'm strongly against outing people, or forcing people in private into situations with which they are obviously uncomfortable. I know the arguments for outing and see their force, but being cruel to people - even alleged hypocrites - is just plain wrong.
If the gay left thinks it will advance gay dignity by using tactics that depend on homophobia to work, that violate privacy, that demonizes gay people, then all I can say is: they are wrong! Plain and simple. And they will come to regret their tactics. It will come back to haunt them.
Because of this, gay activist "outers" should stop their actions. The fact that their motives might be good is simply no excuse. Everybody on a witchhunt believes their motives are good. But the toxins such a witchhunt exposes, the cruelty it requires, and the fanaticism of its adherents are always dangerous to civilized discourse.
Remember, the intolerance of the gay left is just as sick, disgusting, and wrong as the intolerance of the religious right. The victims of both are gay people. They may be flawed people and hypocritical people. But they're still people. And they deserve better from both the gay left and the religious right.
posted by Anonymous, at
8/24/2008 12:24 PM
If you do not expose a hypocrite that is hurting gay people, then you are complicit in the harm.
When people oppose the outing of obvious gay hypocrites, they are basically saying, "I am self-loathing."
Because no other group except gay people would even have this absurd conversation. If harm was being done to other minorities, it would be seen as unquestionably moral or just for their leadership to speak up and stop the abuse.
Furthermore, outing is not even a gay issue. It is a matter of hypocrisy. In every other area of life, we don't think twice about "outing" scoundrels. If you watch news programs, they "out" bad people all the time for a variety of bad behavior. But only when it comes to outing gay GOP closet cases, is it seen as just not to expose the bad guy. (or gal)
There is no justification for creating a gay exception to the rule of outing hypocrites. The message you send by doing this is that being gay is so monstrous, that it is the worst thing that could be said about anyone. Sorry, but those days ended 25 years ago.
And, please, spare me the nonsense about privacy or hurting the perpetrator's career or marriage. When 20/20 exposes scamers who sell senior citizens worthless swamp land in Florida - no one worries about the feelings, marriages or careers of the con artists being shamed or carted off to the big house.
Yet, self-loathers who want to prove they are more self-righteous than other GLBT people get on their high horse when a closeted charlatan is exposed for pretending to be an anti-gay straight right winger.
Hypocrisy that harms other people needs to be unmasked. The gay component to outing is irrelevant.
It is about right and wrong Wayne. And, with ALL due and sincere respect, you are wrong on this issue. The type of "outing" practiced by the gay left - which you regrettably celebrate - is morally repugnant. It is wrong.
But isn't hypocrisy morally repugnant as well? Absolutely! But most hypocrisy will catch up with the hypocrite in time. We should not stoop to such immoral depths to expose the hypocrite.
Remember, it's not just the hypocrite who is changed when they are "outed." The "outer" and those who support him/her are also changed in their lack of respect for privacy and in their cheerleading and revelry in the exposure of others. I'm sorry, but it's just not right Wayne.
posted by Anonymous, at
8/24/2008 2:17 PM
Without getting into the morality or immorality of outing, on a side note: Someone totally out of the closet can be a self-hating homosexual too.
posted by Joey7777, at
8/24/2008 3:14 PM
there is nothing wrong with being gay and there is something wrong being in the closet. It is ok to out someone because they are not living the truth and that is not right. Maybe someday this won't be necessary but until gay people believe hiding who they are is not ok, i will support dragging their sorry self hating asses kicking and screaming out of the closet. If a public servant doesn't like it, then they better become a damn monk. Until it is a non issue, it remains an issue.
posted by ewe, at
8/24/2008 9:49 PM
Nader is on the ballot. Nader is in Denver and Nader IS NOT IN THE DEBATES. Where is Obama and his free loving society now? He should be better than McCain and say something about exclusion.
posted by ewe, at
8/24/2008 9:54 PM
I support outing only when it is a gay politician supporting and voting for antigay legislation and denying us our rights. I also support exposing or outing any straight politician or religious bigot who preach family values, the sanctity of marriage, yet cheat on their spouses and children with either gender. I see nothing wrong with it. They deserve what they get!
posted by Robert, NYC., at
8/25/2008 8:27 AM
Outing folk is not cool. . .challenging a hypocrite is necessary, especially those who have the ability to craft and shape legislation and laws. Working closely with a small town closet case, Jim West of Washington. While in the legislature he served as Senate Majority Leader. During these years, West supported several anti-gay bills, including one that would have banned gays and lesbians from working in schools and day care centers. He also proposed a law that would ban all sexual activity among persons under the age of 18 (the bill failed). He would later admit that he regretted voting for those measures. I worked with this man on a community commitee, Spokane's Race Relations committee (a committee of community folk including fairly conservative faith-based folk). . .and as the only openly gay man on the committee, I challenged this closeted politician (elected Mayor of Spokane). Jim West was outed by the local paper due to his gay.com chit chat. West died after a long battle with cancer. He spoke openly of his regrets of challenging the rights of the GLBT folk in his last days.
posted by rusty, at
8/25/2008 12:58 PM
A friend told me that he heard on Signorile's show on OutQ that they have some great and creative protests ready for the 'the most evil men in the world' at the republican convention; like life sized cutouts of Larry Craig to put in the bathroom stalls. Gay rights activists have also rented the space on the hills above the convention center to put up jumbo-trons for protest messages and images. I'm sure gay humor will be at its best for this. I wish I could be there for the fun.
posted by Anonymous, at
8/25/2008 2:15 PM
As with so many 'moral issues', right or wrong is a matter of opinion. What is always true is that there is the reality of consequences.
I've always seen outing in this context--reality. The reality is that any gay person who sticks his/her nose out of the closet-- anything from posting anonymously on a website (you've left your internet address behind) to tattooing 'homosexual' on their foreheads-- runs the risk of the consequences of being known or thought of as a homosexual. A secret told is no longer a secret. The consequences can range from a parade to murder-- depending on who and where you are. And any gay person who lives an out and proud life takes the chance of severe retribution-- or be overloaded with joy, as I was a week ago at my wedding, surrounded by my loved ones. If you are a soldier you can lose your job and career, or like poor Barry Winchell, your life.
There are two sets of consequences being discussed here. The first are the consequences for being homosexual. Straight people who hate gay people, and more importantly, wanna-be-straight-but-ain't's, have set up those consequences wherever possible to be negative. Therefore, they should not be surprised if those consequences ensue. Nor are they allowed to avoid those consequences, because they are responsible, as are all of us, for their actions. To say that they deserve a break from those consequences would be self serving of them, to say the least, and is an argument against the validity of the disapproval and sanctions to begin with. "You should be punished, but I shouldn't be, because I am on the side of right, except when I'm on my knees." This does not cut it as a defense or an excuse.
The second set of consequences are the consequences of hypocrisy. These can range from public disgrace to laudatory hymns of praise. (Good Paulk. Who's a good Paulk-Waulky boy?) These consequences also depend on who and where you are. Thus, Wide Stance Larry suffered a lot of public embarrassment, but he's still in the senate, as is Vitter. Such is its privilege. Ted Haggard, on the other hand, you might say, believed his own press (I'm God's right-hand man) and bit the balls he was licking-- always a mistake when someone's foot is in your groin. Christians really only like the kind of hypocrisy that allows them to maintain their myths of moral and spiritual superiority. (Even the apologies for slavery contained a subtle bid for reasserting moral superiority-- we used to think that but now we're even better than before-- and when it comes to the fags, we finally have it right). The kind of hypocrisy that reveals them to be no better than anyone else-- and in my opinion, in some ways, quite a bit worse-- is really not going to be tolerated.
So, to me, to argue against the morality of outing is to make a moral question where there really isn't one. It is simply a matter of the consequences which other people have set in motion. (It is yet another example of my thesis that straight people behave badly, and then gay people either get the blame or the punishment. When they out people it is good, when we out people, it is bad). But if you are going to argue against outing as immoral, then it is entirely hypocritical unless you are willing to tackle the initial immorality-- the fear, hatred, and persecution of gay people. Because that is where the actual roots of the problem lie. If you don't attack the roots, the weeds still sprout in the garden.
posted by Ben in oakland, at
8/25/2008 4:47 PM