Wednesday, October 5, 2005

To Out or Not To Out?

From CNN:

Though decried by many gay-rights leaders, “outing” — the practice of exposing secretly gay public figures — is expanding into new terrain as Internet bloggers target congressional staffers, political strategists and even black clergy whose sermons and speeches contain anti-gay rhetoric.

Few issues are as divisive within the gay community. Numerous gay organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign and the Log Cabin Republicans, staunchly oppose outing, yet many other activists support it when the targets are public figures — or their aides — who work against gay rights or condemn homosexuality.

“It’s not the gay thing that’s the problem — it’s the hypocrisy,” said Michael Rogers, creator of a Web log that has been at the fore of several recent outing campaigns. “I’m going to be calling out the politicians who vote against us and work against the interests of the very community they come from.”

Christopher Barron, political director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said he understands the anger that activists such as Rogers feel but believes they are wasting their energy.

“Outing is not an effective tool,” Barron said. “I don’t know a single vote on gay-rights issues that was changed because of outing. … Folks should be focusing on the hard work that needs to be done and not get bogged down in personal attacks.”


Not all outing campaigns gain traction. A cadre of activist bloggers and alternative-media journalists have been contending for more than a year that another Republican congressman is gay and yet has often voted against gay-rights legislation.

Thus far, the mainstream media — both national outlets and those in the congressman’s home region — have declined to report on the campaign, although the effort is common knowledge among political reporters and on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, who in 1987 became the first member of Congress to voluntarily make his homosexuality public, said he does not know if the targeted congressman is gay or not.

However, Frank contended that the perception that the congressman might be gay had damaged his standing with some fellow Republicans in the House — and Frank said this issue of bias should be aired publicly.

“I think he’s wrong to be silent about this,” Frank said of the congressman. “You should not cover up this act of prejudice.”

Well, since this blog has never considered itself part of the mainstream media (I guess that makes me part of the “cadre”), I have no qualms about repeating the old news about David Dreier of California, the Republican congressman to whom I assume the article refers.

The issue isn’t whether or not someone is gay. The issue isn’t even if they’re a gay conservative Republican (which to me sounds like “Jews for Hitler,” but some people put politics above their own life). The issue is hypocrisy. If you’re gay and yet you consistently vote for legislation that denies rights to the gay community or you take a stand that is politically expedient at the cost of denying your own full life, you should be called on it. It’s no different than busting a someone who collects huge fees by preaching against moral lapses and uses the speaking fees to play the slots in Vegas. What’s worse about the gay hypocrisy is that while gambling may be just games, being gay isn’t a choice, and our society has done irreparable harm to countless men and women through repression and shame by labeling them as somehow unworthy of equality. That this abomination has been enabled and perpetuated by people who are themselves gay and therefore victims of their own hatred should not be ignored. That only makes it worse.