Saturday, May 16, 2009

Anti-GLBT politicians in the closet: Outrage

Someone I know online is coming out right now, and it is a painful, scary, liberating process. During her cautious opening of the closet door, there has been a lot of discussion on her blog about the decisions we make to be in, or out, of the closet.

While I will testify that being open and out is a relief, I also recognize that not everyone has a job or family or safety situation that allows it. And I respect that people have to make their own judgment about when they can finally be honest about who they are. So I would never "out" someone publicly, only encourage them to make the move when they feel safe enough to do it.

With one exception. The one class of people for whom I have no compunction about outing would be the hypocrites who use the closet to cover their own gayness while they attack and abuse their GLBT brothers and sisters.

Have you seen the movie Outrage yet? This film exposes supposedly gay politicians who have significant anti-gay voting records.

I just learned of this film, which a lot of you probably know about, from the Advocate's web site, which described the self-censorship of the press. Many reporters will not repeat the names mentioned in the film, which has led to a whole sideline of discussion about Newspaper policies. The LA Times didn't hesitate, however, in their interview with the director, Kirby Dick.

The LATimes also reviewed the film, here, finishing with a sentimental note,
While the anger of "Outrage" is to be expected, the surprise of the film is how much sadness you take away as well, the sadness of people who feel compelled to pretend to be what they are not. Both McGreevey and his ex-wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, interviewed separately, talk eloquently about the kind of chaos this kind of deception causes. And then there is activist Elizabeth Birch, who says, "I've had members of Congress crying in my arms because they didn't know how to come out." It's a significant moment in a significant film.

I'm sorry, I really don't work up a lot of sympathy for these guys. They sold themselves for power, which requires lies and deflecting suspicions. (How many of them are married to women, living the lie?) I suspect they are resentful and angry at the healthy, out gay men they see. They are so deeply, deeply invested into the closeted life that they can't afford to admit they are mistaken, and that they have made a hideously wrong choice. One could have sympathy for that, if they weren't so often working against the rights of the GLBT community. Is this to "prove" their straight-ness, or simply striking out in anger to hurt the people who have something they can't?

They would be fine, if they were willing to acknowledge the lies and give up the power. But it's so seductive to be one of the elect, isn't it? And so scary to step out of the closet. Regardless, it's using their power to attack the community that makes me lose all sympathy for them, and want to "out" them.

1 comment:

Cany said...

I'm with you here. AND there are no doubt others. I can remember one name in particular, though he is no longer in congress.

They hypocrisy stinks.