The Case for ‘Outing’ Gay Congressmen and Staffers
There is no such thing as a "right to privacy" when it comes to sexual orientation.
December 19, 2011 - 12:00 am
Jimmy LaSalvia and Christopher Barron of GOProud disagree with me. GOProud has a policy against outing. I consider it pragmatic. Knowing that GOProud won’t out them makes closeted Congress members and staffers feel safe working with them on the full spectrum of issues of concern to conservatives. A third of gay voters voted for Republicans in the 2010 election, according to a CNN exit poll. Thanks to discrimination, the gay community does not look to the government, family, or religion to address its needs. That’s also why gays in large numbers choose entrepreneurial professions. This makes the gay community a working model of self-reliant fiscal conservative principles — and a constituency that properly belongs to the conservative movement.
Regarding the recent controversy over GOProud’s supposed outing of Tony Fabrizio, Gov. Rick Perry’s pollster and chief presidential campaign strategist, I believe Chris and Jimmy had no idea that anyone considered Fabrizio closeted. They say that Fabrizio has been openly gay and associated with gay causes for many years. So when reporters called for their opinion of Fabrizio as a gay man crafting Perry’s “Strong” TV ad in which Perry shamed our soldiers who are lesbian or gay, their answers were based on their observation that Fabrizio was out. While Fabrizio reportedly advised against running the ad, I agree with Chris and Jimmy that the only way to register a real objection would have been to resign. But when Chris and Jimmy expressed their opinion, they didn’t out Fabrizio, they just made him more famously gay than he already was.
However, the Fabrizio controversy over whether or not closeted gays and lesbians participating in anti-gay activism should be outed marks a watershed. Public attitudes toward gay equality are considerably more positive now than they were when Bauman and Mikulski could lead double lives and use anti-gay activism as part of their cover. These days, vehement anti-gay activism is practically an announcement that you’re gay. The time when gays have to be closeted and lead double lives to succeed in their careers is nearly over in the United States. We have passed the tipping point in the gay community where people will keep their secret because they have a secret of their own. The community interest is now served by outing.
This poses a dilemma for closeted gays in public life, especially the ones who have married for cover. They’ve built their lives on a lie that they no longer have to tell. It’s the lie that matters now, not their sexual orientation. Their lie is now legitimate news, just as much as Anthony Weiner’s lewd Twitter self-portraits — all the more so when anti-gay activism is part of their deception. What these closeted gays need to understand is that fighting for the right to stay closeted is like trying to stay in the dark when the sun is rising. Their outing is mostly a matter of when, not if. They will be much better off if they achieve outness on their own, rather than having outness thrust upon them.