Roger L. Simon

Live in Jersey, It's Saturday Night!

Am I the only one to see New Jersey Governor McGreevey as just another reactionary wolf in progressive sheep’s clothes? He has an oped today in the NYT in which he again wraps his personal angst and political activites in the mantle of the Gay Rights Struggle.

While there are many different and sometimes competing influences, it is my humble hope that my “coming out” could, in some small way, help those gay Americans who have yet to become open with their sexuality. To be gay, for me, was not a choice, but simply stating a reality. Now at peace with arguably one of the most important truths of my life, it is my prayer that I will now be free to live openly and integrate my sexuality with my daily life. This integration will hopefully help my actions, my thoughts and my heart to be in alignment going forward, keeping me from the pitfalls of a divided self or secret truths.

Let’s leave aside for the moment that this is about the governor of the state with the second largest number of citizens killed on 9/11 choosing his paramour for Home Security Advisor… that might be enough to charge a man with treason whether the paramour was man, woman or zebra… and examine whether McGreevey is a help or hindrance to the gay rights movement.

Well, we are in the year 2004. That is already thirty-five years since gays courageously fought off cops trying to bust the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, thus launching the modern American gay rights movement. It is thirty-one years since the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. Out Magazine itself is decades old. We have reached a point where in polite society, anti-gay is deemed Neanderthal, as it should be. Equal legal rights for gays are recognized in many and increasing areas. There are openly gay members of Congress and more sure to come. Gay marriage is in the air and seems inevitable in some form, again as it should be.

Yet, Governor McGreevey chose to hide his gayness. Ah, but it was New Jersey, you say, land of The Sopranos. He couldn’t have run for office as an “out” homosexual and have won. Really? Well, maybe, maybe not, although I’d wager five to ten years from now hardly anyone in Joisy would give an RA, assuming they do now. No, what we are dealing with here is ambition in its most naked form (no pun intended). In reality, Jim McGreevey set back gay rights by choosing to live, and therefore ratifying, a white picket fence lifestyle as the road to the governor’s office. The Gay Community and therefore gay rights was the last thing on his mind. The only thing on his mind was power — and continues to be.