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Old 10-05-2005, 12:52 PM   #1
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the politics of "outing"

i'm very curious as to what FYM -- the vast majority of whom are happy heteros -- thinks about this highly contraversial political tactic.

Quote:
Gay Community Still Divided Over 'Outing'
By DAVID CRARY, AP
National Writer
Tue Oct 4, 2:53 PM ET



NEW YORK - 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, 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."

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said outing can backfire by distracting attention from more substantive political issues or by prompting conservative politicians to harden their anti-gay views after aides and associates are outed.

Two black gay-rights activists are now taking aim at prominent black pastors who — in the activists' view — have gone too far in assailing homosexuality from their pulpits. In a campaign begun on their Web sites last week, activists Jasmyne Cannick and Keith Boykin are soliciting information about the pastors' private lives — including whether some might be gay.

So far, the pair has collected only uncorroborated "tips," not any solid information that any of the pastors is gay, but Cannick defended the campaign. "We know there are people who preach one thing and do another," he said. "There's nothing wrong with investigating."

Many other recent outing targets have been Republican politicians and operatives. Among the cases:

_A GOP congressman from Virginia, Edward Schrock, dropped out of his re-election race last year shortly after allegations were published on Michael Rogers' Web log that he solicited sex with another man on a gay phone dating service. Schrock, a married ex-Navy captain, was an outspoken foe of gays in the military and supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. He did not comment specifically on the allegations.

_In 2003, U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record), a Florida Republican, called a news conference to denounce a report in an alternative newspaper that he is gay. Foley declined to answer questions about the subject, saying his sexual orientation was irrelevant to his political duties. He contended the story was circulated to derail his U.S. Senate campaign, which he abandoned four months later.

_The GOP mayor of Spokane, Wash., James West, faces a recall election prompted by newspaper articles accusing him of offering City Hall jobs, sports tickets and cash to young men he met in an online gay chat room. West, who as a state legislator often opposed gay-rights bills, acknowledged poor judgment but denies doing anything illegal.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...uting_debate_1
thoughts?
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Old 10-05-2005, 01:01 PM   #2
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While I understand the immediate political goal of outting, it seems inconsistent with the principle that an individual's private lives are not a matter of public concern.

It also suggests that homosexual individuals who do not share the political views of the homosexual community may be "punished" by depriving someone of their privacy.

The article asks the question "is it an effective tool?" I'd ask "is it an appropriate tool?"
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Old 10-05-2005, 01:06 PM   #3
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It's hard for me to decide. If it's found that some right-wing nut is denouncing gays and then it turns out that he's gay, people should know he's gay and is having personal issues about it. By the same token I generally think people should be able to pick for themselves whether or not they are going to come out of the closet. It depends on the person. I'd keep an eye on someone who is always denouncing gays, but not Ordinary Politician X.
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Old 10-05-2005, 01:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
It's hard for me to decide. If it's found that some right-wing nut is denouncing gays and then it turns out that he's gay, people should know he's gay and is having personal issues about it. By the same token I generally think people should be able to pick for themselves whether or not they are going to come out of the closet. It depends on the person. I'd keep an eye on someone who is always denouncing gays, but not Ordinary Politician X.
By "depending on the person" do you mean it is up to the individual to decide what should be known about their sexuality, or does the decision rest with a political group?

And when is it ever appropriate to say "people should know" about a person's homosexuality?
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Old 10-05-2005, 01:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


By "depending on the person" do you mean it is up to the individual to decide what should be known about their sexuality, or does the decision rest with a political group?

And when is it ever appropriate to say "people should know" about a person's homosexuality?


all very interesting stuff.

outing comes from the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS crisis, and the Reagan administration's refusal to do anything about it because it was seen as a gay disease. it can be argued that outing right wing politicans (the obvious example being Roy Cohn) who were generally seen as hostile to the medical concerns of gay people, and thus HIV/AIDS, actually saved lives. i suppose i would argue that someone who actively works against the rights of gay people -- i.e., voting for a federal marriage amendment -- is deserving of an outing. while you make a good point about the fact that someone's private life shouldn't matter, does it matter any less, then, that Strom Thurmond has (at least) one half African American child?

also, to be a bit horrible about it, AIDS had some positive effects upon both the gay community and society as a whole -- because it's possible to hide being gay, when suddenly someone's brother, uncle, nephew, teacher, or coach is stricken with AIDS, it's a way of understanding that gay people exist in all walks of life and have family members as well. death makes them less of an abstraction and all too human.

so i'm really torn on this one. like anyone, i enjoy the schadenfreude found when a bigot like James West is brought down. but i don't know if it's a good thing.

lots to think about.
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Old 10-05-2005, 01:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
And when is it ever appropriate to say "people should know" about a person's homosexuality?


i would say that we should know in the example of these african-american pastors. if they are actively working to harm the gay community, and they themselves are gay, doesn't that completely pull the rug out beneath whatever arguments they put foward?
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Old 10-05-2005, 01:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511

i would say that we should know in the example of these african-american pastors. if they are actively working to harm the gay community, and they themselves are gay, doesn't that completely pull the rug out beneath whatever arguments they put foward?
My dad was gay and he was the most homophobic person I ever knew. Makes me wonder when people are very anti gay/gay rights.
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Old 10-05-2005, 01:51 PM   #8
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Traitors should be exposed. If they want to build a career based on homophobia and then have the gall to be homosexual in real life, they deserve to be dragged into the street and exposed for the hypocrites that they are. This goes for both political parties too. I hear there's a few Democratic federal officials opposed to gay rights and gay marriage that deserve a good outing.

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Old 10-05-2005, 01:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
i would say that we should know in the example of these african-american pastors. if they are actively working to harm the gay community, and they themselves are gay, doesn't that completely pull the rug out beneath whatever arguments they put foward?
This enters a dangerous area where private lives come under scrutiny for political purposes. I'm not sure you want to validate this principle.
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
This enters a dangerous area where private lives come under scrutiny for political purposes. I'm not sure you want to validate this principle.
Well, you have to walk the walk if you want to talk the talk.
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Traitors should be exposed. If they want to build a career based on homophobia and then have the gall to be homosexual in real life, they deserve to be dragged into the street and exposed for the hypocrites that they are. This goes for both political parties too. I hear there's a few Democratic federal officials opposed to gay rights and gay marriage that deserve a good outing.

Melon


but is this the way to win hearts and minds? though setting up dichotomies of traitors and loyalists? how about staff members of these politicians? are they fair game?

i suppose i'm very sypathetic to the psychological mindfuck of gay men who are in their 50s and 60s. it's no secret that homophobia has destroyed millions of lives over the decades, and it has forced many men to live in shame and deception that pollutes their inner and outer lives. they may very well have cleaved their psyche in two, and they may very well believe that they are not gay -- they just like to fuck men. in medical circles, they've stopped using "gay men" when it comes to statics about STDs and HIV. they now use MSM -- which means "men who have sex with men" -- because there are many men, especially in black and latino communities, who do not in any way identify themselves as gay or homosexual, yet they have sex with men (case in point: Luther Vandross).

i feel very sorry for the married men who troll parks looking for men (who themselves are often married) to have sex with. i find it very sad.

every movement is going to have cowards and traitors, and given the pain i've gone through, a nice kid born with every advantage who still had fleeting suicidal thoughts over this, i can't help but be sympathetic, not to the actions of these men but to the psychological damage that has been inflicted upon them. they live in a private hell, and it must be terribly hot in there.

funny story!

my first real, live boyfirend used to date Mitch McConnell's press secretary (this was a few years ago). he had to remain absolutely closeted at work, lest he lose his job. i went to school with the Sen's daughter (who's as liberal as they come), and i mentioned this to her, and she said, "oh, you mean [name]? yeah, we all knew."
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


This enters a dangerous area where private lives come under scrutiny for political purposes. I'm not sure you want to validate this principle.


doesn't this already happen?

private lives are being attacked by these people -- they are clearly not respecting the boundaries you have created.
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:08 PM   #13
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Yes, it happens. But is it correct? If you disagree with exposing private lives for political purposes, I think you've answered your question on outing.
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
but is this the way to win hearts and minds? though setting up dichotomies of traitors and loyalists? how about staff members of these politicians? are they fair game?
Newsflash: social conservatives aren't interested in compromise. They've declared war on us, and the best we've done is sit back and mope.

Staff members of homophobic politicians are fair game too. They're contributing ammunition to our enemies and deserve what they get.

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Old 10-05-2005, 02:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


Newsflash: social conservatives aren't interested in compromise. They've declared war on us, and the best we've done is sit back and mope.

Staff members of homophobic politicians are fair game too. They're contributing ammunition to our enemies and deserve what they get.

Melon
If one group deems that another has "declared war" - everything becomes "fair game"? This seems to validate some of the tactics of which you complain.
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