Hi, sugar! How'd you like a taste of undiluted Gay shame? Check out the comments section of the 14 April edition of Advocate Online, and sample its bitterness:
. . .why is it a requirement to let everyone know what your sexuality is? Does your sexuality have to be out (in) the open for everyone to see and hear? Whatever happened to privacy? Sexuality is a very personal thing for many people. I don't believe you have to be a flag-waving, card-carrying homosexual(sic) to be inspiring. There are many people who are Straight and are inspiring to the community.
God forbid that we "card-carrying homosexuals" should invade the privacy of heterosexual folk by making them admit to being Straight! How despicably barbaric, when everybody knows keeping sexual orientation secret is normal human behavior.
You cannot fairly ask people to sacrifice their careers and become martyrs for the sake of advancing Gay rights. Public figures might lose their popularity, and ultimately their jobs, if they are openly Gay . . . trust me, discrimination remains very, very real in the business world and in many other sectors of society.
Sustained popularity is promised to no one, especially not people living dishonest lives . . . and exactly how does a public figure's act of remaining closeted make discriminatory conditions get any better? Or don't we want them to get better?
So what would you have these people do? Come out and then find themselves waiting on tables for the rest of their lives? Well, you might have them do that if you yourself are waiting on tables, which is easy for you because your relatively low socio-economic status means that nobody gives a damn whether you are Gay or not.
Last I heard, waiting tables was a respectable way to make a living. I didn't know food service jobs were the default punishment for "outed" rich folks, either. Dude's snobbery is showing . . . I beg his friggin' pardon! He can go sell that classist crock of sh*t to the thugs who periodically threaten me and other working-class Lesbians and Gay men just for looking like we might be homosexual. Somehow, they've forgotten to reserve such abuse for the rich and famous!
In most cases, I believe it is wrong to out people. People stay in the closet in various situations for a variety of reasons, and this needs to be respected, in my opinion . . . certain family members who I trusted told my grandparents that I was Gay without my permission. So I know how it feels to be outed to certain people, and it is not a good feeling.
If this guy swore his relatives to secrecy, maybe he's got reason to feel betrayed; but if he didn't, then he's got no right to get all swollen up over their candor. All too often, we expect others to keep confidences that we've never asked them to keep! At worst, we think they should automatically lie for us; at best, we assume they'll never reveal what they know or suspect. Even if family members do promise silence, we're awfully naïve to trust them. The old adage about a secret no longer being secret when three or more people share it is especially true about Gay identity; somebody is always going to know, even if nothing is said. So-called "gaydar" has never been exclusive to Gay individuals!
"Outing" anyone (who is) minding their own business is as sanctimonious as blatant homophobia. How often one masturbates per day or how much toilet paper one uses to wipe one's voided bottom is intensely personal information that does not belong to the self-appointed judgement(sic) of self-serving journalists. Who gave (anybody) the "right" to decide anyone else's choice to (have) privacy? Oh ye of little minds, you are doing exactly what society has been doing to us for centuries; for the common good, you protest. Sanctimonious jerks, the lot of you!!
In my time, I've heard homosexual status compared to a lot of nasty things, but comparing it to wiping your ass really takes the prize for repugnance! And of course, masturbating and talking about homosexuality are the same thing; how could I forget? Ye of little minds? Was that pompous outburst an attempt to make tortured reasoning sound cultured? I think I'd rather be a sanctimonious jerk than a ridiculous one.
. . . suppose your neighbor has a terminal disease, and tells everyone about it, going around raising money and awareness to fight (this) disease, and to gain more social acceptance of their plight. Then your neighbor finds out that you have had the same affliction all these years, and is furious that you never told them, or joined the campaign, because they think it is your responsibility. You prefer to keep your medical history to yourself. Do you have the "right" to keep (it) to yourself, or does your neighbor have the "right" to share your private medical history with the rest of the world?
Let's not even discuss how infuriatingly offensive it is to compare LesBiGay orientation to terminal illness; if I got started doing that, Lord help me, I might not stop! Let's just focus on how this hypothetical scenario doesn't apply to the matter at hand.
The matter at hand is Out Magazine's decision to list several "glass-closeted" notables in its annual Top Fifty Most Powerful Gay People edition. The Advocate, Out Magazine's sister publication, decided to solicit opinions on whether shattering glass closets is appropriate. The editors certainly got the controversy they asked for, but it was a lopsided furore; as shown by the previous quotes, negative reactions far outnumbered positive ones. Consensus thought is often wrong, though, and this poll is a perfect example.
Anderson Cooper, Matt Drudge, Barry Diller and the other not-officially-Gay power brokers who were listed don't acknowledge their same-gender-loving status, but they do little or nothing to conceal it, either. If these men behaved more discreetly, their orientations wouldn't be subject to media speculation. They're nothing like a cancer patient who takes pains to keep his medical history secret; they're obviously not cowering in fear of exposure. Anderson Cooper takes for granted that the press won't report on his household set-up or dating habits, but really . . . why should he? Heterosexual public figures expect that kind of scrutiny, and always have.
Anybody who still depends on that old double standard governing press coverage is standing on shaky ground in 2011; the advent of 24-hour digital media has changed the rules of propriety. The days when Hollywood publicists covered up for the likes of Rock Hudson, Danny Kaye and Tyrone Power are all but gone, and today's LesBiGay celebrities should know as much. They've got to watch their own backs! If they're so concerned about how the public might view their love lives, then why do so many of them leave their closet doors ajar? In any case, why should journalists, who are supposed to be truth-tellers, be responsible for shutting those doors behind them?
It is not up to us to "out" someone because we think it's important. There are different reasons why a person may want to remain "in the closet" that you and I may not even begin to understand or even imagine. Coming out is a process, and for some of us, it takes a life time. Famous or not, it's still a hard thing to do to come out to the world (and), more importantly, (to) yourself. The people who we should be "outing" (are) the people who have discriminated against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people. Maybe that would force them to look at themselves and change their attitude.
Who's being sanctimonious now? The folks who really need to "look at themselves" and "change their attitude" are those who see the truth of LGBT status as something to use as a weapon. Revelation of Gay or Transgender identity should neither be seen as a punishment nor as a reward. It should simply be a statement of fact, with no baggage attached. No, that's not the way most people see it right now, but if we don't begin the destigmatizing process, attitudes will never improve.
The Advocate's online readership offered up excuse after excuse for respecting the "privacy" of celebrity closets, each one as lame as it could be. Retrograde opinions didn't completely carry the day, though. A handful of commenters broke away from the mob and resisted the urge to lynch common sense:
I have a problem with the term "outing" here. Anderson Cooper has a boyfriend; he goes out; he lives an open Gay lifestyle(sic) . . . all of (the) people on this list are "out", just not "media out" . . . (why) second-guess what we should do if we see someone (famous) out (at) a club, or dinner, or wherever, being (as) Gay as the next person . . . (why) say: "Yes, but does that little old lady in Pakistan know he's Gay? I wouldn't want to 'out' him" . . . ? If you want to be in the closet and keep it a secret, then do so. But don't be out and in, and out and in, and expect the rest of us to keep your little secret. This isn't "outing", it's a statement of obvious fact.
Say it loud, brother! Another dissenter made some observations that are even more to the point:
There is nothing wrong with being presumed to be Gay, just as there is nothing wrong with being presumed to be Straight. The information is either correct or incorrect. If the presumption is inaccurate, then the (person) can correct the misinformation. We do not live in a world where all orientations are treated equally, but we ought to (equalize them), and begin by asking ourselves what would happen if the situation were reversed. Would there be the same reaction if a magazine presumed a public figure was Straight?
Certainly not . . .and do you know why? It's because, even in oh-so-radical Gay Rights circles, heterosexuality is still considered superior to homosexuality, and that perceived inferiority justifies a double standard in our minds. Scratch beneath the surface of all of our counter-productive impulses, and you'll always fiind internalized shame! It lies hidden behind our bombastic liberation rhetoric just like a rattlesnake coiled up under a rock. You heard it here!
Too many members of the so-called activist community want to have their cake and eat it, too. They say they crave freedom from heterosexist oppression, yet they jump at the chance to normalize the tools of heterosexism: The hateful epithets, the demeaning stereotypes, the tainted theology, the sexual stigma, and the closet, arguably the oppressor's most effective tool. Folks, if what we're after is just a nicer version of institutionalized heterosexism, an illusion of equality instead of the real thing, then why are we still struggling? It's a waste of time! We ought to shut down the Gay Rights movement right now. We've already achieved that illusion, at least in the Western world.
We no longer practice "the love that dares not speak its name". Oh, no! We practice the love that dares not speak its name when popularity is threatened; when friends or family might disapprove; when big salaries are jeopardized; when the truth can't be used vindictively against a political opponent; when the truth upsets the discriminatory status quo too much. Lord, deliver me! If our current social conditions were a soft drink, I'd name it Justice Zero: All those fattening principles have been taken out! Nothing left but water, NutraSweet, and artificial flavor. Drink up, folks! Hair of the dog that bit you in the ass!
And we've got the nerve to call ourselves heirs to the original Civil Rights movement? No wonder some Civil Rights veterans object so strongly to being associated with us.