The politics of outing

With the eruption of the Mark Foley scandal, as well as this week’s impending National Coming Out Day, the question of politicians and their personal lives in one that seems to be on American minds. And while outing celebrities has always been one of those sentiments that rings with: "oh let them be, but everyone already knows so I’m going to continue to gossip anyway." But the question of outing does become more serious when talking about politicians that hide in a protective closet of shame and self-loathing that can lead to using their power to deny rights to other gay Americans. Kerry Eleveld has a piece in today’s New York Blade that addresses this issue directly. And though I find it unfortunate, on some level, that politicians must have their personal lives so intensely scrutinized, the reality is that they do, and everyone should be on a level playing field in this regard so hypocrisy is not a secret. It is this concept that makes me want to reproduce Eleveld’s article in its entirety but I will highlight a specifically significant portion near the end (though I encourage you to read the whole thing).

Mark Foley’s problem was not that he was gay, it’s that he solicited teenage boys. The fact that his gayness was only scrutinized in the mainstream press after he was tied to "naughty e-mails" has now inextricably linked his sexuality with his inappropriate advances.

Another interesting media source (as I hope we bloggers are now considered) is BlogActive. Which has come under attack for its outing of gay politicians. And if Eleveld’s article hasn’t convinced you why this is not only acceptable but necessary then BlogActive writer Mike Roger’s many posts just might. This clip seems a good introduction though his most effective points comes near the end. I think its important to note that he specifically says he is not targeting celebrities, or even politicians as a whole. It’s not about gossip or prurient interest, but public interest.

For more on what local bloggers have to say on the Foley issue ORBlogs has a great feed on the whole Foley hullabaloo.

1 comment to The politics of outing

  • Sawboy

    Betty Montgomery is once again running for Attorney General in Ohio. She is a republican and a lesbian. As it has often been said it is like being black and in the Klan. A politicaly powerful lesbian actively working to suppress the rights of gays. Why is no one talking about this?

    I am not anti-gay, far from it, but when the past and maybe future Attorney General of Ohio is a part of a party that wants to suppress the rights of a class of people and she is in that class of people it has to be brought out into the open. She has to be outed.