Thursday, July 1, 2010

More on Outing Gay People or Is It Outing Hypocrites?

I'm using this image of Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land because that's how I feel right now, like I'm a stranger in a strange land. I'm arguing for a position I would otherwise not argue because part of my spiritual belief is live and let live. Consequently, I do not in general condone the outing of gay people who want to remain in the closet nor would I personally out a closeted gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person even under the circumstances discussed farther down.

Nevertheless, the comment I've posted below this introduction is just one of the comments I've posted at BlogHer.com on the article about the outing of Lutheran pastor Tom Brock by Lavender Magazine, a magazine serving the gay community, and the politics of naming names in the documentary Outrage.

At least two people have said on the BlogHer post that openly gay people outing closeted gay people, even if those people are politicians voting for anti-gay laws or using hate speech against gays, is unequivocally wrong. One believes under no circumstance should this be done because honoring privacy is more important. The other feels we should consider the level of pain delivered to an already suffering soul who hides his or her sexual orientation for personal reasons while openly blasting homosexuality as abnormal. She thinks outing is rooted in shaming and shaming others is unhealthy.

Actually, I understand both those opinions, but perhaps this is another instance where I see gray areas and some do not. I'm not as inclined to say gay people who decide to out closeted gay people must show mercy when it comes to those closeted gays hurting them with hate speech, whatever the reason the hypocrites are motivated to hurt others. Those hypocrites are hiding from the climate of pain they're perpetuating with their own hate speech. But I'm not even sure I should be the person debating this topic at all since I'm straight and so maybe I don't get the significance of some of what's involved in declaring oneself gay to the world. Still, I wrote the following because, well, I'm by nature a debater, I think:

More Thoughts on Outrage to Outcast

I'm posting the message I sent to (someone else) privately when I was in the doctor's office today so I can point other people to it who may think I'm cheering for Brock being outed.

For the record, I would not out anyone for being gay. And I know this is painful for Brock. Even though I think he had it coming from the Universe, I'm not cheering for his suffering. I think that he went to war and took fire.

That's life. I am so glad you commented. I worked hard on that post.

I only say that b/c I don't know if you're telling me you disagree with my opinion or if you disagree with Lavender Magazine. If you disagree with me too, that's fine, but I need to clarify my opinion, I feel, one more time because I'm obsessive like that and I want to poke you, my equally opinionated friend. :-)

The most I said is if I related this to the African-American struggle, I understand why Lavender did it and why the Outrage people out politicians. When it comes to political leaders, who make policy, who say one thing and do another, I don't have a problem with people shining a light on them. If they want to approve policies that monitor what consenting adults do with each other in their own bedrooms, then they should be ready to have a spotlight on their own bedrooms or bathroom stalls or whatever.

I don't think they should hold office and that's because I'm a really, really ornery person sometimes. They may be suffering in secret about their sexual orientation and their hypocrisy may be a sign of their deep psychic distress, but they need to go off and heal in private and stop making everybody else suffer in public because they feel guilty about what they do in the dark.

Whether or not I would personally out a gay person is another subject entirely. I'm not a gay activist fighting for gay rights night and day. Furthermore, it's none of my business what anyone's sexual orientation is unless their struggle to deal with themselves is making them vote for policies on Capitol Hill that oppress the people of the U.S.A. in the same way some of us thought gay activists and others were right to grill Elena Kagan about her sexual orientation.

Ironically, I thought that raking Kagan over about it was wrong unless somebody can prove to me that her sexual orientation will drive her judicial decisions. I don't get the willingness to investigate Kagan about her sex life and spin her in innuendo b/c sexual orientation is supposedly important for a judge. How does that stack up with letting politicians off the hook about sexual orientation who claim to be straight but are not and who make judgments about voting for legislation that hurts gay people? Could somebody explain that to me please? Must be a blind spot for me.

I say I would not out a gay person personally, but if it personally came to my attention that a politician was campaigning on say, racial harmony and equity, for instance, but secretly working with groups that supported Jim Crow renewal or donating money to the KKK, I'd out him in a heartbeat after I had all my security team in place and had purchased suitable body armor b/c the KKK will kill you if they think they can get away with it. A few of 'em were just sentenced down here earlier this year for murdering a woman b/c they thought she would reveal their secret ritual.

Now I'm recalling the people who voted for Prop 8 who have objected to anyone comparing the struggle for African-American rights to the struggle for gay rights. Are they right? Should such comparisons be discarded?

Maybe they should because in this case, some people who are pro-gay rights and in race relations unsympathetic to racists who use hate speech, people who offer no solace to say, Clarence Thomas--who sometimes appears to have internalized white supremacist messages that have been used against black people so much so that he votes more like Limbaugh would on the SCOTUS--would feel deep sympathy for a gay person who's spreading hate speech against gay people and promoting policies that deny gay people their civil rights. Aren't these gay people exhibiting signs of internalizing heterosexual supremacist language the same way some people think Thomas has absorbed white supremacist messaging? Or is this unwillingness to out gay people who practice the worst kind of hypocrisy akin to the "no snitching allowed" culture of the gangs?

I understand that a gay hypocrite has issues and should be shown compassion and that the person needs help to work through his/her issues. However, in the meantime that person is working out those issues up against the skulls of other people. Is this the suffering of one outweighs the pain of the many?

But I do get your point about shaming Brock. I'm not a fan of shaming, but people use shame b/c it gets results. Ironically, could anyone shame a person for being gay if we didn't collude with hypocrites by showing them the very mercy they withhold from others? (I know the Christian way here is turn the other cheek, but all the players in this saga aren't Christian. So, I won't hold them to a Christian standard.)

While I personally would not have outed Brock, I still say he had it coming. Saying he had it coming is not the same as cheering for his suffering. I didn't hear this story and jump for joy. Nor did I laugh. Although, a dear friend of mine did. I heard this story and shook my head.

The gay rights movement has moved beyond weeping victims of the 60s Civil Rights approach to the militancy of the black power movements that grew beside the nonthreatening weepers. Militants are willing squash people who get in their way. Not all activists in the gay rights movement are militants just as not all in the black power movement were militants, but this move toward a "take no prisoners" mentality is the natural evolution of sociopolitical change when people feel they are not being heard until either the change comes or passion for change dies. Some people feel no change comes for the nonmilitant without the presence of militants for contrast. (Martin vs. Malcolm) Perhaps humans shouldn't work that way, but that's the way humans work.

And I would still out a Klansman if I pulled off his sheet and he were black like me. If he were white, I'd put him on blast too, but it wouldn't be so shocking. Remember, it's not illegal to be in the Klan.

Guess I'm not that spiritually evolved or maybe just plain stupid b/c, seriously, outing a Klansman will get you killed. I don't think in such a case love must cover a multitude of sins. I think it's love must protect the people from the guy in the sheet with the rope.

Finally, I like the nudists analogy, but I keep thinking there are no laws saying nudists can't marry, and while some people think nudists are odd, few people are campaigning to have nudists' rights restricted to the point where they can't even go nude with other nudists in private. People do however prefer nudists hide in colonies and so would arrest one who wandered into the mall naked. But then, the nudist has a choice, he/she can get dressed. Can gay people simply get straight?

*teasing you* :-) For me this is mental exercise.

I am not at all surprised you're against outing people under any circumstance. It's a higher path.

I'm not surprised Denise feels that way either. She wants everybody to respect privacy, behave and play nice even when she knows that's not going to happen, bless her heart.

No comments: