As part of my GSA presidential obligations I make it a point to stay informed on issues concerning the LGBT community. Recently I came upon a 2009 documentary on logo TV titled Outrage. This film intrigued me not only because of my passion for LGBT rights, but also of my passion for politics and our democracy. Outrage follows the quest of certain individuals who have made it their business to “out” closeted politicians and other prominent political figures. This is not a typical film which is trying to out any politician for political gain. This film talks about the hypocrisy of those individuals in power who support anti-gay legislation and project a message of hate and intolerance while themselves secretly following the lifestyle they are fighting against. Such political figures include Larry Craig (Senator), Charlie Crist (Governor), David Dreier (Congressman), Jim McCrery (Congressman), and Ed Schrock (Congressman). These are individuals who once profiled by the documentary, quite literally outraged me.
I am not outraged because these individuals are bisexual/gay and choose to remain in the closet, far from it. Who am I to say when or how someone should come out? If a political figure wishes to remain in the closet they have every right and freedom to do so. They do not, however, have the right to let their own personal life spill over into political decisions which affect an entire nation. All of the previously mentioned people have vigorously supported anti-gay legislation which as restricted the freedoms of individuals to adopt children, marry, serve in the military, or even get medical support for HIV/AIDS. If one wants to be suffocated in a closet, so be it. But do not let one’s safe hatred turn into hatred of others. How can one go on national television and demonize homosexual acts, then later that night have sexual relations with the same sex? I would like to take this time to show my utmost respect and gratitude towards those politicians who appeared in the documentary and are not afraid of the hate their own coworkers may have; Tammy Baldwin (Congresswoman), Barney Frank (Congressman), David Catania (DC City Councilmember), Neil Giuliano (Tempe Mayor), Jim Kolbe (Congressman), and James McGreevy (Governor).
It would not have bothered me as much if it was every day citizens who go about saying one thing and then doing another. This is common place (unfortunately). What outrages me is the fact that these are elected public servants who are committing these acts of hypocrisy. We entrust these individuals with public office in the hope that they will keep the government honest and just. What trust can there be that they will not tainted by some other corrupt deed.
One thing about the documentary which I found interesting (but not surprising) was that 90% of all political outings that the people in the documentary investigate are of republicans. I have always associated republicans a strictly a southern political group who have always had the right wing bias. In history class last week however, I learned that the original Republican Party was actually strictly northern and had not one southern state support it. This was because they supported abolitionism and the promise of civil freedom to all. Where did this ideal go? The right wing has in modern times become a hotbed of hate and in my view is forcing politicians who want to come out to remain hidden. In the film there is shown a segment of an interview with Harvey Milk in which he says that if every closeted person were to come out then “we would win.” The gay rights movement would be over in a week if all of those who were closeted came out. All of the politicians, daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, friends, etc. If that were to happen then I doubt those who say a message of hate would dare continue unless they truly are evil and would demonize possibly their own family. I highly recommend this film not only for those associated with the LGBT rights movement, but anyone who believes as I do that truth is an ultimate virtue which needs to return to our political leaders.