10 April 2007

Getting Out More In Public (Part Two)

For those who choose to be open in their sexuality and freely discuss their personal lives, then great . . . it is unfair of you to project your wishes and expectations on another individual. We as a people have the freedom to live our lives the way we choose. It is inappropriate for others to establish what is best for those around them and what will make others the most happy.

Try telling that to our government and law enforcement agencies! So this guy opposes any policy that encroaches on individual freedom?  Well, that's his right. However, I think individual freedom stops at the place where it begins jeopardizing the freedom of others! This idea that LGBT status should ever be an unbreachable topic reinforces bigoted attitudes that limit our civil liberties.

I look at countries like Zimbabwe, Iran and Jamaica, and I see the bloody, barbaric results of LGBT stigmatization. Civilization won't be truly civilized until people get over their fear of Gay topics, and I mean Gay and Straight people alike. Talking about Gay topics in a normal, natural way will hasten the day when that happens; so if that amounts to "establishing what is best for those around (me)", then I plead guilty! Frankly, I'm just as concerned with establishing what's best for me, and I can't feature how validation of the closet does me a damn bit of good.

I am appalled by the salaciousness, insensitive, tabloid sensationalism of (this)story!

I wonder, is salaciousness and insensitivity really what appalls this person so much, or is it the shock of someone suggesting that LGBT identity be treated in the same way heterosexual identity is treated? Gasp!

Someone in the public eye who comes out must then become an example, and since (Anderson) Cooper is a newsperson who interviews politians, it could hinder his career . . . no Republican against Gay Rights is gonna be on (his program) . . .

Man! If Right Wing politicians ever stop appearing on TV news programs for fear of Lesbians and Gay men interviewing them, we'll see a lot fewer reactionary types on television, won't we? This, I think, would be a good thing.

Seriously, any career path that's hindered by not being honest about who you are is a career path that's not worth pursuing! A profession loses more by excluding Gay people than Gay people lose by being excluded from a profession, and many major corporations realize that today. They actively recruit Gay candidates and provide a safe, welcoming environment for them to work in.

I grew up with Christian values, real Christian values, so excuse me if I don't feature this "anything to get ahead" viewpoint. Shame on anybody who'd sacrifice integrity and values for a six-figure media job! Money and prestige isn't everything! Granted, it may mean everything to a striver, but isn't that the striver's concern?

Let me say this again: Nobody is obligated to protect anybody else's career options by keeping that person's orientation a secret. Especially when it's an open secret! If you really want a secret kept, then keep it yourself and don't share it!

I just went to see Borat . . . and in the movie, when the character comes to America's Midwest . . . he meets with an older man who tells him that all the homos should be hanged (and that's a very [common] attitude on that location)! I, then, realized that there is still the American Midwest and that (kind of) mentality!! What about that??? So, I don't think it's wrong if those celebrities don't wanna come out of the glass closet . . . while those (mid-western) Americans . . . with their narrowed minds are still out there, they shouldn't assume their sexualities!!!

Lord, deliver me from dingbats! Not only does this guy suggest that Lesbians and Gay men can't live openly in the Midwest (which is patently false, because I and others I know have been living openly here for years), he also suggests that victims of bigotry are better off accomodating it! I can see how following his advice generations ago might've given the 21st century such wonderful public policies as segregated drinking fountains, suffrage for men only, and hundreds of lucrative professions being closed to ethnic minorities. If this guy's serious, he's the biggest coward I've ever encountered! I resent the way he characterizes all us mid-westerners as homicidal rednecks, too!

I absolutely agree with Michael Musto that helping public figures stay closeted reinforces heterosexism and internalized homophobia. Oy vey!  People behave as if saying a person is Gay or Lesbian were the equivalent of describing sex acts in graphic detail! Quiet as it's kept, the adjective "Gay" is not synonymous with the adjective "pornographic"!!! And that's something Gay as well as Straight folk need to realize! There's no legitimate reason why one's physical attraction to the same gender or to all genders should be considered a "private matter."

Being LGBT isn't only about sex! It's also about gender identity, point of view, creativity and spirituality. LGBT status is an important part of one's being! It helps define who you are as a person, just like your religious affiliation or your ethnicity defines you.

If one isn't shy about discussing one's religion or ethnicity in public, why should one be shy about acknowledging LGBT status? If there's nothing wrong with being a Lesbian, a Gay man, a Pansexual man or woman, or a Transsexual person, then there's nothing wrong with talking about it. On the other hand, if there's something wrong with talking about it, then there's something wrong with being it! When will we ever get that little bit of logic through our thick heads?

Sure, it's dangerous to admit you're Gay in certain settings. Yes, it can lead to loss of livelihood, housing, family support, etcetera. But wasn't that also true of African-Americans who demanded suffrage and other Civil Rights in the 1940s, '50s and '60s? They endured the often brutal punishment that came their way, and for their trouble, they won many of the rights they sought. Nobody ever said fighting for equality would be easy! Nobody ever said there wouldn't be casualties. No pain, no gain, sugar!

Oppression will always exist until we resolve to challenge it! If we're serious about our Civil Rights struggle (and I often question if we really are), we'd damn well better change the way we approach LGBT identity. Public discussion about who and what we are will continue to be stigmatized until we act to de-stigmatize it! No one person's career opportunities, or friendships, or family ties justifies coöperation with this appalling status quo! No, not even our individual safety justifies it! Not when there's a chance that we can prevent our LGBT kids and grandkids from having to suffer under the same kind of heterosexual fascism.

Are we content to let heterosexual supremacy be passed down to future generations? Is history going to record that Gay people were brave freedom fighters, or shamefaced accomodators of bigotry? Are we going to act like we're proud of being LGBT children of God, or are we just going to say we're proud while hiding shame in our hearts and crossed fingers behind our backs?

Shame on us! Our accomodationism dishonors the memories of Magnus Hirschfeld, Edward Carpenter, Bayard Rustin, and all the brave pioneers whose acts of integrity helped make a better world for us. Some of us just love to fall up on television, radio and the Web and brag about being "radical queers" who are out to revolutionalize society; but if we vigorously defend the closet, and many of us do, it's just another case of naked Emperors parading around! Such a defense reveals us to be anything but radical, and it reinforces the impression of us as "queers" in the minds of the Straight majority. You can't argue that you're normal, then turn around and endorse abnormal behavior. You can't talk proud and act ashamed. It's not convincing, sugar!

Lesbian, Gay and Pansexual folk who argue that closetedness is acceptable are just like Uncle Toms . . . no, I take that back. They're worse than Uncle Toms! They've got a handkerchief-head mentality that makes Aunt Jemimah come across like Angela Davis in comparison!