Outrage and Outing Hypocrites

The controversial documentary, Outrage, finally opened in Atlanta (nearly two months later than the rest of the country) and I went to the matinee this afternoon with fellow bloggers Cleo Creech and Lisa Allender. Directed by Kirby Dick (best known for This Film is Not Yet Rated), the doc outs conservative politicians (and their outspoken supporters and sycophants) who vote against GLBT rights, but are secretly gay themselves: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, former Louisiana Rep. Jim McCrery, California Rep. David Dreier, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, Sen. Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

I do not support outing. It's a personal matter men and women should come to terms with in their own way and time. However, when closeted gays rise to power and use that power to repress the rights of their own community, I firmly believe they should be publicly outed and removed from office. Outrage offers a compelling case against all the politicians profiled, with solid evidence and reporting from noted journalists, including CNN's Hilary Rosen, Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff (who was hit on by Shepard Smith in a bar!) Andrew Sullivan and Michelangelo Signorile. Writers Larry Kramer and Tony Kushner weigh in, as well as current and former politicians like Barney Frank, former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevy and former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe, both of whom outed themselves.

The lightning rod of the piece is blogger Michael Rogers (Blogactive.com), who began a campaign of outing closeted politicians with former Virginia Rep. Ed Schrock, who dropped his campaign for re-election in 2004 when the news broke. Schrock, like the rest of the politicians profiled, actively voted against an array of issues affecting the GLBT community including gay marriage, expanding hate crime laws, allowing gays and lesbians to adopt and even funding for HIV/AIDS. Dick and those interviewed make it clear that all these politicians are self-loathing gay men, drunk on power and raised in an era where they were forced to suppress their sexuality. Larry Kramer levels the charge that Ed Koch ignored the growing AIDS crisis in New York in the '80s because Koch was afraid that addressing it would lend credence to the rumors that he was gay. Randy Shilts made the same charge in the classic non-fiction account of the AIDS epidemic, And the Band Played On.

Perhaps the most disturbing profile is that of current Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who has talked about running for Congress next year and has been talked up as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2012. Outrage offers a believable series of interviews and evidence that Crist is gay and has dated women (notably during his election campaigns) as a cover. One of the women he dated would not go on camera, but told Dick "to call me in ten years and I'll tell you a story." As governor, Crist signed discrimination into the Florida constitution by banning gay marriage, endorsed a ban on gays and lesbians adopting children and appointed some of the most conservative right-wingers to the state supreme court. Equally disturbing is the media's refusal to report on these closet cases, with CNN censoring Bill Maher outing former Bush campaign manager Ken Melhman on Larry King Live and NPR refusing to mention Crist and Craig in its coverage of Outrage.

I'll be turning 40 in September, and over the last 20 years or so, I've had relationships with men who have renounced their sexuality and gone on to marry women and have children. One of those men said he was raised in a strict Christian home and his family would ostracize him if he came out. Another didn't believe he was really gay, but liked to occasionally have sex with men. I really pity his wife, especially when she eventually finds him in bed with another man, because she will. I won't out them, but I hope neither of them have political aspirations.

If the politicians in Outrage want to stay in the closet, screw their chiefs of staff and pick up tricks in airport bathrooms, that's fine with me. It's their own lives to ruin, but when they go to Washington or attain high office and use that office to suppress civil rights, then it's open season as far as I'm concerned. As openly gay D.C. councilman David Catania says in the film: "They've been chasing us for years -- we're going to chase back."


Lisa Allender said…
I couldn't agree more with you on this, Collin. It was great to discuss the film with You & Cleo Creech afterwards, too.
One quick note: the law not allowing gays to adopt(even though they may "foster")children in Florida, has been on the books quite a while, so that law did not "originate" with Charlie Christ. But it's certainly true he's definitely made things much worse(supporting DOMA, etc.)
Collin Kelley said…
Oops, thanks for catching that about Crist. I corrected it.
Lisa Allender said…
No problem, Coll.

I wrote his name as "Christ".
My bad--I surely don't want to "empower" him by referring to him as any sort of "Christ" :(
This must be the ultimate in self-hatred – and becomes an evil when the hatred is projected onto others in such a punitive way. Horrifying!
Pris said…
The height of hypocracy. Glad you wrote about this, Collin!
Cleo Creech said…
yeah very interesting movie - and like I have said before, I was never like a big gay marraige proponent, and would have been happy with some sort of civil unions - but... just seeing how the religious right and the republicans actually went out and sort of created this whole issue just to whip up their base and drive their whole agenda - now I'm sooo pushing for full-on marraige equality.
christine said…
I so want to see this doc after reading your comments. I was nodding my head in agreement the whole time. It's a terrible sort of narcissism that seems to drive these politicians. Being gay doesn't fit in with the image they have created. But in the meantime they try to use their power to curtail the rights of others. Makes my blood boil. So yes, they must be outed to take away their power to do harm.
Anonymous said…
Let's see, it's not okay to "out" possible gay people, unless you don't happen to agree with their political positions. And then it is okay.

And you want to talk about hypocrisy?

Because there can never be a legitimate reason ever to disagree with you or your political positions.

Ultimately, you're a lot like Stalin. If one questions the party, he must be destroyed. All must bow to the agenda or be exposed, even if that exposure is based on lies or inuendo.

Worse, you'd do it to people who you think are your own. And you want to talk about betrayal?

How many people, Colin, are you willing to destroy to ram home your patricular ideology?

If you give an honest answer to that, you'll know you're no better than the people you're so busy condemning. And frankly, much worse.
Collin Kelley said…
Let's see, you cant spell my name and you don't have the balls to back up your comments with a name. Hmmm...fail. Here's all I've got for you: the politicians profiled in Outrage are dangerous and have no business holding public office. If they can't be honest with themselves, how can we expect them to honestly handle the business of America? When a person's political position is designed to repress and strip people of their human and civil rights, then they must be exposed and removed from office. If that makes me Stalin, just call me Joe. Something tells me you haven't even seen the documentary, but just have an axe to grind with the libs.
Lisa Allender said…
WHEW! You're WAY more polite than I would have been, Collin.
Frankly, this film has little or nothing to do with Dems vs. Repubs--it has to do with hypocrisy,and whether we want these folks creating, and enforcing new laws, designed to remove the rights all citizens of the U.S.A. are entitled to!
This "anonymous" really needs to see the film in order to make a fair assessment.
Anonymous said…
Hello Joe!

I think that post might be from one of your former boyfriends who's afraid you're going to out him, How many people are you going to destroy, Collin? How many?!!!!!!!! That part made me laugh. Sounds like some overdramatic queen on a tear.

Collin Kelley said…
I deleted a post before this from the anonymous right-wing, homophobic, CHristian loony. Sorry, anonymous, you had once chance and that was it. Either identify yourself or fuck off.
Anonymous said…
I saw it before you deleted it. I take back the overdramatic queen line. He's just a homophobic, bigoted, "Christian." Garbage.

Anonymous said…
Another great gay champion of free speech.

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