Tag Archives: closet

On Jodie Foster and ‘privacy’ vs. shame

This image released by NBC shows Jodie Foster, recipient of the Cecil B. Demille Award, during the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 13, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater)

NBC/Associated Press photo

Actress Jodie Foster kind of officially, publicly came out of the closet the other night when she accepted an award at the Golden Globe Awards. Thankfully, the 50-year-old Foster’s apparent shame over her sexual orientation is rarer in our youthful non-heterosexuals today — no thanks to Foster, of course.

I don’t want this to be a repeat of what I wrote about lesbian astronaut Sally Ride’s posthumous outing in July, so I’ll quote what others have said about actress Jodie Foster’s recent quasi-coming out.

Matthew Breen, the probably-too-pretty editor of The Advocate, wrote this about Foster:

… Everyone should come out in her own time, but Foster was angry last night. One reason could be embarrassment at not having come out publicly (at least in her own estimation) until 2013. Last night’s speech clearly took a lot of guts for Foster to undertake. But too much anger was directed at a straw man of her own creation.

“But now apparently I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show. You guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo child. No, I’m sorry, that’s just not me, never was, and it never will be,” she said.

There’s where she’s got it wrong. By referencing Honey Boo Boo, a stand-in for all that is shamelessly confessional about celebrity in 2013, Foster’s implication was that the choices she faces as a public figure are few: (1) stay closeted, never acknowledge your sexual orientation in public, or (2) tell the world every sordid detail of your intimate life.

That’s a bogus comparison, and it’s one that reinforces the idea that being LGBT is shameful, worthy of being hidden, and that saying you’re LGBT is an invitation to the whole world to come into your bedroom. That’s patently wrong. There are numerous out celebrities who guard their personal lives: David Hyde Pierce, Anna Paquin, Zachary Quinto, Amber Heard, Anderson Cooper, just to name a few. … [Emphasis is all mine.]

Breen states in his piece on Foster that The Advocate’s policy on outing is this: “While we encourage everyone who doesn’t risk his or her own safety by coming out to do so, The Advocate has a policy of not outing people who are not actively doing harm to LGBTs through word or deed.”

That’s pretty much my personal view on outing, too. Those who can be out should be out, in my book. You can’t assert that someone who might face real physical danger and/or who might be tossed out of his or her home (or maybe even his or her job) should come out if you’re not the one who would have to face the consequences — but often closeted individuals exaggerate how awful it might be should they come out.

Still, that said, even if I strongly think that an individual should be out, in the end, in many if not most cases it’s up to the individual as to whether or not he or she should be out (assuming that everyone doesn’t already know or strongly surmise the individual’s orientation anyway — there are so many closet cases whose self-awareness is so low that they seem to think that no one knows that they’re not heterosexual when pretty much everyone does).

In my book, the individual deserves the “protection” of the closet until and unless he or she does not deserve it, such as if it’s a closeted guy who is not keeping to himself but is sexually harassing others at the workplace (as happened to me) or, of course, if it’s a closet case who actively is working against the “LGBT community,” such as a “Christo”fascist “leader” or a politician. No traitor deserves the “protection” of the closet.

Most people agree on that point, but there remains a sticking point — that of “privacy.”

I like what LGBT writer Nathaniel Frank has to say on this:

… It’s true that hiding [one’s sexual orientation] hurts. Research shows mental health consequences to holding major secrets over time. And yes, it’s absolutely a wasted opportunity for powerful, visible people who probably could come out unscathed to deny young LGBT people the nurturance of knowing that an admired public figure is gay.

Privacy and shame are closely connected. Adam and Eve covered their “privates” the moment they gained moral consciousness, an awareness of good and evil, setting the tone for a truism ever since: You don’t cover up stuff if there ain’t something wrong with it.

Any step a gay person takes to hide their identity that they wouldn’t take to hide the fact that they’re, say, Irish, vegetarian or left-handed is probably not a neutral quest for privacy but reflects their own doubt about just how OK it is to be gay. Foster’s reluctance to just pull an Ellen (“Yep, I’m gay”), and her tortured speech, with its resentful tone and its ultimate avoidance of the “L” word, made being gay and coming out seem tortured things in themselves. … [Emphasis mine.]

And that’s the deep and profound problem that I have with the widespread argument that one’s sexual orientation (if it is not heterosexual, and only if it is not heterosexual, of course) is “private”: The vast majority of heterosexuals don’t go around asserting that their attraction to members of the opposite sex is “private,” do they? And why is that? Because they’re not fucking ashamed of their sexual orientation, that’s why.

So to assert that one’s non-heterosexuality — not one’s specific sex acts, but one’s basic sexual orientation — is “private” is to keep alive the toxic, ignorant, bigoted, harmful belief that to be attracted to members of one’s own sex is shameful, abnormal, “sinful,” etc.

And to contribute to that toxic, heterosexist and homophobic environment — and yes, all of us are responsible for the environment, since all of us make up the environment — is only to add to the number of non-heterosexual people who become addicted to drugs and alcohol, who contemplate or commit suicide, who don’t protect themselves from STDs because (in their low self-esteem) they don’t find themselves to be worth protecting, and who are the victims of hate crimes, since they exist in such a heterosexist, homophobic environment that encourages such hate crimes.

You are contributing to the problem or you are contributing to the solution.

Lying that your basic sexual orientation is a matter of “privacy” — and lying that what others really want to know are the “dirty” details of your sex life when, in fact, no one is inquiring as to such details — is to try to excuse yourself for your own laziness, selfishness and cowardice for which there is no fucking excuse.

That is the problem that I have with Jodie Foster and with others like her who toss out the red herring of “privacy” instead of manning the fuck up already and working to make things better for everyone.

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Cooper tarnishes his coming out with ‘no one else’s business’ business

Anderson Cooper arrives at the 39th Daytime Emmy Awards in Beverly Hills

Reuters photo

“The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud,” CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who long had been rumored to be gay, proclaimed in his official coming-out e-mail that was released today. Cooper’s explanation for why it took him so long to come out, however, indicates some degree of internalized homophobia that perhaps even he isn’t aware of. (Cooper is photographed above at last month’s Daytime Emmy Awards in Beverly Hills.)

While I’m pleased that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper finally came out of the closet — and pleased with most of what he has stated in regards to his coming out, such as that “visibility [for non-heterosexuals] is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy” — damn, he just had to say just one “little” thing that, for me, tarnished it.

“In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted,” he stated in his coming-out e-mail to his long-time friend the right-wing gay blogger Andrew Sullivan, who published the e-mail with Cooper’s approval.

While I agree with that latter part — that there is value in standing up and being counted as non-heterosexual, because otherwise some (presumably heterosexual) people might otherwise think that there really aren’t that many of us non-heterosexuals — what the fuck is “In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business”?

Heterosexuals generally don’t assert that their sexual orientation is no one else’s business. Heterosexual celebrities (actors and other artists, politicians, TV news/“news” anchors, et. al.) generally have no problem being seen in public with and/or talking publicly about their opposite-sexed mates, if they have an opposite-sexed mate, whether they are married or not. They generally don’t take the stance that their heterosexuality is no one else’s business — because they aren’t ashamed of their heterosexuality.

Heterosexual journalists aren’t seen as violating some journalistic ethic if they let the world in on the “secret” that they are heterosexual, so why does Anderson Cooper essentially state, in his apparent justification for his having dragged his feet for so long in coming out of the closet, that he had thought that to do otherwise would have been unprofessional?

Why would a gay man assert that his homosexuality is no one else’s business, and why would a gay male journalist act as though divulging his sexual orientation would be unprofessional, unless, at least on some level and to some degree, he is ashamed of his sexual orientation?

True, whatever the silver fox Coop likes to do sexually (or whether he even has an active sex life at all) is none of our business. It’s none of our business if he’s a top or a bottom, if he spits or if he swallows or if he won’t allow a dick inside of his mouth at all, if he’s ever done anal or if he’s anal-phobic, if he’s chocolate or if he’s vanilla, whether he masturbates (of course he does) and if so, how and how often, etc., etc.

But if there is nothing wrong with being gay, as Cooper says he believes — he proclaimed in his coming-out e-mail:

It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something —something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.

— why, then, the rather revealing counter-statement that “In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business”?

Cooper has, I suspect, residual shame over his homosexuality, which, in such a homophobic and sex-shaming society, I can’t entirely blame him for — neither he nor none of us exists in a vacuum — but I would hope that all of us gay men and lesbians and other assorted non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals do the self-examination that is necessary for us to identify the homophobia that we all too often carry, to some degree, within ourselves.

Most of us non-heterosexuals, I believe, have some degree of internalized homophobia, and it is worth it for us to identify it and to work to dig it up by its roots. But until we first identify it, we can’t eradicate it.

Yes, our sexual orientation is everyone else’s business. It is an important and a basic part of ourselves, of who and what we are.

To assert otherwise is to lie — to lie to others, and worse, to ourselves.

Man up, Coop — your sexual orientation, as mine and everyone else’s, always was, is, and always will be our business.

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Clint Eastwood’s ‘J. Edgar’ is not your father’s gangster movie

Film review

Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer J. Edgar

Clyde Tolson (played by the Adonis Armie Hammer) and J. Edgar Hoover (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) have a lovers’ quarrel in Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar.”

Woe to the heterosexists who don’t bother to research the movies that they see who stumble into Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar” thinking that they’re going to see an action-packed gangsta movie (he-man Clint Eastwood is directing, after all) but who instead get “Brokeback Mountain” meets “Bonnie and Clyde” — in which “Bonnie” is the late long-time FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

As others have noted, “J. Edgar” isn’t going to wholly please either side. The heterosexists don’t want the slightest flowery whiff of male homosexuality contaminating their gangster movies, as evidenced by the male homophobe behind me in the audience who twice uttered “faggot!” (and who once uttered “AIDS!”) during the movie and the female homophobe behind me who vocalized her disapproval during the scene in which a distraught J. Edgar Hoover dons his recently deceased mother’s dress.

And gay men like me are going to feel, as I do, that screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (who won an Oscar for his screenplay of “Milk”) and/or director Eastwood wussed out by having portrayed the very apparent real-life same-sex relationship between Hoover and his long-time “assistant” Clyde Tolson as essentially sexless.

No, I didn’t need a steamy sex scene, although I can’t say that I would have minded one; Armie Hammer, who plays Clyde Tolson in “J. Edgar” (and who played the “Winklevi” twins in “The Social Network”) is achingly beautiful, and much more handsome than was the real-life Tolson, just as the real-life J. Edgar never looked anything like Leonardo DiCaprio, even with all of that makeup piled atop his baby face.

But are we really to believe that although the real-life Hoover and Tolson were inseparable and never heterosexually married — and that although Tolson inherited Hoover’s estate after Hoover’s death and later was buried near Hoover — that the two of them never did more than hold hands and share just one (bloody, very conflicted) kiss?

“J. Edgar” apparently would have us believe so, and while many movies about gay characters have a closeted feel to them, this closeted feel can be artful if it is intentional and thus helps us to understand the characters and their sufferings better, but if this closeted feel is a result of the filmmakers’ own cowardice and/or discomfort with the material, then it diminishes the film, and this appears to be the case with “J. Edgar.”

“J. Edgar,” as others have noted, also tries to do too much. Hoover’s time as head of the FBI, which spanned from 1935 to 1972, can’t be captured in one film. Not that it has to be; “J. Edgar” is a fictionalized film, after all, not a documentary, but because “J. Edgar” portrays so many of the historical events during Hoover’s decades-long tenure at the FBI, it has lent itself to be criticized for what it leaves out — such as the “Lavender Scare” of the 1950s, which surely was relevant to the real-life Hoover and Tolson.

And because “J. Edgar” tries to capture so many historical events, the examination of Hoover’s psyche gets short shrift.

Judi Dench is good as Hoover’s mother, even if she is portrayed as a textbook case of the overbearing mother who lives through her son so that of course he turns out gay.

Perhaps the most memorable scene in the film is the one in which Hoover’s homophobic mother tells him the story of another young man who turned out to be gay and who killed himself, which was a good thing, in her eyes. Many of us gay men (my husband included) have been told by a homophobic parent that he or she could never accept a gay son, as Hoover is told by his mother in “J. Edgar,” so I expect that scene to resonate with millions of gay men.

Still, “J. Edgar” doesn’t go far enough with the examination of J. Edgar Hoover’s homosexuality. My guess is that that is a result of the combination of Dustin Lance Black’s upbringing as a Mormon, which, I surmise, keeps him on the “safe,” conservative side, and of the generation of Clint Eastwood (he’s 81 years old), who, while he reportedly is pro-gay, on other issues leans to the right (he reportedly can recall having voted for a Democrat only once, and that was former California Gov. Gray Davis in 1998), and who might be one of those individuals who is much more intellectually accepting of homosexuality (that is, in theory) than he is viscerally accepting of it (that is, in practice) — you know, the kind of person who says that he’s OK with gays as long as he doesn’t ever actually have to see two men kissing. (Thus, we could see Tolson and Hoover kiss in “J. Edgar” only if violence was involved. [The scene, by the way, is fairly reminiscent of a similar scene in “Brokeback Mountain” in which our two conflicted lovebirds who live in a homophobic place and time pummel each other.])

“J. Edgar” probably should have picked one path and stuck with it: the documentarian path or the psychoanalytical path. Hoover’s professional life alone was interesting enough to carry a film. It was because of Hoover’s gross abuse of power, including his notoriously illegal monitoring of prominent individuals, that directors of the FBI need the Senate’s approval to serve more than 10 years, indicates Wikipedia.

But also interesting are the psychological dynamics in which those who have something to hide — such as homosexuality in a society in which homosexuality is stigmatized — react to their inner conflict and their self-loathing by becoming anal retentive and relentless moralists who viciously attack others in order to ease their own self-hatred. We saw this not only in J. Edgar Hoover, but in Roy Cohn, the gay assistant to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who isn’t portrayed in “J. Edgar.” (I’ve wondered about the sexual orientation of McCarthy, too, since he was an alcoholic who viciously attacked others and since he picked Cohn to be his assistant, but that’s purely conjecture on my part.)

If I had made “J. Edgar” and were focusing on Hoover’s personal life, I’d have left out all of the Lindbergh baby stuff and focused more on the relationship between Hoover and Tolson, and I especially would have focused on the “Lavender Scare,” which bizarrely gets no real mention in “J. Edgar.”

And I would have left out the scene in which Hoover tries on his dead mother’s dress. The account that the real-life Hoover was seen in a dress is dubious, and in any event, it wasn’t as it is portrayed in “J. Edgar,” and we gay men have enough problems as it is for Black and Eastwood to give homophobes the idea that all gay men like to wear women’s clothing (not that there is anything wrong with that; it’s just that it’s a tiresome stereotype, and Black’s screenplay shows keen gay sensibility except for this fairly unfortunate scene).

Still, despite its flaws — which include the fact that it tries to do too much and that Armie Hammer’s old-man makeup is bad (maybe there’s just no way to make such an Adonis look unattractive) — and despite the fact that it doesn’t belong in the pantheon that includes “Brokeback Mountain” and “Milk,” “J. Edgar” is worth seeing.

My grade: B

Update:I don’t think that I’ve been unfair here to Dustin Lance Black. In a recent interview with the Advocate, he remarked, “I grew up in a military family, which was also Mormon and conservative, so he [J. Edgar Hoover] was seen as a bit of a hero.” Again, Black’s conservative upbringing seems to have greatly colored his portrayal of Hoover in his screenplay. And of the historical Hoover and Clyde Tolson’s relationship, Black stated:

I don’t know how much sex they were having. I couldn’t anchor that in anything provable. I also didn’t need it for what I was trying to say. They may or may not have [had a sexual relationship], but frankly, I wouldn’t want to see it. What’s important to me is they were not straight. They were two gay guys, in my opinion.

What is it with this phenomenon of de-sexing gay men, of stripping them of human sexuality? We don’t do that to heterosexual people! I can’t say that I would have wanted to watch the historical J. Edgar Hoover (who, again, was not an attractive man) getting it on with anyone, either, but was the only alternative to making “J. Edgar: The Gay Porn” making a film that portrays him as a celibate, frustrated closet case?

True, we cannot “anchor” the assertion that Tolson and Hoover had a sexual relationship “in anything provable” — we have only the very strong circumstantial evidence that they had a decades-long sexual relationship — yet the scene in which Hoover puts on his deceased mother’s dress very apparently was fabricated from whole cloth. Why was that liberty OK, but we couldn’t take the liberty of having the two of them ever do anything more than occasionally hold hands and share only one frustrated kiss? 

Critic Roger Ebert also apparently has jumped on the no-sex-for-gay-men bandwagon, proclaiming in his review of the film:

Eastwood’s film is firm in its refusal to cheapen and tarnish by inventing salacious scenes. I don’t get the impression from “J. Edgar” that Eastwood particularly respected Hoover, but I do believe he respected his unyielding public facade.

So to have made the two men sexually active human beings, I suppose, would have been “cheapening,” “tarnishing” and “salacious.” Since they were gay, much better to make them celibate! And apparently “[respecting Hoover’s] unyielding public facade” means going along with Hoover’s having been in the closet, because to do otherwise would have been “disrespectful.” (Fuck the truth!)

Ebert also notes in his review:

In my reading of the film, they were both repressed homosexuals, Hoover more than Tolson, but after love at first sight and a short but heady early courtship, they veered away from sex and began their lives as Longtime Companions. The rewards for arguably not being gay were too tempting for both men, who were wined and dined by Hollywood, Broadway, Washington and Wall Street. It was Hoover’s militant anti-gay position that served as their beard.

That reading of the film is correct, because indeed “J. Edgar” intended to keep the two lovers celibate, since gay sex is so dirty, you know, and while we can posit that Hoover was gay, we just can’t go so far as to assert that he ever actually had gay sex (ick!).

Again, the real film in the story of Hoover and Tolson’s relationship is the one indicated by Ebert’s assertion that “It was Hoover’s militant anti-gay position that served as their beard,” and I still find it rather stunning that the film glosses over the Lavender Scare of the 1950s. Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn should be in any film about the very-most-likely-gay relationship between Hoover and Tolson, it seems to me.

And speaking of McCarthy, I’m not the only one who has wondered about his sexual orientation. David K. Johnson, author of The Lavender Scare (The University of Chicago Press, 2004), notes (on page 3) that although McCarthy in early 1950 first raised the specter of Communists and gay men having “infiltrated” the U.S. government, McCarthy went on to pursue only the Communist angle, having “mysteriously recused himself” from the witch hunt against gay men. Johnson goes on:

A knowledgeable observer at the time suggested that [McCarthy] did not pursue the “homosexual angle” more aggressively because he was afraid of a boomerang. As an unmarried, middle-aged man, he was subject to gossip and rumor about his own sexuality.

I find the parallels between Hoover and Tolson and McCarthy and Cohn to be striking. Maybe Dustin Lance Black can redeem himself somewhat for his wussy “J. Edgar” screenplay and pen a movie with balls about Joseph McCarthy and his relationship with Roy Cohn, the latter of whom we know for sure was gay. I’ll even give Dustin a highly creative working title: “McCarthy.”

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Big gay roundup!

gay_cowboy51.jpg sexy cowboys image by shaunte1223

Gay Repugnican’s coming out gets mixed reviews 

Reaction to Repugnican California state Sen. Roy Ashburn’s having come out of the closet yesterday — involuntarily, as the result of chatter after he was arrested on March 3 for DUI after having driven away from a Sacramento gay bar — has been mixed.

Ashburn, the first Repugnican California state legislator to have come out of the closet (which tells you something about how backfuckingasswards the Repugnican Party is), received a fairly warm, or at least a not hostile, reception when he returned to the state Senate yesterday, The Sacramento Bee reports.

Homo-hating wingnuts, however, have gone so far as to say that Ashburn isn’t really gay — indeed, that no one is, that being gay is, of course, a “choice.”

Reports the Bee:

Benjamin Lopez, state lobbyist for the Traditional Values Coalition, said that the coalition’s founder, the Rev. Lou Sheldon, is offering to counsel Ashburn to help him turn away from being gay. [Because “reparative” or “conversion” “therapy” has been sooooo successful!]

“I don’t know why Roy strayed,” said Lopez, who appeared with Ashburn at [an] anti-gay marriage rally in 2005.

“I think it’s more sad than hypocritical,” Lopez said. “We hope he comes to terms with whatever is making him make a choice to be a gay man.”

Gee, I wonder if the oh-so-fucking-helpful “Traditional Values Coalition” offers black people “counseling” to help them with their “choice” to be black instead of the much more preferable white.

Not to be outdone by the “Traditional Values Coalition” (the Ku Klux Klan is the keeper of certain “traditional values” as well), homo-hater Randy Thomasson has called on Ashburn to resign.

The Bee quotes Thomasson as having said that “no one is truly gay” and that the divorced Ashburn “vowed to be faithful to his wife, then broke his vows when he chose homosexuality over his marriage.”

There’s that being-homosexual-is-a-“choice” lie again.

Google Thomasson’s image and he’ll probably set off your gaydar, too. Memo to Miss Randy: The man-lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Seriously: How many heterosexual men are fixated on homosexuality to the point that they make it their life’s work? Um, yeah…

Anyway, part of me thinks that Ashburn deserves a good ass-whupping for having been a traitor to his “chosen” tribe by having voted against pro-gay legislation for all of those years in the California Legislature.

However, for all I know, he likes ass-whuppings, and I suppose that if the penalty for coming out (even for traitors like Ashburn) is too harsh, it will dissuade others from coming out, and the more of us who are out, the better.

Et tu, Massa?

The Washington Post reports that recently resigned Democratic U.S. Rep. Eric Massa of New York is under investigation not only for having verbally sexually harassed male staff, but for having groped male staff, too — starting at least a year ago.

Maybe it’s time for Massa — who apparently has been trying to take the attention away from his apparently busy hands by claiming first that he was resigning because of cancer and then because he has been a victim of pressure to vote for “Obamacare” — to take some inspiration from Roy Ashburn and come out of the fucking closet already.

Hell, Ashburn is 55 and Massa is 50. Maybe they’re a match! Ashburn is divorced, but Massa is still heterosexually married, though. Until his wife divorces him for being gay.

Catholick sexual abuse hits close to Pope Palpatine

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2006 file picture Pope Benedict XVI, ...

Associated Press photo

Pope Palpatine, right, and his older brother Georg, who is a priest, are shown in Germany in 2006.

It’s hard to keep up with the child sexual abuse scandals within the Catholick church, but the latest is interesting because it involves Pope Palpatine’s brother.

Priest Georg Ratzinger, Palpatine’s 86-year-0ld bro (Palpatine is 82 and his real name is Joseph Ratzinger), cops to having slapped around some members of a Catholick boys’ choir in Germany when he ran it from 1964 to 1994, and admits that he was aware of some physical abuse of the boys, but claims that he was unaware that some of the choirboys had been sexually abused, too, reports The Associated Press.

I don’t know. It seems fairly safe to me at this point to assume that at least every other Catholick authority figure has sexually abused a child at least once.

The Catholick church has not a shred of respectability or credibility left; it’s gone quite to hell.

Maybe one day actual Christianity — that is, people actually knowing and following the teachings of Jesus Christ — will become popular.

(I’m not equating the sexual abuse of children with homosexuality, by the way. I just needed a place to put this little news tidbit…)

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Repugnican state senator comes out

In this photo provided by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, ...

Associated Press photo

This is the booking photo of Repugnican California state Sen. Roy Ashburn, who was arrested in the wee hours of March 3 for driving while under the influence of alcohol. He reportedly was seen leaving a Sacramento gay bar that is within easy walking distance of my residence, interestingly enough. The 55-year-old Ashburn is a divorced father of four, and an (*ahem*) unidentified man was with him in the state vehicle he was driving when the California Highway Patrol arrested him for DUI. Today, after speculation about his sexual orientation, Ashburn came out as gay, despite his consistent anti-gay legislative record.

The Sacramento Bee reports today:

Republican [California state] Sen. Roy Ashburn, who has been on leave from the [state] Senate since his DUI arrest last week, confirmed today that he is gay.

“I’m gay,” Ashburn told KERN radio host Inga Barks in an interview this morning. “Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long.”

Ashburn’s announcement follows reports that Ashburn was leaving a gay club before he was arrested for driving under the influence last week.

The Bakersfield Republican, who has consistently voted against gay-rights measures, said his votes were a reflection of how the majority of voters in his conservative district would have wanted him to vote.

Ashburn, who is divorced, has been on personal leave in the Senate since last week’s arrest. He is expected to return today.

Better late than never to come out of the closet, and better to come out in better circumstances than Ashburn did, but I must admit that I love the way that he apparently came out like Ellen did. However, I can’t accept his rationale that he just voted the way that his constituents wanted him to vote.

If constituents who don’t like their state senator can dump that senator at the ballot box, why can’t senators dump their constituents by leaving office or maybe moving to a different legislative district or maybe changing parties?

As a legislator, I think that I’d have to vote my conscience — not my constituents’ ignorance and bigotry.

The Bee also published a column on Ashburn titled “How Much of Sen. Ashburn’s Life Is Our Business?”

Not to ruin it for you, but the columnist correctly concludes that because Ashburn as a state senator consistently has voted against equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals, the fact that he is gay does matter. Ashburn is not just some private citizen whose sexual orientation randomly was made public.

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, who came out four years ago at age 40 (and whom I’m pretty sure I saw at the gym once…), is quoted in the column as having said: “I have a lot of sympathy for Ashburn, but I wasn’t trying to lead a double life. I just wasn’t talking about it. I was supportive of our rights and equality. I wasn’t persecuting by day and partying by night.”

“Persecuting by day and partying by night” — I love that line.

Yes, especially when an elected official is working against equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals, the fact that he or she is not heterosexual is quite relevant. Not only to us non-heterosexuals, but, dare I say it:  sadly and perversely, it is relevant to those haters whom he or she represents. 

I, for one, wouldn’t want to represent a constituency consisting of a majority who hate me for not being heterosexual.

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Sexual orientation is quite relevant to the victims of closet cases

California state Sen. Roy Ashburn, a Repugnican, top, and U.S. Rep. Eric Massa of New York, a Democrat, are the latest prominent politicians embroiled in political same-sex sex scandals. Ashburn has maintained that his sexual orientation is irrelevant, even though he consistently has voted against equal human and civil rights for his fellow non-heterosexuals.

Political scandals of any type come as no surprise to me.

“Politics,” to me, broadly means “the use of power.”

Many if not even most people don’t know how to handle responsibly any significant power that they come into. To me, there are two major ways that a significant amount of personal political power can be used: (1) to help as many other people as possible in ways that are transparent and legal and ethical, or (2) to help oneself and one’s cronies (this would include one’s political friends, one’s campaign contributors and one’s friends and family members), usually in ways that are kept hidden in the dark and are at least unethical if not also illegal.

Unfortunately, most people who come into power see the purpose of politics not as the first, but as the second. They might pay plenty of lip service to the first, but their deeds demonstrate their allegiance to the second.

In power plays, we usually see two things involved: sex or money (or both). This is because personal power so often is exchanged in money or in sex (or both).

Monetary scandals rather bore most of us. It’s the sexual scandals that we really pay attention to.

And of the sex scandals, it’s the gay sex scandals that really capture our attention.

Recently, first there was Democratic U.S. Rep. Eric Massa of New York, who resigned yesterday. He more or less used cancer as his official reason for resigning, but the word is that he sexually harassed a male staffer. Details of the alleged sexual harassment, which Massa at first apparently denied but then apparently admitted, are sketchy, but it appears as though the sexual harassment was verbal, not physical.

Adding to the scandal is that Massa, 50, was in the U.S. Navy for more than two decades, which probably helped him win his seat in his Repugnican-dominated district, and that he has a wife, two sons and a daughter.

Gay political sex scandals are bipartisan, of course.

The Sacramento Bee today reports:

A prominent Republican [California] state senator arrested on suspicion of drunken driving this week in Sacramento has taken a personal leave through Sunday from the upper house.

State Sen. Roy Ashburn of Bakersfield, a 14-year veteran of the Legislature, was arrested at about 2 a.m. Wednesday while driving his state-issued car near the state Capitol.

Ashburn later issued a written apology, but the arrest catapulted his personal life into a very public spotlight.

A Sacramento TV station reported that unnamed sources saw Ashburn at a gay bar the night before the arrest, setting off a media frenzy that stretched from the blogosphere to late-night television talk shows.

Ashburn’s hometown paper, the Bakersfield Californian, printed excerpts from an unpublished interview he did last year in which the divorced father declined to address rumors he was gay.

“Why would that be anyone’s business?” he told a columnist. “I think there are certain subjects that are simply not relevant, and this is one of them.”

But in a world where activists have the ability to instantly hold politicians accountable for any inconsistency between their public actions and personal behavior, some say sexual orientation is entirely relevant.

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, an openly gay Democrat, told The Bee and other media he had spotted Ashburn at other gay bars in Sacramento in recent months.

“I don’t think it’s a scandal for an elected official to be gay,” Cabaldon said. “But if you’re going to vote against every piece of hate-crimes legislation (to protect gays), that’s hypocritical.”

In the interview, Ashburn said he didn’t believe he had been a staunch anti-gay activist, insisting the way he had voted on social issues reflected his constituents’ views.

Ashburn, who is in his last year representing a bedrock conservative region, organized a Traditional Values Coalition rally in Bakersfield in 2005 to support a proposed constitutional amendment that year to prohibit gay marriage.

Ashburn also touted his support for Proposition 22, [an anti-]gay-marriage ballot initiative, calling himself a co-sponsor at the 2000 measure.

Equality California, a gay rights group, gave Ashburn a “zero percent” for his 2009 voting record.

Ashburn voted against bills that included expanding California’s mental health services for gay youths and measures to protect gay prisoners from violence – which won some GOP votes – and creating a day to honor slain gay activist Harvey Milk.

An Ashburn aide said Friday the senator had no response to questions about his sexual orientation, adding that aides didn’t know if Ashburn would appear Monday for a Senate floor session….

Ashburn is a textbook case right out of the excellent documentary “Outrage”: A closeted, usually Repugnican politician who works against equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals. A despicable fucking hypocrite and a fucking traitor to his tribe.

Yes, Assburn, if you are a non-heterosexual legislator who votes against equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals, then your sexual orientation is quite relevant, quite relevant to those whose equal human and civil rights you are obstructing because you are ashamed of your own sexual orientation.

And if you are a non-heterosexual man posing as heterosexual but you sexually harass your male co-workers or your male underlings (as has happened to me at the workplace, so I know something about this), then your sexual orientation is relevant; you have made it quite relevant to the victims of your sexual harassment.

And if you are a non-heterosexual male but you have heterosexually married and have had children, guess what? Your sexual orientation is quite relevant to your wife and kids.

If you are a closet case who actually manages to keep your sexual orientation entirely to yourself — which is damn near impossible, unless you live alone in a remote cave, as we are a social species — then perhaps we can say that your sexual orientation is “irrelevant.” (After all, if one actually is asexual or nearly so, then one’s sexual orientation indeed would be fairly irrelevant, at least to other people.)

Those who maintain that one’s sexual orientation is “private” or “irrelevant” or the like — especially when one has made his or her sexual orientation other people’s business — are homophobes.

The only reason that you would maintain that something as basic to oneself as one’s sexual orientation is “private” or “no one’s business” or “irrelevant” or the like is that your core belief about non-heterosexuality is that it is wrong and shameful.

You only enshroud in darkness that which you believe does not belong in the light.

There is nothing wrong with or shameful about non-heterosexuality.

There is something wrong with lying, such as lying about one’s sexual orientation, and there is something wrong with misusing one’s sexual power, such as in the case of sexual harassment.

That is the lesson that we need to take away from the gay political sex scandals.

As long as non-heterosexuality itself remains stigmatized, closet cases will continue to do their damage to others.

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Assorted shit (Under the Sea Edition!)

Free Willy (before he kills again!)

In this photo taken on Dec. 30, 2005, Dawn Brancheau, a whale ...

In this photo taken on Dec. 30, 2005, Dawn Brancheau, a whale ...

Associated Press photos

So today’s big news story is that a 40-year-old female trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., was attacked and killed by a killer whale in front of a horrified audience. (She is pictured above in 2005.)

What part of killer whale don’t people get? Ever seen what the orcas do to seals?

Anyway, the bottom line is that cetaceans belong in the ocean.

They don’t belong in aquariums or theme parks.

Their captivity should be illegal.

Not (just) because of today’s event in Orlando, but because it’s fucking cruel to take a creature that needs the wide open ocean and put it in a fucking fish tank.

Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to profit obscenely from what amounts to animal cruelty.

You should watch the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Cove,” in which the trainer who trained the dolphins for the television show “Flipper” states that all that he can conclude from his years of working with dolphins is that cetaceans should not be held in captivity.

SeaWorld and others who keep cetaceans in captivity suck.

P.S. I hope that the killer whale involved in today’s incident is not killed, but is released back into the wild, if it would survive in the wild. The killer whale should not be given the death sentence when it never fucking should have been in captivity anyway.

What’s long and hard and full 0f — women?

The U.S. Navy plans to allow women to serve on submarines, The Associated Press reported yesterday.

Fuck; I’d assumed that women already were serving on subs.

Why haven’t they been?

“The thinking was that the close quarters aboard subs would make coed service difficult to manage,” the AP notes.

Sounds like the anti-gay “argument.” (Can’t let those homos be around other males in such close quarters!)

I seriously hope that those who serve in the U.S. military are far more evolved than are the stupid old white men who make all of the decisions for the military.

No one should be having sex while they’re on duty anyway. Male or female, straight or gay or bisexual — it doesn’t matter. You draw a line between on-duty activity and off-duty activity. And, arguments about how gay male couples reportedly historically were quite the effective warriors aside, those working closely together in the U.S. military probably shouldn’t be sexually involved with each other anyway, regardless of their biological gender or sexual orientation. So what’s the big fuss?

It’s more about antiquated, Victorian views on sexuality (Sex BAD!) than it is about anything else. 

One day the U.S. military will be like it’s portrayed in the grisly sci-fi movie “Starship Troopers,” in which males and females even shower together because no one gives a fuck.

Schwarzenegger: ‘Tea party’ will terminate

(Come on, now. I couldn’t get three ocean-related items on the same day…)

Repugnican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger might need to get checked out for Tourette’s Syndrome, because he just can’t shut up lately.

In this case, though, it’s a good thing.

Already having blasted his fellow Repugnicans for opposing the Obama administration’s economic stimuli and desire for health-care reform, Schwarzenegger now says that the “tea party” “movement” will “twinkle and disappear” after the nation’s economy recovers from having been raped up the ass by the unelected Bush regime with ground glass as lube (OK, so that last part is a wild paraphrase…).

Schwarzenegger also remarked on how long it takes to turn the Titanic back around:

“Well, to give you an example, in 2008 we passed redistricting reform [in California]. Do you see any effect of it today in California? Absolutely not. It’s two years later and we still see no effect because the district lines will be drawn in 2010 now and they would have an effect maybe in 2012, a little effect. In 2014, then you will see more effect. You don’t go and have changes like that and have an effect from one day to the next….

“It doesn’t happen. Sometimes those things take a long time….

“To move government, to move this big thing, it’s like the Titanic….

“I think that the most important thing, no matter what state you’re in, or if you’re in charge of the federal government … is creating jobs and bringing the economy back. That’s the most important thing right now.”

Exactly. BushCheneyCorp didn’t destroy the nation overnight, and so the nation isn’t going to recover overnight.

That’s in stark contrast to the what Tea Party Princess/Queen Sarah Palin-Quayle and her fucktarded illk are saying, that the state of the nation is all Barack Obama’s fault because he’s been president for a whole year now

A co-worker of mine today posited that Schwarzenegger, who will be termed out of office in less than a year, is angling for a post in the Obama administration. It’s a plausible explanation. It’s that — or Tourette’s… 

I’m Aiken for more gay celebs to help their tribe

Figure skater Johnny Weir of the United States speaks during ...

Associated Press photo

I took a lot of shit for having said recently that flaming figure skater Johnny Weir (pictured above apparently making air quotes at a press conference today in Vancouver) should just come out of the closet already.

I took a lot of shit from (presumedly straight) women, too.

But you know, straight women get to love men without any stigma, so I guess that I don’t need to hear any lectures from them about what it’s like to be a gay man. Sorry, but no, not sorry.

And people still don’t get the idea of privacy. Again: we don’t need the details of Weir’s sex life. I never asked for them and I don’t want them. And I’m perfectly OK without seeing a leaked Johnny Weir same-sex sex tape.

But how about being of service to other non-heterosexuals by being proudly out? What’s wrong with using one’s status as a public figure to do some good in the world, to give others the courage and the inspiration to be who they are instead of being ashamed of it and/or trying to hide it?

Gay singer Clay Aiken (of “American Idol” fame), along with newly out lesbian actress Meredith Baxter (most known for her role of the mother in “Family Ties”), is scheduled to speak at a gay-rights event in Raleigh, N.C., this weekend.

It doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other — that you stay in the closet or that you become the “poster boy” for the gay-rights movement. Aiken doesn’t seem interested in becoming such a “poster boy,” but nonetheless he can find the time to make a pro-gay public appearance. Good for him.

It is a sad statement on the selfishness of Americans, and how much Americans are OK with the suppression of the truth (such as the truth of one’s sexual orientation, which there is no reason to suppress unless indeed it is shameful to be non-heterosexual), that I took so much shit for suggesting that Johnny Weir do some good for his tribe.

We’re all in this together, and no fag is an island.

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