Wednesday, August 29, 2007


OK, on a more serious note, the Craig deal is about the closet.

As Maj. Darryl Tolleson of the Atlanta Police said this week on CNN, the majority of men his officers catch pursuing bathroom sex are “family men.” But Tolleson juxtaposed “family men” against “gay” men, as if one were animal and the other vegetable.

Guess the Major didn’t get the note in the bottle. Many gay men are married, with children. They, like Craig, may be bisexual or gay, and are in the closet. Their options for sexual gratification are limited because the risks of being outed are overwhelmingly frightening. So frightening, in fact, that some don’t even think of themselves as gay.

Hard to understand? When people are defined in law, religion, and society as dirty, wicked, and diseased, denial might seem necessary. It might even seem reasonable.

The consequences for coming out don’t usually involve death, but they aren’t a walk in the park, either. For teens and young adults, they include expulsion from the family, loss of financial security, social ostracism, harassment, physical violence, and for those who come from conservative religious faiths, just coming out to self can be impossible.

This may be where Craig is coming from. If so, I feel sad for him, but I don’t excuse him.

It takes guts to come out, and especially for those who live within the Bible bubble, it takes a profound leap of faith. It takes the conviction that nothing can separate you from the love of God. It takes willingness to risk the loss of everything important and even necessary to your welfare, and implicitly, the conviction that you can survive all that. Such people are brave indeed. Such people are heroes.

But people like Craig chose a different path, preferring denial over acknowledgment; social security, career, and reputation over authenticity. They chose to risk the wellbeing of others – lovers, wives, and children – to sustain their fabrication. They chose, as well, to believe that the costs they themselves would face in coming out were always greater than the costs confronting others just like themselves, and then they chose to advantage themselves at the expense of people just like them. In Craig’s case, the betrayal goes one giant step further: He could, and did, help to enact laws to oppress people just like him. There's neither integrity nor courage nor compassion here.

Everything here – everything he’s done – goes back to the cruel propaganda and the fear that drove him into the closet and kept him there. If his duplicity hurts the Republican party, if his hypocrisy confounds and divides the “social conservatives” and is a factor in their descent from power, well, I figure it’s a form of Karma. Judgments, actions, and choices have consequences for family, friends, political parties, and countries.

Self-serving hypocrisy and a career-long habit of denying authenticity to his loved ones and perfect access to the sustenance of our Constitution and Bill of Rights to those he represents, have consequences.