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come out, come out, wherever you are
September 30, 2003 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Boston Herald sports reporter outs himself in print and asks why people in the world of sports still have to hide. Frankly, I'm out because I can't come up with a single logical reason why I should have denied myself the right to live and work as openly and freely as everyone else. Nor should anyone find a reason why an openly gay athlete should be denied the right to play a team sport without fear of becoming a target of prejudice or physical harm. See Outsports for more info on the subject, and an interesting pro and con on whether gay baseball players should come out.
posted by amberglow (59 comments total)

 
Oh wow, there will be a lot of early morning coffee spit-takes in Boston today.
posted by skallas at 6:35 AM on September 30, 2003


It's pretty ironic that a Patriots reporter would be the one to reveal this. In 1990, three members of the Patriots were fined for exposing themselves to Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olson and taunting her -- making remarks to the effect of, "this is what you're here to see."
posted by rcade at 7:05 AM on September 30, 2003


[this is good]
posted by walrus at 7:23 AM on September 30, 2003


From the third link:
Jim Buzinski is co-founder and publisher of Outsports.com. From 1987-98 he was sports editor of the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram.

Boston's not the only place having spit-takes this morning. Suddenly, the obssessive Press-Telegram sports-page reading my brother and I used to do when we were kids takes on a surreal twist...
posted by Katemonkey at 7:43 AM on September 30, 2003


I think it would be a good thing if gay athletes began coming out. Yeah, some assholes will bitch, but a lotta sports fans would tolerate a gay dude on the mound if he could win 20 games. It's the fan mentality.

But it would be good for sports and good for American society. Regardless of the mixed motivations for bringing Jackie Robinson into the majors, it was a major boon in a couple of ways: one, by the infusion of previously barred players improving the quality of competition; two, Robinsons' prowess had tons of little white kids idolizing a black man. It dosen't sound like much, but that plants a seed in a young mind that can help make a better adult.

If young straight (and gay) kids can see and admire a gay man playing and excelling at a rough-n-tumble manly activity, it can shatter stereotypes and plant a similar seed.
posted by jonmc at 7:43 AM on September 30, 2003


See Outsports for [...] an interesting pro and con on whether gay baseball players should come out.

Why would baseball players even need to come out? Baseball is like, totally gay dude. </kyle>
posted by cps at 7:47 AM on September 30, 2003


I think what makes professional athletics different from other lines of work, when it comes to coming out, is the fear of physical attacks on the field. If I'm a gay quarterback and I come out, there's a chance that one of those guys across the line of scrimmage is going to try to hurt me. If a 350 pound lineman wants to, he can end just about anyone's career. Is it worth the risk?

Jackie Robinson faced the threat of physical violence, but he had plenty to gain by making it in the big leagues. You have to ask: if Jackie Robinson were already playing in the major leagues, would he have "come out" as a black man?
posted by jpoulos at 7:52 AM on September 30, 2003


Does anyone know what sports Ed Gray covers? I'd imagine there's more homophobia in football than in tennis (though that could just be my imagination).
posted by alms at 7:57 AM on September 30, 2003


fuck the locker room (no pun intended) -- i wonder how this will go over in the herald's newsroom. how long will it take before joe fitzgerald hazes him? we'll find out soon enough.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:59 AM on September 30, 2003


jpoulos, I don't understand your question because the only way to not be "out" as a black person would be to walk around disguised in white face.

Is it worth the risk?
Staying in the closet is always riskier than being out.

If more sports players had the courage to live honestly then eventually it wouldn't be an issue. There wouldn't be 350-pound linebackers acting like 5-year-olds. What makes you think a gay footballer player wouldn't say "Do your best. Bring it on." Oh, I forgot, those stereotypes again.
posted by archimago at 8:34 AM on September 30, 2003


The Herald reporter is right. Sports reporting (and professional sports in general) is inherently gay.

Bright, festive, flowery parades, jock straps, communal showers, towel swatting, hot, sweaty excersise rooms, massages, spas, wrapping of the body in tape and the wearing of tight, bulging, restrictive (and often leathery) clothing. It's so gay.

it's time for the atheletes, reporters (and, indeed, the fans) to face the music... because it sure sounds a lot like what they play at the gay bar down the street.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:44 AM on September 30, 2003


jpoulos, I don't understand your question because the only way to not be "out" as a black person would be to walk around disguised in white face.

Obviously. That's my point. If Robinson were already in the majors, and being black wasn't a something apparent, but which had to be "revealed", might he not have "come out". That's why there's not a direct analogy to Robinson. And that's why, in some ways, this is a harder obstacle to overcome.
posted by jpoulos at 8:48 AM on September 30, 2003


Bright, festive, flowery parades, jock straps, communal showers, towel swatting, hot, sweaty excersise rooms, massages, spas, wrapping of the body in tape and the wearing of tight, bulging, restrictive (and often leathery) clothing.

Not to mention the anal sex.
posted by jpoulos at 8:50 AM on September 30, 2003


Robinsons' prowess had tons of little white kids idolizing a black man.

I agree that this was a significant--if infrequently discussed--effect of integrating baseball. I even wrote a sappy "watchin' baseball with mah daddy" essay about it [self link]. My prediction: if gay athletes become prominent, some word with veiled prejudice similar to the current use of the word "articulate" to describe black players who talk more like white people will emerge, only to be used to describe gay players.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:57 AM on September 30, 2003


A good gay friend of mine has named a couple of football players he has "met" when they were in town to play the Patriots. I was particularly surprised by one name, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating his play (or drafting him for a fantasy squad). And no, I won't tell.

Sports figures will just be the most recent group to finally open up. It wasn't long ago that there weren't any gay actors or musicians, either.
posted by yhbc at 9:27 AM on September 30, 2003


It wasn't long ago that there weren't any gay actors or musicians, either.

?!!?
posted by dash_slot- at 10:01 AM on September 30, 2003


dash_slot, there may have been actors people thought were gay, like Rock Hudson, but then he got married!

And there may have been musicians people thought were gay, like Liberace, but then he won a libel suit against a newspaper that suggested he was gay!

Do you see what yhbc is getting at now?

Oh, and sometimes people do have to "come out" as black. Cf. Anatole Broyard.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:06 AM on September 30, 2003


I think it would be a good thing if gay athletes began coming out. Yeah, some assholes will bitch, but a lotta sports fans would tolerate a gay dude on the mound if he could win 20 games. It's the fan mentality.

It's also an excuse mentality. Jackie Robinson had to be more than just a good athlete- he had to be fucking fantastic- because any failure he made would be blamed on "letting one of 'them' on the field."

The exact same threat occurs with "outing" of major league players today. If a long-time sports legend announced today that he's gay, I've got twenty bucks that says the next time he does something- ANYTHING- detrimental to his team's success on the field/court/whatever, the statement from half the patrons of the local sports bar will be "well whaddaya expect, he's a fuckin' (insert derogatory term here)!" Pretend I'm making a stereotype if you will, but that's the mind of the tough-guy sports fans I've met.

The problem with gay athletes rests entirely in the mentality of a lot of ignorant fans, as the "no" columnist said in the links above. As yhbc said, the athletes seem to be aware, and personally comfortable with their choice of lifestyle. Tragically, it's an understandable concept that they could be terrified of the million of people who "love" them.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:14 AM on September 30, 2003


Oh wow, there will be a lot of early morning coffee spit-takes in Boston today.

Why? Do that many people care whether or not their favorite sports reporter is gay? Does it change the quality or perspective of his columns? He's covering football games, for pete's sake, not a Fred Phelps rally. Some things have nothing to do with being gay or not gay.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:21 AM on September 30, 2003


The problem with gay atheletes -- and gigalo atheletes, and coke-snorting atheletes, and all the rest of them -- is that I just don't give a good dogdamn.

I mean, really, what business is it of mine where Joe puts his cock? It's purely uninteresting. Likewise their whoring activities, drug habits, and prediliction for chowing down Big Macs.

Maybe I'm odd, but other people's personal lives just don't interest me all that much. I'm much more concerned about my life than their's.

On the other hand, maybe it's the general public that's odd.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:21 AM on September 30, 2003


"What, exactly, does a woman have to fear from a male teammate or sportswriter? Any woman secure in her sexuality should not have a care in the world when a man is present in the locker room. He is there only to earn a living, not to infiltrate the locker room in a covert operation to ogle female athletes. There are infinitely more friendly and healthy environments in which a self-respecting man would prefer to explore his sexuality than a locker room full of naked women."

hmmm. works for me.
posted by quonsar at 11:49 AM on September 30, 2003


Some things have nothing to do with being gay or not gay.

For homophobes, everything has to do with being gay or not gay.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:56 AM on September 30, 2003


Pretend I'm making a stereotype if you will, but that's the mind of the tough-guy sports fans I've met.

You are making a stereotype. of sports fans

Then you've met some asshole sports fans, I'm sorry to say, not all of us are like that. I've met plenty of open minded sports fan, hell, I know gay sports fans. And letting homophobes dictate peoples actions is to let them rule the world.

Yes, there's risk involved. But the rewards of breaking ugly, detrimental stereotypes are worth it. But hey, that's just my "excuse mentality." I don't think there are excuses for tacitly encouraging homophobia.
posted by jonmc at 12:22 PM on September 30, 2003


Interesting that the "con" writer on the second Outsports link should equate homosexuality with bigotry (Rocker) and spousal abuse (Kidd). In pointing out that fans don't like such stereotypically macho behavior from their athletes, he could have come to the exact opposite conclusion that he did: Fans would protest any bigotry shown against out athletes.
posted by occhiblu at 12:55 PM on September 30, 2003


Can a gay person just be gay... just BE, for that matter, without having to justify his/her existence to everyone by telling them that they prefer gettin' busy with persons of the same sex? I honestly don't understand this mindset. "I'm gay and I won't be satisfied until everyone knows about it. Plus, everyone else will be so much better off for knowing".

Why can't children or whoever admire the pitcher for winning 20 games because he's a pitcher and he won 20 games? Why would it be better for us to know he's gay too.
posted by Witty at 5:16 PM on September 30, 2003


Can a straight person just be straight... just BE, for that matter, without having to justify his/her existence to everyone by telling them that they prefer gettin' busy with persons of the opposite sex? I honestly don't understand this mindset. "I'm straight and I won't be satisfied until everyone knows about it. Plus, everyone else will be so much better off for knowing".

When straight people stop talking about their sexuality, or even worse and more disgusting, stop displaying pictures of the people they sleep with on their desks and stuff, shoving their sexuality in my face, us gay folks will too... : >
posted by amberglow at 5:27 PM on September 30, 2003


Witty: because then people realize that gay people aren't fundamentally different than anyone else, even in Alabama.
posted by The God Complex at 5:29 PM on September 30, 2003


(except for their keen fashion sense)
posted by The God Complex at 5:30 PM on September 30, 2003


I should not be allowed to spell "athlete" in the morning. Tsk!

I normally get riled up at Witty's homophobia, but I'm with him on this one ... unless it's common practice for your sports heroes to talk about their latest sexual conquest, their significant other, or their spouse.

I suspect most athletes aren't open about their sexuality. Y'all just presume them to be straight unless they state otherwise.

Lord knows if I were in the public eye, there'd be some part of my private life I'd wish to hold back, and my sexual activities would probably be the largest part of that holdback.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:03 PM on September 30, 2003


I suspect most athletes aren't open about their sexuality.
I think most athletes are open about their sexuality, just like most people in general are...accountants don't need to talk about their sexuality either, but they do. All people do, unless they're in fear--for their safety, or livelihood, or both.
posted by amberglow at 6:16 PM on September 30, 2003


Is it worth the risk?
Staying in the closet is always riskier than being out.


That is incredibly naive. Even for suburban rich kids in overprotective & supportive enclaves, it is very risky, physically, to come out. Gay people get beaten, they get murdered, they get harassed & terrorized. Every single gay person I know goes through some harassment. There is emotional harm out of, as well as inside of, the proverbial closet. Also on the outside: a lot of actual, physical danger.
posted by palegirl at 6:40 PM on September 30, 2003


y'think, amberglow?

I can honestly say that I know nothing about the sex lives of the people I work with. I know a few of them are married, but the others I know nought. No idea if they have girlfriends or boyfriends or if they sit in the dark all alone. And so it should be.

This is where I can agree with Witty: there's no need to make performance art of your sexuality. Reasonable people do not go to the television cameras to declare who they're attracted to.

Put a photograph of your loved one on your desk. Say that you went to the movies together. Talk about the wonderful vacation. All that is reasonable and common. That's as "out" as anyone need be. No one needs to make a public spectacle of themselves.

well, except Madonna. She's big into public spectacle.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:27 PM on September 30, 2003


Well, yeah, FFF, but Gray isn't "anyone"; he's a sports columnist with tremendous influence. (Of course, it's possible to argue that using his influence will only be for the worse, but that's a different tack -- it's impossible to apply standards identical to your cooworkers' to someone in a radically differnt situation.)
posted by Tlogmer at 7:49 PM on September 30, 2003


Quonsar, replace "women" with "lesbians" in your analogy to get a truly parallel case.
posted by Tlogmer at 7:52 PM on September 30, 2003


Maybe straight people don't realize that their sexuality is always a performance art? It's everywhere--in the media, on the street, at work, at play. Maybe it's invisible to all except those who can't participate?

Coming out is always a tricky thing--you never know what the results are (acceptance, getting fired, getting beaten, etc). Straight people come out all the time, yet it's not a big deal. Why this reaction when we do it? (This situation is different, as the journalist is using his sexuality in an attempt to better the world of sports--a gigantic personal and professional risk, yet one that can help countless people, both gay and straight, both closeted athletes and fans)

Why perpetuate the idea that if you're not straight, you have to hide that fact, when all around you every day no one else is hiding?
posted by amberglow at 8:00 PM on September 30, 2003


Please, amberglow, do tell us how frequently the straight sportswriters devote a column about how they're heterosexual and how important it is for them to, personally, let you the reader know that they're proud to be heterosexual.

I reiterate, because you apparently missed it: most people don't make a big deal about their mundane little lives. They don't make a big deal about the kinds of things that everybody normally does.

Nobody of any note writes editorials about how they mow their lawn. Nobody writes columns outing their flatulence problem. Nobody creates big parades outing their love for ice cream. Nobody writes seriously about that annoying toenail-biting habit their spouse has, nor how that habit actually kind of turns them on. And damn few people write about what type of people they're attracted to (redheads! blacks! great teeth! sexy ass! men!)

Very few people perform their sexuality. They keep a tribute to their loved ones, they talk about the mundane things they did over the weekend, they whinge about how their sigOther pisses them off. It's not a media piece; it's not a show; it's not a performance. It's just ordinary life.

If you find that the straight population is giving a performance, then it is because you aren't comfortable with sexuality.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:40 PM on September 30, 2003


I know, would gay people please stop complaining about being discriminated against? Frankly, you're lucky that you're able to hide your sexuality, unlike those unlucky black folks who weren't able to silently hate themselves and hope it would go away.

FFF: I would suggest that it should continue to be something of an issue until you have a government that allows its citizens to receive the same treatment and have the same benefits available to them. I bet it takes a hell of a lot of courage to open yourself up that kind of ridicule from co-workers, friends, family, and even people on the street if you're silly enough to show some display of affection in public. It's wonderful that it's not a big deal to you, but it still is for a lot of people.
posted by The God Complex at 9:56 PM on September 30, 2003


Writers write about all of those things you mention, and more (and they appear in daily papers all over this country--Dave Barry, among many many others actually has made a very good living out just that stuff)...This guy at the Boston Herald had a specific point to make, and made it well.
You're absolutely right--most people don't make a big deal about their mundane little lives--it's other people around them who make it a big deal.

I think we're using performance in different ways--It's not about playacting or assuming a role other than who a person is; it's presenting behavior, often as a matter of course in daily life, that reinforces certain norms. Whether it registers as mundane life or as a "public spectacle" seems to depend on those norms, and on people's comfort zones. (For example, you may see a couple on the street or a bus with their arms around each other or holding hands or kissing--they're showing you something about their sexuality--and as spectators to it, it is an observable performance--and it only seems to be an issue when it's not an opposite-sex couple. Many people would see that as a "public spectacle" or "in your face" if it was a same-sex couple, yet it's mundane life.)

and what The God Complex said--on preview
posted by amberglow at 10:12 PM on September 30, 2003


You are making a stereotype. of sports fans

I agree with jonmc. I'm a big, huge sports fan. I watch all three Sunday games and the Monday night game every week. I watched all three baseball playoff games today. I watch SportsCenter everyday.

I'm also a supporter of gay marriage. I have gay friends. I can't wait for the day that a major star comes out.

Atheism and homosexuality are the last things it is okay to be openly bigoted about and in the sports world they are untouchable. It doesn't help that the sports press is overwhelmingly conservative.
posted by McBain at 10:49 PM on September 30, 2003



I like to watch.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:38 PM on September 30, 2003


five fresh fish, look at it this way: what if everyone automatically assumed you were gay. What if your pal at work kept pointing out "hot" guys to you. What if your friends kept trying to set you up with nice fellows? Wouldn't you eventually make it a point to tell them that you are, in fact, heterosexual?

But, if telling them this threatened to lead to all kinds of trouble such as losing friends, possibly being fired, possibly being physically attacked, possible alienation from your family, perhaps you wouldn't say anything. If all those threats continued to exist because most people would prefer to keep quiet than to risk these consequences, you would see how important it is for people (especially high-profile individuals) to reject the assumption that they are something other than what they are and make a point of stating the truth.
posted by taz at 11:57 PM on September 30, 2003


five fresh fish: you don't change anything by keeping quiet. As soon as it's perfectly acceptable to be gay in our society, the phenomenon of "coming out" will disappear. Just as we don't see suffragettes in London any more, since everyone knows that women can vote. You appear to find it personally annoying where most people accept that it's a necessary phenomenon to change the social order. Well it's ok: no one is doing it for your benefit.
posted by walrus at 2:21 AM on October 1, 2003


there's no need to make performance art of your sexuality.

No one needs to make a public spectacle of themselves.


If you find that the straight population is giving a performance, then it is because you aren't comfortable with sexuality.


I'll remember that the next time everyone in my office gathers in the conference room to celebrate the birth of someone's child. I'll remember that the next time they gather to eat a cake in honor of someone's engagement, or the next time I receive a company e-mail stating that "husbands and wives" are invited to the holiday party.

I'll remember that the next time I see a commercial or ad featuring a man and a woman showing affection.

It's not performance to you because it is "normal" in your eyes. It will stop being performance when it is normal for everyone.

Meanwhile I go home and once again go through legal documents to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible to make sure that my partner of 13 years doesn't lose our house if I should die or be kept from my hospital bed as I die.

Try on a different shoe or a different pair of glasses once in a while. See the world with someone else's perspective before you judge.
posted by archimago at 6:28 AM on October 1, 2003


Why can't children or whoever admire the pitcher for winning 20 games because he's a pitcher and he won 20 games? Why would it be better for us to know he's gay too.

If he's pitching for the Mets, I'd admire him if he was a three-eyed albino dwarf, if he helped take us to the world series. But if he was gay, maybe kids (especially those too young to be taken over by societal prejudices completely) who idolize his prowess on the field will make the leap as young adults to embracing people like him. I know that realizing that a lotta people I admired were gay or bi, helped me make the decision to abandon the homophobia I grew up hearing. It seems like a small thing, but the kid who was 6 when Jackie Robinson debuted was a young adult when the civil rights movement got a groundswell of support from young whites. I'm not saying it caused the support, but the emergence of prominent blacks in sports and entertainment and the victories in the political arena aren't entirely unrelated. I'm just thinking there's a similar oppotunity for gayfolk here. And no, it's not without risk, but if it wasn't it wouldn't be neccessary now would it?

BTW, good to see ya back, palegirl.
posted by jonmc at 6:54 AM on October 1, 2003


I don't understand why it is necessary to make a big public spectacle of oneself in order to change society. Why can change not be made by simply doing the ordinary things that are done.

What on earth makes anyone think that going to extremes is going to accomplish positive social change for this "issue"? Comparisons to Rosa Parks and sufferage are inappropriate: in both cases is was illegal for the discriminated to do the ordinary things (ride buses, vote), so any ordinary action was a big public spectacle.

As far as I know, it's not illegal to give your sigOther a quick peck goodbye when you drop him/her off at the office. It's not illegal to hold hands walking down the street. It's not illegal to do any of the ordinary public sort of stuff that every couple does.

You want to make society accept homosexuality? Start behaving like ordinary people. Behaving like freaks is, I think, more harmful than useful.

I guess I might be blind to the problem. I really don't care who you hold hands with or kiss. It's mundane, uninteresting, non-performance. It's what ordinary people do.

I'll remember that the next time everyone in my office gathers in the conference room to celebrate the birth of someone's child. I'll remember that the next time they gather to eat a cake in honor of someone's engagement, or the next time I receive a company e-mail stating that "husbands and wives" are invited to the holiday party.

Eh? I'm childless and unmarried. Have I been mistaken in not being offended by others celebrating births, marriages, or picnics? Damn! Foolish me.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:45 AM on October 1, 2003


As far as I know, it's not illegal to give your sigOther a quick peck goodbye when you drop him/her off at the office. It's not illegal to hold hands walking down the street. It's not illegal to do any of the ordinary public sort of stuff that every couple does.

It's not "ordinary public sort of stuff" if you can be fired for it, or beaten for it, five fresh fish. Many of us do just those ordinary public thing, and behave like human beings--it's other human beings who won't allow us to.

And it's not about being offended by ordinary expressions of heterosexuality in the workplace or on the street--it's about not being able to act the same way, "ordinary public sort of stuff"
posted by amberglow at 10:34 AM on October 1, 2003


Sorry fishy, but you just don't get it. How is being out and unashamed behaving like a freak?

I hear from you the sentiments of a lot of supposedly accepting people. Be gay, just don't act gay. It's great that you don't care who holds hands with whom on the street, but this is a lot deeper than that.

I never said I was offended by straight people gathering to celebrate heterosexual life milestones. That's your word, not mine. I merely pointed out that it is performance, just as you think living out and unashamed is a performance. It's a celebration of a privilege that is a constant daily reminder to me that I am denied something based in other people's bigotry.

Try living as a gay person outside of a major city for a while and then come back and tell me how it's not a big deal in American society.

And your Rosa Parks analogy is meaningless as it is illegal for me to marry the adult person I want to marry (person, not child or sheep or farm animal or inanimate object). Change that law and I'll be the first to lay down the placards.
posted by archimago at 11:08 AM on October 1, 2003


Oh, and it was never illegal for Parks to ride the bus.
posted by archimago at 11:12 AM on October 1, 2003


what archimago said : >

(and we're not trying to gang up on you fff--we feel very very strongly about this--it affects our everyday, ordinary lives in a multitude of ways)
posted by amberglow at 11:38 AM on October 1, 2003


Wow... I missed most of a helluva thread! Anyway... via Atrios: Gay Kentucky Senator comes out.
posted by stonerose at 1:09 PM on October 1, 2003


fff, you said you "don't understand why it is necessary to make a big public spectacle of oneself in order to change society. Why can change not be made by simply doing the ordinary things that are done".

You're right. The most significant change is reflected in being able to do the ordinary things that are done. But can you think of any major change to society (along these lines) that was ever made without public spectacle?

In this case, as in civil rights, womens' rights, workers' rights, etc., it is the aggregate effect of the more outrageous and publicity-grabbing behavior that acts as a bulldozer to clear a path for what eventually comes to be understood as the simple, everyday and ordinary acts of living.
posted by taz at 2:19 PM on October 1, 2003


thanks for that, stonerose...this was interesting.

The 51 year old Democrat made the announcement in a speech at the Governor's Equal Employment Opportunity Conference in Louisville. Scorsone praised Gov. Paul Patton for signing an executive order in May prohibiting discrimination against state employees or job applicants on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

So state employees and applicants are protected, but regular people aren't, just as in the rest of the nation.
posted by amberglow at 2:26 PM on October 1, 2003


Settle down amberglow. With all due respect, you're continuing to just blow things way out of proportion.
posted by Witty at 4:26 PM on October 1, 2003


...you're continuing to just blow things way out of proportion.

i think not --perhaps if you lost your livelihood, like people in 36 states have, you'd think it was important.

(if you don't like the topic, there are plenty of other threads on metafilter to comment in, Witty)
posted by amberglow at 5:05 PM on October 1, 2003


I'm afraid that's Witty's way of offering you what he sees as your due respect.
posted by stonerose at 8:28 PM on October 1, 2003


You appear to have different definitions of "freak" and "ordinary" to me, fff. Regarding the issues under discussion, whatever people like to do in a mutually consensual sexual context is ordinary as far as I'm concerned, and anyone who can't handle perfectly acceptable conversational behaviour from others is a freak. All we are talking about here, is someone saying "and by the way, I'm gay". How does that offend your sensibilities precisely?
posted by walrus at 3:35 AM on October 2, 2003


Did I say something offensive stonerose?

...just as in the rest of the nation.

That's an exagerration... hence my comment.

I still think you're blowing things out of proportion. I'm not denying the fact that there is discrimination out there towards homosexuals. There's discrimination out there against everybody. But you're acting like it's 1906 in rural Alabama. It's just not so.

People are beaten all the time, for a variety of reasons. A kid in my area was beaten to death a few weeks ago for going to a rival high school. If they aren't beating you for being gay, then it's because you're in the wrong part of town... I dunno. It's just silly to argue with the point of view of (and I paraphrase), "gay people are beaten for kissing in public."

I won't argue that there are still problems out there in regard to homosexuals and their acceptance into society. But the question, or direction of the thread initially, was why some people feel the need to make a public statement or declaration that they're gay. I don't understand why it was necessary for Rosie O'Donnell, for instance, to go on TV and tell the world she a lesbian. Oh really? Great. NEXT!
posted by Witty at 11:08 AM on October 2, 2003


Did you read your NOLO link, Witty? the majority of gay and lesbian Americans aren't covered or protected from discrimination in the workplace.

What you're seeing as "acting like it's 1906 in rural Alabama" are statements of fact...many of us have been "beaten for kissing in public" and less. Speaking of rural Alabama in 1906: the vast majority of African-Americans were not lynched--does that mean we shouldn't have known that some were?

Rosie O'Donnell, like the journalist, came out in public for a specific reason--she wanted to adopt a child in Florida, and Florida's laws were discriminatory.The journalist came out to combat homophobia in sports. The state Senator in Kentucky came out after a Executive Order was signed protecting him and his coworkers from being fired, but not protecting the majority of gay and lesbian Kentuckians. When a public figure comes out, whether they have a specific reason or not, it helps all americans to recognize that people they know or admire are gay or lesbian, and that it's nothing to be hidden. Whether you care or not is up to you.
posted by amberglow at 11:41 AM on October 2, 2003


walrus: That doesn't offend my sensibilities any more than someone saying "and by the way, I'm straight." Which is to say that it just seems silly: I don't give a damn whether you're straight or gay, and can't imagine why you'd feel it necessary to tell me.

taz: dunno. How about interracial marriages? Did those require a public spectacle? I can't think of any other big social changes off the top of my head.

archimago: hey, hold off, buddy - I never said that living open and out was a performance. In fact everything I've been saying is that just living an ordinary life is all that's needed. Hold hands, give a peck goodbye, talk about your wonderful vacation, whatever.

Indeed, what's with this "be gay just don't act gay" line you're attributing to me? I never said that at all, unless "acting gay" requires broadcasting your sexual preferences to the entire nation. I don't think it does.

But, whatever. Maybe my experiences in Canada, where I've yet to see anyone get really and truly bent out of shape upon the sight of a couple holding hands, isn't typical.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:41 PM on October 2, 2003


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