Outs and Ins of Outing

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Larry Craig has vociferously denied that he is gay, but the allegations have plagued him for a long time now. Question is, whose business is it? "Outing" is a tricky subject — for a long time there was an unspoken rule about the homosexuality of public figures: it's strictly a private matter, to be ignored or sometimes even deliberately covered up by the press. But since the press has enlarged to include everyone with a computer, and homophobia slowly and steadily has declined, "outing" has become more and more popular. Mike Rogers runs a blog that "reports on closeted hypocrites in the government who work against the gay and lesbian community." And there's the crux of it: some people believe that hypocrisy is a reason to make something that used to be nobody's business... everyone's. We'll talk to him today, as well as crisis management and journalist folks, about the ethics of outing. What do you think?



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I suppose the only time it could be OK to out someone is when they are politically homophobic and hypocritical.

Sent by Jonpaul | 2:10 PM | 9-6-2007

It's not being gay that's the news, it's the recently-discovered hypocrisy which is.

Sent by Eric | 2:13 PM | 9-6-2007

As controversal as "outing" is, a lot of the discomfort surrounding this issue is rooted in the tension between the OLD and NEW media. That's my opinion.

Mike Roger's harshest critics tend to come from the old media types who were scooped by a much more nimble media platform.

bloggers all they want. It's not going to stem their inevitable slide towards irrelevance.

Sent by Jay Lassiter | 2:18 PM | 9-6-2007

What of the person who struggles with same sex attraction, but who believes these attractions are morally wrong. If they struggle to adopt a straight life style they may expect to have lapses of behavior (into acting on the homosexual attractions). The same situation an alchoholic might experience. Should these people be "outed"> Should they not have the right to try to live a straight life if their moralvalues dictate that doing so is proper?

Sent by MWW | 2:21 PM | 9-6-2007

Sexual orientation may be a bit too much of a grenade thrown in church to discuss this question without bias, so let's put it on another footing: suppose Craig was vocally opposed to casino gambling and it was disclosed that he held a controlling interest in an Atlantic City casino? Would his vested interest in something he so loudly opposed in the pit of the Senate not be newsworthy then?

Sent by Mark Stein | 2:27 PM | 9-6-2007

When any person performs gay or straight sex in a public venue, it becomes public knowledge. If they want their sexual practices to stay private, conduct it privately, not where a 9 year old boy can come into a restroom and witness something they don't need to see.

Sent by Laura Grossman | 2:27 PM | 9-6-2007

Wonder how many "liberals" this fine gentleman has outed...but that is not the goal is it?

Sent by wayne | 2:28 PM | 9-6-2007

As an openly gay man--and as a direct and indirect victim of the bigotry suffered as a result of it--I have absolutely NO problem outing anyone--especially a public figure--who is closeted and actively fights against equal treatment of the LGBT community. No one shoud condone the obvious hypocrisy and self-hatred of such a situation.

Sent by Stephen M. Dell'Aversano | 2:29 PM | 9-6-2007

Who do we personalize this? This Senator is supposed to represent what he felt his voters wanted, not what he personally wanted.

Sent by dj | 2:29 PM | 9-6-2007

you need to consider who these people are take a quick look at St Louis Post dispatch at http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/26263150D474C4EE8625734800098FDC?OpenDocument

Sent by beentheredidntknowwhat was going on | 2:29 PM | 9-6-2007

A person's sexual orientation has absolutely no bearing on whether or not I would vote for them. However, the negative characteristics that Larry Craig has demonstrated through this ordeal -- hypocracy, lying to everyone including his family and himself, and just plain old poor judgement -- would. Those things are far more important to consider when chosing our political leaders.

Sent by Leslie Eicher | 2:30 PM | 9-6-2007

The political being of "gay" is one who has a same sex attraction and has the intent of living life according to that premise, i.e. having sexual with intimate relationships. Be it in the closet or out. Having sex with men around public restrooms to me is not necessarily gay.

Sent by kerry Donars | 2:30 PM | 9-6-2007

Does anyone remember President Clinton? I feel that his behavior was private, but there were folks who thought that his indiscretions were related to his job

Sent by geoff | 2:30 PM | 9-6-2007

I'm not sure if Craig is gay or not is entirely relevant. He represents a district, and as such represents their views, not simply his own. Which is worse...to betray one's self or to betray the district one is suppose to represent? Clearly, Craig is suppose to represent Idaho and their views, despite personal sexual orientation.

Sent by Chad | 2:30 PM | 9-6-2007

As a retired federal (civil service) employee, I can say that I primary policy concern (or violation) is that representatives in authoritative positions (with undisclosed situations such as this) are susceptible to being pressured to unethical or illegal actions by simple threat of disclosure; thus becoming a security risk at many levels.

Sent by Joe Schwerling, Fort Thomas, KY | 2:31 PM | 9-6-2007

When will we comment on the difference between outing a person and the news that a person pleading guilty to a sexual crime?

Sent by Andrew | 2:33 PM | 9-6-2007

Isn't a moral issue? Larry Craig has lied to his constituents. That seems to be the crux to me. I don't care what my representatives sexual orientation, race sex etc is. What I care about is their honest and integrity.
Lying is not honest and a sign of a lack of integrity.

Sent by Joanne Nelson Powers | 2:34 PM | 9-6-2007

Kelly McBride keep on talking about a journalist making the decision whether the truth matters. I'm not sure that I want journalists deciding what I/the public needs to know. I think in general, journalists should present facts as they know them and we the public can then decide what we care about.

Sent by Kelli | 2:37 PM | 9-6-2007

If there is one quality I look for in a politician it is honesty. For someone to live one life style and then attack that life style in public is, I think, the height of dishonesty (read hypocrisy). The Republicans seem to have one set of standards (see Swift Boats and the impeachment of Bill Clinton) and the Democrats another. It is time for the Democrats to use the same tactics and show the American people that hypocrisy is a Republican "Family Value."

Sent by Martin Friedman | 2:39 PM | 9-6-2007

Being gay, and not out, I feel that outing someone is wrong. I have my own reasons of not being out. People need to feel comfortable to come out. With the first caller you had I have to somewhat agree but also disagree. I didn't choose to be gay. I know that I am gay, and I don't want someone to tell the world that I am. Growing up in a small town and having the idea that homosexuality is wrong, is a very hard thing to change. Leave everyone to there own lives. If your gay be gay, if your straight be straight. Its that simple.

Sent by Ethan | 2:41 PM | 9-6-2007

I think it's a sexual violation of a human's personal boundaries to define their sexuality for him/her. If it's a situation where an undercover officer gives signs that he is consentually open to sex, then exposing someone publicly for reciprocating those feelings in a private situation is violating his private boundaries. Crossing private boundaries, without acquiring the person's informed consent to the full situation, is a form of sexual abuse. Has Craig been sexually abused? I don't know the details of this story enough to know. However, it is his right for the social policies he advocates to differ from his personal preferences in his private life. He couldn't be elected for advocating such policies unless citizens supported them. If people want a society which is not repressive, citizens should advocate and support more liberated policies to and with each other. Then, politicians would support those. Politicians' success depends on their voicing of the public opinion. It's all our efforts to influence each other that changes politicians.

Sent by Irene | 2:43 PM | 9-6-2007

I don't really care if he is gay, closeted gay or heterosexual. I just want him out of office because he does not have enough common sense to 'not plead guilty' to something he wants to now deny. Larry Craig does not possess the skills to help lead a nation if he can't figure this out.

Sent by Dave | 2:44 PM | 9-6-2007

What Mike fails to factor into his rationale for outing these "hypocritical" members of Congress is their obligation to represent their constituents. As it should be, these Congressmen are NOT representing their personal beliefs, but rather the popular opinion of the constituents in their districts. I applaud their adherence to their duty as statesmen, even if my personal beliefs do not follow their support of legislation condoning the violation of civil rights.

Sent by Georgette Schweitzer | 2:45 PM | 9-6-2007

If Larry Craig's sexual orientation is his own personal business, then so is mine, and my partner's, and every other American's--gay, straight, bi, trans, or otherwise--and should not affect our ability to love, marry, join the military, or raise a family.

Craig's position on gay rights suggests that he thinks what's okay for him is not okay for other gay people. I applaud Mike Rogers for exposing his hypocrisy.

Sent by Melissa | 2:45 PM | 9-6-2007

Mike Rogers is nuts. We live in a representative democracy. That means that people don't represent themselves. They represent those that elect them. If Larry Craig is gay and wanted to push for anti-gay legislation he should be able to do that without having to deal with people like Mike Rogers. By Rogers logic we should be "outing" democrats who are pro-choice and Catholic to some Catholic pride group. People don't do this because of this concept of a representative democracy. Personal religion and sexual orientation mean nothing for a public official. Obviously, many people vote based on public officials' personal characteristics, but this does not determine how these officials do their job. Their job is to represent their constituency, not their own personal interests. Furthermore, what Rogers is doing is using the negative public perception of being gay to get revenge on gays who choose not to embrace the gay community. Rogers talks about hypocrisy...that's hypocrisy.

Sent by A recent undergrad | 2:48 PM | 9-6-2007

I agree with the comment that sex should occur in private where other people are not forced to see, such as children coming into a bathroom. However, was the behavior Craig demonstrated actually sex? Or was it just flirting? Is flirting not legal in public? Are all public displays of affection to be repressed? Can a man not walk down the street with his hand in his girlfriend's back pocket? Should he be ticketed for that? If we carry this line of thinking to its end, it would not be OK for people, especially women, to wear clothing that emphasizes their sexuality. Of course, flirtatious displays of human sexuality are legal. If they were not, our society would be so repressive that burkas would be mandated, and several young female pop models would be less empowered in the ways they could pursue success. Sexual repression is not mentally healthy. Indigenous societies that were sexual liberated were basically free of stress and vexation. It is not OK to violate laws, but let's examine what those laws actually are. Again, I don't know enough about the details of this case to decide if Craig's behavior went beyond flirting in a situation where he was given signals that the other party was open to it.

Sent by Irene | 2:52 PM | 9-6-2007

Mr. Craig was a public official who was soliciting sex in a public bathroom. Imagine if those antics were taking place with young children you also used the room. If a public official were having sex in a private environment, such as a bedroom, motel, I think one could argue whether that decision should be cause for "outing" no matter what ones political beliefs.

Sent by JJ | 3:04 PM | 9-6-2007

Mike Rogers is a fraud. I am openly gay and I live in Idaho. I do not support Larry Craig because I considered him a nasty, self-serving political opportunist. But Rogers told everyone in October 2006 that he had the goods on Craig. And Rogers never delivered a single shred of proof to support his boisterous claims. Questions and stories about Craig's sexual orientation have been around as long as I can remember. But until someone actually steps forward with proof there is no story. Larry Craig outed himself. Rogers had nothing to do with it. And the Statesman felt is was finally safe to blow the dust of Dan Popkey's story only because Craig was arrested and pleaded guilty. Larry Craig outed himself. Rogers is a self-promoter, NOT a journalist.

Sent by John in Boise | 3:04 PM | 9-6-2007

WOW this was a great show. My thanks to NPR, Neil and Mike Rodgers. This could be one more step in stopping the hurtful treatment of people just because they are Gay.

Sent by Greg Knott | 3:05 PM | 9-6-2007

I agree with John in Boise. I am an open lesbian also living in Boise and I have been closely following this story since last October with the rest of the LGBT community here in Idaho and my impressions of Mike Rogers is that he is using this as an opportunity for a career makeover. He says there is more to come but will not say what yet asks for money. He admitted in the Idaho Statesman that "I was an armature" when discussing the validity of his sources.

Honestly the back lash to Rogers unproven claims about Larry Craig many in our state believe is what cost us the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage vote last November. Mike Rogers's interest is not about the LGBT community in Idaho but rather Mike Roger's celebrity

Sent by Dayna | 3:27 PM | 9-6-2007

I don't mind the fact the he may have an interest in the same sex married or not. Myself and, I am sure, a majority of men out there do not know the the universal sign for getting someones attention in a mens bath room stall is tapping your feet on the ground. Why would you do this unless you knew what kind of attention it was going to attract. This adamant act of denial reminds me of President Clinton when he told the world "I did not have sexual relations with the women"!!!!!

Sent by Milan | 3:47 PM | 9-6-2007

Craig's vote and public pronouncements, if any, in the Clinton impeachment, should determine whether Craig merits leniency or sympathy.

Sent by Dan Ross | 4:00 PM | 9-6-2007

I disagree with Mike Rogers and find hypocrisy in the fact that he would want to stamp a public figures sexual preference as a label. Acceptance of homosexuality will not find any normalcy as long as it is displayed like a banner over an individuals head. Would it not be an atrocity to gay rights to require all homosexuals who pursue public offices to broadcast their personal sexual preference to the entire world? I question Mr. Rogers motives for such outing.

Sent by Jamie - Huntington, WV | 4:05 PM | 9-6-2007

Isn't one of main points: were other people, such as children, in the bathroom and viewing his behavior? If they were not, then how is it right to presume how Craig would behave in a situation which was not part of the experiment? Why do people think it's OK to be deceptive and trick people as to an officer's real motives? Isn't their something that violates human trust about undercover agents deceiving people -- turning what is actually a private situation (if no one else is present, and the person can sense this) into a public one that the target has no way of knowing about because he is being deceived? It seems to me there is something immoral about lying to people about something so important as their ability to safeguard their own sexual privacy.

"Public bathroom" is a distant view of it. The real question as to whether it was a private situation was: was anyone else there who could see or be affected by it? Shouldn't general laws be more sensitive to specific situations so people aren't tricked in ways that ruin their lives? To really test Craig's respect for people's choices, another agent should have walked in who gave signs of not being open to sexual activity. If Craig stopped his actions so that person couldn't see, then he would have been protecting people and responding appropriately to what was no longer a private situation. Why wasn't a more comprehensive situation set up to be sure his behavior was evaluated with all elements of the situation in mind?

Sent by Irene | 4:11 PM | 9-6-2007

As far as hypocritical politicians are concerned, what about the many many politicos who affirm that they are personally opposed to abortion, yet support the constitutional decision that allows for abortion? Hmmmm....

Sent by Joe | 4:16 PM | 9-6-2007

Hypocrisy should be outed. That's what the press is for. Let me repeat, bottom line, hypocrisy should always be outed.

Sent by Morris Wills | 4:38 PM | 9-6-2007

(1) I don't consider the Senator to be "gay": he lives a straight life and has homosexual tendencies; (2) His public sex citation is certainly newsworthy and would be for anyone; (3) Where the media is outing a gay person: I can't think of any other instance where we question the ethics of the media when they are reporting the truth.

Sent by NMH | 4:43 PM | 9-6-2007

how dare Neil Conan compare internalized homophobia (which senator Craig exibits in his legislative attcks on gays and his own sexually repressed behavior) to being gay. They are not the same thing. Self hatred and gayness are not the same thing in other words. which your show ignorantly implies. Craig's behavior is not that of a gay man but of a man who not only hates himself , hates honesty and openness and self awareness but hates gay people to the point of using his political power to oppress them. I am amazed NPR allowed this kind of ignorance to air.

Sent by Linda | 6:27 PM | 9-6-2007

I'm a gay man. I'm 49 years old and I have been "out" since I was 17. Fortunately, over the past 32 years, I've seen the views on gays become generally more positive and moving toward the state of "who cares"? If you live with acceptance of yourself, people who know you and like you will generally follow that lead. That is not to say that I haven't witnessed and experienced discrimination and disdain.

If someone wants to live in private a "double life," speaking out anti-gay but secretly being homosexual, that is their business. HOWEVER, when they step into the political arena and have the ability to pass laws that deny me of or take away or in any way limit my right to live as I choose, then I say, "OUT THEM!" I'm tired of the hypocrisies of the "conservatives." If your behavior is hypocritical then, stay out of politics.

I can't believe the naive views of those saying Craig's personal views/behavior is independent of the views he represents of his constituents. Since when did that happen?? Our elected officials do not sit silently in Washington pressing buttons or filling in circles on ballots to "vote the opinions" of their constituents. They stand up and speak, they argue and debate, they persuade. When was the last time someone ran on a platform of "I don't have the same views as you but, elect me anyway and I'll push your viewpoints in Washington." That is ridiculous.

I agree with the person who said "Hypocrisy should always be outed." I don't mind someone having the opposite opinion as mine as long as they practice what they preach!

Sent by Bill Leinweber | 7:22 PM | 9-6-2007

The issue isn't hypocrisy, political gamesmanship, privacy or character assasination. It's that he, in essence, committed fraud and is compromising national security.

He was elected because he was perceived by his constituents to be someone who reflected their values and could therefore be trusted to REPRESENT them in a manner consistent with their values.

The even bigger issue is that his behavior is a threat to national security. What's to stop a military contractor or foreign government from blackmailing Craig, Vitter, Foley, et al to act in their narrow interests instead of the nation's?

They have put themselves in a position where they could be forced to perpetuate their fraudulent behavior - and forced to act against the interests of our nation.

I'm not a lawyer but I believe that defrauding the American public is a capitol offense. This behavior is probably treasonable.

I think we will see more outing of public officials with twisted proclivities this election season and fully believe that the American People have every right - and absolutely need to know who is and who isn't running our country into a ditch.

Sent by Mitch | 8:01 PM | 9-6-2007

I think in today's society there is now a fine line between public and private information. Not only do we hunt out and buy papers based upon the newest, "juiciest" gossip but we are a culture that enjoys gossip. We gossip at work, in school, within our own families. Another part is that we as a Nation still have the superstition about being gay, we shun them, we abuse them, we make fun of them and being a gay professional myself I've never had a face to face hateful encounter, I've never stood up and said "IM GAY" but I also have never felt compelled to have to describe myself as "gay" and I'm an "Out Professional". The people that I know and work with don't care about who I love and want to share my life with, they care if I get my job done and if I do it honestly. Larry Craig broke a law it's as simple as that, he didn't get arrested for being gay so what does his sexual preference mean b/c he could of met anyone in the stall next to him.

Sent by David | 8:27 PM | 9-6-2007

People don't have an inherent right to keep their sexual orientation private. At least, we don't act as though straight people do. Among the first things we learn about people is whether they are married.
People do have an inherent right to protect themselves, and in our culture we risk family, career, and personal safety if we are known to be gay.
When politicians promote and exploit this risk that gays face, it is our right to defend ourselves. Outing a closeted politician is simply poetic justice.

Sent by Rick Dechance | 11:20 PM | 9-6-2007

Thank you for giving us a forum for discussing this volatile issue. I've been living with the results of a forcible outing for 9 years and have been stewing over the event ever since.

In Santa Barbara, one of the gentlemen that worked for the local Boy Scout office was approached by gay activists and told he was going to be outed and that he should speak against the Scouts policy of not letting Leadership be openly gay. This gentleman worked happily for 7 years within the Scouting organization, well-respected and appreciated, never feeling the need to take on a 100 year old policy, believing that the good he did for our young people outweighed other considerations. He had to go home and tell his folks what was happening, never having discussed his sexuality with them. He then stood up in front of the City Council and DEFENDED the Scouting Organization, the work they do and the fact that he had no difficulty living with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" approach that most local offices use. He spoke with courage and conviction, knowing that the national office would be forced to let him go because he had public ally announced his homosexuality. I'm purposely not using his name because he's one of my heroes and I wouldn't want to cause him any more embarrassment or trouble.

The activists that outed him were serving their own agenda, not his. They used this man for their own ends; much like a blackmailer uses people for money. People bandy around the term "terrorist" too much today, but there should be a lesser term for people who use shame or manipulation to achieve their goals. They feel the ends justify the means, instead of using logic and hard work to sway public opinion; they can grind up individuals for some future that they are creating. Shouldn't gay activist be working for self-determination just the way feminist have in the past? Women who choose a more traditional role are just as committed to feminist issues as those who work outside the home. Why did the activist take away this gentleman's right to choose how he would make a difference in the world, whether as openly gay or as an example of a good person who just happens to be gay in his private life?

Where are our leaders going to come from in the future if we tear down the institutions that create them? I'm not saying I agree with the Scout policy, but then I don't agree with all the United States policies, and I don't move away. I stay, support, and try to make small changes where and when I can. I would encourage all activists that strive for change to do the same. Build, don't destroy.

Sent by Wendy Kelly | 11:44 PM | 9-6-2007

Thank you to all for this spirited discussion. I appreciate the respectful tone of (most of) the comments.

One made me laugh: I wish I had enough influence to help marriage amendments win or lose...but, I assure you that the marriage amendment had about as much chance of passage in Idaho as Larry Craig has of saving his Senate career.

Sent by Mike Rogers | 2:38 AM | 9-7-2007

First let's get something "straight" here. Sen. Craig was not tricked. He was the initiator of this behavior. If I were in a public bathroom, I would be extremely annoyed if a strange man stared at me through the crack of my stall for several minutes and then proceeded to stick his foot and fingers under the separation during my private moments. If this behavior were considered acceptable, then there would be no stalls and no dividers separating them...just a line of toilet bowls. If I need to use a public restroom, that stall becames my space and I don't want any surprise invasions. The Sen. deserved what he got because HE was the "nasty, naughty, bad boy" this time. The very words he so smugly used to describe President Clinton. What a hypocrite!

Sent by AG | 4:23 AM | 9-7-2007

Guess I am not meant for public speaking. When I called in earlier I was terrified and could barely state my point. I am happy for this opportunity to do so now! I believe when dealing with issues that are emotionally and politically charged one must tread carefully. Senator Craig has essentially "outed" himself. Soliciting sex in an airport bathroom, while the incident is at best circumstantial, is evidence of an unhealthy mental state regardless of sexual orientation. The man has a wife, children and grandchildren that we should consider even if the Senator perhaps did not. By descending upon this man like vultures I believe as a member of the gay community that we make ourselves look vindictive and petty. Let the Senator's character in dealing with this issue prove him worthy or unworthy and let us not be cruel to him or anyone else. We needn't lead a witch-hunt. Hypocrites inevitably expose themselves as such, as do agitators.

Sent by Josh in Longmont, Colorado - again | 5:45 AM | 9-7-2007

I am a gay man in my forties. I feel that a public outing, generally, would be considered wrong. However, when a politician creates a sphere of hyprocrisy that works against their alledged sexual orientation and they continue to engage in this sexual orientation i.e. sleeping with men or women of the same sex and continues to create a hyprocrisy against homosexuals. For example: that gay marriage is wrong or homosexuality is a choice and that their behavior is wrong and that we should be treated as second class citizens. These particular people should be pubilicly outed. They deverse no more than what they are doing against their own minority. Turn about is fair play.

Sent by Bradford Richardson | 10:28 AM | 9-7-2007

It would be one thing if he was a closet homosexual in private, but he was soliciting in PUBLIC. This is illegal whoever you are. If a senator is convicted of any crime while in office, isn???t it the business of the people he pretends to represent?

Also, I read a study that many of those who participate in this public restroom ritual do not consider themselves homosexual or bisexual. Is ???gay??? a relative term now? A man who has brief, anonymous sexual encounters with other men sounds at least bisexual to me.

Also, saying you didnt do somthing when you really did sounds like lying to me.

Sent by A Atwood | 10:48 AM | 9-7-2007

I think it have been useful to have defined "outing" before beginning the conversation. Is it outing when people already suspect? Is whispering outing? A collegue at work was suspected of being gay, but being a conservative he frequently expressed shock and disgust at homosexuality. In additon, he would make up stories about dates with women. Hmmm. . when we discovered that he had propositioned an openly gay man at the same company, I completely lost respect for him. In addition to his open hipocracy, every time he lied about the dates with women etc. I lost trust and respect for him. Again, it was the hipocracy and lying that bothered me, not the homosexuality. Would it constitute outing him if I was to mention what I knew to a someone at work?

Sent by Traci | 3:41 PM | 9-7-2007

I agree with one of the commentators above that we need to look at the issue of "outing" through a different lens. If a man puts his are around his girlfriend in public, did he "out" her as a heterosexual? Until the day arrives when gays/lesbians are seen as full and equal citizens, and people don't just assume that one is heterosexual, I see outing every gay/lesbian person (politician or not) as a political necessity. Until our numbers (I say "our" being gay myself) are exposed for all to see, we will never have the equality we deserve. As for outing Craig, well that one is just a no-brainer.

Sent by Patrick Dooley | 5:59 PM | 9-7-2007

I can understand anger at politicians who deny rights to LBGT people -- or any people, for that matter. Still, someone's sexuality can be a very sensitive matter. If we want respect for everyone, how about respecting the boundaries of people who want to remain in the closet? Barging in on someone else's private ground by outing them (in cases where they don't out themselves) can cause lasting emotional harm. Rights for everyone! I think we should be very careful to not cross people's private sexual boundaries when we speak about them.

Re: the post about a word for people who use shame or manipulation to achieve their goals -- I have one: abusive. Crossing people's private sexual boundaries is a form of abuse. Most abuse is considered to be justified by the people who do it.

OK, I just read the officer's report. It indicated "the presence of others did not seem to deter Craig." The officer "could hear several unknown persons in the restroom" while Craig's actions occurred. I was afraid Craig had been tricked into think it was a private situation. Apparently this was obviously not the case. So, Craig is the one who did not respect the sexual boundaries of other people in the room.

Quotes from: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0828071craig1.html

Sent by Irene | 1:13 AM | 9-8-2007

Several people indicated that Craig's anti-gay vote were just simply him representing his constituents. However, a representative has the right to make decisions on his own and he should certainly let the voters know where he stands.

Sent by grumpy gramps | 2:51 PM | 9-8-2007

I support Mike Rogers.

Being in the closet is not about PRIVACY, it is about SECRECY. Sexual Orientation is not about what goes on in the bedroom, which is a matter of privacy. It is about which gender of genders one is generally attracted to. Everyone has a sexual orientation, even those who may be celibate, whether by choice or circumstance, at any given point in their lives. Straight people do not try to hide their sexual orientation. They readily acknowledge their marital status, whether they have kids, talk openly about their social lives, etc.

There was a time when some members of another oppressed group - Jews - would change their names and try to hide their status for fear of discrimination (unless they had too many "obviously Jewish" traits). Now the media has no problem "outing" those of Jewish heritage like Madeleine Albright.

Sexual orientation is a basic human trait like height, hair color, gender or race. The "right to privacy" doesn't preclude the media, or anyone else, from revealing those characteristics or even those like religion that do involve a level of "choice". Why should sexual orientation be treated any differently?

Moreover, even a non-public figure can do harm by hiding their sexual orientation. Keeping one's sexual orientation from an opposite-sex spouse or significant other can cause emotional distress and (if the person is secretly having gay sex on the side) even put them at risk of contracting a serious disease.

It is part of the natural trajectory of the gay movement to get to the point where sexual orientation is no longer something that should or even can be hid. I think we may have finally reached that point.

Yes, there are still negative consequences that can happen to LGBT people. But that is still true of other minorities too, who don't have the option of secrecy. As someone who is both black and gay, I say, "deal with it".

Sent by Claude | 2:13 PM | 9-10-2007

I was drawn here from a wikipedia page, and am somewhat shocked at how many leftward leaning people are for it. Why is it okay to out someone simply because they disagree with the general political opinion of the rest of the community? Isn't that concept the same as "it is okay to out someone as long as it suits my interest"? Where do you draw the line?

If an individual wants to mask their sexual orientation for political purposes, I am all for it. I have no opposition towards homosexuals open or in the closet, and an individual's political outlook is their own to hold. That is where I draw the line however.

Sexual solicitation heterosexual or homosexual in a public location should not be tolerated, least of all from a public figure. Once it leaves the bedroom, it leaves the realm of privacy, and the right to privacy is waved. Solicitation in a public place risks the premature exposure to children, and bringing the law down is common sense. Outing a private individual in the public sector is political opportunism.

Sent by shellshock | 6:42 PM | 11-13-2007

The comparison between outing a comedian versus a politician is preposterous. We have no stake in a comedian's integrity. It is the responsibility of the media to report on hypocrisy in politics where integrity is valued, if not necessary. It is as ethically valid for Mike Rogers to expose this kind of hypocrisy in the name of gay rights as it is for any other public opinion activist to do so in the name of other humanitarian or environmental causes. It's the subtle and pervasive "yuck" factor against gays that even brings the ethics of outing someone into question. As an openly gay man, I believe that this kind of hatred is akin to anti-Semitism and racism and should be called by its name. The kind of disgust for other human beings that is keeping gays out of our military is the same as that which gave us concentration camps and separate drinking fountains. Any step the media can take to rid our system of this hatred is morally valid.

Sent by Marcos G. Sanchez | 3:50 PM | 12-14-2007

It's a private matter, none the less. If they choose to hide their sexual orientation, then that is their call. Respect their rights folks, it's that simple. As a public servant, they should be honest, but truth be told there are many dishonest public servants. Who are we to judge them?

I worked for a Midwest Consulting firm in Chicago, up until recently, and while engaged in a long-term project in Tampa, Florida. The acting CIO held a Diversity Training Activity as part of a required all hands meeting.

The first question began with "If you are gay ... step in the square to your right". Mortified, I never dreamed of having my private life placed on view during a company event, or being outted to my teammates this way.

Sent by Roger D Sago | 12:08 PM | 9-25-2008

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