The many outings, scandals and rumors about the sexual orientation of many Republican staffers and politicians over these past few weeks could easily leave the casual observer with the unfair impression that the Republican party is dominated by psychopathic closeted gay men.
And while that is certainly not true, it may very well be that the GOP's abominable homophobic campaign and party rhetoric is primarily fueled by a long-standing core and tradition of pathologically self-hating closeted gay men in key positions.
Haggard is the latest example; the most powerful Republican Evangelical in the nation has turned out to be a gay man who describes his homosexuality as something "repulsive and dark." Haggard has been one of the main driving forces behind the Republican Party's anti-gay crusade. Would the anti-gay crusade have been as virulent and as "successful" if the nation's 30 million Evangelicals had been led by a mentally healthy and emotionally well-balanced heterosexual Christian? We now know that Haggard's passion for his anti-Gay crusade was not born of his love for Jesus but rather of his own self-loathing and pathology.
Because of a few men like Haggard, in the days before the November 7 election, millions of Americans around the nation received automated "telemarketing" phone calls with recorded messages warning them that a vote for Democrats is vote for gay marriage, abortion and sodomy.
So, I'm posing an ugly and incredibly distasteful question that the gay community must ask itself. Would a national political campaign be so focused on homophobia if not for the presence and influence of so many self-loathing closeted gay Republicans? When we blame straights for Republican and Christian homophobia are we pointing the finger in the wrong direction?
And are we ourselves, in a gay community sense, at least partly responsible if not primarily responsible for fueling this nightmare?
If this theory is even partly correct, then it is critical and vital to our future that we hunt down and expose these men with urgency and even brutality.
Many have criticized gay activist Mike Rogers for his outings over the years and especially over the past few weeks. Mike explains that he's not outing gay men, he's outing hypocrites. Mike might very well be the role model we should all be following. Yesterday's crazy blogger may be today's pioneer and tomorrow's hero.
And while the jury is still out on Mike Jones, the male escort who outed Ted Haggard, ultimately this meth-dealing gay prostitute may go down in gay history as an heroic figure.
You can easily question the motives and timing of Mike Jones, but we mustn't underestimate the monumental importance and damage done to our society by the fact that the nation's most influential homophobic organization has been in the hands and under the guidance of a profoundly mentally ill gay man.
Without the chain reaction begun by Mike Rogers that along the way likely shook loose a Mike Jones, the Haggard abomination might have continued for many more years and done much more damage to the heart and soul of this nation and to the safety and rights of gay Americans.
This blog has expressed mixed feelings about outings in general, but has been consistently in favor of outing closeted public figures. Closeted celebrities and politicians provide negative and destructive role models for the young, sending the heinous message that being gay is shameful, dangerous and damaging. I firmly believe that men and women who enjoy the benefits of fame have a responsibility to society. They wield great power and influence over our culture and that includes affecting the mental well being of our kids.
A closeted Lance Bass fuels homophobia and shame. An out Lance Bass inspires young gay men and women and diminishes homophobia. Anderson Cooper? Are you listening?
As a community we have to ask ourselves some very hard questions and the question of responsibility for homophobia is key among them.
The second most powerful--if not the most powerful--force behind McCarthyism was a mentally ill closeted gay man. We can now see that this is part of a pattern, part of a pathology: Roy Cohn, James McGreevey, Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, etc.
As a community, we very well know who these people are. They hide in plain sight.
They hire escorts. They screw our friends and acquaintances. They drink at our bars and they dance at our clubs. We titter, we gossip , we spread a few rumors, but mostly we remain silent. We are "discrete."
It's time to consider that our collective silence on this issue and with regard to these individuals may be one of the root causes of national homophobia institutionalized by one of our two political parties.
The gay community may be more responsible for homophobia than we care to admit. Furthermore, the gay community may have more control over its own future than we care to address. In some circumstances, outing may be as much of a civic duty as voting. Forgive the cliche, but growing pains are an inevitable part of life and maturation; and now may be the time for some pain.