Notes from Life...
After a summer hiatus, Notes from Life is back. Last night, I saw the movie "In and Out" with Kevin Kline. By the time the reader reads this article, he or she will most likely have seen the movie as well. On the way to the movie, two friends of mine, and myself, had a discussion about outing. I, without thinking, had divulged information to one of my friends in the car about the other friend's personal life. The girl to whom I told the information is a good friend of mine and of my other movie going companion. She is straight and had a hard time grasping what the big deal was about me divulging information about my other friend's sexuality. She figured that because she had no problems with his sexuality that it shouldn't have mattered who told her about it. And that is where I jumped in conversation. I told her that no matter what her reaction was, good or ill, I was at fault because it was not my place to share sexuality information with her without permission from the other person involved.
"In and Out" has me thinking about the validity of outing. For anyone who has been outed, even in the friendliest of circumstances, it is usually an uncomfortable position to be in because of the lack of preparation for the results on the outed person's part. In the last few years, "outing" has become a favorite tool of GLBT activities when dealing with representatives and senators in Congress and other US officials. Is it right to out a politician? With so many GLBT activists wanting the government to stay out of their private lives, is it hypocritical for GLBT activists to delve into elected politicians' private lives? Or, are the ultimate civil rights issues that cause activists to out politicians more important that private lives or hypocrisy?
Normally, I would be completely against outing. But, politicians are public figures with public lives and their decisions affect more persons than themselves, and therefore I believe that outing is a last resort for making politicians do what is right, but it is a tool in the civil rights arsenal.
October is a month in which we celebrate National Coming Out Day. This year one of my best friends will be coming out, en masse, to his family and friends. Each year with more people coming out it makes it easier for the next generation of young queers to take that monumental step. This year, I celebrated my third year of being completely out, and it feels fantastic. I encourage all of you to think about the issues that surround coming out, and remember, and I quote loosely, what Harvey Milk said, "Coming out is the single most important political act that you can do."