Scandals are nothing new when it comes to politics, especially now that the Internet and social media have transformed how people receive information. The widespread use of text messages and tweeting have made it easier for personal information to spread quickly to the public.
When you’re a closeted LGBTQ individual, the Internet has equally been a source of valuable information and a tool for bullies to force the coming out process.
Coming out was, at least for me, an incredibly emotional, mental and spiritual process that had moments of liberation and trauma. Nonetheless, it’s a very personal experience that is unique to every individual. There is no right way to come out.
As a member of the media, I would never out someone for money or a sensational headline; it goes against everything for which I stand. However, is it acceptable to out someone if they have political power and they use that power to hinder LGBTQ rights?
A few months ago, journalist Itay Hod wrote a lengthy Facebook post about a “hypothetical” situation of an unnamed Republican Illinois congressman being closeted. Hod claims that he has a friend that works for a reputable news organization and his friend has sources that prove this congressman has been seen showering with his male roommate and “trolling” gay bars.
Hod was indirectly referring to Congressman Aaron Schock, R-IL, who has voted against legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and disability.
Hod brings up the argument that the media should out him since he is voting against LGBTQ rights legislation and the media supposedly has evidence of his sexual orientation. It is hypocritical to legislatively discriminate against our LGBTQ Americans while privately enjoying same sex relations.
In a more interesting development, last week on Reddit an anonymous user posted a meme which claims he will out an anti-gay U.S. Senator in a couple weeks.
The user claims he has been in a relationship for three years with an anti-gay Republican senator who has become “abusive.” There is very little information about the user and many Reddit users are skeptical about the legitimacy of the post. The person planning on outing this senator also says he will be receiving lots of money to do so.
If the anonymous user is telling the truth, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds. If the senator is truly anti-gay, it will further complicate the question asking if it is ethical to out a person in power.
LGBTQ rights organizations have been vocal against outing anybody regardless of who it is, but I disagree. It’s naïve to say that all coming out experiences are equal. I do not care what people do in the bedroom, but in this case, “the personal is political”. As much as I would love to live in an utopian society where sexual orientation doesn’t matter, it still does.
The closet is not a fun place to live. I would urge that all people should come out when they feel ready. Especially if you’re a closeted member of Congress; you’re hurting people that you are supposed to serve, and you are also hurting yourself.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @gilromeo92