Jul 252005
 

Last week Robert Traynham, the chief of staff and communications director to ultra-conservative Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), was outed by the gay press. Many conservatives were angry about what they considered to be a betrayal of the man’s privacy.

Is it appropriate to out conservative gay politicians? I think that it all depends on the context, and sometimes, it is more than appropriate–it’s necessary. One of the most disturbing parts of the story was the remark made by several commentators, who said that by outing Mr. Traynham, the press had ruined his life.

This raises two issues that would conflict with positions frequently taken by the right wing republicans.

First, for the statement to be true, his life had to be presumed good before he was outed.

It’s impossible to believe that any of these people who think that outing is always a bad move have any idea what it’s like to be in the closet. I do–I was stuck there until I was 23. Millions of other men and women are still in it. And may never come out. When you’re in the closet, there isn’t a moment when you can be truly honest, truly comfortable, or truly yourself.

This is the life that some people say Mr. Traynham was viciously thrown out of. Now the poor man has to deal with other people knowing the truth about his life, and who he really is, and who he really dates. Now, for the first time, they know him.

Republicans all claim they are tolerant, and that gay people don’t merit legal protections because they aren’t discriminated against. If those two suppositions are true, then how can Trayham’s life be "ruined."

People might still say, it’s his choice to be in or out.

Do you really think, that if tolerance was the norm in our society, that Mr. Traynham–or anyone else–would choose a life in the closet?

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