Much has been written about the Craig debacle over the past days and I was glad to add my essay on closeted gay conservatives to the fray. If you haven't read it, I welcome you to do so. It's a bit different than some of the angry political barbs flying back and forth. And the comment section is wonderful. The whole thing has given me pause, so here's a few notes in closing.
All Craig allegedly did was solicit consensual adult sex. No kids, no blood, no guns, no drugs. Didn't all us liberals hate the lynching Clinton withstood over a consensual blow job?
It is homophobia that forces gays into the closet (or bathroom).
Imagine being a 12-year-old boy with burgeoning feelings of homosexuality. Imagine being surrounded by homophobic adult males. In the worst case, they're talking about how that little queer got what he deserved. Or maybe their talking about how all the homos are going to burn in hell.
The fear and shame that would instill are unspeakable--something a heterosexual person cannot fully understand. And the fear is real. Homophobia cost Matthew Sheppard his life. Back in the 80s, a gay friend of mine was beat to an inch of his life by Cleveland mafioso street thugs. They did it just for kicks.
Is it any surprise that a young gay boy would do ANYTHING to convince those around him that he is not gay? That he would tell himself I've got to act like I hate gays too. And I better be convincing. I better cry out against it and politic against it and maybe if I shout loud enough, I'll even start to convince myself.
That sort of overcompensation makes perfect sense to me. And that's why I'm hesitant to use the word hypocrite.
Sure, one can say that, as an adult, Craig or others like him should come clean. But once you are ensconced in the lie, it gets harder and harder and harder to break out of it--there is more at stake, more people involved.
One note to those who are quick to say Craig or others like him are putting their wives' health at risk. I don't think its fair to assume he did not practice safe sex. Or that his wife did not know of his practices. We have no idea about these things. Would it be fair to make the same claim of any bisexual man? That his female partners are at risk and that he should be vilified for it?
Despite our perceived sophistication, homophobia still riddles our society. It seems worse for the men. In my experience, straight women happily embrace gay women as friends and feel no threat. But seeing gay and straight guys hanging out together isn't so common. Even the most liberal guys I know feel a need to occasionally announce that they are on the straight side of the fence. They have a way of conferring that they are secure in their manhood. They often wrap it around a joke or weave it casually into conversation.
Homosexuality is an elemental part of the human experience.
It should be considered by everyone as a personal and inalienable right. Craig's demise (or Foley's or Haggert's ) is really the liberal's opportunity to draw attention to this in an intelligent way.