I forget when, but Jim McGreevey came out awhile back. He was the governor of New Jersey at the time. His poor wife was standing just behind him at the press conference. If I were her, I would've whipped out a gun and shot the SOB.
In case you missed it, he didn't come out because he wanted to come out. He came out because he was out of options. It took exactly zero courage on his part.
Now he's published a "screw and tell" about his days in the closet, his failed marriages, his really lousy choices in boyfriends (nearly as bad as mine) and how he's a much better person now, so please buy his book so he and his new boyfriend can have enough Benjamins to live a cushy life in a monstrous McMansion in northern Jersey.
I think he's a world-class jerk who, not being content with having ruined a bunch of lives (wives and kids) already, hasn't thought twice about dragging their humiliation out into the fresh air again in order to make a few bucks off of it. How sleazy can you get? Apparently, pretty sleazy. But, then again, he is a product of the New Jersey political machine. New Jersey, where politics isn't just local, it's crooked right down to the grass roots. But that's a subject for yet another blog.
There are lots of reasons people stay in the closet. Maybe they're not sure about their sexual orientation. Maybe they belong to that central group of AC/DC's who can contentedly make their lives with either sex, so they opt for the one that will cause them the least public grief. Or, maybe, they just haven't thought about it until one day, WHAM, they see somebody of the same sex "across a crowded room" and their lives are turned upside down. Maybe they do it out of religious conviction. Maybe they do it to please their parents, or to avoid being cut out of the will.
McGreevey didn't do it for any of those reasons. The former governor of NJ did it for one reason and one reason only, to further his political career.
Rather than writing a book, he should be reading Shakespeare. "Hamlet" to be exact and this quote from Lord Polonius to his son, Laertes in Act I, scene iii, in particular:
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
I came out in the fall of 1972. It wasn't a very popular thing to do in 1972. I'd just spent four years on active duty in the United States Navy, had risen to the rank of Petty Officer Second Class, graduated at the top of my class from aviation electronics school and had 4.0 reviews pretty much for my whole enlistment. The Navy was actually sorry to see me go. But I didn't have a choice. You see, I had read Hamlet.
"To thine own self be true." Not "to thine holders of the family purse be true". Not "to the voting public be true". Just to yourself.
The military was/is no place for any self-respecting gay person, unless you're an ancient Spartan and you and your lover both enlist on 'the buddy plan'. And that isn't about to happen in this country. And it sure as hell wasn't going to happen then.
I came out, got involved in college gay rights movements, organized rallies and conferences, attended other universities rallies and conferences, got to know some old-timers in the gay rights movement such as Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings and, in time, handed the reins of activism over to other, younger folks.
I never expected to get rich from my meager efforts. I never expected to get anything from it. I did it because it was the right thing to do, and it needed doing, and if I didn't do it, then who would?
Then along comes Mr. Captain Gay America who shits all over his family, feels he's entitled to get away with anything, then, when he can't, drops them like hot potatoes and sets out to make some major ducats off their continued misery ... in case he hasn't already given them enough.
I'm ashamed that he's gay. He's no better than some right-winger who gets nailed diddling call-boys in the cloakrooms of DC.
Let it never be said that politicians have the courage of any convictions whatsoever.