Sex at Dawn

Exploring the evolutionary origins of modern sexuality

Is Governor Charlie Crist Gay? Should We Care?

A prominent gay journalist outs a governor . . . and nobody notices?

What if an outspoken gay journalist publicly outed a closeted governor and nobody noticed? Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish is one of the most read blogs in the world, and yesterday, he wrote this strangely self-negating declaration on why he doesn't believe in "outing" gay politicians:

The reason I can't quite find it in me to attack gay hypocrites or closeted men or prostitution-seeking priests is because I can't quite attack an already destroyed and devastated psyche and soul.

Something restrains me - an impulse against cruelty perhaps, or a sense that that could have been me, if I had not somehow found the strength to be myself or been unable to accept the humiliation of the closet. And what further injury could gay activists bring, after all, to Larry Craig than the injury of simply being Larry Craig? Or Ted Haggard? Or Charlie Crist?

Please tell me if I'm wrong, but Florida Governor Charlie Crist has not publicly admitted to being gay, or even addressed the issue of his sexuality, as far as I know. So Mr. Sullivan appears to have outed the governor while explaining why he doesn't believe in outing closeted gay men . . ..

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I'm very confused by this. I sent an email to two widely-read political blogs, asking why they weren't commenting on this (Talking Points Memo and Reality-Based Community), but so far, neither has responded, nor mentioned the situation in their blogs.

Regular readers know that I'm a consistent advocate for the right to privacy and equality, regardless of what's going on in one's sex life – but when one of the most prevalent, openly-gay journalists in the country publicly accuses a sitting, Republican governor of leading a closeted life, isn't that news? I don't know that I'd out Charlie Crist or anyone else, but the fact that Andrew Sullivan has seems worthy of recognition and comment.

It's interesting to ponder the meaning of this Kennedy-esque news black-out. I'm guessing the left-leaning folks don't want to touch it for fear of stepping over some sexual-political correctness line, while the right-leaning folks either haven't noticed, or are loathe to get into discussions of closeted gay Republican politicians (understandable, from their perspective).

But if someone is living a false life, and working hard to punish the very people who are protecting his privacy, don't those people have the right—the obligation, even—to defend themselves by exposing the lie? I mean, if Tiger Woods had been giving lots of money to groups that wanted to throw porn actresses and coctail waitresses in jail, wouldn't some of the women he was schtupping have been justified in exposing his hypocrisy? Wouldn't they have been crazy not to?

Outrage, a film I admit I hadn't heard of until I googled "Charlie Crist gay" a few minutes ago, lays it out pretty clearly:

 

Christopher Ryan, Ph.D., is co-author of Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality (HarperCollins 2010).

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