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October 10, 2005


I like the idea of straights coming out. Almost everyone I know would cold-cock someone who said "nigger" in a derogatory way, but many of them will let open ridicule or worse against gays pass by unnoticed or behave in such a manner as to give you the feeling they know how to be PC in gay company but have yet to internalize what equality means.

I'm curious what you mean by that, MB. I had to come out once as straight (to my woman's rugby team in SF; I was the only openly straight girl). But I'm sure it was worlds easier than coming out would be if I were gay.

James...I hope you are cross-posting to DKos, BooMan, MyLeftWing, K/O, and many, many other sites.

I, too, heartily endorse the idea of straights coming out. Our allies in the str8 community need to be reminded that none of us can be passive, and that understanding that civil rights for gay people is the same thing as civil rights for all. We all are our brothers' keepers.

I'm not straight, but my boyfriend isn't either.

I mean "come out" in the sense of not participating in and not putting up with anti-gay BS.

As a man, even at this late date, I've often encountered other men, out of earshot of women, pouring out the most misogynist crap imaginable. They figure, you're a guy, so you must agree with them deep down, unless there is something wrong with you.

There was a time, when I first was being educated to feminism, in which I let that stuff slide. You know, wouldn't want anybody to think I was "pussy"-whipped and therefore not really a man, even though my heart said these guys are despicable. After my now ex-wife came out as a lesbian 25 years ago, even though I was heavily involved in political groups and a workplace filled with feminists and allegedly pro-feminist men, I got all kinds of winks and nudges and outright homophobic hatred about her sexual orientation. Since we were - and are - still best of friends, this hit home hard, and I have chosen never to be silent about such "conversations" no matter what the circumstances. That is what I meant by coming out.

willyr I'm going to put something similar to this on MLW tomorrow. I doubt it would do much good at Daily Kos, unless I wanted to hear that gays cost Kerry the election.

Even in places that are generally tolerant, there are some things that could be handled better. Many people seem to interpret "tolerance" in a literal way -- they tolerate the presence of gays, minorities, etc., but they continue to see them as irreconcilably different. People try to be accomodating, but they end up overlooking the things they have in common. I'm thinking of schools and colleges as examples -- they often have support groups for minorities, which provide them some comfort, but also keep them separated from the mainstream. A side effect of these groups is to assign labels -- Asian or American, gay or straight -- whereas people generally are not so simple.

I think "tolerance" should mean that gays/minorities/whatever can be who they are, to the degree that suits them. In this case, "coming out" shouldn't mean you go from being closeted to being at the opposite extreme (unless you decide that's what you prefer).

beyond tolerance, I agree with MB that there needs to be a personalization of the issue, so that it hits close to home, for bigoted and intolerant people--it's easy to be 'us vs. them' when the 'other' group seems isolated and far away, but when somebody who is close to you makes their identity known, it changes the dynamic entirely--it's the Dick and Lynne Cheney example--it's easy to be a bigot when the target is seemingly far away, but when it's your daughter who you love, or a co-worker who's a 'good guy,' by humanizing the issue, it gets brought closer to reality...

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