Friday, January 07, 2011

Why Don't Aaron Schock And Lindsey Graham Come Out Of The Closet And Have A Congressional Wedding With All The Frills?


We're being a little overdramatic in the headline. I don't even know if the cowering Republican closet cases from Peoria, Illinois, and Seneca, South Carolina, have ever even met-- although they are both Baptists. Besides, Mark Kirk-- both a Senator from Illinois and another cowering Republican closet case-- may be a more logical match for either Aaron or Lindsey. Although it's an open secret in Washington that Lindsey Graham is gay, he absolutely denies it and does his best to keep the rubes back home in blissful ignorance... especially the Baptists. Everyone knew Mark Foley was gay too-- except Republican voters in central Florida. Aaron Schock has been denying he's gay since he was in college. But when he promised to burn his screamingly gay outfit last year-- a neon turquoise belt, checkered pink blouse and form-fitting white hustler jeans-- not many were persuaded. But more important, why should anyone care?

Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Trent Franks (R-AZ), David Dreier (R-CA) and Aaron Schock (R-IL) are among the right-wing closet cases in the House, all of whom hew to a drastically homophobic party line. Most Republican closet cases do. (An interesting aside: a dreadfully right-wing Democratic congressional closet case, a lowlife Blue Dog who was defeated in November, voted with the GOP on almost everything except gay issues, on which he voted with his own party.) When elected Republican closet cases are eventually outed-- usually traumatically-- many are still in denial. Idaho Senator Larry Craig is a good example. But others have taken the opportunity to examine themselves are take stock of who they are.

When rabidly right-wing/homophobic Maryland Congressman Bob Bauman, founder of the Republican hate groups the American Conservative Union and Young Americans for Freedom, was caught with an underaged boy, his life completely collapsed. But he took stock of himself and came out the other side a better person, part of which was writing a powerful book-- one that should be required reading for every gay-bashing Republican, The Gentleman From Maryland: The Conscience Of A Gay Conservative. More recently California state Senator-- and hysterical homophobic maniac-- Roy Ashburn was pulled over by a police officer, drunk and accompanied by a young male prostitute he had picked up in a bar. He was forced to come to grips with who he is... fast.

In an interview with Patt Morrison for the L.A. Times, Ashburn was asked the question all outed political closet cases have to confront sooner or later: "A lot of people, gay or straight, are probably wondering why you voted even against issues like insurance coverage for same-sex partners." And his answer was forthright... and chilling-- and the reason why this stuff matters:
The best I can do is to say that I was hiding. I was so in terror I could not allow any attention to come my way. So any measure that had to do with the subject of sexual orientation was an automatic "no" vote. I was paralyzed by this fear, and so I voted without even looking at the content. The purpose of government is to protect the rights of people under the law, regardless of our skin color, national origin, our height, our weight, our sexual orientation. This is a nation predicated on the belief that there is no discrimination on those characteristics, and so my vote denied people equal treatment, and I'm truly sorry for that.

This month Out Magazine has a cover story on the "Out 100," and among the public figures are freshman Democrat David Cicciline (RI), Rachel Maddow, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Nate Silver. There were no former homophobic GOP closet cases this year, like Mark Foley or Ken Mehlman. And the #1 slot was reserved for Ricky Martin, someone who has had a much greater impact on people's lives than most politicians anyway.
There is something beautiful in witnessing a major celebrity in the throes of profound and real transformation. A week before we met, Martin had made a surprise appearance at the annual Human Rights Campaign national dinner to pledge his support. "Something as simple as standing at that dinner and saying, 'I'm gay,' creates so many emotions I've never felt before," he admits. "I didn't do it earlier because of fear, and, bottom line, it was all in my head. I was seduced by fear and I was sabotaging most of my life-- my music, my relationships with my friends, with my family, with everybody. That's something I need to share because I know that a lot of people are going through what I went through, no matter what their age, and fear cannot control us."

Can you imagine someone like violent homophobic closet queen Trent Franks ever saying something like that? You think he's man enough to? Even someone who has been publicly outed a dozen times, like David Dreier, is too much of a coward to make a statement like that-- even to himself. It's great, though, that Ricky Martin didn't follow the sad and self-fulfilling, if not self-loathing, advice Richard Chamberlain spouted to the Big Screen's would-be leading men. Here's the exchange from The Advocate:
You were a wildly successful closeted actor during a period of time when coming out was unheard of, but the climate of acceptance has significantly changed in recent years. How do you feel about gay actors who still remain closeted as we near 2011?

It’s complicated. There’s still a tremendous amount of homophobia in our culture. It’s regrettable, it’s stupid, it’s heartless, and it’s immoral, but there it is. For an actor to be working is a kind of miracle, because most actors aren’t, so it’s just silly for a working actor to say, “Oh, I don’t care if anybody knows I’m gay”-- especially if you’re a leading man. Personally, I wouldn’t advise a gay leading man–type actor to come out.

When can a leading man come out-- when he’s 69 and promoting a memoir?

I have no idea. Despite all the wonderful advances that have been made, it’s still dangerous for an actor to talk about that in our extremely misguided culture. Look at what happened in California with Proposition 8. Please, don’t pretend that we’re suddenly all wonderfully, blissfully accepted.

Yeah, politics and entertainment can be pretty homophobic work environments-- although it really is a chicken-and-egg kind of situation-- and sports is at least as bad. (It doesn't hurt coming out if you're in the hairdressing or interior-decorating fields.) Yesterday Ken sent me this coming out story by much-admired sports columnist and WEEI radio personality Steve Buckley in the Boston Herald. At 55, he's a full generation younger than Chamberlain. Still, Ken pointed out that he waited a full 7 years after his mother-- who urged him to come out publicly-- died.
My mother and I had already had the gay talk, during which she had told me that nothing had changed, that she loved me, asked if I was seeing anybody, and so on. What she didn’t like was the idea of me coming out publicly; she was of the opinion that it was really nobody’s business, and she worried that prejudice might disrupt my career.

But like an NFL referee, she had overturned the original call. “Do it,” she said. I thanked her. She smiled. And then I made the biggest mistake of my life: With a vacation lined up for the first week of December, I told her I’d get to it when I returned to Boston-- just before Christmas.

The vacation came and went. The day after I returned to Boston, I received a call from the Lifeline people telling me my mother was being rushed to Mount Auburn Hospital, where she had undergone radiation therapy during the summer. The family gathered at her side. The next morning, she suffered a heart attack. She died a few days later.

There was a funeral at Doherty’s, and then a very soulful, reflective Christmas. And then a Super Bowl, and then spring training. The story didn’t get done. Whenever I revisited the idea of coming out, I’d foolishly dwell on how it was to have been a big family event, my mother pulling everyone together. When that was lost, I guess I lost my way.

Now I’m not going to suggest that these past seven years have been filled with sadness and dread, for the reality is that I’m a pretty happy guy-- great family, great friends and a job I truly enjoy, even if, OK, I probably talk too much about the ’67 Red Sox, the Godfather movies (“I” and “II,” but never “III”) and postseason pitching rotations.

But I’ve put this off long enough. I haven’t been fair to my family, my friends or my co-workers. And I certainly haven’t been fair to myself: For too many years I’ve been on the sidelines of Boston’s gay community but not in the game-- figuratively and literally, as I feel I would have had a pretty good career in the (gay) Beantown Softball League.

Over the past couple of months I have discussed the coming-out process with my family and a few friends, and have had sit-downs with Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca and sports editor Hank Hryniewicz, as well as with WEEI’s Glenn Ordway. They’ve been great, as have my friends and family.

But during this same period, I have read sobering stories about people who came undone, killing themselves after being outed. These tragic events helped guide me to the belief that if more people are able to be honest about who they are, ultimately fewer people will feel such devastating pressure.

It’s my hope that from now on I’ll be more involved. I’m not really sure what I mean by being “involved,” but this is a start: I’m gay.

Congratulations. Wouldn't it be great if one Republican Member of Congress would do the same thing... and do it before being caught drunk molesting children like these fearful, deranged closeted wingnuts tend to do after spending a lifetime twisted up in knots of self-loathing and self-imposed terror? Come on, Aaron, be a star and wear that neon turquoise belt proudly. We know you didn't really burn it!

UPDATE: Mary Bono Mack's A Closet Lesbian? Who Knew!

So some strange tit-licking photos are floating around the Internet that shows another woman, one of Bono Mack's Rancho Mirage campaign donors, playfully licking her breast. The donor/licker is Edra Blixseth, a disgraced former billionaire who is at the center of a criminal investigation probing whether she made fraudulent representations about her financial worth to a number of banks.
"Mary was partying hard," one source, who was at the event, told "She was blitzed and clearly having a great time."

Repeated phone calls to Bono for comment were not returned.

Blixseth donated $1,500 to Bono's 2006 congressional campaign and even served as a finance committee member. She was also once a top Republican Party donor.

However, during that same period, the riches of Blixseth and ex-husband Tim, a wealthy timber tycoon, were starting to unravel.

The pair was sued by jilted investors of the couple's elite Yellowstone Club World, a millionaires-only private ski and golf resort in Montana, whose members included Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

...For Bono, the clean-cut politician who married Republican representative from Florida Connie Mack in 2007, the photo scandal is an embarrassing turn of events and reveals just how close she and Blixseth were.

In another photo, Bono is seen grinning as she holds Blixseth's hand who has her arms wrapped tightly around her.

The images shocked Bono's 2008 political opponent, Julie Bornstein, who did not leak the images to But Bornstein said Bono's clearly outrageous behavior came as no surprise.

"Several women in the California Congressional delegation were embarrassed repeatedly by Mary Bono's behavior and conduct in the Capitol and encouraged me to run because of the embarrassment she brought to the legislature," she told after the photographs were described to her.

"I am not surprised that these pictures exist. She has often spoken about going out with her girlfriends and drinking... she has been known as a strenuous partier."

The Blixseth's have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to extreme right-wing politicians and Republican Party organizations and front groups. Some of Edra's biggest beneficiaries, aside from Bono-Mack, are Dan Lungren (R-CA), Dan Burton (R-IN), closet queen David Dreier (R-CA), and, of course, John McCain (R-AZ).

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