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September 05, 2007

Mike Rogers, Bigot

The Washington Post had an article in Tuesday’s paper celebrating Leftist Mike Rogers. Rogers has made a specialty of outing gay Republicans involved in politics, including former Virginia Congressman Ed Schrock and numerous GOP staffers.

What’s missing from the article? The writer avoids any mention of how much harm is done to outed individuals and their families. But he’s happy to pass on to readers that Rodgers feels “vindicated” because he’s been on several television programs. Rogers justifies his despicable attacks on gays by claiming that he is entitled to reveal “hypocrisy” on the part of gay Republicans.

Coming out as a gay person is a deeply personal decision with effects that reach beyond the individual to family, friends, coworkers, and employers. In the past few years it has become easier to be an out gay person, but it still isn’t a picnic and the transition from being closeted to being out is a difficult one. In response to the outing of Mark Foley last year, Malcontent commenter QuakerJono put it like this:

Because, you know, being outed today means walking into the warm and loving embrace of family, friends and complete strangers and never having to worry about your job, you living arrangements or your life. Someone outs you today and you just say, "Yes, it's true," hop up onto your rainbow colored unicorn and trot off down the yellow brick road to Candyland as elves spread rose petals at your feet and your mother bakes you the best apple pie known to man.

Gays should have the opportunity to tell the people in their lives in a manner and order of their own choosing.

Patterico discusses the WaPo piece here and explains that Rogers is an extortionist.

“I write about closeted people whose records are anti-gay,” [Rogers] says. “If you’re a closeted Democrat or Republican and you don’t bash gays or vote against gay rights to gain political points, I won’t out you.”

Of course, to Rogers, any vote against gay rights is cast “to gain political points” — because he can’t conceive of such a vote being cast on principle.

And so, Rogers’s message to politicians is simple and straightforward: if he doesn’t like the way you vote, he will expose embarrassing information about you. If you toe the line, however, he will protect you.

That is the classic position of the extortionist.

I agree. Rogers is a thug and an extortionist. But that’s not all. He’s also a bigot.

Why is Rogers treating gay Republicans differently? He claims it’s because they are anti-gay. But that’s not it. There are plenty of straight politicians and staffers, Republicans and Democrats, who have policies that Rogers would characterize as “anti-gay.” But he has singled out gays for especial treatment based on a characteristic unique to them. That’s bigoted.

The act of outing a gay man is a punishment. It's an infliction of pain and grief on a person with a special vulnerability. And in addition to being an attack on an individual it serves as a deterrent for other gays--effectively silencing them unless they bow to those willing to out them. It is disgusting that people consider such attacks a legitimate method of shutting down dissenters.

I think it's a shame that folks have to hide their sexual orientation. One of these days we'll get past that type of thing. But I'm certainly not going to jump to the opposite extreme and say that everyone should be required to disclose their orientation. Let people alone. You want to be out, be out. You don't, that's fine too.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:17 PM

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