September 05, 2004
Sexual shame should have died with Roy Cohn!
STOP THE OUTING! STOP THE INVASION OF PRIVACY!I agree wholeheartedly, and I'm reminded of a recent email exchange with a noted practitioner of "outing." Even though he didn't request anonymity, I decided to go out of my way to respect his privacy as a gentle way of arguing that invading people's privacy because you don't like what they think simply isn't nice.
Here's my last email to him, which includes the previous threads:
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 19:34:45 -0700 (PDT)If you've gotten this far (I wouldn't blame you if you hadn't bothered....), you may have noticed that the emailer was indignant because he didn't like the "misleading" way I quoted Bill O'Reilly (a man I neither like nor respect). I visited his blog, and saw that he specializes in "outing" people. This puzzled me, because if he thinks it's a good thing to shame people's sexuality because of their political opinions, well, O'Reilly is doing his work for him. So why doesn't he like O'Reilly? Does he think that only he and not O'Reilly is allowed to out people? Did someone annoint the former to be the Outing Czar?
In any event, I have always taken a very dim view of outing, because it's based on shaming another human being based on what he does in private with his genitals. From what I can see these days, the two primary groups of people who most believe in sexual shame are religious fundamentalists and gay activists. The former do it in the hope of "saving" people from homosexuality, while the latter do it primarily to induce conformity to their political opinions. Apparently, it is felt that what one does with one's genitalia creates a requirement that one conform to certain political goals; i.e. if one is homosexual, one is not allowed to hold opinions that differ from those of self-appointed "gay leaders." It's errant nonsense, and as tyrannical as it is profoundly illogical.
Sexual freedom, to my way of thinking, is based not on conformity to group rules or identity politics, but precisely the opposite. You'd think homosexuals would be the first to understand that, but I guess there's always the tyranny of the oppressed. It's bad enough to be a victim of such tyranny; it's worse not to even know it.
I think those who practice "outing" are behaving more like blackmailers and shakedown artists than as advocates of sexual freedom.
Perhaps they don't like sexual freedom after all. If that is the case, then I think it is they who honor the true spirit Roy Cohn.
posted by Eric on 09.05.04 at 12:39 PM
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