Dear Itay Hod —
Hi. I’ve never heard of you, but apparently you’re an anchor over at CBS* and you’re gay. Good for you.
You, of course, have never heard of me. Most people haven’t heard of me, so you’ve got plenty of company. However, a regrettable side effect of your never having heard of me is that you didn’t read what I had to say a little while ago about outing people.
I don’t like it.
This is what I said then:
I will buy you a drink at the Chelsea bar of your choice (or, preferably, just mix you one myself) if you can find one single person whose mind was changed in our favor by this spiteful, hypocritical tactic. Using gayness as a smear isn’t any less shameful when it’s gay people doing it, and if I thought so from within the big rainbow tent I have a hard time believing anyone on the outside found it particularly commendable. Sure, fine… maybe we destroyed the careers or reputations of some of our enemies? If that? Awesome. Just like I fail to see how banning marriage equality makes straight people’s lives any better, it escapes me completely how making our opponents’ lives worse got us any closer to achieving our real goals.
The reason I mention all of this is you clearly don’t agree with me. You think outing people you don’t like is just aces. And that’s what you’ve done (or, perhaps more accurately, “done”) with a puerile little bit of scuttlebutt.
what if you know a certain GOP congressman, let’s just say from Illinois, is gay… and you know this because one of your friends, a journalist for a reputable network, told you in no uncertain terms that he caught that GOP congressman and his male roommate in the shower… together. now they could have been good friends just trying to conserve water. but there’s more. what if this congressman has also been caught by tmz cameras trolling gay bars. now what if you know that this very same guy, the darling of the gop, has also voted against repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, opposed the repeal of doma, is against gay marriage; and for the federal marriage amendment, which would add language to the us constitution banning gay marriage and would likely strike down every gay rights law and ordinance in the country?
Are we still not allowed to out him?
Thanks for asking! No.
First of all, you’re a journalist? Silly me, I still thought that word implied the presence of some kind of professional standards. Barfing up a bunch of sniggering gossip is more what I’d expect from a 12-year-old.
Next, I’d be super curious to know what goals outing Rep. Schock would accomplish. Other than making things unpleasant for the Congressman himself. Spite is not a particularly effective rhetorical motivation, and seeing the spite shimmering through your little dance of self-justification does not endear you to me. And we’re essentially on the same side.
Yes, I’ve made jokes of my own about Rep. Schock. Yes, one could argue that he’s brought a lot of it on himself, and following Tom Daley on Instagram is a foolish PR move. Sure, fine, whatever. But jokes are one thing, and insinuations are another. Making accusations about people’s private lives in a public forum when you are a person of (some) prominence based on nothing but what some chum of yours said is transparently vindictive, childish and ultimately counter-productive.
Every single policy vote you list in your diatribe ended up being in the minority. DADT is gone. DOMA is gone. Marriage equality is the law in Rep. Schock’s home state. Despite his opposition, the tide of history is turning quite rapidly in the direction of LGBT equality in general, and it’s not because our side has occupied itself with taking potshots at our closeted opponents.
I don’t care if Rep. Schock is gay. I really don’t. His side is losing, and they’re losing on the merits of their arguments. Trying to pick off one enemy by using plainly distasteful, outmoded methods doesn’t count as an argument for us. It only makes us look small.
*[Update: CBS is disavowing any relationship with Mr. Hod at this time.]