Hypocrisy On Trial


By Mike Berlin

And then there's the Republican buzzword, the 'gay lifestyle,' that hints at some seedy counterculture. But nowhere are these false characterizations truer than, say, when certain closeted politicians decide to troll for sex in airport bathrooms.
There's an incredible irony there. But on the other hand, there's nothing illegal about what Larry Craig did. If people choose to do that, it might be somewhat unseemly, but I supposed it's their choice. With Larry Craig, my guess is that that was not his first choice as a way to have sex. But maybe he thought it was the safest way because he's not easily recognized as a national political figure -- and so he's just a man in a bathroom. See, this is one of the tragedies. He is probably very afraid of developing any kind of intimate relationship with somebody because that person at one point or another can come forward. In the bathroom, there are the sorts of people that won't recognize him and never will. And he almost got away with it.

Almost, but not quite.
I think he was very calculating. He made the calculation that if he pled innocent, there'd be a trial. And as soon as the trial begins, that's when the press can come in and report about it. He knew that there was a lot of discussion about this in Idaho. Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman would've reported on this, then the mainstream media would've come in. So from his prospective, he had to plead guilty and hope that it would work out -- it almost did. And again, I personally don't think he should've resigned because of that -- he didn't do anything wrong. That's not the issue here. This issue isn't whether he is having sex in a bathroom -- the issue is the decades of hypocrisy coming from him.

So what effect do you hope this documentary will have?
Well, the important effect is that it advances the cause of the gay rights struggle. As I said, we're at a critical time, particularly with the recent propositions and amendments that have been passed. I hope that it contributes to this ongoing struggle. Secondly, I hope that by focusing on this issue of hypocrisy that finally the mainstream media will come in and discuss this. And I hope the result of that discussion will be that gays and lesbians -- going early on in their careers, going into politics, even before their elected -- make the decision to leave the closet. And my great hope is that in 20 years, the closet as an issue in American politics will be much less important than it is now.

Well, this documentary certainly attacks the issue at its root.
The other thing I'd like to say is that this is something the gay press has been writing about for the past 20 years, and has been just struggling to get the mainstream media to cover. What I've done here is really stand on the shoulders of these thinkers. This is something that the 50 people I sat down with had thought about for decades, had been impacted by the anti-gay hysteria, had seen the damage of the closet close up, had been in the closet themselves. And they'd all gone through a meditation and reflection on this. So just coming new to this, the pleasure was getting this insight time-and-time again from these interview subjects that allowed me to really present the complexity of this issue.

Outrage opens in selected theaters on Friday, May 8.

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