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Should Gay Public Figures Be Forced to Come Out?

The documentary Outrage premieres this week at the Tribeca Film Festival. The premise: a former Clinton White House aide outs closeted gay politicians.

Those in political circles typically follow the Barney Frank Rule named after the openly gay congressmen. The rule is: only out homosexual politicians actively working against the greater interests of the LGBT community.

Outrage claims to follow such a rule, when it outs politicians like Florida governor Charlie Crist, pictured here at his wedding last year. He denies being homosexual.

Whether they are politicians, actors, or musicians, there are many people in the public's eye that deny rumors of being gay. Do you think the media should try to nudge them out of the closet?


Join The Conversation
legalbeagle legalbeagle 8 years
I agree that pointing out hypocrisy can often be a good thing, like the immigration example, but I just feel like 'outing' someone is wrong in general. There are so many great arguments as to why gay marriage and gay rights should be respected and legalized that I feel like finger pointing distracts from the real issues surrounding the movement. It becomes more about that specific politician being gay than it does about the rights of gay individuals as a whole.
Hollywoodjess Hollywoodjess 8 years
As I discuss this in my ethics class...public figures-even though they have thrusted themselves into the public eye, do not deserve public scrutiny. Yes, we all assume most public officials are straight...assume. Today, however, is different. We can assume whatever we want. We never make known whether someone is married to a man or woman when one finds out this type of detail--someone is gay--it is front page. Big deal? It does not affect their ability to oversee a given group. I see this as negligent one needs to know the sexuality of anyone. It is obsolete information.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
NO! I don't think that it's really right for the politician to go against gay rights but at the same time there are probably polititians who are against abortion when they or their partners have had one. It's like the kid in school who always bullies someone calling them gay because he's so scared of people finding out he is gay. I would think in this society we'd at least be getting somewhere but it seems like we still have a long way to go.
Smilesp Smilesp 8 years
They should definitely not be forced "out". I don't get America's preoccupation with trying to figure out who's gay and who's not...who cares?
staple-salad staple-salad 8 years
What someone does in the bedroom is their own business. I don't care who they are, or what they do for a living, or anything else, what they do in the bedroom is their life, not mine, I don't intend to sleep with them so why should I care? The only reason I think anyone should be "outed" is if they want to do so themselves, and to drive in the notion that being homosexual is not a bad thing.
green-socks green-socks 8 years
Public outings are not OK, but I wish we lived in a society where who someone is attracted to does not make them less capable of being in the public eye.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I see a ton of value in pointing out hypocrisy in politics, whether it's about gay rights or immigration law. For example, if you're railing against illegal immigration and saying everyone needs to be rounded up and sent home, and you're currently employing 5 illegal immigrants, that should be exposed. It needs to be exposed because this person, despite being publicly on the record about something, privately either participates in it, accepts, or condones it. If that is the case, then perhaps what they're railing against isn't so bad after all. BTW, I do NOT want to spark a debate on immigration - I was simply using that as an example b/c it illustrates hypocrisy.
legalbeagle legalbeagle 8 years
Im with the majority of people on this one. No one should be outing anyone. Its a personal choice if youre ready to come out or not. Maybe they believe it will hurt their careers or their families dont know, whatever the reason, they choose not to be openly gay. Plenty of politicians are hypocrits in any number of areas, I dont see how publicly outing someone who might be gay and is against gay marriage is going to help the situation. There are plently of ways to fight for you cause without stooping to that level.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
On one hand I think its private but on the other hand I can't stand the politicians who work for laws that hurt homosexuals when they themselves are gay.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Chrstine, I hope you don't mean to imply that being gay is a "mistake."
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Why should people care what others do in their bedroom - would they want the same scrutiny and questions by others? It doesn't matter as long as they can do their job.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
The former gov of NJ wasn't just a closet gay, he was doing immoral things. I don't think he should have been outed, nor do I think we should criticize those who DO immoral things, because everyone makes mistakes. If it was absolutely necessary like the rest of the state felt it was, that he came out and admitted that he was doing something immoral and was sorry --- that's one thing. But he shouldn't have been forced to come out of the closet. People are still psychologically tormented by being gay versus straight. Maybe the reasons he was so weird on the whole being gay thing is because he was so disappointed in himself, and used that as a way to look straight, or "normal" to those around him -- mostly his family and co-workers. Either way, it shouldn't be anyones business what you do behind closed doors, or WHO you do for that matter. We need to stop caring about our own lives rather than someone elses.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
First of all, the title is a bit of an oxymoron. Can you be a gay public figure if you aren't already openly out? I doubt it. You can't out someone that's already out. As to the question, i agree with popgoestheworld, those who are working hard against their own should be outed pronto and exposed. I'll leave the former Governor of NJ for example(McGreevey). Real piece of work.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Part of thinks that no one should ever be outed, and part of me thinks that if you're being hateful to a community that you're a part of, you deserve it.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
"Why are we so obsessed with people's sexuality and bedroom habits? Ones sexual life is nobody's business but theirs and their partner(s)." I agree. However, if that person is attempting to involve themselves in other people's bedrooms, by condemning them or working to deny them rights, then I think they should be exposed as hypocrites.
kia kia 8 years
I think people should not have to be outed. It is their choice, their decision, and their emotional state they are working with in their decision. While I understand the pragmatism that people like Perez Hilton subscribe to I am not a fan of his tactics. I am for outing politicians and those who work against rights for homosexuals and follow the Barney Frank rule. It seems to me that self-hate situations fuel the actions of those hypocrites.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
I do not think it is anyone's business to know if a person is gay or is not gay. However, if we saw more openly gay politicians it might make some people more willing to admit that they are gay, because society, and people in politics don't make it seem like it is wrong. And when it comes down to it, why care enough to out someone? What is the purpose of it? You get your 15 minutes of fame, but you also act like an idiot in the process. You could be completely wrong to begin with, but I think worst of all, if it is true, your are telling a secret that is not yours to tell. Why the US is obsessed with if you are gay, not gay or whatever the case may be -- I will never know.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
Why are we so obsessed with people's sexuality and bedroom habits? Ones sexual life is nobody's business but theirs and their partner(s).
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
While I'm not for outing anyone, a mean part of me wants to see those publicly and vociferously denying homosexuals their rights to be outed.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
No one should do anything they don't want, and the gov't shouldn't be encouraging gays to be self-hating (as in only gay people who are homophobes can be in office).
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