Philip Hensher: Being gay is no longe...

Philip Hensher: Being gay is no longer disapproved of. Hiding it is

There are 4 comments on the story from Feb 26, 2008, titled Philip Hensher: Being gay is no longer disapproved of. Hiding it is. In it, reports that:

Since the dawn of time, gay men, talking to each other, have been claiming the ostensibly heterosexual as one of their own. I have no doubt that in ancient Egypt, there were conversations that went like this. "Khufu? He's down Nefertiti's Nitespot every Friday night. And have you heard about that big camp pyramid she's putting up in the desert? She thinks it's going to look butch. Pur-lease."

Perhaps the time has come, however, to put an end to this much-enjoyed game. Could we possibly hand some of them back? There are some "outings", as they used to be called, which fill us all with total dismay. It would be much better for everybody's peace of mind if they were allowed to maintain the implausible façade of a ladies' man.

A Sunday tabloid has produced evidence that Mr Paul Burrell, the former butler to the Princess of Wales, lives a strenuously gay and somewhat promiscuous private life. He was filmed snogging a Channel 4 producer, and a nameless source has supplied evidence that he trolls hotel saunas for rough trade. His wife and children, it was said, live quite separate lives from him, and are tearfully resigned to his shameless antics.

One's first reaction was, of course: Paul Burrell? Who on earth would have thought it? The man who, from an early age, dreamt of nothing else than working for the Royal Family? Who for years lived and breathed the heady glamour of Princess Diana, expertly choosing what cocktail dress she was going to put on that evening? The man who starts to hyperventilate whenever he is allowed to mention the Queen? The man who presents a television programme about etiquette and deportment called – pur-lease – American Princess?

Some years ago, after an ugly run of similar stories, several red-top newspapers let it be known that they had no further interest in "outing" well-known figures. The decision was influenced by a number of factors. In the first place, in a climate of increasing openness, they ran the risk of looking pretty stupid. The humiliating aftermath of George Michael's coming out, in which he was generally conceded to have run rings round the fake moral posturing of the media, was not quickly forgotten.

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“Created Equal”

Since: Feb 08


#1 Feb 26, 2008
It's funny, this discussion already started over on the "Anti-Gay Harrasment" story thread.

Being LGBT is still hard enough on it's own... but coming out is a deeply personal issue. It is hypocritical for society to persecute LGBT people, and in the same breath, demand to know whether a particular person is gay.

The only possible reason for wanting to know that is if one wants to have sex with that person. Then, it's pretty important. But short of that, it's nobody's business but the individual.

Sure, I advocate coming-out. I advocate it because when there are visible LGBT people seen as friends, neighbors, family members, and valuable members and leaders of their communities, it's the most powerful instrument available for grassroots social change.

However, if someone chooses not to "come out," or to wait until a time when they're more confortable, then LEAVE THEM ALONE. Assume whatever you want, but keep it to yourself.

If you know someone who is gay, but whose never mentioned the subject to you, consider that there's a reason. LGBT people have been socially persecuted throughout history; even killed just for being gay, on many many occasions. And this is still going on. Can you think of a legitimate reason why an LGBT person would not want to publicly identify themselves as a target of hatred and discrimination?

So even if they're not "out" to you personally, it may just mean that they don't expect to be having sex with you any time soon. And that may be all it means. It's just another cruelty to pressure someone who's chosen not to come out... and it's putting them in a position where they might feel they have to lie about who they are, and that's not doing anybody any favors.

Meanwhile, I have developed a secret formula. If ingested, even in small amounts, it will make a permanent rainbow symbol appear on the back of any LGBT person's left hand. It will first be distributed in the water supply in Washington D.C., and then at evangelical churches throughout the southern and western United States. Until we can brew-up a few more batches, that will have to suffice. We won't completely be able to tell who's gay, but we will sure be able to spot the hypocrites.

Since: Feb 07

Lansdale, PA

#2 Feb 26, 2008
How exactly does one act "strenuously gay"?

“Created Equal”

Since: Feb 08


#3 Feb 27, 2008
Yobyag wrote:
How exactly does one act "strenuously gay"?
Well, to be fair, have you ever seen Paul Burrell?

I thought it was a strange adverb to use also, but it does kind've fit. The point the author was making, of course, is that anyone in the world who acts surprized that Burrell is gay must have cotton in their ears, and duct tape over their eyes.

But I think he has a point overall. Watch:


See? Nobody cares. Ahh, but when someone in the public eye gets the question: "Are you Gay?" and they don't immediately answer with wither "Well, obviously, duh!" or "No, not at all. I have nothing against gay people, but I'm just not that way. Not even a little. Sorry Elijah Wood, I'm just not interested." ...not answering instantly with one of these two unequivocal replies is an invitation to a hundred thousand papparazzi to try and get a picture through your bedroom window.

Look at what happened to George Michael. He said "It's nobody else's business but mine," and he was nearly crushed to death with a throng of people who insisted that "He's certainly gay, and he should own up to it!" if he'd killed his wife and her lover and left a bloody glove at the crimescene... and still refused to admit it. Michael didn't commit a crime, he excercised a right--the right to privacy.

And this is an important right, folks. Because once the right to privacy is revoked, we can put cameras in EVERYBODY'S bedroom, and then we'll know just how many evangelical men actually cry after they have sex with their wives.(The wives cry during.)

Since: Feb 07

Lansdale, PA

#4 Feb 27, 2008
ScottyMatic wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, to be fair, have you ever seen Paul Burrell?
I thought it was a strange adverb to use also, but it does kind've fit. The point the author was making, of course, is that anyone in the world who acts surprized that Burrell is gay must have cotton in their ears, and duct tape over their eyes.
No, I have no idea who Paul Burrell is. Well except for what was in this article anyway. We just love to get all up in other peole's business don't we?


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