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Friday, October 19, 2007

Who Feels Sorry for Larry Craig?

posted by on October 19 at 7:51 AM

Uh… not me.

But Andrew Sullivan wrote a compassionate, thoughtful post after watching Matt Lauer’s thoroughly despicable and widely panned interview with Larry Craig and his wife Wednesday night. (Some of Lauer’s lousy reviews can be read here, here, and here.) Here’s Andrew:

I forced myself. It was excruciating. Beyond embarrassing. Extraordinarily painful—especially for his wife. Why on earth they decided to subject themselves to prolonging this agony is a question worth asking. And the answer, I think, is: they have to. At this point in their lives, to allow the possibility that Craig is indeed homosexual, that he has sustained, lived, internalized a fundamental lie for his entire life, and involved his wife and children in that lie, would be to destroy themselves. I am not going to exonerate the man from hypocrisy because it is impossible. But I do think his problem is far deeper.

He grew up in a different time, and a different place, where even the possibility of being gay was inconceivable. I don’t think he even thinks of himself as gay, or has any idea what being gay might actually mean. I think he thinks of his sexual orientation as a “lifestyle” (to use that hideous term Lauer kept referring to) that can be overcome the way one overcomes smoking or poor eating or sexual compulsion. And he constructed an identity in opposition to this “lifestyle” early, out of pain and defensiveness and terrible fear…

[Craig] is a hypocrite; and he made his choices. I am not going to dispute that. His voting record helped sustain the misery for others that he lived with himself. He is for ever responsible for that. But he is also a victim. And to see such a victim’s pain exposed brutally in a public restroom pains me. He needs help. So do millions of others.

There’s more to Andrew’s post, which can read in its entirety here.

Now as much as I hate to disagree with my ol’ buddy Andrew—first Folsom’s “Last Supper” poster and now this!—I have to say that I feel no sympathy whatsoever for Larry Craig. And it’s not just that the scale of his hypocrisy outweighs whatever sympathy I might feel for another human being in pain. Or that the transparent lies and the self-serving machinations piss me off so royally. Or that only a monster would put his wife and kids up to and through what Craig has since his arrest became public.

There’s simply no excuse for Larry Craig—certainly not the one Andrew points to.

Craig turned sixty two in July, and Andrew and others have pointed to Craig’s age as a mitigating factor. Craig missed out on the gay rights movement. He couldn’t conceive of living as an openly gay man, there weren’t examples out there, no role models. Perhaps if Craig had been born later, none of this—Craig’s closet, Craig’s voting record, Craig’s arrest—would have happened. Craig’s a victim.

Uh.. no.

Craig was born in 1945, which would have made him 24 years old in 1969, when the Stonewall Riots occurred in New York City. I wrote a piece for The Advocate about Jim West, another closeted gay Republican with an anti-gay voting record, after he was outed in 2005:

I felt sorry for them—for the older guys, the men in their 40s and 50s, that ever-present clump of middle-aged men who hung out in bars they were way too old for and lusted after guys who were way too young for them…. It was 1981, and I was three months shy of my 18th birthday. Unlike most of the other boys in the vapid crowd of just-out teenagers I was running with, I knew a little gay history and I could add and subtract.

When those older men in the bars were 18, it was 1961 or 1951—and it might as well have been 1661 for all the difference it made. When they were our age it just wasn’t possible to be an openly gay teenager. We were talking pre-Stonewall! The dark ages! There weren’t gay youth groups or gay bookstores or gay neighborhoods. No PFLAG, no NGLTF, no FFA. “Give ’em a break,” I used to tell my friends. “They missed out.”

But none of the sympathy I felt for middle-aged gay men I met in the early 1980s extended to West—or to any closeted middle-aged men today who fear getting caught.

West is 54 years old. That means he was 18 in 1969, the year of the Stonewall riots. He was 26 in 1977, the year that Harvey Milk was elected to the board of supervisors in San Francisco. He was 29 years old when I was 17 and hanging out in bars in Chicago.

He was 34 years old when my boyfriend was being beaten in his Spokane high school, in a district that West represented in the Washington State legislature.

Jim West knew better. He knew he didn’t have to live a lie. He knew he could have lived as an openly gay or bisexual man—bisexual is all West has admitted to in most of his interviews, although no pictures of young women were found on his work computer—but he chose not to. Unlike the older gay men I met in 1981, West and other closeted middle-aged men today didn’t come of age at a time when no one could conceive of openly gay and lesbian people and communities. (Or politicians: Washington State has four openly gay members of its legislature.) Jim West chose the closet and shame and lies and hypocrisy.

So while I had sympathy for gay men who came out late in life in the 1970s and 1980s, I find I have no sympathy for Jim West or other men like him today. Their stories aren’t tragic, they’re pathetic. They didn’t miss out. They opted out.

Fuck ’em.

Like West, Craig knew better. Craig didn’t marry his wife until 1983, for crying out loud. It was impossible for Craig—even in Idaho—not to know exactly who and what he was in 1983. In two years we’ll be marking the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the birth of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement. We simply can’t look at closeted guys in their sixties anymore and think, “Gee, how sad—he was too old to realize he could be out.” The men and woman that came out after Stonewall weren’t born in 1969. They were Craig’s peers.

Craig knew he didn’t have to live a lie. He knew he didn’t have to inflict himself on that poor woman. Craig’s story isn’t tragic, it’s pathetic. Craig, like West, didn’t miss out. He opted out.

Fuck him.

RSS icon Comments


Shorter Dan Savage: No sympathy for any gay man who has had a life journey different than mine.

Posted by Gabriel | October 19, 2007 7:06 AM

Yeah, I don't feel sorry for him either. And I don't buy that it was inconceivable that people might have been gay during Craig's childhood and on into adulthood. Do we really have to go through the list of gay folks from the past 100 years? Sure they might not have been open in the sense that people are openly gay now, but honestly.

Typically people joke that middle name should be Empathy. But in this situation I could not care less about the man.

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 19, 2007 7:12 AM

Yeah, fuck him... er... wait... no

Posted by monkey | October 19, 2007 7:20 AM

Here! Here. Fuck him.

Posted by rg | October 19, 2007 7:23 AM

But Larry Craig is from Idaho, where it is still 1959. He could HANG for gay sex there. I mean, look at him. Look at his wife. I feel sorry for HER, all right.

I thought watching him talk with that Lauer knob for seemingly HOURS about how to pick up toilet paper off the floor was hysterically funny. I don't really give a shit if he's gay or not; I just want to see him suffer.

Posted by Fnarf | October 19, 2007 7:25 AM

It's just crazy to suggest that because a person lived in an era when there were high-profile homosexuals and a developed gay rights movement that that person should be ridiculed or hated for staying in the closet. It ignores the fact that attitudes towards homosexuality vary hugely according to region, family, upbringing, etc. Like Fnarf said, Craig is from Idaho, not NYC or San Francisco or Seattle. The idea that Stonewall would bring all of Idaho's closeted gays out of the closet is nuts. You can't draw this arbitrary cutoff in the timeline and say "now people know better."

Posted by Gabriel | October 19, 2007 7:38 AM

@6--Gabriel, I get it. I do. But Craig is apparently a closeted gay who uses his place in the closet to demonize me and mine. Then he gets caught and thrashes about in the mud for weeks. I don't feel sorry for him. Not one bit. He's helped perpetuate Idaho's hatred of gays. He made his bed. Best of luck to him.

Do I understand other less-high-profile people staying in the closet? Abso-freaking-lutely. But he's a virulent anti-gay hypocrite. Screw him.

I grew up in the 80s in rural Indiana. We had "the gays" and everyone knew it. And several lived openly. I'd wager that parts of rural Indiana are about as conservative/religious as parts of Idaho.

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 19, 2007 7:50 AM

Can you imagine coming out if you are a teacher in a little town up in northern MN? First, the kids would torture you and then the parents would get you fired. Seriously, put your career on the line because somebody named Dan in Seattle thinks you should. Sheesh! Somebody needs to get out more.

Posted by charlie in st. paul | October 19, 2007 7:53 AM

I've speculated on the two cases of Spokane's West and Boise's Craig - they really aren't all that far apart - in fact, as far as bathroom cruisers go, they most likely have frequented areas in common.

One thing for sure though - Boise and Spokane were in a totally different 1969 than SF was.

I don't think we'll ever see the truth on this one, but there may well be some historical fiction areas here worthy of exploration.

I'm imagining a kind of Private Idaho/Napoleon Dynamite/Brokeback plot - perhaps even with a fictionalized encounter between a teenage West and a young Craig in the brand new Interstate rest area...

-Douglas Tooley
Lincoln District, Tacoma

Posted by Douglas Tooley | October 19, 2007 7:54 AM

Matt @ 7, I agree with your point. Closeted gays who enable anti-gay policies are despicable hypocrites, and Craig deserves what he's getting because of that. But Dan is talking about something else entirely, about not having sympathy for closeted gays when "they should know better." It sounds like you and I agree on that point as well. It would be like condemning Iranian gays for staying in the closet for fear of execution, despite the fact that they totally know that Stonewall happened in 1969.

Posted by Gabriel | October 19, 2007 7:57 AM

Gabriel@10--Roger dodger. Yeah, I tend to by pretty sympathetic. My brother (gay like me) was a teacher in rural Ohio and was closeted and miserable--and this was only 10 years ago. So what did he do? He moved. I know not everyone can do that, but I'm glad he found a way to break out of a horrible situation.

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 19, 2007 8:02 AM

We all know that Dan speaks from his elitist platform of emotional privilege.

We all know Larry Craig is trapped, with his family, in his own very public hell.

Can we move on now?

Posted by old timer | October 19, 2007 8:08 AM

Because when Craig was 24 he was in New York & just decided to go to the movies instead of Stonewall. Right.

I know others have brought this up, but I just wanted to say again that it isn't the same year, tolerance-wise in all parts of the country, and even across all parts of society in all parts of the country. There's teenagers today in your wonderful, progressive, tolerant city of Seattle - that know there's a gay culture out there, that can "conceive" of the idea of being out - who still choose not to, because they're scared shitless of what's going to happen to them if they do. It's not inconceivable that some of them may become the same type of hypocrite.

I can't see how that could have been any different in Idaho decades ago. I've got no symapathy for Craig, but I do have some for many of the folks prominent gay voices are putting down for not coming out.

Posted by SeattleExile | October 19, 2007 8:08 AM

Maybe Craig got busted because his old fuck buddy West isn't around to service each other anymore so he went back to the bathroom cruising.

Posted by monkey | October 19, 2007 8:09 AM

Your logic escapes me, Dan.

You say you don’t pity Craig for the same reasons you didn’t pity Jim West. In your West article you say West doesn’t deserve pity like the middle-agers of your bar-hopping youth because while they were 18 in 1961 when being out was impossible, while West was 18 in ’69, the year of Stonewall.

Then you tell us Craig was 24 when Stonewall happened. That puts Craig in the same age group as the guys you used to pity at the bar. He was 18 in 1963. And not in Chicago, like the bar guys, but in Idaho, where it’s difficult to be out today.

Is Craig a total douchebag? You bet. Is he also a walking, talking, breathing tragedy? Yes. I, for one, feel some pity—he’s pitiful in every sense of the word.

Posted by Adam | October 19, 2007 8:10 AM

Michigan Matt and Gabriel (#10 and #11):

I'm still trying to wrap my head around what Mr. Savage is saying (I'm finding myself more in line with what you two have been touching on), and I think something Michigan Matt said at #11 hit a spark. Your gay brother moved - left rural Ohio and all that pressure to hide and be closeted. He chose to move to a place where he could be out and be gay and not "opt out" (to quote Mr. Savage). I guess he's trying to make the point that, if you're trapped in an unfriendly place, you should move someplace else. Don't accept arguments that you don't have enough money, or won't get a secure job, or can't find any support in a more accepting place like San Francisco or Chicago. Make the choice and move.

Of course, that's only what I THINK Mr. Savage might mean. I don't entirely agree with it, but I can sorta see where he's coming from.

Posted by James | October 19, 2007 8:12 AM

So, when he was 24, people had to riot to not get arrested and beaten for being gay, in his 30's when Milk was executed (and during the ensuing riots), in his 40's when Dan's Boyfriend was being beaten up for being gay.

Why oh why would he not have come out with all those happy possibilities awaited him in the more metropolitan areas?(If a Gay councilman IN SAN FRAN. gets executed and his killer only gets 7 years it would have been peaches and roses for a dude in rural Idaho, right?)

Posted by Rev. George | October 19, 2007 8:18 AM

Dan, you just quoted yourself quoting yourself. That was fresh.

Posted by meks | October 19, 2007 8:21 AM

No mercy for Craig.

The guillotine, come the revolution.

Posted by It's Mark (Robespierre) Mitchell | October 19, 2007 8:33 AM

There is a huge difference between simply keeping your sexual orientation quiet an being discreet because of the culture/locale you are currently living in and willingly, knowingly choosing to live a lie, drag a woman and children in to support the lie, and actively denounce other gay people from a position of power for the sake of your lie. It was wrong for Haggard to do it and its wrong for Craig to do it. No sympathy.

Posted by John | October 19, 2007 8:37 AM

Where the heck do all of you live?? Is it a nice alternate universe? Because I live in Wisconsin circa 2007-and that's about as Midwest as you can get, aside from Minnesota-and there are plenty of open gay citizens around these parts, even in the small "hick" town I grew up in. Hell, junior year (2002) a boy stood up in Pol. Sci. to announce he was gay, and the class reaction was," Duh. Next?"

And let's not forget Dan grew up in the Chicago area-while a big city, it's certainly not a "progressive" city like NYC or SF.

Posted by Marty | October 19, 2007 8:38 AM

Right on, Dan. Like Larry Craig I too am 61. I too came from a conservative background. Craig made his lifestyle choice and I made mine. I knew at the time that living as an openly gay man would severely limit my choices as I went through life, but living honestly was more important to me. I have lived an aggressively uncloseted life since 1970.

Craig made his own choice. He chose to live a lie. It caught up to him. Boo Hoo.

Posted by Paul In SF | October 19, 2007 8:42 AM

This is where I usually jump in and tell my story.

1978, a backward, rural town in Illinois. I'm 17. I come out, alone and pretty much without support.

I DON'T marry my high school sweetheart, even though I loved her, because it would have been MORALLY WRONG to deceive her.

The guillotine.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | October 19, 2007 8:42 AM

Why does this guy get a free pass on his legal strategy?

He's a lawmaker. He's supposed to respect the rule of law.

I can't take pleasure when someone is busted for doing something basically private. He's a bad guy, but even bad guys are allowed to have sex how and with whom they want.

But this bad guy then tried to get his plea bargain overturned because he was scared when he pled?! Is he some dark-aged priest or the King of Idaho?

Why does he expect a special pass regularly denied every other criminal in the state of Minnesota?

Shame on any lawyer making this argument. Shame on any judge hearing it. Shame on any law maker who attempts to craft rules for the rest of us after hiding behind it.

Posted by Douglas | October 19, 2007 8:45 AM

Where's Mr. Poe?

Posted by Poefan | October 19, 2007 8:50 AM

@6 Actually Craig should know better. St. Louis is a place where this type of behavior runs rampant. You have darters all over the place (married men that like to dart out for a little cock and then dart back to Saturday evening mass at the Basilica). The irony is that you have a huge closeted gay population proudly calling themselves Catholic yet loathing themselves at the same time. This when a city like St. Louis actually has a decent sized gay population. This can be said of a city like Boise or even Spokane. People like Larry Craig and Jim West make a weak willed choice not to come out for a variety a reasons, but usually out of fear for what the will lose (mostly materially) from their families. How anyone can feel sympathy for those who find it more important to go after the dangled carrot than to have the balls to be who they really are is just to enable another generation to destroy families. There will be another generation that when they are forty or so and the kids are off to college will look at their wives and say "Honey, I like cock and don't want you any longer." While Craig hasn't done this per se don't think for a minute that his wife isn't aware of his taste for dick.

Posted by Kiki | October 19, 2007 8:54 AM

Facts to add to this situation:

The "kids" are actually Craig's wife's from her first marriage. Not to disparage their familial relationship, but the "kids" prove nothing (though he'd like it if everyone just assumed they were "his").

Craig came forward during the Gerry Studds page scandal in the early 80s and gave a press conference to say that he was not involved - when there had been no prior public siggestion that he might be involved. So what was going on behind the scenes to make him come forward like that?

He marries his wife sometime after that - and she's actually an aide in his office, which makes it sound a bit like the Washington counterpart to a marriage arranged for a gay movie star by a Hollywood publicist. You wonder who her family was and whether there was any involvement with his reelection campaigns - haven't seen anything about this angle.

It sure LOOKS like he got married for convenience sake - in the freaking 1980s after he had been living in urban Washington DC and away from all those poor Idahoans who have no choice but to stay closeted.

Posted by TuckerT36 | October 19, 2007 9:03 AM

Well, this whole timeline thing gots me a-thinking... Why did it take sooooooo long for famous people like Sir Elton, or George Michael, or Rob Halford to come out of the closet? I still don' think the singer from Cheap Trick has come out. Is it something intrinstric to the music industry?

Hell! I think Freddie Mercury went to his death bed without ever coming out... It's just sad.

Posted by BillyBob | October 19, 2007 9:03 AM

I'm so tired of people calling Larry Craig a hypocrite based on his voting record. Isn't it the role of the elected to represent the will of the people?

God knows the Idaho senator would have been out of a job had he said anything in favor of gay rights.

Posted by Unmarked Reel | October 19, 2007 9:08 AM

@28 Not to mention Merv Griffin! Like how the hell did he think people couldn't figure it out when he had that penchant for caftans. CAFTANS for christ's sake!!!!

Posted by Kiki | October 19, 2007 9:11 AM

Fine, be ANGRY with Craig. He's an anti-gay, messed-up Senator. But all the closet cases could disappear tomorrow and it still wouldn't do gays much good.

According to a 2007 CNN poll, 56 percent of Americans are against gay marriage.
Take away the gay people, and straights are against it 60-40 probably. What's their problem?

Why did Lauer pretend not to know what "crusing" meant? That's sickening cowardice. What does he have to lose? Why is he such an asshole straight person?

Why do gay people still fill up Seattle, SF, Chicago, Boston, NY, D.C., Atlanta, L.A. etc.? Because straight people are so nice in 2007?

Why do straight people continue to be such jerks? Fuck THEM, and the majority of their RELIGIONS and their SCHOOLS! What's their mental deficiency?

Whereas more than 80 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students have been verbally harassed at school by their peers because of their sexual orientation or gender expression;

Whereas nearly 40 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students were physically harassed by their peers because of their sexual orientation or gender expression;

Whereas nearly 20 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students were physically assaulted by their peers at school because of their sexual orientation or gender expression;

Whereas almost 41 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students reported that faculty and staff never intervene when homophobic language is used in their presence;

Whereas almost 29 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students reported missing at least one entire school day in the last month because they felt unsafe;

Whereas lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth who experienced high levels of verbal harassment because of their sexual orientation are more likely to report that they did not plan to attend college than youth who never or rarely experienced such harassment;

Whereas unchecked harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender expression has a negative impact on student academic performance such that grade point averages are a half grade lower than for other students;

Whereas 39 States do not have laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students from discrimination or harassment that occurs at school because of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression;

Posted by chicagogaydude | October 19, 2007 9:12 AM

@29: Why would someone pick a job that made them hate themselves?

Posted by Greg | October 19, 2007 9:26 AM

I recall an elderly out-gay, coworker that I used to have. He would talk about homophobia as being something he had to overcome in himself, long before he could even think about worrying about others' homophobia. Sounded similiar to institutional racism, but internalized.

Posted by BillyBob | October 19, 2007 9:35 AM

Kiki @31: Hasn't Mr. savage written enough colums about how miserable straight married people are?
Is that REALLY what you want for the gay community?????????? Do you truely wants to be jus' like the straights?

Posted by BillyBob | October 19, 2007 9:44 AM

Dan; I really hope your comments are intended to provoke argument. Otherwise, they reflect a lack of intelligence that I'd grown to credit you with. (Oh, and there's also the problem with your grammar and punctuation, but we can address that another time--mine sucks, but I'm not an editor...)

Posted by really? you're the editor? | October 19, 2007 9:48 AM

@34: Gay people aren't just like straights. Women aren't just like men. But we should all have the same rights and responsibilities, even if it's a right you don't value. Plus more straight people will stop being jerks faster if the law doesn't discriminate. It's a virtuous circle.

Posted by chicagogaydude | October 19, 2007 9:59 AM

I only partly buy into Dan's reasoning. I completely agree that the notion that Craig HAD to stay closeted, that he had no other choices available to him due to the era and area of his upbringing is bullshit. He absolutely had other choices he could have made.

However, I'm not quite as ready to condemn him for staying in the closet. I made different choices, but I can certainly see why a gay (or bi) man might choose to remain in the closet in the 1960s or 1970s, in IDAHO. Not everyone is willing to completely cut off their family and their past and move, even if they have the means.

I chose to come out. I think most gay people would be happier in the long run if they come out. But I can understand why some people don't come out, and I do have a limited amount of sympathy for them.

Still, I have no sympathy for Craig whatsoever. Just for different reasons than Dan. If you're gay (or bi) and in the closet, fine. Your right. But shut the fuck up about the rest of us who chose not to share the closet. While I can muster up a bit of sympathy for closet cases, I don't have a shred of sympathy for hypocrites. If he wanted to stay in the closet, then he should have become an accountant, or a corporate attorney or something. But no. He became active in politics, voting repeatedly throughout his long political career to fuck up the lives of gay people. THAT is why I have no sympathy for Craig.

Fuck him.

Posted by SDA in SEA | October 19, 2007 10:04 AM

hmmm... i feel a certain amount of sypmathy for being born gay in 1945. that clearly sucks, no matter what a person decides to do about it. but for him to continue to make a public spectacle out of himself [on 2nd thought, that's his own problem], his political party [their problem, too. tee hee!], and his family [really though, mostly just his wife] seems a wee bit twisted to me.

conclusion: douchebag. he deserves to be a pariah, and the - *ahem* - "family values" party deserves to go down in flames with him [pun not intended]. the only one to be pitied here is his poor wife. but of course, occasions such as this are the reason god invented divorce.

Posted by brandon | October 19, 2007 10:24 AM

@37 That is more what I was trying to get so a big thanks to you! One of the biggest group of offenders when it comes to throwing painful and hateful slurs are closeted gays. When a lot of these guys decide it's ok to come out later in life and then march in the parades, etc... they kind of expect to get a free pass on all of that anguish that they may have caused others when they were in the closet. That's something that I personally have a difficult time reconciling. I grew up in a very conservative state, but still made the decision to come out at 18 and even though there was a lot of emotional pain involved I'm still happy to have made that decision. It's kind of like if you don't have the balls to come out when you know you're gay then don't come out just because you finally think it's safe and nobody is going to care. Aside from maybe being hypocritical it just shows an incredible lack of character.

Posted by Kiki | October 19, 2007 10:35 AM

Fuck that noise about understanding him being closeted because he was from Idaho. I grew up in New Mexico, where things aren't any fucking better, and I was out to my friends by 15, and everyone else by 16. I'm a shitload younger than Larry Craig, but even if rural areas are more backwards, I wasn't the only out person, and you know what? Larry Craig also had another choice: to leave. Millions of fags have made that choice. It wasn't a hard choice for me, but no matter what, it would definitely be easier than living a lie for more than five decades.

Posted by Gitai | October 19, 2007 10:57 AM


Who feels sorry for Larry Craig's wife?

Not me. She knowingly married an anti-gay senator, who turns out is more than likely gay.

Pity her?

I'd call that karma.


If Larry Craig were to come out tomorrow would he have earned a free pass for having been anti-gay? No. But I hope you don't give homophobic straight people an easier time.


And I don't feel sorry for another generation of Catholic spouses whose marriages are broken up by closet cases. Catholic church = homophobia. Again, that's karmic payback. I'd be more upset about the anti-gay prejudices they fostered than the end of their marriage. Am I recommending closeted gays marrying homophobes? No. Come out of course.

Posted by chicagogaydude | October 19, 2007 11:17 AM

I agree with Dan. I'm 56, came out at 19. That was 1970, in case you don't want to do the math -- in Florida. Gayness was still officially a mental disease, but some of us knew better. Now, clearly, everyone sees how sick Craig is. That's progress of a sort.

Posted by Bart | October 19, 2007 11:37 AM

Idaho. Schidaho. Gay people move.

Posted by Lew | October 19, 2007 11:39 AM

what year did elton john get married? 1984?

what year would chris crocker not reveal where he lives? 2007?

Posted by infrequent | October 19, 2007 11:39 AM

Chicagogaydude @ 31:

I understand your anger at schools and at straight people; I've done the same research, and the stats are alarming. But there is something you're missing.

These numbers are not static; they're CHANGING. The situation for gay kids is improving -- being gay in high school today is NOT like it was twenty years ago or even ten years ago.

It varies depending on country, region, and school, but more and more teachers, counsellors, and administrators are actively trying to change the homophobic climate in their schools (and, by extension, their communities), and many of them are succeeding. Gay-straight alliances are springing up all over the place, and when they are allowed to take root, the attitude shift is remarkable. I've seen gay kids holding hands in the hallways (boys!), and the straight kids didn't even blink. This would NEVER have happened when I was in high school!

Look, I know how damaging homophobia can be to kids; I've seen it, and I've heard stories that brought me to tears. It makes me VERY angry to hear how frequently schools are accomplices to the abuse. People who don't care about kids, yet choose to make a living working with them, are despicable.

But there are straight educators (and some very brave gay ones) who care deeply about this, and are gradually changing children's attitudes about homosexuality. Many of the next generation are simply going to take equal treatment for granted. Be patient.

Posted by Irena | October 19, 2007 11:40 AM

[from the Washington Post] "Lauer never brought up the issue of hypocrisy: the unseemly possibility that Craig essentially condemned homosexuality while partaking of gay sex himself."

And the reason Matt did not ask that question? One guess... Also: Matt's disingenuously pretending not to know the meaning of "cruising" - One more guess... Now spell B-I-N-G-O.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | October 19, 2007 11:42 AM

@29... I can imagine a situation where Larry Craig would have said something like, I personally think that homosexuals should have more rights, but I understand that the people of Idaho don't agree with me so I will vote according to their wishes (not that politicians today actually do that, but it is possible). Instead, he basically said, I hate the gays, they get no rights.

The other thing I would hope that our elected leaders would consider is what is the right and just thing to do, not just what is popular. Civil rights may not have been popular in some areas of the country in the 60s, but an effective leader would say, this is not popular, but it is what must be done.

So, I think Craig can be judged on his actions as a politician, regardless of what the people of Idaho think about homosexuals.

Posted by Julie | October 19, 2007 11:42 AM

For the record, I agree with Dan completely here. Craig has actively worked to promote discrimination against gay people and their families. He does NOT deserve to be babied for this!

Save your pity for the people whose lives he has damaged.

Posted by Irena | October 19, 2007 11:58 AM


Yes, Irena, the children are our future. This future can't come quickly enough.

Hawaiian high school students want to teach their principal a lesson: anti-gay discrimination ain’t cool.

Students at Nanakuli High and Intermediate School claim openly gay science teacher Kenneth Kauffman has been the target of homophobic gossip and the school refuses to do anything about it. When one student, the pictured Aaron Barrozo, went to school principal Dr. Levi Chang, he was punished! That’s some bad education. Chang, of course, refused to comment. He did, however, ban Kauffman from extracurricular tutoring. Nice.

Now Barrozo and his socially conscious friends are calling on Chang to change his anti-gay ways. Says one student: “Gay people should be treated equally like everybody else because they’re same like us.”

Posted by chicagogaydude | October 19, 2007 12:07 PM

Sullivan is a tool, as I've said many times.

I think I'll just start saying "SullToo" as shorthand for "Sullivan is a tool." Or maybe just "ST".

If I forget to post it, or I'm not around, can somebody do it for me? Just a quick ST and it will be good.

Posted by elenchos | October 19, 2007 12:52 PM

After reading the comments I would say that, although Craig grew up in a time and place where to be gay was to be a criminal deviant, he did not have to get married, and he did not have to vote for anti-gay legislation. He could have been a (wink wink) confirmed bachelor.

And, if by some miracle Craig is a straight guy who simply likes sucking cop cock, he shouldn't be cheating on his wife in public restrooms -- that's just tacky and wrong.

Posted by spud nut | October 19, 2007 1:46 PM

@49 -- Great story!

Aaron Barrozo is a hero.
Kenneth Kauffman deserves sympathy and support.
Larry Craig can go to hell.

Posted by Irena | October 19, 2007 1:55 PM

Idaho is not one big homogenous state: Boise, for example, is as accepting as the average medium-to-large city in the US. I had out friends in high school there in 1990.

In any case, even if that were a reason for him to be closeted, it doesn't excuse his aggressive anti-gay, punitive stance. He knew who he was, and fighting brutally against gays as he has is an evil born of deep self-hatred.

Going out of your way to make others' lives miserable for something because you hate it in yourself is not excusable, ever, for any reason. Nor is "he's just representing his community". If his community feels that way, then he shouldn't be bloody well representing them.

Posted by IdahoEv | October 19, 2007 2:05 PM

Excuses for Craig's remaining in the closet, or denying to himself his true nature or whatever, because he was in Idaho don't cut it. He left Idaho in spring of 1969 and went to the East Coast, to a large city on the East Coast, to a big university in a large city on the East Coast -- in 1969, and spent two years there in that big university in the big city on the East Coast before deciding to return to Idaho and a safe spot in his family's business. He could have stayed on the East Coast, in any number of big cities, and lived an open life and been happy as whoever and whatever he was, but he decided to go back to Idaho, slot into the family biz, run for public office, and spend the rest of his life making misery for gays. He gets no sympathy from me. I grew up in John Birch society ranch country myself, I'm older than he is, and I had no more support at home than he did for an openly gay life. But I made the break and have lived a gay life without apology and without deliberately causing harm to my community. Gay is not a lifestyle. Republican hypocrisy is a lifestyle. And it's fucked.

Posted by piet | October 19, 2007 2:19 PM

I'm on the "Yes, he is a pig, but..." side. I just got let go, largely because the parents of my 8th graders were freaked out that I had let the kids know I was a lesbian. (I.e., when they asked if I was married, I said "I have a female partner" and not another word.) The idea that you could be fired, in Seattle, in 2007, for such a thing, honestly never even would have occurred to me a week ago. (And before you can start -- it was a volunteer position, not covered by either the city's or state's version of ENDA.) So, I have a tiny bit more understanding of the closet than I did last week -- but of course, just because you feel you're forced to be closeted, you don't get a free pass on being a despicable human being.

Posted by sherrold | October 19, 2007 2:37 PM

sherrold @55 --

Jesus. Welcome to the public school system. Think about what that school just communicated to those kids by firing you -- and there was probably a gay or lesbian student in the class! Arghh!

I seriously hope you will look for another school that is more progressive. Keep trying. Gay and lesbian kids need you so desperately! And straight kids need you, too. Good luck.

Posted by Irena | October 19, 2007 3:08 PM

It's something, I think, that gay men and women can be chaitable towards Craig. You certainly wouldn't be able to expect any charity from him. But that's what charity is. We do it without asking for something in return.

I just can't bring myself to be symapatheic. If he'd said, "You know, I'm pretty fucked up about my sexuality and I needed to seek help but didn't," my feelings might be different. He is still using that tired, old saw: I don't agree with that lifestyle. I hate the term "lifestyle." A styled life. How exhausting would it be to style one's life? (By the way, how do you agree or disagree with a lifestyle in this context? Is lifestyle [homosexuality] a proposition, an argument? Never did get that. The word Craig is looking for is "approve," mmm-kay?)

Posted by Bauhaus | October 19, 2007 3:13 PM

I'm not in his "lifestyle", but he gets no sympathy from me. He had choices, lots of them, to align his public life with his private one. But he took the coward's path at every turn where his peers (in orientation) faced slings and arrows because they were HONEST with others. I guess there are people who live such a dichotomous existence and be happy, and I hope for his sake he has that ability.

It's funny to me how the group that goes on the most about personal responsibility and integrity spurns people who show exactly those traits while welcoming liars with open arms.

Posted by fnc | October 19, 2007 5:34 PM

I don't feel sorry for the wife either. I think a lot of wives choose to ignore what they know deep down so as not to disrupt the status quo. Politics is so much theater--including the role of "Senator's wife". And what does it say about her to be married to such a hate-filled man? It takes either an incredibly stupid and/or cruel person to be a Republican.

I can't help but to think of Virginia Wolfe, Oscar Wilde and Carson McCullers...I think they loved their spouses as much as they were capable and only married because it was expected. But what a toll it took on all their lives.

Posted by etcetcetc | October 19, 2007 9:38 PM

I live in South Carolina and can have sympathy for people who choose to remain closeted, up to a point. I am out at work. But, I work for a media company, so I'm not the first or last gay guy my co-workers have met. It's harder for other people to as open as I am.

If someone chooses to remian closted I understand, it's sad but I understand. As long as they don't decry the "gay lifestyle" (I hate that phrase, by the way) from the pulpit or become politicians who vote to keep me a second class citizen in my own country. Those people deserve to outed as loudly and forceably as possible.

Even today when things are better than they used to be, there are still valid reasons to remain closeted. Even, if it's just a Hollywood actor afraid of not getting work.

On completely different note, I hate Andrew Sullivan. He does NOT speak for me on ANY issue. I'd like him to just shut up already.

Posted by roadtripboy | October 20, 2007 10:48 AM

@59, I am always amazed at people who give Arianna Huffington a free pass for marrying a gay billionaire. If she's not lying about not being able to tell ahead of time, just to get her hands on his bucks and political power, she's completely out of touch with reality.

Posted by Huffpo | October 20, 2007 12:39 PM

I have no problem with someone staying closeted, even lifelong if they want to, as long as it doesn't hurt his/her family or partner(s) and it's a joint decision when there are SOs. Heteros are not required to out their sexlives, preferences or orientation in any way so I don't see why gays should have to if they for whatever reason don't want to.

What makes Craig a scumbag that doesn't get an ounce of sympathy from me is the fact that he made a career at least in part of discriminating against gays and actively pursueing anti-gay-policies. That was his own decision, it was not required for being a politician (not even a Republican one: there must be some that aren't right-wing pseudo-Christian nutters, haters, completely without scruples, criminals or brain-dead, I think...). And thus makes me say "well deserved!"

The wife - well, I think the public humiliation is horrible for her and I can emphatize there. But OTOH she choose to marry a known anti-gay-rights Senator which doesn't doesn't gain her sympathy points in my book even if her husband were straight or still successfully cruising in secret. And I believe that if she didn't know then and went as a beard, she'd surely learned of her husband's orientation and his living it more or less discreetly (always tricky if you happen to be a public person with a claim of conveying moral superiority) sometime between what?1983 and now... And she still choose to stay with him.

Posted by ShiFang | October 21, 2007 10:58 AM

Craig is funny. He is like a walking talking "King Lear" but without any class, or wit, or good lines, or ideas, or set design or supporting actors. He is a train wreck, with no redeeming features. For these reasons I think that the world needs a TELEMOVIE! Starring perhaps, Eddie Albert. Since Eddie Albert has now been dead for two years he will surely bear a striking physical resemblance to Mr Craig.

Posted by Alex | October 21, 2007 10:17 PM

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