I came across your quote regarding the Boy Scouts lifting their ban on openly gay scouts under 18 in today’s blogosphere:
“It would be inappropriate for the sheriff’s office to sponsor an organization that is promoting a lifestyle that is in violation of state law,” Sheriff Ben Wolfinger said.
Sodomy is against the law in Idaho, he added.
Sheriff Wolfinger, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that you’re confused. Very, very confused.
First of all, on June 26, 2003, the US Supreme Court struck down Idaho’s sodomy law in its landmark Lawrence v Texas decision. Forgive me if I’m speaking out of turn here, but isn’t it pretty much your job to know the law? I can only imagine that if your own job has you stumped, your head must be positively spinning by the time you finish waxing all poetic about gay people, sodomy and the Boy Scouts, topics which are clearly beyond your intellectual jurisdiction.
Let’s begin with what the Boy Scouts did. They said they wouldn’t throw out anyone under the age of 18 for saying they’re gay. (The dismissal of gay adults is a whole other issue but considering the claustrophobic parameters of your little mind perhaps it would be best to save that conversation for another letter.) The Boy Scouts have the retained the exact same conduct regulations they’ve always had. Conduct and coming out are different. They’re different. Different. Why they’re as different as being a sheriff and knowing the law. Coming out of the closet has nothing whatsoever to do with sodomy. Nothing.
Now, what I’m about to say might confuse you further, so bear with me. Just trudge right through until you get to the end of these few short paragraphs even if you find yourself experiencing a migraine, which I imagine you might. I’m going to explain what it means ~ and what it doesn’t mean ~ to come out of the closet. You ready? Ok, here we go…
All straight people, yourself included, come out of the closet every single day. You do so in front of strangers, co-workers, cashiers, gas station attendants. You tell people, without batting an eyelash, who you’re married to, who you’re dating, who you’re attracted to and who you’re in love with. And yes, you even come out of the closet in front of children. Indeed, you speak of your sexuality in front of those impressionable little ones without ever considering the damage you’re doing. The only difference between your coming out of the closet and a gay person’s coming out of the closet is that you neither expect nor experience a negative reaction. Gay people do both.
I did a quick google search and saw that you are married and have at least one grandchild. Have you, sir, ever once hit a mental speedbump before using the words “my wife”? Have you ever once considered whether your personal safety might be in jeopardy were you to utter those words to the wrong person? Have you ever considered that you might be thrown out of an organization for using those words? Have you ever measured those words before you used them in front of your boss, for fear that you might be fired from your job ~ legally? Have you ever once considered that using those words might be inappropriate for children or that it might sexualize them at too young an age?
Have you ever considering that saying “my/our children” tips people off to the fact that you’ve probably had sex with your wife? Have you ever considered that using the words “my grandchildren” tips people off to the fact that your children have likely done the same with their spouses?
Our coming out of the closet is no more or less sexual than that. And if our saying we’re gay is somehow inappropriate for children then you sir need to consider the age of the person you’re speaking to when you say “my kids”.
When you were a child, did you ever once consider not telling your friends how hot you thought the newest Hollywood starlet was? Did you refrain from hanging that Farrah Fawcett poster in your bedroom (or whoever was hot when you were growing up)? Did you fear anything more than rejection before telling the object of your schoolyard crush that you thought she was cute?
Have you ever feared that holding your wife’s hand might be enough of a reason for someone to put a bullet in your head?
My guess is that you answered no to each and every one of those questions. Coming out of the closet is not an act of sex. It is not an unnecessary or early sexualization of our children. And it is not an activity that only happens to gay people. What is an experience exclusive to gay people is the fear of coming out. The possible “repercussions”. The possibility of being thrown out of an organization, beaten, fired, killed, evicted, rejected ~ for simply saying “my husband,” “my wife,” “my boyfriend,” “my girlfriend” ~ for simply holding hands.
Why don’t you chew on that for a while? Contact me when the migraine eases.
Ian Roger Rosen
And P.S. Coming out isn’t the only thing not solely within the experience of being gay. Sodomy is also practiced, pretty widely I might add, by straight people. So before you start condemning sodomy and chasing down sodomites (who, I reiterate, aren’t breaking any laws in Idaho), perhaps you should consider your own sexual history and where your conduct is in regards to laws that have been dormant for the past ten years.