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Houston Voice, July 2, 2004
File 012
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Houston Voice, July 2, 2004 - File 012. 2004-07-02. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 16, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/2139/show/2121.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2004-07-02). Houston Voice, July 2, 2004 - File 012. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/2139/show/2121

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, July 2, 2004 - File 012, 2004-07-02, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 16, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/2139/show/2121.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, July 2, 2004
Contributor
  • Crain, Chris
  • Fisher, Binnie
Publisher Window Media
Date July 2, 2004
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 012
Transcript HOUSTON VOICE www.houstonvoice.com JULY 2, 2004 11 JOHN ARAVOSIS Gay staffers for anti-gay members of Congress are aiding and abetting the enemy and deserve neither our pity nor our protection. Gay Hill staffers should be outed ONE YEAR AGO, I WOULD HAVE opposed "outing" gay congressional staffers who work for anti-gay members of Congress. After all, I was once one of those staffers, working for a Republican, no less. Today, while outing still gives me pause, I believe recent events have made it necessary When President Bush and anti-gay members of Congress teamed up with the radical right to push for passage of the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment, all the rules changed. The FMA is the legislative equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Its passage will ban samesex marriage from now till eternity, ripping apart thousands of already-married gay couples. Worse yet, the amendment is so broadly written that it could overturn every pro-gay federal, state and local law, and private industry policy in the country Facing such an unprecedented threat, it is time we considered an unprecedented response. We once laughed off the gay staffers who worked for Jesse Helms or Pat Buchanan. We loathed their self-loathing, but figured that for the most part they were hurting themselves more than us. In post-FMA America, we no longer have that luxury. President Bush and anti- gay members of Congress have declared war on gay people. GAY STAFFERS WHO WORK FOR SUCH politicians are hardly innocent bystanders simply exercising their right to free speech. They are hired guns defending policies intended to destroy our relationships. Such staffers are, at best, enemy combatants; and at worst, war criminals. Those who would choose to aid and abet our enemies deserve neither our pity nor our protection. Some say that congressional staff members are hardly responsible for the anti-gay positions of their bosses. That is simply absurd. We're not talking about young kids who simply walk the dog or stuff the mail. There are gay men and lesbians serving anti-gay members in the most senior levels of Congress, from chiefs of staff to press secretaries to lawyers and other senior advisers. To suggest that their role in policy-making is negligible is naive or disingenuous. It's high time we stopped treating grown men and women as children who simply need a hug. These people don't need a hug; they need a swift kick in the ass. They are, for the most part, well-educated, highly paid adults who are perfectly aware of the harm they are causing. Yet still they choose to perform their roles. To suggest that all, or even a majority, are closet cases living on the fringes of gay life, and thus deserving of our pity, is a fiction. They may work against our civil rights by day, but they surely enjoy its benefits by night. BUT WHAT IF THE MARRIAGE amendment is doomed, as some say, so no harm, no foul? That's nice, but it's hardly a defense to admit you tried to kill me, but failed. And in any case, it's not at all clear that the amendment is dead. Only a fool crows victory before the votes have been counted. It would hardly be unprecedented for our "allies" in Congress to cave when faced with a hard-to-oppose anti-gay vote. And even if the amendment doesn't pass this year, the gay marriage debate is hardly over. It's only a matter of time before the issue is again ripe for future congressional consideration. What will outing really achieve? An outing campaign takes troops away from the enemy, teaches members of Congress and their staff that there is a price to be paid for legislating "family values," and ultimately helps create an environment in which legislative gay-bashing and working for the enemy is less and less acceptable. In the end, LGBT staffers working for anti-gay members of Congress ask of us what they are unwilling to give in return. They condemn the use of their sexual orientation as a Weapon while brandishing our own against us. They demand their private lives be protected and kept off limits while helping their bosses turn our private lives into criminal acts. And they ask us to ignore our own self-interest and defend them with our silence, while they refuse to consider anyone's well being but their own. John Aravosis is a longtime Washington lobbyist and activist He can be reached at john@gayacfoocacy.com. fOIIlt LYNDEN ARMSTRONG & MAT YOUNG It's easier to terrorize than organize, |v but activists only hurt our cause when they out Hill staffers. Don't out gay Hill staffers SOMETIMES, WHEN WE ARE UNDER assault, it's easier to attack our own rather than fight those who are actually causing us harm. In politics and in war, this is often referred to as a circular firing squad. As reported in Southern Voice, that is exactly what some gay activists seem to be doing through their efforts to out gay and lesbian staffers on Capitol Hill. As co-chairs of the Gay, Lesbian & Allies Senate Staff Caucus, we forcefully condemn any campaign that would "out" lesbian or gay congressional staff. The GLASS Caucus has been working to creak* ;i more positive, safe and affirming environment for gay and lesbian staffers; we believe that outing staff is counterpro ductive and will only encourage some staffers to go even deeper into the closet. It may seem exciting to threaten staffers by outing them if they don't come out themselves and to shock members of Congress about the unknown sexual orientations of their staffers. But if these activists were truly committed to ensuring equal rights, they would be organizing gay people to educate the public and members of Congress about public policy issues affecting our lives. BUT WHY ORGANIZE WHEN YOU CAN terrorize? Anyone who would threaten to out gay and lesbian staffers — potentially costing them their careers and their economic security — is not only cruel, they are doing nothing to further the fight for equality. This will do nothing to stop the Federal Marriage Amendment from coming up for a vote in mifl-July. In fact, the FMA will most likely fall far short of the necessary 67 votes for passage. So, we're left wondering: What exactly are these activists hoping to accomplish? They certainly aren't changing anyone's value systems. They certainly aren't using logic and reason and the values of inclusion and fairness to sway members of Congress. Rather, the only likely outcome of this campaign would be to potentially cost some people their jobs and to give our opponents ammunition by showing the country how we treat our own. Staffers may advise their bosses, but at the end of the day it is the member of Congress who is accountable for his or her vote. Many gay staffers don't even advise their bosses on gay rights, but on a host of other issues or serve in administrative or technical positions. Outing a staff assistant, a legislative correspondent, or even someone as senior as a legislative director or a chief of staff will not change a member's beliefs. There are LGBT people on Capitol Hill making changes in both small and large ways everyday. Some do it by being out and actively contributing to policy discussions. Others do so by coming out to select coworkers and slowly and subtly changing the atmosphere in their offices. Outing is not a panacea to convincing anti-gay politicians that we are full citi zens deserving of equal rights. Rather it is an incredibly reckless, misdirected, and lazy form of activism. COMING OUT AND SPEAKING OUT for ourselves is a personal journey, and it is one that some seem to have forgotten. The coming out process is a difficult one for almost all of us. Often the last step is in our workplace to our colleagues and bosses. That last step is usually taken only after we are reasonably confident that we will be judged on our skills and contributions and not our sexual orientation. LGBT people — even Capitol Hill staffers — must be allowed to go through the process of coming out and merging our personal and professional lives at a pace that is comfortable. An individual's sexual orientation should not be an issue for employment and by outing staff to their employers, these activists reinforce the notion that there is something wrong with being gay or lesbian. While some may disagree with the mindset of closeted LGBT staffers who work for members of Congress who do not support LGBT equality; we believe those are the personal decisions to be made by each staffer. We call on these activists to stop attacking LGBT staff and direct their energy toward more constructive causes. Lynden Armstrong, a Republican, and Mat Young, a Democrat, are the founding co- chairs of the GLASS Caucus and can be reached via www.glas5cauajs.org.
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