I’m fascinated by the varying reactions to former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman coming out (most of them, negative). Here is one from my friend Chris (not Chris in Paris):
On Ken Mehlman, I think you are striking exactly the right tone.
My frustration about closeted Republicans has always been a burning irritation at the flagrant disrespect they show for their own constituency – they view them as torch wielding morons to be deployed when needed in support of tax cuts who ask only to be fed the occasional sacrificial minority.
The pawns they manipulate are, however, people like my own family. Who are now, virtually without exception, on board with full equality for gay people – because I took the time to talk to them over the years and treat them with respect. Plus, they love me.
I certainly don’t envy the position Ken Mehlman was in, or is in now – because of his public profile.
When I was on the Hill, I was completely out. I came out in my job interview. So I bopped around thinking that I had dealt with the “closet” monster.
But it still completely freaked me out the first time that somebody came into the office to ask for my help because they had heard that I was gay – and they had not heard it from me. (They got the help – I freaked out privately later.)
I think most straight people don’t understand that coming out is rarely something that you do once and never have to do again, and I know that I hadn’t considered the ramifications of being out to the extent that I was no longer in complete control of the information flow.
So, Ken Mehlman has plunged into the deep end of the pool. I wish he had done it earlier, but I appreciate the fact that you appreciate the guts that it took for him to do this.