There is always, will always be, at least one, if not a few, people who rush to condemn their brothers and sisters in the hopes of gaining the respect and adoration of their perceived fathers and mothers; I at times wonder if Brandon Ambrosino is that person. Ambrosino's TIME article, "Outing the Hypocrisy of Outing" in its mad dash to protect Aaron Schock, although I am not sure from what beyond the possible loss of support from his political and economic bases, misses several points and fails because the article operates under the assumption that we, all or even the majority of us, live in a post-gay world.
When Itay Hod wrote about a hypothetical gay politician and rhetorically questions if one should out him, the only thing he did wrong was that he did not go all the way: He didn't put his money where his Facebook post was. While I agree that "shaming" someone for being gay is not helpful and drawing conclusions about one's sexuality based upon their fashion sense is outmoded, that is not what is occurring. What Ambrosino's charge of "shaming" only works if one misplaces the emphasis of what is being said or claimed.
The shame is not that Aaron Schock may possibly be gay, bisexual, heteroflexible or whatever limited label one wishes to slap on him; the shame is not even that one like Schock may wish to remain private, nor is it that he lied. The shame is that the "closeted" politician sits in Washington and actively votes against his gay brothers and sisters. This is what outing a politician is holding them accountable for, not the act of finding pleasure in a same-sex encounter but the act of finding that pleasure and then turning around and demonizing, delegitimizing others for doing the same.
Moreover, while you can be gay and vote for antigay and homoantagonistic measures and bills -- and let's be clear, I am arguing that choosing not to get married, even choosing not to make same-sex marriage a political priority for you does not make one antigay but actively voting against it, actively voting for or supporting an amendment, or even the idea of an amendment, that prohibits same-sex couples from marriage is antigay -- if you have to do so while you lie about what you are, essentially thus lying about what you are doing -- engaging in a form of self-loathing on the public stage -- then you have shown, have proven the point that your sexuality in this instance matters.
It matters to your supports. It matters to those whose rights you trample upon. It matters to you, and you know it matters. You know that you are helping to sustain a world where little boys and girls like you, your brothers and your sisters, will grow up less free and less equal.
I use the word "sustain" deliberately because, I am sorry to inform Ambrosino and David Carr but for many gay marriage is still not a fact of life. I am sure that on some level they know this. They must, right? But, their language reveals assumptions cultivated by privileges, be they geographical, economic, educational, financial, gendered or even -- dare I say it -- racial, that does not coincide with the reality for many individuals. And even if gay marriage were legal in possibly all 50 states, the ability to marry and divorce a person who is the same sex or gender as you does not alone signal equality or, for me, the much more desired state and goal of liberation.
For many individuals being the gay boy, the sissy, the butch girl is still being the fag, the dyke, the tranny -- it is not simply "interesting" but can still be quite dangerous, and even if it is not dangerous it can be, to use the parlance of the kids, everything.