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Life Is a Performance, Ramin

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Maybe Newsweek's Ramin Setoodeh meant to stir up the controversy he did about gays being unbelievable in straight entertainment roles, and maybe he didn't. But the topic has been busted open, and he and others should use this as a learning moment.

While the real world is not Broadway and filming Sex in the City sequels, the fact is that there are tens of thousands of gay men and women who perform in "straight roles" every day in the US military. If they out themselves, they have a high chance of losing their jobs and being discharged by a military court of justice.

Setoodeh may not have meant to convey insensitivity and ignorance -- ignorance in that there are numerous gay actors performing in straight roles in the entertainment industry and insensitivity in the sense that throughout American society, there are men and women who adequately "perform" each day in the straight roles ascribed to them while shifting to their real gay identities when they can afford to.

When I watched a number of good "gay" friends unable to salute in uniform their Commander in Chief at last year's Human Rights Campaign dinner in fear of being expelled from employment, I saw the opposite of what Ramin Setoodeh describes.

I don't want to pile on much. I am a pundit as well and get things wrong on occasion -- and sometimes have to step back. This is one of those times when I think Newsweek's columnist should reconsider the empirical realities about gays in the entertainment industry vs. his own homosexual issues filter.

He would be wise to acknowledge that everyone is performing, and with his casual disregard for gays who constantly perform straight roles in life, he took a whack at a group far more numerous and significant than the talented Sean Hayes.

-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note. Clemons can be followed on Twitter @SCClemons