Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Ken Mehlman and His Coming Out

I am of two minds on the coming out of the former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman. First, I fully understand and appreciate the personal nature of coming out of the closet. It can be a difficult process. I felt like a very late bloomer coming out at 25 (the '93 March on Washington was the catalyst for my coming out). So I can only imagine what it would be like coming out at 43, and I wish him well personally. I am sure that he, like millions of others before him, will find that his world will change in very significant and substantive ways (Mehlman is already working on gay marriage issues, for example), and he will be better for it.

However, my second position is quite different. The vast majority of the GLBT community, as it struggled with coming to terms with sexuality, did not have a front row seat in bashing the community. The vast majority of the GLBT community did not work tirelessly to make sure that gay marriage and GLBT lives were used as wedge issues to re-elect politicians. The vast majority of the GLBT community did not applaud, or tacitly approve of, the passage of a slew of state constitutional amendments banning marriage equality during his time in power (I think the count was 21 states). Even openly gay Republicans didn't go that far.

Many more people have laid out the crimes against the GLBT community that Ken Mehlman committed (Joe.My.God is a blog that I have clearly and unfortunately slept on, but I highly recommend it for a full review of all the Mehlman did during his tenure in politics against the GLBT community, including Log Cabin Republicans). Check out this post from Blog Active's Mike Rogers, who outed Mehlman years ago. It is important, I think, for the world, and particularly for the GLBT community, to be reminded of just what happened during Mehlman's tenure as RNC Chair, particularly as he seeks understanding from the broader GLBT community.

I sincerely wish Mehlman the best as he explores being an out gay man. Again, it can be a difficult road. But just as he struggled for 43 years to come to terms with who he is, perhaps he should give most of us in the GLBT community about that same amount of time to come to terms with his legacy to our community.

No comments: