This past weekend, I had the experience of seeing a new film by Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick. Outrage exposes and attacks the hypocrisy of closeted gay politicians and policy makers, who actively vote and campaign against gay rights issues.
(This film has generated some strong reactions. Here’s an update post.)
The film focuses, in part, on the issue of whether it’s okay to “out” someone, and features extensive interviews with Mike Rogers, the founder and editor of BlogActive.com, a site dedicated to outing closeted gays in Washington. However, it quickly becomes clear that this film is about much more than whether a public figure has a right to a private personal life.
In profile after profile, Kirby Dick introduces his audience to closeted gay policy makers and the harm they’ve inflicted on millions of Americans though the promotion of restrictive legislation (DOMA and gay parent adoption laws, for example) and the withholding of crucial funding for AIDS. The filmmaker attempts to probe into the psychology of this double lifestyle and the motivation behind the vitriol with which many of them have attacked the community to which they secretly belong.
It’s very often those self hating gay people who in the closet are the most vicious towards other gays and lesbians as a way to kind of deflect attention from their own orientation.
– Washington, DC City Councilman David Catania in Outrage
In talking about the personal lives of such public figures as Malcolm Forbes, Ed Koch, and Florida Governor Charlie Crist, as well as the members of the media that cover them, the film examines the double standards the media upholds in covering the sex lives of gay public figures.
Years ago, I had a gay friend who worked in the Washington office of a congressman. He used to joke that DC was the “gayest place on earth,” and the film supports his theory.
I think that for gay (especially male) audiences, some of the film will be preaching to the choir. After all, rumor and innuendo about some of the people featured has abounded for years. However, the people who really need to see this film are straight people, both liberal and conservative.
I imagine conservative viewers will be appalled, not only by the revelations about their favorite handsome “bachelors” but by how they, as voters, have been led to oppose the rights of a entire minority as a way of disguising the private lives of a few.
It’s one thing for a gay politician to marry a straight woman and make her his”beard,” it’s quite another to drag an entire voting bloc into the charade. And yet it appears this has happened over and over again.
Outrage features interviews with prominent members of the gay community such as Congressman Barney Frank, former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey, activist Larry Kramer, radio personality Michelangelo Signorile, and openly gay congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (Representative, Wisconsin 2nd district).
Go see it. Take a straight friend.