Monday, December 30, 2013

Josh Barro on the obligations of being "out"


I've followed Josh Barro both on TV and online for a long time now.

Smart, intelligent turn of phrase and he comes across confident in his positions but not arrogant.

In the firestorm of the Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson debavle he's written openly about why Phil and his followers are wrong on a few things, homosexuality being at the top of the list. And for that he has gotten a ton of hate mail.

But Mr. Barro doesn't hide from the attacks. He's actually addressed many of them. Some in public in great detail - which entertained me to no end.

Today he writes about why he's not afraid to answer his critics and haters. Great essay everyone should read. Here's just an excerpt:

The only reason these emailers make me angry is that I think about how their insults affect other people. I'm too arrogant for self-loathing, but that's not true of everyone. A lot of gay people still live in communities where these hateful attitudes are dominant. A lot of gay children and teenagers are at the mercy of parents, teachers and clergy who hold bigoted views.

Being open and unashamed about being gay is just one small thing I can do to change the culture and make life easier for people who haven't had my luck.

And that's why I'm mystified by prominent gay people in business and media and Hollywood who choose to be in the closet. They have the ability to help lots of people who don't have their advantages, and they're selfishly passing on it under the guise of "privacy." Often, they do this while living quite gaily in places like New York and Los Angeles and reaping the benefits of social acceptance in their non-professional lives.

Imagine, for example, that you were a prominent daytime news anchor on a national cable news channel aimed at a conservative audience, and you were gay. You would have the potential, by coming out of the closet, to change millions of viewers' perspective on gay people for the better. You'd make it easier for your closeted gay viewers to love themselves, and easier for your viewers' gay children to come out.

Or you could live a fabulous gay life with your boyfriend in New York City while staying closeted to the national audience. Wouldn't that be a pretty decadent choice?

Read Josh's entire essay on Business Insider

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