Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Haggard Update

When I saw this last night about Ted Haggard wanting to become an psychologist online, I laughed and decided to save it for TWIP this weekend. But then I saw this on the Denver Post, and couldn't wait. According to one of his "overseers":
"He is completely heterosexual," Ralph said. "That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing."
Uh, yeah, whatever. If anyone needs an explanation as to why a guy who hires a male prostitute for three years is not completely heterosexual, check out this post at Good As You.

There's just so much to this, I don't know what to say. Here we have a 50-year-old gay man, who by any account from anyone credible, is stuck in an unsatisfying relationship with his wife and, until recently, completely cut off from the outside world (why does this sound like a cult?), a (presumably) straight woman who's married to this guy, who has remained silent on this issue and will remain married to him, at least in the near future, and four kids who have to move around a whole lot now because no one will acknowledge the truth about this whole thing. There are other characters, like the team of fundamentalists who are trying to manage this "crisis" and push their politics at the same time so they can keep pushing the "gays can change" narrative, his congregation who lost their pastor but support him and hope he ex-gays himself for his own sake, the GLBT community and allies, who, while we make fun of this whole drama, would really like for him to come out and live his life honestly for both his sake and because of the personal political stakes, and the heterosexual population at large who's just shaking their heads wondering what's happened or just waiting for the next juicy piece of gossip but otherwise don't care about how this works itself out.

Isn't this a crazy drama?

When exposed, Mark Foley came out through his attorney while in rehab, Jim West denied it until he died, and James McGreevey embraced the GLBT community. Haggard, an anti-gay authority figure who was also outed through scandal, has "ex-gayed" and decided to stay in the closet and not speak about his sexuality publicly, only through spokesmen. While those of us not in positions of authority have developed a set of coming out rituals, these people, so far removed from out-n-proud GLBT people, through their own choice, cannot respectably come out.

As much as his "overseers" want to claim him for the anti-gay community, he is one of the most publicly visible queer people in the country. For better or worse, he is, in a small, nuanced way, representing us.

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