Ken Mehlman Comes Out as Gay
I’m fairly new to the political scene, and even newer to the conservative/Republican political scene, so it’s hard for me to put this in context. However, there can now be no doubt that former Bush campaign chief and RNC chairman Ken Mehlman is gay, because he is now saying so.
Judging from reactions on Twitter, this isn’t too much of a surprise to many. Mehlman, at 43, never married and has often been the subject of attempted outings and widespread speculation. What people seem to be questioning, if they’re questioning anything at all, is his possible motives. Why now?
According to Mehlman, he has come to this realization just recently. As a gay man, I admit I find that bit fairly hard to believe. Orientation and attraction are pretty hardwired. If you are attracted to people of the opposite sex, you know it. If you are attracted to people of both sexes, you know it. If you are attracted to people of the same sex, you know it.
I went through all this in high school. I didn’t want to admit I was gay, but that was denial. I always knew where my attractions – both physical and emotional – lie. However, it did take time for me to associate what was going on in my mind with a label or a social group.
On the other hand, I have a family member who didn’t come out until his fifties, though in truth, he never claimed he didn’t know, just that he didn’t tell.
Regardless, there can be no doubt Mehlman is going to be subjected to speculation and ridicule from both sides of the political spectrum. He supported a president who pressed “anti-gay” legislation, though Mehlman claims W. is not a “homophobe.” And that’s good. I believe him when he says that. He’s been repeatedly asked about his orientation, so he can’t say he never thought about it.
What’s most important to me is that Mehlman, who now wants to devote time to advocating gay marriage, doesn’t jump on the entire “gay agenda” bandwagon. What’s also important to me is that fellow conservatives, regardless of orientation, rally around Mehlman’s self-outing as unimportant. Let’s leave the name calling to the Left.
Regardless of how my fellow gay conservatives feel about “gay issues,” to me the primary reason for mentioning my orientation is to promote the idea that conservatives are on the side of the political spectrum that truly believe in the power of the individual, and that is supposed to be what gay rights is all about at its core. We can talk about all the social issues and politics later.
Welcome to the world, Mr. Mehlman. I’m glad you’ve decided to live your life more in tune with who you are, for whatever reason.