Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Can Be Heroes.

The interwebs and the gay blogoshpere are aflutter with the recent announcement from Ken Mehlman that he is gay. This came as no surprise to those in the elite social/political circles in Washington DC. Mehlman who was the campaign manager during Bush version 2's reelection run oversaw some of the most homophobic, anti-gay campaigns--specifically getting 11 states to pass anti-gay and anti gay marriage amendments. He also was a key supporter of everyone's favorite homophobe Mr. Rick Santorum.

In recent interviews Mr. Mehlman claims that he was only one person in the Republican party and he could not change what was going on because he wasn't comfortable with who he was. His exact words, "As I’ve said, one thing I regret a lot is the fact that I wasn’t in the position I am today where I was comfortable with this part of my life, where I was able to be an advocate against that [strategy] and able to be someone who argued against it. I can’t change that – it is something I wish I could and I can only try to be helpful in the future." As a practicing Buddhist, I am all about forgiveness and I hope Mr. Mehlman has a happy, 'comfortable' life living in the posh Chelsea area of NYC. I hope he will make amends for the carnage he unleashed upon millions in the LGBT community.

What concerns me about this whole ordeal is that some gay folks will call Mehlman a 'hero' for coming out so publicly--I am referring to the Log Cabin republicans and 'gay patriots.' Evidently Mehlman gets a free pass from these groups since he's still a Republican. But I digress. In a few years the gay community will all but forget what Mehlman did because he will pull out his Rolodex and get some of his rich friends to fund another insipid HRC event or sponsor a log cabin republican gala. Ta, Da! Hero status achieved! Throw money at any problem or give money to an LGBT organization and all is forgiven. But not so fast--before we give Ken his cape I have a name we should consider: Lawrence King. Do you remember him?

Lawrence was a 15 year old gay boy who was shot twice in the head by one of his fellow class mates. He died two days later after he was taken off life support. The story in itself is tragic as King came from a broken home and was constantly bullied in school for being effeminate and flamboyant. King had the balls to embrace who he was and come to school everyday were he was being beat and taunted by his peers--he was fearless.

Unfortunately King's bravery cost him his life; but for those short 15 years he lived them with honesty and integrity--now that is what I call a HERO. We should remember people like Lawrence King, Charlie Howard, Rebecca Wight, Brandon Teena and Andrew Anthos who died for having the courage to live their life openly and with honor.

So before we start calling Ken Mehlman a hero, let's not forget those who walked the walk and didn't have the luxury to hide behind their political ideology for hear of being 'found out.' As I said before, I wish Ken all the luck in the world, but I believe he has a long way to go before he reaches hero status.


  1. I am glad he "discovered" himself and in being true to his heart now comfortable, but the harm he has caused to the LBGT community does not get him a by as a person regardless of faith, sexual preference nor should his past actions be forgotten. To dampen the true heroes, those that have stood up for equality, understanding, compassion, would be the true sin. Let him live, be at peace, become a supporter, but do not provision him the tag or title of leader, hero, or those that truly lead the way to equality and understanding.

  2. Stunning, heartbreaking, and inspiring. Thank you

  3. In a completely different context, I read the quote recently that you don't always have to be an advocate for whatever group you are a part of. I think the true everyday heroes are the ones who choose to do that, in the face of violent bullies or just facing everyday ignorance.

    Great post, glad to see you blogging again!

  4. A story of one man who could not be true to himself, and a boy who could only be true to himself.

    Mehlman reminds me the conformist from Bertolucci's THE CONFORMIST--he destroys everything in his life to fit in, including the woman he loves. FUCK HIM. (I do not mean that in a good way either.) And fuck all of those hypocrites everywhere.