I really cannot wrap my mind around the level of homophobia that Andrew Breitbart holds in his hypocritical heart. The right-wing activist recently left the board of the gay conservative group GOProud over the not-exactly-outing of a 2012 Clown Car consultant (see “Rick Perry strategist Tony Fabrizio – anti-gay for a payday“) in a Tweet. Breitbart believes that outings of anti-gay sexual hypocrites are “outrageous, dehumanizing” liberal political tactics.
In light of what he does and says for a living, this hypocrisy is mind-blowing. To see him defend it, along with the deadly nature of the closet is breathtaking. You can experience Breitbart in full flower in an interview with Michelangelo Signorile during last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference in DC. Take how he chastises Mike for outing the dead Malcolm Forbes back in 1990, when the mainstream media refused to publish the truth — that the billionaire’s public relationship with Elizabeth Taylor was a PR stunt to cover the reality of his homosexuality.
“I found it to be such a horrifying act,” Breitbart said, thinking back to that time, when he was a “cultural liberal, a default liberal” living in Los Angeles. “[I remember thinking] this is an outrageous tactic, a dehumanizing tactic. It forces them out of their private realm and makes them public figures in order to enforce a political reality. I believed that in the United States of America, you have the right not only to be in the closet but you have the right be to be gay and believe in traditional marriage — not to coerce people, using language of hate.”
The irony is rich, and Breitbart rejects anyone pointing to examples of it like, oh, say, his calling Occupy protestors “filthy freaks”; or distorting the words of Agriculture Dept. official Shirley Sherrod to take her down and attack the president, inspiring a defamation lawsuit against him; or exposing Congressman Anthony Weiner for tweeting a lewd photo of himself — one of which Breitbart even showed a couple of radio hosts on his phone, though he was “mortified” it leaked out — and then hijacking Weiner’s press conference; or being part of an attempt to take down ACORN with undercover videos edited to mislead.
Hypocrisy much? The fact is that Andrew Breitbart, who is straight, doesn’t understand that powerful anti-gay officials having a “secret gay life” is tantamount to attacking the LGBT community because of the pol’s severe unresolved personal issues with people who choose to no longer hide in the shadows. In the crosshairs are average everyday taxpaying LGBT people who are willing to subject themselves to public scorn and anti-gay legal bias to live a truth in 2012. Breitbart prefers his homos quivering in the closet as some sort of comfort zone for himself and society so it can continue to discriminate:
Breitbart even defended former Idaho GOP Senator Larry Craig — not on breaking the law by having sex in a public bathroom (he thinks that should have been exposed) but by voting anti-gay while secretly having sex with men.
“I believe that you can be gay, a person of conscious and for traditional marriage,” he said.
However, Mike zeroed in on Breitbart’s political hypocrisy — the alleged conservative activist can’t even figure out how to politically rationalize his disgusting position; he changes the subject.
Defending his reporting on Anthony Weiner, he said he the congressman made a “public tweet,” and he was simply then covering it. When it’s pointed out to him that if Tony Fabrizio (whom GOProud and others contend wasn’t known to be “closeted”) went into a gay bar and there are 600 people there, it’s certainly “public” too, he switches from the invasion of privacy issue over to the motives of those doing the reporting.
It would be easy to just dismiss Andrew Breitbart’s public bloviating as wingnut, self-serving PR crap, but it’s much more insidious than that. It’s the attitude that the closet is something to be glorified as a legitimate “lifestyle choice,” as if innocent people are not hurt by the continued shame and secrecy. As if the closet doesn’t bolster deviant, untruthful and unhealthy personal and political decision-making that makes it easier for LGBTs to be demonized as “less-than.” That kids struggling with coming out aren’t being bullied or committing suicide because family and peers think that they must be de-gayed.
To hold a position like this, Andrew Breitbart can only have a social circle with gay friends not living with those day-to-day struggles, either because they are in a financial position to dodge them, or they are living in enclaves where LGBTs have many more rights due to the hard work of state or local officials that recognize that there is nothing wrong with being openly gay, and that legal discrimination is wrong. He doesn’t even care that his political work only ensures that anti-gay violence and bigotry continues to have safe harbor.
To counter Breitbart’s contention that it’s just a choice to stay in some glorified closet that affects no one, here are some well-known people who came out, citing not just a personal decision, but took time and care to explain the societal good that accompanies it.
“In light of Jamey’s [Rodemeyer] death — it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it — is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality. Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country.” – Zachary Quinto, 2011
“It’s quite different for an African-American male… It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.”
— Don Lemon, 2011
“[Coming out] was the first decision I made as a father… I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn’t raised that way, and I’m not going to raise a child to do that.”
— Clay Aiken, 2008
“I got married Oct. 25, I don’t really talk about my sexual orientation, I felt like I was living my life, I wasn’t in the closet, but I was just living my life. Everybody who knows me personally, they know I’m gay. And that’s the way people should be able to live our lives, really. We shouldn’t have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country.”
— Wanda Sykes, 2008
It’s pretty clear that Wanda Sykes in particular agrees with Breitbart on the point that she shouldn’t have to come out of the closet, that she was living her life privately, and out to those in her life that mattered. What activated her was the fact that LGBTs are still denied the very civil rights Breitbart takes for granted. In his world, Sykes should remain silent and wait for Heterosexual America to wake up and bestow us with the right not to be fired for being LGBT, or for same-sex couples to have their relationships have legal parity with opposite sex couples.
No, for Andrew Breitbart, his position is amusingly, and sickeningly retro — he boils being gay into a sex act. That’s all it is, he views it as some sort of simple proclivity that in itself is private because it needs to be — it has to be hidden from spouses, political reality because in the end, gay sex is deviant in his mind. He’s ok with the purported deviance, apparently, so we’re supposed to see that as “political progress.” Only in the faux conservative community can you toss that kind of thinking out there and see it as legitimate in 2012. Kids are still dying because of homophobia and transphobia, Andrew. You’re down with that in our great country?
And he didn’t stop the flow of BS with the interview with Mike. On Current TV’s The Young Turks With Cenk Uygur, watch Breitbart continue bleating the hypocrisy, “It’s OK to smear Occupy, because Tea Party has been unfairly portrayed.”
Cenk talks to Andrew Breitbart about a video that captures him yelling “stop raping people!” at Occupy protesters outside the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “What I’m trying to understand is if you’re doing it on purpose, like you know you’re being unfair, or do you think you’re being eminently fair?” Cenk asks. “Do you really think you can smear the whole movement?” Breitbart answers, “I’m being too fair. Fair is playing by the same rules that you and NBC and ‘The Huffington Post’ played against smearing the Tea Party.”