Tyler Whitney “outed”? I think not, plus… the kid deserves some kudos


Video message (added 10:40pm EST, June 13) with a secondary typed message (*not a transcript*) below

The gay and political blogospheres have been abuzz with “news” of the “outing” of 18 year old Tyler Whitney, a staffer and webmaster for the Republican Tom Tancredo’s campaign for the Presidency (background info at Pam’s House Blend).

Heck… even I posted a small news brief on my site a couple of days ago.

I say, give the kid a freakin’ break. Yeah… “kid.” Let’s not forget the boy is only 18 years old. Fresh out of high school.

As far as any “outing” goes… I think not. Tyler had already begun to come out to friends and people close to him. Tyler was beginning to come out on his own. So, and this goes for me as well, let’s stop calling this an “outing.” Tyler wasn’t “outed.” Tyler came out on his own and, being the person he is, involved in the high-level politics he is in and working for the campaign he works for, I’m not surprised that someone in the media found out, the media then reported on it and the blogosphere picked it up (or the blogosphere first and then the media, either way… it is the same).

So, there we have it: Tyler came out and the media reported on it. Tyler was not outed.

I give the kid some major kudos. Coming out is tough. In the situation he is in, I bet it is even tougher. He’ll have a lot to deal with as he continues to come out. He’ll lose friends. He’ll lose support. Heck, he might even lose family members over it. I’m sure he had some good reasons for coming out as slowly as he had, but…

Again… Let’s not forget that Tyler is only 18 years old. He’s still growing, maturing and figuring out who he is. The same goes for me at age 21.

It isn’t fair to pick on Whitney. It isn’t accurate to say he was “outed.” He’s figuring himself out and I say SHAME ON THE LGBT FOLKS who are treating Tyler with such disdain. Let the boy come out. Let him be who he is. Give him the support he needs and let him figure out who he is. Don’t attack him.

Update (1:50am, June 14th): A good quote from Rick Sincere’s post on the subject:

“Have any of these gloaters thought about the personal consequences for Tyler Whitney, the consequences that any one of us might have faced had we come out to the wrong person or at the wrong time? How will it affect his relationship with his parents, his grandparents — or even, perhaps, with his boyfriend (if he has one)? Could he be disowned, disinherited, sent to an ex-gay treatment facility where he would be scarred by psychotherapeutic quacks?

People like Tyler Whitney need sympathy and support, not opprobrium. I’m tempted to say he should be given a chance to grow up — since his detractors have obviously not taken the time to do so.”

And this is what I mean by offering Tyler the support he needs. What is happening now are things which will only add to whatever could happen. Tyler needs support to make decisions that are best for him in his coming out process and which are best for his life. He doesn’t need the public meddling in his affairs at such a young age, an age when most people are still dependent upon family and friends for support… support that may not last too much longer from his family and friends (although I really can’t say that as fact, I can only assume, as I don’t know him or his family or friends).

Update, 10:00am, June 14: Real examples of what I mean when I say we should give the kid a break and stop bashing him, specifically, comments which are cruel, profane, obscene or downright inappropriate and unacceptable (some words and phrases changed for decency):

Tyler Whitney is a Republican who likes the c#@k. A conservative who longs for National-Socialist bukkake. A bigot who wants Karl Rove’s pigly d!@k in his a$#. But if there’s nothing wrong with being gay, there’s something seriously wrong with being a hypocritical piece of shit in denial like that Whitney guy.
Eva’s Blog of Terror: Another Fag Bites the Dust

This isn’t about his sexual preference.
It’s not about his age.
Tear him up and bring him down.
All of them.
Comment at Michelangelo Signorile’s site

My heart bleeds, but not for the likes of him. Make him bleed. Make them all bleed. If you aren’t up to it. Don’t watch, or stay out of politics. This is not a polite and civil endeavor.
Portion of Comment at Michelangelo Signorile’s site

No. A lot of you are misunderstanding Tyler. He is part of a new generation of ‘conservative’ GOP gays. They actually believe they can simultaneously demonize and rant against “faggots” while also sucking c#@k and r—ing other men.
Portion of Comment at Michelangelo Signorile’s site

In response to a question of, why don’t people just leave the kid alone, we get a taste of honesty:
Because… it’s important to them that you kill these people off early.
Heck, gay lefties and Democrats were hoping Samuel Cheney died in utero, and when they didn’t get that, they started praying for of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Comment at Michelangelo Signorile’s site

I wonder how much republican c#@k this guy was sucking.
Comment at Michelangelo Signorile’s site

Other various comments tracked down by Rick Sincere:

I don’t have any sympathy for Tyler Whitney. We’ve all got mistakes in our past, but seriously: What. An. Asshole.

* * *

Out the bastard. The little sh*t should be dragged kicking and squealing from his padded red closet. Junior can hate himself all he wants, but once he starts spraying his execrate all over normal people, it’s open season. Actions have consequences.

* * *

There’s a sadistic, hateful streak at the core of the Republican Party, and this junior Karl Rove needs to be taken down a notch.

* * *

Whether or not he is too ignorant to understand, he is being used to perpetuate hate. He needs to learn the hard way that what he is doing is far, far beyond unacceptable.

No sympathy for tools of hate. If he needs to learn, then let us and the rest of the world teach him.

Please, spit roast him.
Portion of Comment at Dan Savage’s post

Oh fine already. Can we get an a$# shot?
What?
Someone’s gonna have to f#@k some sense into him.
Comment at Dan Savage’s post

LOL!…. i just wanted to stop by and laugh… this is funny… LOL!!… btw tyler, i could see why ur shamed to be homo…. i mean… what smart gay man would give you a chance anyways? you hate yourself as it is, lol… i dont even know u, but i just had to laugh… ty for being a flamer, gave my day some amusement
Comment at Dan Savage’s post

Here is Tyler’s phone number and email address. Source is a publicly circulated press release from Nov, 2006. Give him a call and let him know what you think!!
Tyler Whitney
555-555-5555
whitney’semailaddress@email.com
A comment on Dan Savage’s post advocating the harassment of Whitney (info removed & I’m not linking to this one)

I hate to say it, but I hope the boy gets a taste of the AIDS. That more than anything will force him to face the hatemongers he has encouraged among his Right-Wing clique. As soon as he sero-converts, they will cut him off on the spot.
Comment at Dan Savage’s post

He just needs a hard d#@k in his a$@
Comment from AmericaBlog

I’d say a group of his gay peers should show him what it feels like to be gay… roll up on him in a pickup truck and beat the crap out of him.
I have NO respect for this piece of shit.
Portion of Comment at AmericaBlog

Why anybody has the least bit of sympathy for this disgusting scum bag is beyond me. He is 18. He is an adult. The guy is a foul hypocritical bigot. I hope his parents read all about him on the internets and completely disown him. I hope his ‘friends’ drop him like he deserves. The guy is a horid excuse for a human being, and until he wakes up I hope he is kicked to the curb.
Comment at AmericaBlog

And why does it matter and why should we care about these comments, even if they are from anonymous folks left on a blog? Because they reflect upon our community and show the world what we are willing to show them. And that is why I have spoken up against it. Somebody needs to be speaking against the vile, cruel and inappropriate words being tossed around. One LGBT leader has said that he should not have to take responsibility for what a member of his community does. Being a leader sometimes means one must take responsibility for something one hasn’t done. In one instance I had to take responsibility for the bad behavior of members of the LGBT community after I asked folks to email a local D.J. Although I wasn’t the one using profanities, and although I had asked people to be respectful in their opinions before hand, I still had to issue an apology and take responsibility as “the leader.” A leader of the community who is witnessing and allowing this horrid behavior to occur on a site he or she owns or operates should be speaking against it and stopping it. I’m not saying take away people’s rights to say what they think, but at the least speak out and implore that the cruel, vile language stop and for decency’s sake, take down the profanities and obscenities being thrown around.

Update, 6pm EST, 6/14: Between the Lines, the Michigan LGBT paper which first reported on Whitney’s coming out process has published an editorial on the subject. Among their thoughts:

When Whitney was originally contacted by BTL he was eager to talk. But after several days, phone calls and emails, he withdrew from participation, saying he was only 18 years old and his coming out was his private business.

We would have liked to have agreed and left Whitney to his coming out process. But giving a pass to someone who is actively working on political campaigns targeting LGBT people crosses the line.

Let there be no mistake, Whitney is not just a rank and file conservative activist, or a nameless, faceless cog in a campaign machine. He is pictured at a protest at Lansing City Hall holding a sign which read “Back in the Closet.” He is quoted in a Washington Times article about the protests that disrupted the Tancredo speaking engagement at MSU in November of last year. He is currently creating the cyber image of Tancredo’s long shot bid for the presidency, a bid that is supported by such hate leaders as David Duke and well known white supremacy organizations.

We hope that Whitney will not have to see the ugly side of his friends. The side that had Kyle Bristow exposes when he says he’d kill his son if he were gay, or calling on homosexuals to be jailed. The side that says people should not be allowed to marry the person they love if they are of the same gender and the side which says if your sexuality is not heterosexual, you should be able to be fired without recourse.

We hope that Whitney is accepted by his fellow conservatives and his belief in equality for all is a message they hear and to which they respond. We all need to pause and listen to Whitney. His voice may vocalize a different viewpoint that we need to be aware of. Too often young LBGT people are not involved in the political process. Whitney is involved and whether you agree with the people he supports or not it is important to pay attention.

Mr. Whitney, welcome to the LBGT community.

After some discussions with some individuals, I fully believe that staff at BTL did what they thought was in the best interest of the LGBT public. I believe they took care and great caution in how and when they reported this news. I am fully assured of the fact that BTL staff and others closely involved with the story wrestled with questions of what should be written, what should be told, how it should be told, is it right, is it wrong, so on and so on. BTL, a credible media agency which reported the coming out process in, as I believe now, a responsible way, is in no way the main subject of the criticism I have offered. It is sad that those on staff at BTL might feel as though their responsible reporting on this issue has allowed some people to express themselves in what I certainly believe to be abhorrent ways. The entire situation is regrettable: For Tyler Whitney, for BTL, for those who have spoken out (on either side) and for the entire LGBT community.

Update, 11:00am, 6/15: “In bed” with an unlikely ally… It seems as though I’ve found myself agreeing with blogger North Dallas Thirty. If you have been around the LGBT blogosphere for long enough, you will have quickly learned that Dallas is all too popular, specifically because of some of his conservative views. To be honest, I think I’ve also had run-ins with Dallas in the past.

The Malcontent also weighs in on the Whitney debacle, with a matter-of-fact style, holding nothing back:

What was the reaction of the gay blogosphere? Offers of support? Understanding? Potential discussions that might help him see that gays and lesbians are not the demons he has no doubt been raised to think we are?

Of course not. The gay blogosphere reacted with disdain, hatred, vitriol, and hundreds of vicious, borderline unhinged comments. From Dan Savage to Signorile to Joe.My.God, gays poured scorn, bile, and rage on an eighteen year-old fellow traveler.

And yes, he is a fellow traveler, even if you find his politics abhorrent.

While Pam’s House Blend offers the most balanced reaction in the comments section, even that place is filled with gays poring over his myspace page, critiquing his appearance, attempts at contacting him (to suspect purpose), and a bizarre obsession often reserved only for the most serious and deadly political opponents.

All of this, against an eighteen year-old.

At what point does basic humanity take a back seat to political identity? While the justification of this mass out-pouring of hatred is (as ever) “the hypocrisy”, it is difficult not to note the deep and deeply unsettling hypocrisy laid bare in these putative guardians of the gay community.

[…]

This being June, we’re supposed to reflect on our sexuality, the struggle to be open and free in a society that isn’t quite with us yet, the pride we feel in making it through that struggle and being exactly who we are. However, it’s difficult to feel much pride towards the community today. What have we to be proud of in this incident? That we can be just as hateful, bitter, and intolerant as our opponents? That we, too, can set aside our hearts and see even in our fellow gays a dangerous political enemy who must be crushed?

Are we proud the community is gradually filling with loud, hateful assholes who are slowly casting aside self-celebration based on personal identity in favor of a brothers-in-arms mentality, people who are bound by the ability to out-hate their common enemies?

So a group of middle-aged gays have discovered their ability to hound and bully an eighteen year-old who is struggling with his sexuality. Yeah, let’s have a parade. We’re a terribly fabulous people, don’t you know.

UPDATE June 22, 2007: Between the Lines has published a follow-up story on the national debate on their original Whitney story.

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Comments
58 Responses to “Tyler Whitney “outed”? I think not, plus… the kid deserves some kudos”
  1. “If straight soldiers shouldn’t have to serve with people who are sexually attracted to them and if gay and straight people are already serving together (although gay people can’t be open about it), do you propose that we just have a complete, straight-up (no pun intended) ban on gay soldiers? Should we go back to pre-DADT policy?”

    That’s a good question, Matt.

    As I mentioned before, the basic idea here is similar to that with making men and women share quarters; it isn’t done, except under very specific circumstances, because of the very real and very obvious absence of privacy and the fact that there is sexual attraction between (heterosexual) women and men; that tends to create uncomfortable situations that could greatly interfere with the military’s smooth running.

    What makes sexual orientation different is that it is, by and large, invisible. Most people would be none the wiser unless you tell them. Hence the point behind DADT; people won’t be uncomfortable about you being sexually attracted to them as long as they don’t know about it. It is a rather pragmatic compromise; while it doesn’t provide ideological purity in either direction, it’s a means of allowing service without creating issues for the group.

  2. Matt says:

    Okay North Dallas… Good answer.

    Second question… Can we not make Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell equal in its application? Going beyond sexual attraction, why can we not make the policy so that servicemembers remain strictly business while on duty and no one is allowed to disclose his or her sexual orientation, gay or straight?

    At the same time, we could make it fairer, by making the policy reflect my question above (no one discloses sexual orientation), but allow all service members to at least communicate with those they love, gay or straight, without fear of losing their jobs and livelihood. Would that work?

    Again… not trying to argue, just some good ole’ fashion, clean, honest debate and discussion.

  3. I have no problem with people being ordered to not disclose their sexual orientation, period; indeed, de-sexualizing interaction is something that MUST be done in order to have a well-functioning workplace, and the military is certainly no exception. Given some of the scandals that have come down relative to military conduct and sexual harassment, it’s an imperative that they be taught to mind their own business and keep their mouths shut.

    But what needs to be kept in mind is that the military is not a standard 9 – 5 workplace; it is literally a 24-hour “on duty” assignment in which you live, eat, shower, and sleep with your co-employees. There is still going to be an imperative to separate the genders and to “don’t tell”.

    But I would definitely agree with your last; it needs to be emphasized that DADT refers to public telling. Sending an email or making a telephone call in an appropriately-private venue to your boyfriend is hardly public. To your first, soldiers should be given the privacy they request to contact their loved ones; in return, they should keep matters private. Most employers frown on non-emergency personal communications while in a workplace setting (“on duty”); so should the military.

  4. Matt says:

    See… I like this intelligent, sound debate and discussion thing; so much comes out of the wood-work (like, perhaps, you aren’t as “radical” as some would say you are).

    I think you have some good points. I don’t necessarily agree, because that kind of policy would cause problems.

    For example: When troops are getting ready to leave and they have their families assembled. A husband and wife are likely to hug for a very long time and perhaps share a kiss (maybe the last one they will ever share). Gay couples are denied the right to show their emotions at the (possible) loss of their loved ones in the same way.

    Would you say that that kind of “public display of affection” should never be allowed, or should it be allowed and if it is allowed it should be equal, allowing all people to say goodbye to their loved one?

  5. “Would you say that that kind of “public display of affection” should never be allowed, or should it be allowed and if it is allowed it should be equal, allowing all people to say goodbye to their loved one?”

    I lean towards the “should never be allowed” — or, perhaps better put, should be done somewhere prior to your getting on the bus/standing on the tarmac waiting for the plane/etc.

    Harsh, but fair to everyone, and avoids exactly the situation you mentioned of the have and have-nots.

  6. ajd says:

    I just stumbled on this blog entry, but I want to point out a glaring error: An 18-year-old is not a kid, but a legal adult; that makes Tyler Whitney a man, not a boy.

    As such, he’s responsible for his actions. These actions, which comprise being a willing pawn for anti-gay bigots such as Kyle Bristow and participating in anti-gay activism.

    I think the people who outed Whitney did him — and the whole gay community — a big favor. A self-hating, 18-year-old gay guy won’t grow up to become a 45-year-old, self-hating gay guy who expresses his self hatred by legislating, preaching or lobbying against gay rights.

  7. Jeff Barea says:

    If adj can post long after in November I can post in January 08:

    1) Tyler was not outted. So deal with a gay guy that disagrees with you, oh darn too many bad reminders of your last gay.com chat session – huh?

    2) While there is evidence of a gay gene, not one scientist has ever asserted there is a liberal gene.

    3) Given the controversy over the dropping of trannie rights by gay men in their quest to get ENDA vetoed, the concept of gay rights is nebulous to say the least (and yes, some transgenders are gay AND lesbian regardless of their starting and ending genders).

    4) Hate is never acceptable. Isn’t that the message? Cuz otherwise you are teaching that hate IS acceptable depending on how many people agree.

    Nice job Matt… I’m off to piss off other people now…

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