Out, damn staffer, out!

An activist duo has started a controversial “outing” campaign on Capitol Hill, seeking to force gay and lesbian staffers of gay-unfriendly Members to make themselves known. The campaign was brought to public light by the Washington Blade, DC’s gay newsweekly, but has since been picked up by Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill.

According to the Blade, the campaign, led by John Aravosis and Mike Rogers, consists of vaguely threatening calls to staffers (whose names are obtained through anonymous tips) urging them to come out to their bosses. If they refuse to comply, a call is made to their Chief of Staff to spread the news.

The pair fancy themselves “liberators” of these closeted gay staffers, but critics (this critic included) are questioning the motivation as well as the intended result. Their misguided efforts force gay and lesbian staffers’ private lives out into the open at a time when most gay advocates are seeking to make sexual orientation a non-issue in the workplace. Gays and lesbians working for Congress do not enjoy the protection of workplace non-discrimination laws; therefore, the outing campaign has the potential to lead to dismissals by uberconservative Members. Seems that for Aravosis & Company, it’s come out or get out.

The anonymous tips, shady motivations and the psychological blackmail are glaring evidence of lessons unlearned. What Aravosis and his ilk have to gain through these efforts is unclear; as is their motivation to launch attacks on Congressional worker bees, rather than their elected bosses.

Printed from: http://devilsadvocacy.com/2004/06/24/out-damn-staffer-out/ .
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