Memo to Elena Kagan: Come Out of the Closet
"She's a lesbian!" said Betty White over and over again on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. White was talking about a character in a Little Women parody but she might as well have been talking about Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama's candidate to replace John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Elena Kagen's life as a -- ahem -- softball player shouldn't be a big secret
A month ago when Stevens announced his resignation, reports about Kagan's vaginal appetite began to emerge. CBS posted a blog report about Obama considering an openly gay justice that created a furor. After pressure from the administration, CBS took down the post.
The White House told the Washington Post that the writer made "false charges" about Kagan and that referring to Kagan as being gay was "applying an old stereotype to single women with successful careers." The Obama team got very defensive and downright weird about the way Kagan was being discussed. Obviously they were freaking out because Kagan was their choice and they don't want her filthy secret to fuck up the Senate confirmation.
Unfortunately for the administration, the story is probably true.
The CBS blogger who started the trouble, Ben Domenech, said he believed Kagan "...was openly gay ... because it had been mentioned casually on multiple occasions by friends and colleagues -- including students at Harvard, Hill staffers, and in the sphere of legal academia -- who know Kagan personally."
More evidence -- circumstantial, of course -- of Kagan's labia longing appeared in her New York Times bio: "...she impressed the male clerks by joining their pickup basketball games in the court's top-floor gym." What more proof do you need, people? SHE PLAYS BASKETBALL! How many straight women do you know play basketball? (Gawker, meanwhile, highlighted her softball background, opining, "Sorry, but softball = lesbian.")
U. of Chicago Law School, 1993-94, directory of faculty and students Will Kagan's past inspire a different sort of 'softball question'?
What we face here is more "open secret" bullshit. What is it with judges and open secrets (pssst...hey Vaughn Walker -- I'm talking about you)? This has to stop. There is nothing wrong with being gay - let alone with being successful, smart, powerful AND gay.
The news media play right into this double standard.
To wit: The Washington Post article I referenced above says, "Most major news organizations have policies against 'outing' gays or reporting on the sex lives of public officials unless they are related to their public duties."
That is a lie.
The Post knows it and so does everybody else. Chief Justice John Roberts knows that news organizations clearly love telling stories about the private lives of public officials -- when they are straight. Why is there no conflict or furor or any claims about stereotypes when we see Roberts and his adorable child hamming it up during President Bush's nomination announcement? Heterosexuals and their families are exalted and above reproach.
Meanwhile, Kagan's former classmate, New Yorker legal writer Jeffrey Toobin, informs us that the Supreme Court nominee attended his wedding. He doesn't, however, tell us if she brought a date.
So is everyone going to keep her secret? Has she never dated anyone? Didn't an intelligent well-connected woman like Elena Kagan ever bring a date to a cocktail party?
Don't let this story be taken from you, Elena. Don't let Obama's foolishness and the promise of lifelong tenure delude you into thinking that the closet is safe and comfortable. Don't you think your honesty would have an impact on the life of a teenager struggling with sexual identity in a hostile world? Wouldn't it make life a bit easier for that teenager to know that they too can succeed and thrive and live a full and meaningful life without being burdened by the small-minded prejudices and ignorance that other people project upon them?
What do you have to lose, Ms. Kagan -- decades of living a lie to avoid taking the risk that your being gay might not be enough to keep you from being confirmed? Who says you can't be open and be a Supreme Court Justice?
Do it now while you can and under your own terms. There is nothing wrong with being gay.
Come out, Elena.
Chicago Softball Photo | Via Chicago Sun Times
Patrick Connors is a happy homo who lives in San Francisco. He does not play softball.
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