The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has blown open a story about Spokane, Wa., Mayor James West, who has been caught with his pants down in gay.com chat rooms. He is also being accused of molesting boys in the 1970s.
Because he's a Republican and because he has fought some pro-gay legislation, many gay people and organizations will be sharpening their claws for him. To an extent, he certainly deserves some of it.
But, I'm coming to BLAME these people a lot less for their actions, and looking more at what I could have been doing to help them. I, like the people at HRC or on Sirius OutQ or loud gay writers and editors, am one of the voices that can change things. I can make our society more accepting of gay people. I can make this world a better place for people curious about their sexuality. I said mean things about gay people when I was in high school and college. It was my way of distancing myself from that side of me I wished would go away. If this man still felt like he had to hide what he was doing (assuming he wasn't having sex with minors), I haven't done my job.
I hope the HRCs of the world treat West with the same compassion with which they handled James McGreevey. Unfortunately, for many people with political aspirations in this country, it's not easy being gay.