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Mar 30 2012

A confrontational mindset

Rachel Maddow on Fresh Air the other day.

On why she came out in the Stanford student newspaper when she was 17

“I think because I was 17 and incredibly cocky and full of myself, and I thought that everything I had to do had to make a statement. I think I had a confrontational mindset. I think I was frustrated by the casual anti-gay stuff that I saw among college freshmen in the milieu that I was in. And my attitude toward that was not to try to bring people along gently, gently, and show people by my evident humanity their callousness. I just wanted to throw something up in peoples’ faces. I’m not sure that I would do it that way now. I don’t really have any regret about it. I wish I had been more sensitive to my parents. But I certainly don’t regret coming out. I think that everybody has to find their own way on coming out issues. And some people decide never to. I tend to think it is always better to be out than not out. But not everybody has the option. And when I was a freshman in college, I felt like I had the option, and I exercised it with an exclamation point. I think it says more about being 17 than it does about being gay.”

Not everybody has the option – but some of us do, so we go to Reason Rallies or we write confrontational blog posts. Ya.

5 comments

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  1. 1
    Tom Morris

    Hmm. So the logical thing that follows is people telling atheists to shut up and not be angry are basically doing the same as homophobes who tell gay people that they are fine with people being gay so long as they don’t “get all up in their face” about it etc.

    Incidentally, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell owes a large part to the angry shouty part of the American gay rights movement who were protesting, chaining themselves to railings and writing very pissed off blog posts rather than accomodating. There’s a lesson in this.

  2. 2
    maureen.brian

    Tom Morris,

    Think of any change you’d call progressive and you’ll see that it was the angry, shouty people who first got the subject on the agenda. Very often it is their angry, shouty grandchildren who push down the final barrier or excuse.

    With luck history will remember to record both the beginning and the end. What soon gets lost in the telling is the long, detailed, difficult policy work the shouty people did in between and the amazing number of assorted allies they discovered once the waggon was rolling.

  3. 3
    Steve

    She is talking more about HOW she came out than coming out at all. She made a big deal about it and made it public in a newspaper before even telling her parents. There are other ways she could have done it and in retrospect she realizes that it may not have been the best way

  4. 4
    Didaktylos

    Sometimes you don’t know whether what you’re going to do is wrong or right until after you’ve done it. And when push comes to shove, somebody has to take on the role of Protesilaus.

  5. 5
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Incidentally, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell owes a large part to the angry shouty part of the American gay rights movement who were protesting, chaining themselves to railings and writing very pissed off blog posts rather than accomodating.

    By contrast, big-name abortion-rights organizations decided to try to seek “common cause” with pro-liars, let themselves be convinced that offense to one’s deity is a valid reason to push for changes in political policy, adopted their framing of abortion as tragic (“safe, legal, and rare”), and conceded ground here and there and everywhere.

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