Marten Weber, writing for the HuffPost Gay Voices, proposes in his ‘satirical’ article (because, come on, he can’t be serious!), “Criminalize the Closet!” that we, “make it illegal to lie about your sexuality, and let’s punish the offenders.”
Weber attempts to justify this argument by comparing someone living in the closet to someone who while driving intoxicated, hurts or kills another person.
Sorry, but this is simply not a good argument, idea or even a worthy comparison.
There are two major problems with Weber’s idea.
First: He has neglected to discuss how he would prove that someone was gay and/or in the closet. How would he propose doing this? Perhaps a police sting with plain clothed officers hanging out in public restrooms frequented by the homosexual minority. Or maybe anti-closet law enforcement officers could run escort ads in the local tabloids offering services for the gentleman in need of discretion. Then what? Does the officer put the client or tea room daddy under surveillance, and upon catching the helpless closet case loading his wife, Golden Retriever and 2.5 kids into the mini-van, a small army of the Anti-Closet Brigade reigns down upon him with rainbow coloured handcuffs and drives him off in a pink Cadillac to an all-male Turkish prison?
(And how do you entrap a closeted lesbian? Someone throw me a bone here! Really, I’m gay and I simply have no idea!)
Secondly, and perhaps I’m being biased, and maybe even anti-American but criminalization is such an American state of mind. If the Americans aren’t making something illegal, then their suing someone for something that they did or that they might be about to do. But I digress. Criminalization establishes a president that something is bad, negative, harmful and wrong. Coming out of the closet is a process. Coming out is a priori not wrong. Now, in an ideal world, if we fostered the coming out process, if we lived in a world where parents, media, family and friends taught their children about the freedom of choice to love and to be attracted to the opposite or the same gender, without prejudice, that would be the solution to breaking down the closet once and for all.
Perhaps a third point should be addressed. Weber states that,
“Closeted people set a bad example for our youth. Because you remain in the closet, gay lifestyles are less acceptable than they could be. People suffer as a consequence, emotionally, in their human dignity, and often financially.”
The logic of this argument places the onus and blame on everyone in the closet in a position of adulthood, power and influence. As I explained in the last paragraph, the onus is on all of society to embrace sexual equality. However slow a process we are seeing more lawmakers and governments working to secure the rights, privileges and safety of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. For example, we recently watched as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke about Equality Everywhere for all sexual orientations.
Criminalization of anyone living in the closet is not the answer to queer rights. Complete and unequivocal legal, social and moral support of gay, lesbian and transgender rights (I know I’ve missed some labels) is what is needed and required. We need equality for people of all sexual orientations. No more compromises!