As I have stated in my blog before, I work for the State of New Jersey.
My office, while far from the nerve center of Trenton, still hears the buzz shortly after it starts. This afternoon, shortly after lunch word spread that the Governor would be resigning today.
At first there was all kind of speculation, but soon word came down that he was going to hold a press conference at four PM and announce he was gay…
…you have to understand, that rumors about our current head of state here have been percolating for some time. Every now and again, someone claims that they knew someone how knew someone who had had sex with the Governor. Like most rumors, I pretty much took them with a grain of salt.
In McGreevy’s case I assumed it was a case of liberal democrat bashing. Besides he was a young, good looking man, and sometimes, the only kind of attack you can lay on people like that is one concerning their sexuality. Of course prior to McGreevy, New Jersey was under the thumb of one, Christie Todd Whitman, a woman as lady-like as Jane Hathaway on the Beverly Hillbillies, funny how no rumors about this athletic gal every spread … but I digress.
As the afternoon progressed, news alerts came on the radio and hit the internet. One story indicated that McGreevy was being sued by a former aide for an un-wanted sexual advance, and that the aide was a male.
When I left the office today at four PM, everyone was gathered around a radio waiting to hear the news; a change in Governor means a change in how things are done on our level. With every new administration comes new work, new rules and new policies … there was a lot riding on this.
I was in my car heading home when I heard the speech. I had no choice but to tune to a right wing populist New Jersey station, and the vultures were circling, patting themselves on the back saying how they knew this all along, and laughing over the soon to be bit of public knowledge. I wanted to reach through the radio and throttle these two assholes, I wanted to punch their fucking lights out … I wanted them to just shut up. Finally they did and the speech commenced. I think I stopped breathing when I heard Jim McGreevy say he was “A gay American”. And then the confession about the affair with a man, the apology to his wife, the story of his struggle with “who he really was” … I don’t think I have ever heard a public ‘coming out’ until today.
When the speech ended, the assholes on the air who call themselves, “The Jersey Guys” were in such joyous moods. I guess these two have pretty empty lives, if I ever meet them; I will take great pleasure in showing them what an angry gay man can do when one of his own is being made into a sacrificial lamb.
I turned off the radio and felt so many conflicted feeling going through me. Where to begin? Sorrow for the man, pity for his wife, anger at his accuser … and then I thought, but what if the accuser was not lying? What if McGreevy actually had made unwanted sexual advance to him…and what about McGreevy himself? He’d pretty much lived his life as one big lie just for power and gain, what is this Hollywood?
When I got home I found myself obsessed with the day’s events. A ruined political career, a public outing, a man admitting to the world who he really was ONLY when he is threatened with destruction. I felt disgusted.
In the end, I suppose we all choose how to live our lives and how open or closed we are going to be about ourselves, and I suppose that if I were a public figure I might view things differently. But, in the end I keep coming back to that Canadian high school kid I read about a few years back, and how he fought the powers to be so that he could take his boyfriend to the prom. Imagine that, a 17 year old kid with more balls than a grown man; ready, willing and able to face whatever comes his way to be true to who he really is as opposed to living his life in the closet --- there is a lesson in that.
Be who you are, never live a lie, and be ready to face whatever comes your way.
I just wish James McGreevy had learned that lesson thirty some years ago.