The Washington Post's Well-Meant Homophobia

More

Very recently, another American soldier was killed in Iraq:

Maj. Alan Rogers, 40, a gay intelligence officer who served on a military transition team that trained Iraqi soldiers, died Jan. 27 in Baghdad from wounds caused by an improvised explosive device that detonated near him while he was conducting a patrol on his Humvee. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on March 14.

For sacrificing his life in the line of duty, the Army posthumously awarded Rogers a Purple Heart and a second Bronze Star.

In the light of the US military's continuing discrimination against gay servicemembers, it seems very relevant to me that Rogers' sexual orientation - about which there is no doubt - be included in coverage of his death and obituaries. And yet the mainstream media decided to enforce that closet - and perpetuate the military's policy - even after Rogers's ultimate sacrifice:

The Washington Post, National Public Radio and the Gainesville Sun, the local newspaper in his hometown of Hampton, Fla., made no mention of his sexual orientation or his involvement with a group that works to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Lynn Medford, Metro editor for the Post, said the newspaper debated whether or not to disclose Rogers’ sexual orientation and ultimately decided not to include such information as a matter of ethics.

Rogers to some degree “kept his orientation private” and outing him after his death would “take a decision out of his hands,” she said. Rogers had no partner and no immediate family to consult with to determine what his wishes would be, Medford noted.

The only reason Rogers was even semi-closeted to his peers was to protect his career in the military. As treasurer of an organization to end the military ban and with countless sources testifying to his sexual orientation, the decision of the Post and NPR to enforce the closet even after his death cannot be expained except by a view that somehow being gay is shameful or private. I can see why outing someone who is alive and closeted is unethical; inning someone who is dead and was out is a function of utterly misplaced sensitivity, rooted in well-intentioned but incontrovertible homophobia.

We already persecute these gay heroes when risking their lives for their country. For the MSM to maintain the shame, stigma and persecution after their death is unnacceptable. Email Howell at ombudsman@washpost.com to ask for the Post's defense.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down