A reader writes:
It is important to note, and try to comprehend why, Bill Clinton would totally de-gay his 950-plus page name-dropping autobiography, "My Life" (Knopf, 2004).
The index of "My Life" is one giant gay redact. Why would Clinton not mention at least one of the positive gay stories from his Presidency? Why wouldn't he at least mention his appointment of the first openly gay U.S. Ambassador James Hormel? Not a word in the book about Ambassador Hormel. Why wouldn't he include his naming the first openly gay person to be confirmed for a sub-cabinet post by the Senate, that "damn lesbian" (Jesse Helms), Roberta Achtenberg?
You would think standing up to Jesse Helms' bigotry might have been considered an interesting and positive anecdote. Not there. But Clinton does have time and space to mention that Helms held up the nomination of Bill Weld to be ambassador to Mexico. Why couldn't Clinton summon up the grace to mention his longtime gay friend and supporter-- when it counted---David Mixner. Nothing in the book about Mixner. He is not listed in the index. The first-ever openly gay or lesbian Assistant to the President, Virgina Apuzzo, is not mentioned; nor is Daniel Montoya, an openly gay man who was named Executive Director of the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV/AIDS. Fred Hochberg, the first openly gay person to be appointed Deputy in a cabinet level agency (Small Business Administration), was not mentioned. Richard Socarides was not mentioned; he was the openly gay liaison to the gay and lesbian community. Bob Hattoy, a well known supporter and part of the Administration, is not mentioned in the index. Vic Basile, a gay leader, and Peace Corps Liaison is not mentioned. White House Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan is not mentioned. Keith Boykin, whom Clinton sent to Zimbabwe, not mentioned.
All of these people were openly gay and supporters of President Clinton; and many of them were involved in situations that were significant challenges, even triumphs, for President Clinton.
Bob Hattoy once summed up the Clintons' approach to gays in their time in the White House in one phrase: "It's the economy, faggot." The other phrase that springs to mind is: "How much money can they raise"?