Friday 24 November 2017

Accidental outing of Derek Mooney may not be so bad after all

NOBODY, except politicians who use one hand to limit gay rights and the other to fondle other men, deserves to be outed. The practice (outing, not fondling) is deeply unpopular amongst gay people, each of whom has his or her own memory of that nerve-racking day they flung the closet open.

Even generally, the idea of outing someone is now considered so despicable that following the public backlash around the Sun's outing of Ron Davies (former Welsh Secretary of State) a few years ago, the British tabloids abandoned the tactic. However, in a slack news week, the Irish Sun will still out people, as it did with Fianna Fail Councillor Malcolm Byrne. Mostly though, even in the Irish media, there has evolved a curious (and laudable) chivalry whereby actors, singers and assorted slightly famous people get to officially come out if and when they're ready.

So, for example, we have people such as Mark Fehilly of Westlife and Nell McCafferty finally coming out to an unsurprised public long after every single hack in the country knew for a fact they were gay. It's a definite improvement on the pre-Davies situation, but the problem with all these open secrets is that they're bound to find their way into the public realm at some stage.

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