Posted by: Catherine Lugg | February 25, 2011

Why did conservative Congressman Chris Lee suddenly resign?

On February 9, 2011, recently reelected Congressman Christopher Lee (R) suddenly resigned his seat when shirtless pictures of him appeared on the internet.  Additionally, Lee was caught advertising for women to date and claimed he was a divorced lobbyist, when he was actually a married congressman. Now, Lee isn’t the first “family values conservative” to be caught leading a life that isn’t quite as advertised (see Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, Larry Craig, and the like), but he might be the first to be outed for seeking out transwomen to date.

Now, in a more just world, the story about Congressman Lee would be no big deal and would be a sign of how equitable the US had become. Who really CARES about a congressperson’s off-duty activities?? BUT, in a homophobic and transphobic world, a professional homophobe who publicly flaunts his non-queer status and supposed religious virtues, makes his own sex life is “fair game” if he fails to adhere to those standards that he inflicts on other citizens whom he sees as his inferiors.

And this is precisely why I am a strong proponent of outing. Everyone has the right to a personal life and a measure of peace. BUT, if you are a political actor who seeks and gains power from hating queer people and you are queer yourself, well, you’re in a whole lot of trouble. As Larry Kramer most famously told Tony Dolan,* you don’t have a right to “f*ck us by night and then f*ck us by day” (see Randy Shilts, “And the band played on.”). So, having a professional homophobe hurled from his closet is perfectly fine with me.

I’m sure Mr. Lee will get a DC job as a lobbyist, since that is how things go for supposedly disgrace pols. But the disgrace isn’t in his off-duty activities. The disgrace is that he’s long been a hateful and possibly self-hating hypocrite.

*Tony Dolan was a major player in the US Conservative movement, helping elect politicians such as Ronald Reagan, Jesse Helms and Orrin Hatch–all of whom who were and have been HORRIBLE on queer rights. Ironically, Dolan died of AIDS in 1986, a disease the Reagan would not even mention until 1987, and a disease that the Reagan administration did NOTHING to address until it became a major pandemic, precisely because it was seen (incorrectly)as a disease merely limited to “those immoral queers.”

Karma can be truly harsh.

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Responses

  1. […] I have said several times, while everyone has a right to the private life, you do NOT have a right to lethal hypocrisy. And […]

  2. […] I have long believed in “outing” closeted pols, particularly if they embrace homophobic stances. We all have a right to a private life, but no one […]


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