Despite the notoriety that followed the recent exposure of Malcolm Forbes and Pentagon spokesperson Pete Williams, the issue of outing originally arose at the dawn of modern gay consciousness in the late 19th century. In "Contested Closets", Larry Gross historicizes, describes and analyzes the concept and practice of outing, placing it within the framework of the lesbian and gay movement over the past century, as well as showing how outing illuminates many ethical and conceptual issues at the heart of contemporary identity politics and journalistic practices. "Contested Closets" reveals how the advent of outing represents a sea change both in the consciousness of the lesbian and gay movement and in its relationships with mainstream and political institutions. The book includes an extensive collection of important press articles that provide original and hard-to-locate source material on this controversial topic. ""Contested Closets" is about secrets and the telling of secrets, about lies and the telling of lies. It is about the codes that bind some people to keep others' secrets, and the conventions that require some people to tell lies about others.
And it is about the breaking of these codes and the violation of these conventions. It is about the deliberate revelation by lesbian and gay people of the hidden homosexuality of prominent people. It is also about the conflicting loyalties of journalists - mainstream and alternative, straight and gay - caught between the obligation to tell the truth as they know it (even if not the whole truth), and the rules of the game that protect the sexual secrets of celebrities and public officials. It is about the shifting boundaries between the public and private realms, and the dangers of building a political strategy on the narrow platform of the right to privacy. It is a book about outing. Gross is the editor of "Studying Visual Communication", co-editor of "Image Ethics", associate editor of "The international Encyclopedia of Communication", and co-editor of the "Between Men/Between Women: Lesbian and Gay Studies" book series. He is also co-chair of the Task Force on Lesbian and Gay Concerns of the International Communication Association.
Contested closets The unwritten rule; The path over corpses; A tale of two leaders; Treason or the better part of valor?; An uneasy truce; aids raises the stakes; Thinking the unthinkable; Glitter and be discreet; A bodyguard of lies; A book ahead of its time; Confirmed, eligible, and lifelong bachelors; Young, queer, and loud; The code cracks; Frying the big media fish; The silence of the star; We're here, we're queer, get used to it!; Absolutely queer; Outing goes on the road; Distant outposts; "I am out! I'm in this bar, aren't I?"; The Pentagon provides a poster boy; Identity politics; Roles or realites?; Coming out and coming together; Proliferating identities; Nostalgia for a place one has never seen; A kinder, gentler Hollywood; Out of the hiv closet; Whose right to privacy?; The duty of sexual secrecy; Keep it in the closet!; The cultural front; Not worth an outing; The guns of August; Ethics, tactics and prospects