Foley’s Closet Door

Posted by Censor Librorum on Oct 8, 2006 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

The Foley drama continues apace with a new revelation daily.

– Foley admits he is gay. This disclosure is part of his “recovery.” “Mark Foley wants you to know he is a gay man,” said his attorney, David Roth.

– Foley says he was abused by a clergyman between the ages of 13-15. Since he was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools, it’s a pretty good bet this mysterious clergyman was a priest.

– Foley says he was under the influence of alcohol when he emailed the pages. He is currently in rehab for alcohol abuse and mental illness.

I have such mixed feelings about Foley, mainly because I can identify with him so much.

On one hand, he’s such a sleaze, wrapping himself in family values, safe out of the fray, but acting out his sexual and emotional needs undercover and in small ways to avoid detection. Like many closeted people, he was gay on the side, on the sly, but not in real life. The group he belonged to–the Republican National Party–simply would not accept him as an out gay man. Now, through his attorney, he appears to be running a scorched earth defense claiming sex abuse, and drunk-when-I-did-it excuses for his behavior. I’m sure this is at least partially true. Foley compartmentalized his life–the Congressman in one chamber, the sexual being in another. What closeted person hasn’t done this to survive, and to continue to belong? Foley is also not the only Congressman–gay or straight–to be attracted by a cute butt and act on his attraction because he thought he could get away with it.

Gay colunnist Andrew Sullivan wrote that he was among many who had heard Foley was gay but unwilling to come out. “What the closet does to people–the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds–is brutal. From that I’ve read, Foley is another example of this destructive and self-destructive pattern for which the only cure is courage and honesty.” Sullivan also asserted that many closeted gay men in Washington work for the Republicans despite what he described as GOP policies “deeply hostile to gay dignity.”

Sounds a lot like the Catholic Church, doesn’t it? Why do gays and lesbians work for the Republican Party, and why do gays and lesbians stay in the Church? Obviously, we’re either closeted with a lot to lose; or we’re willing to overlook a major issue involving our sexuality to support other issues we care a lot about. The price we pay for belonging can be steep.

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2 Responses to “Foley’s Closet Door”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    The fact that Foley is gay or closeted or catholic or abused by clergy is immaterial to me. What matters – so we don’t miss the point entirely – is that Foley was abusing teenage boys with his words via the internet. Nothing else matters but that.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Visitor, Thank you for writing to me, and letting me know your opinion. I don’t agree with you, but I will keep what you had to say in mind as the Foley story unfolds. Karen

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