Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
I do not accept that in the age of the internet and social media privacy is an atavistic fantasy. Claims to the contrary are, politely speaking, stupid. Therefore, the loathsome things about New Zealand gay rights advocates calling on a suspected, anonymous homosexual member of the All Blacks rugby club “to openly declare his sexuality and act as a role model in the fight against bigotry” (“Advocates want All Black to come out,” January 7) are, first, the underlying notion that it is acceptable to sacrifice this kind of personal privacy to this particular calling and, second, that it is appropriate to interfere in another’s life like this.
Sex and sexuality are private. I don’t need to know if a person is gay. It’s notmy business and the knowledge would probably compromise more than enhance my regard for their humanity.
In contemporary Western culture too many confuse exhibitionist self-celebration with self expression and wrongly advocate publicity through confession in the false belief that exposure can be a vehicle for dignity. I’m old fashioned in that I admire reserve and humility, and my life is a labyrinth of privacy - not secrecy, which is a different thing. While the ambient culture considers it a virtue to pursue personal potential through gross Self promotion, I am increasingly adamant that greater exposure actually diminishes our humanity more than anything. People are confusing a vice with virtue, which is a common confusion.
The crux of the sexuality issue is this: so long as we aren’t breaking the law or harming anyone our bedrooms are nobody’s business. Neither to know nor to tell. Only boors concern themselves with other people’s privacy or flaunt their own privacy in public, and support groups that advocate LGB people coming out to fit their own agenda are just boorish. It is a recipe for diminishing humanity, not augmenting it.
But I could be wrong.
Published on Thursday, January 10, 2013 as “Sexual privacy on/off the pitch.”
People might say that I am homophobic because I say that knowledge of a person’s sexuality“would probably compromise more than enhance my regard for their humanity.” But my position is that it is not knowledge of a person’s sexuality that would lead to that compromise. I don’t much care about a person’s sexuality. Instead, it is my knowledge of another person’s privacy that compromises their humanity in my eyes because I think that privacy is necessary for maximum humanity. Less privacy equals less humanity. Privacy is the thing, not publicity. Publicising one’s sexuality contravenes one’s privacy and therefore undermines the ground of one’s humanity.
If there is a gay member of the All Blacks rugby club I don’t see that it’s any of my business. And if that gay member wants to keep his sexuality private, that’s his business, not mine. And if he wants to come out and publically announce his homosexuality that’s still his business, not mine.
To maximize our humanity we require a few things. Primarily, we need maximum leeway to err - that means freedom. Secondarily, we need privacy - that means an insulated environment in which to culture our self-narrative. And in all matters sexual - homosexuality, masturbation, promiscuity, abortion, etc. - my call is always to keep our noses out of other people’s genitals. But that is a suggestion that doesn’t seem to be accepted. Or understood.