The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
Ian de Stains, executive director of the Tokyo English Lifeline, says that Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe’s gay outing is important because “he can now serve as one of the very few role models for young gay men in Australia” (“Thorpe’s coming-out: why it matters,” July 17). I cringed when I read that because “he can now serve” can also be read “he can now be used.” So that is the kind of man de Stains is, the kind of man who uses people.
I’m not a fan of the whole role model thing. I am a fan of privacy - not secrecy, which is altogether different. People need privacy to be fully human and diminished privacy equates to diminished humanity. Language is the individual’s first protective rampart as it both conceals and reveals simultaneously.
Sex and sexuality are among the most private things of all and what legally consenting adults do in the bedroom is their own business. My privacy principle means that self respect ought effectively to contain the urge to improperly expose our privacy, not out of fear of offending anyone so much as fear of diminishing our own humanity. So Gay Pride saddens me more than it inspires me because the movement is existentially self-defeating. In their quest for recognition, respect and civil rights it looks to me like gender minorities actually possess none of the self respect they pretend. It’s all a pretence, my most hated thing.
Modern culture - Western culture anyway - dooms my regard for privacy by its confessional and voyeuristic disposition. People think they not only have a need but a right to publicise themselves through exposure and revelation. That’s what passes as individuality. But it looks like bondage to me.
Still, gays out themselves and cite the therapeutic effects of confession. Is it placebo therapy?