Closeted Gay Politicians Hung Out to Dry in Outrage


Last night I had the opportunity to see the first final cut of Outrage shown to the public, before its opening at the Tribeca Film Festival. For those who have not yet heard of Outrage, it's a documentary by Kirby Dick (This Film is Not Yet Rated) about closeted Republican hypocrites and the way their hypocrisy damages lives — not only their personal lives but the millions of gays and lesbians their homophobic policymaking affects.

Crist_heyniger It's a well-packaged effort covering the Reagan years and the birth of the religious right to the present, wrapping up the stories of Idaho Senator Larry Craig, Virginia Rep. Ed Schrock, former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey, Mark Foley, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign manager Ed Mehlman, former GOP National Field Director Dan Gurley, former Arizona congressman Jim Kolbe, former Louisiana congressman Jim McCrery, and current congressman David Dreier, into a tightly wound exposé of closeted D.C.

It's the first major piece of media which has painted such a comprehensive, unflinching look at the GOP's closet.

The film shines an especially unflattering spotlight on Florida Governor Charlie Crist, devoting much of its time to the stories that have already been told (by alternative press) about the governor, and his various relationships with women which have fallen conveniently during campaign periods. It also asks why mainstream media has refused to cover them.

The filmmakers attempted to talk to Kelly Heyniger (pictured, with Crist), Crist's last girlfriend before marrying wife Carole Rome in the run-up to McCain's VP pick. His relationship with Heyniger ended in 2007. The filmmakers wanted to ask her about his sexuality.

Heyniger told them: "I think I'll just keep my mouth shut…call me in 10 years and I'll tell you a story."

The early efforts of Michelangelo Signorile in outing politicians, and the crusades of blogger Mike Rogers (blogactive) are also highlighted.

Larrycraigmug Dick's deft layering of audio tapes, interviews, and sexual confessions against the anti-gay votes these politicians have made reveals how journalists and the mainstream media, which the film ultimately damns for its refusal to expose hypocrisy, have been complicit in keeping public figures in the closet.

And the tragic and horrific effect the closet has had on LGBT rights and public policy is made all the more clear.

The film features interviews with Jim McGreevey, Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff (who tells the story of how he met FOX News anchor Shepard Smith in a gay bar), Idaho statesman reporter Dan Popkey, former Luxembourg ambassador Jim Hormel, David Phillips, the D.C. IT technologist who tells his story about sleeping with Larry Craig in graphic detail, DC City Council member David Catania, former HRC director Elizabeth Birch, BlogActive blogger Mike Rogers, Gurley, Andrew Sullivan, congressman Barney Frank, Michelangelo Signorile, Hilary Rosen, former LCR exec. director Rich Tafel, Tammy Baldwin, Tony Kushner, and many more.

The film opens May 8.


  1. Anthony in Nashville says

    Thanks for mentioning this movie, there’s no chance of it coming to Nashville but I will get it when it becomes available.

  2. Mike says

    Can’t wait to see it…but I can hear the denials right now – and you know the mainstream press is going to do the utmost to completely ignore it. It will be portrayed as lies and rumour mongering – and at the same time the spin will be “we should respect peoples privacy”. But of course that is part of the hypocrisy isn’t it…

  3. David in Houston says

    Heyniger told them “I think I’ll just keep my mouth shut…call me in 10 years and I’ll tell you a story.”

    That pretty much says it all doesn’t it? I’m really looking forward to seeing this.

  4. Ron says

    Wish I could get to NYC to see this… wow… It does sound like a great – important – needed movie.

  5. says

    I saw it last night too and it’s teriffic. Full disclosure: I’ve known Kirby for years and get a thank you in the end credits as he interviewed me for an earlier incarnation of this project, which at that time was about coming out and “outing” in general. Narrowing the focus to politics puts the entire subject in very concentrated relief.

    The subtext is indeed the disconnect between the “Mainstream” media and everyone else. For those who follow gay politics and gay issues there are few surpries here. Though the retelling of the Larry Craig saga is always amusing. The specifics on Ed Koch and the lover he tossed out of his life (who later died of AIDS) are devestating. He’s a throughly despicable human being. As for Charlie Crist this film will mark the end of his presidential aspirations. It goes into his past so throughly there’s no way for the “Mainstream” to avoid dealing with it.

  6. Boxerdad says

    I do not approve of outing… except in the case of dickwads like these who have built careers on trashing people like us.

  7. secretagentman says

    It’s playing at the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto, first week of May. Already sold out! Damn it.

  8. says

    Jim McGreevey is a piece of trash. If he had been a Republican governor we would be up in arms by what he did, which, incidentally, was giving a primo job to his supremely unqualified bf, not coming out as gay. But oh did he distract ‘us’ with his ‘inspirational’ “I am a gay American speech.” Idiots. He’s as bad as Rod Blagoejevich, but he is treated as some kind of hero. Why?

  9. paul c says

    It will be fascinating to see if this actually gets coverage in the media. It sure as hell should.

    Being in the closet is perfectly understandable if you are a helpless 12 year old in Kentucky, but when you’re a grown ass man with money and any degree of power, you have no excuse. You’re just a selfish, lying coward.

    I can honestly say that Michelangelo Signorile’s outing of people years back was a great thing. He took a lot of heat for it, but it did a lot of good for a million kids like me growing up and feeling very isolated and hopeless.

    Hopefully this movie will get that ball rolling again and force people to tell the truth and be who they are…and stop undermining the rest of us to cover their own asses.

  10. says

    David Ehrenstein, I know gays who think he’s great. I know gays who are FRIENDS with him. And, I ‘daresay’ that I have most DEFINITELY seen positive comments about him on this blog. Not to mention gay orgs who have recognized him in some capacity. I am happy to hear you don’t think he is a hero…because he certainly isn’t.

  11. dan says

    So how exactly do Jim McGreevey and Ed Koch fit into the anti-gay Republican category? Also, what does Shepard Smith have to do with any of this? As far as I know journalists don’t write legislation and other than the fact that he works for Fox News he does not have a reputation for making anti-gay statements.

  12. happyhappyjoyjoy says

    Thanks for the heads up about the Toronto screening- just went over to the site and picked up tickets for myself- there are actually still tickets available for the May 7th show!

    It’s about time a film was made about this, and I can’t think of a better director after being wowed by This Film Is Not Yet Rated!

  13. Danny says

    Great fact-checking Towle. Not only is Jim McGreavy a Democrat, but Ed Koch has been a prominent Democrat for 50 years. Of course, both were and are pro-gay, so they really shouldn’t be on a list of anti-gay hypocrites. So really your list is an incoherent mess.

    Shouldn’t the story be about closeted hypocrites regardless of party?

  14. Dean says

    The documentary sounds incredible. The MSM has practiced a double standard with gay people. No het considers which gender they are attracted to as a “very private” or “intimate” fact about them. In fact *all* het politicians prominently feature, publicize, and parade their families.

    Who should really receive gratitude are the activists who laid the groundword for this stuff for decades: THANK YOU Michelangelo Signorile, Mike Rogers, Mike Petralis, Larry Kramer, and David Ehrenstein!

  15. anon says

    Koch was a Democrat but very anti-gay in his policies, particularly in the early days of AIDS. Hopefully this documentary gets its basic facts straight (ha!).

  16. says

    And despite efforts like this film, there’s a whole new batch of shiny new closeted Republican stars on the horizon.

  17. Michael Lassell says

    Anybody ever seen Larry Kramer’s extraordinary play THE NORMAL HEART? It includes a scathing indictment of Koch for the mayor’s inaction in the face of the early AIDS epidemic. Just in case we forget.

  18. says

    You’re quite right, Jimbo. That’s why this film is so important. It identifies the the lars and pays very closeattention to the way they lie.

    Ed Koch began as a middle-of-the-rad Democrat but eneded as a DINO (Democrat in Name Only) The film goes into the exceedingly shabby way he treated his ex-lover.

    Kirby went out of his way to give everyone he was going to be dealing with a chance to speak for themseleves. The only one who took it was mcGreevey. But he’d grab a P.A. systen in a WAl-MART he’s such a publisexual.

  19. David Phillips says

    I didn’t “sleep with” Larry Craig. We had sex. A couple hours was traumatic enough.

  20. J. Black says

    I’ve been sleeping with a prominent New York politician, who’s married with kids and I’m torn about what I’m doing. I’m not sure if I should keep quiet or just continue the Charade. He says he loves me, but can’t leave his wife. sigh.

  21. Alex says

    Also, I think you mean Bush/Cheney campaign manager KEN Mehlmen. But there were a lot of names, so we understand.

    @Michael Lassell: Kramer HATES Koch. And he’s right about him, Koch showed his true colors after 9/11.

    I don’t know much about Shepherd Smith, but the one clip I’ve seen of him (“This is America! We don’t fucking torture!”) makes me proud to have him batting for our team, even if he is a Faux News lackey 364 days a year.

  22. HA! says

    I think its shitty and wrong…. We as gay people need to clean up our own houses before we attempt to clean someone elses.

    There are plenty of people, regardless of party who have dropped the ball. Don’t be so quick to impune some one you don’t agree with. I am a gay conservative, ( oh the horror), I believe in smaller goverment, lower taxes, and much less interference in my life by the goverment.

    In the past twenty years ask your self two questions,

    Who signed the defense of marriage act?

    Who signed don’t ask don’t tell?

    lets stop playing the blame game and hold ourselves as a community accountable first, and then take to task those who are against us. Some of the worst homophobia is against each other….

  23. rty says

    What’s happened to you guys to make you such filth? None of this has anything to do with being gay — it’s just being a lowlife that would try to hurt other people by invading their privacy just to be mean.

  24. says

    When Ed Koch ran for re-election as NYC mayor, he ran as both a Republican AND a Democrat. The republicans welcomed him with open arms. So that makes Koch doubly a hypocrite.

  25. says

    So Terry Gross, Ms. NPR Mainstream, interviewed Kirby Dick today — Wed’s 06 May 2009 — on her program “Fresh Air” re: the film *and would not allow him to discuss or mention any names!* Then she had an unctuous, suck-up interview with Republican punk Dan Gurley about how MEAN this all is. “Fair and balanced.” Too much.

  26. "Jedi" is the new "gay." says

    Andy: I believe you meant to write “Ken Mehlman” when you wrote: “It’s a
    well-packaged effort covering the Reagan years and the birth of the
    religious right to the present, wrapping up the stories of Idaho Senator
    Larry Craig, Virginia Rep. Ed Schrock, former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey,
    Mark Foley, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign manager Ed



  27. Jack says

    To be a politico, is to have your live under a microscope. If you want to keep secrets about your sexual appetite, forget it. To vote against Gays and Lesbians, you are just begging to be OUTed!
    To take away my rights, you have not privacy. Hypocrite is the word most appropriate.