Journalist Michelangelo Signorile urged the gay community to take a more active stance for gay rights in a two-hour long speech last Monday in the Annenberg School for Communication. To accomplish this as a journalist for several gay magazines, Signorile uses a tactic called outing -- the practice of exposing a person as being gay, lesbian, or bisexual through the media even though that person may or may not want to "come out of the closet." Although outing is controversial, Signorile defended it, especially when used in the political arena. "I would rather have no gay people than a closeted gay person in Congress," he said. "Closeted gay people do more damage." Signorile used anecdotes about another outer Michael Patrellis, a "controversial gay activist," to show how why outing is important. Signorile said that Patrellis, who has held press conferences exposing several congressmen as being gay, is known for his outrageous antics. Signorile said that Patrellis once stood up on a Washington D.C. subway and screamed, "I'm gay. I have AIDS." "We need a lot more nuts like Michael Patrellis. Nuts get things done," Signorile said. Signorile said he also feels that outing Hollywood celebrities helps the gay community, citing recent movies such as "Longtime Companion," which focused on gays. After giving his speech, Signorile fielded questions from the audience about everything from outing to life as a gay journalist. Most of the audience members said they agreed with the concept of outing. "I like the idea of outing," said Katherine Ott, a West Philadelphia resident. "I was ready to hate him because of how controversial the topic is, but I liked him. He was very articulate." But some audience members were not as supportive of outing. "I may not agree with everything he says, but he's given me a lot to think about," said 1990 College graduate Tom Dilling. Signorile is currently traveling the country as a freelance journalist while writing a book called "Queer in America." The book will be published by Random House. Signorile's speech was sponsored by the Lesbian and Gay Academic Union of Philadelphia, a loosely structured organization which holds forums on gay and lesbian concerns.Comments powered by Disqus
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