Kirkpatrick continued from page 1 I was invited to speak at a fundraiser. And I said, you know, I'm getting more and more of these invitations. Typically, I'm being invited because I'm the Chief of Police. Wouldn't you think? I mean that's why you're inviting me, right? So when they invite me to their forum, they're really inviting me as the Chief of Police. So, should I go in uniform? But I'm fundraising. I told this group this morning who asked me to speak at their fundraiser that if I'm going to wear my uniform, then the officers need to be allowed to wear their uniforms, if they want to go to the kindergarten class, or they want to do whatever they want to do so I'm going to try to set a consistent principle. The example I used this morning was fundraising for Special Olympics. I've always been a part of the Special Olympics. State Patrol doesn't allow their officers to wear their uniforms when they fundraise for Special Olympics. Federal Way allowed me to wear my uniform. But if I'm going to wear my uniform for Special Olympics, then I should be able to allow anyone and everyone to wear their uniforms for fundraising. Q View: Where do you expect yourself to end up on this decision? Chief Kirkpatrick: To wear my uniform? Q View: Yes. Allowing officers to wear their uniforms at events such as gay pride. Chief Kirkpatrick: I think it will come down to what the City's position is going to be with me on the use of the uniform. Q View: How does that come about? Chief Kirkpatrick: We're governed by an ethics ordinance, and I want to be sure, because if I'm going to wear my uniform for fundraising, they should be able to wear their uniform at their event. Q View: What is your personal opinion about that?
Chief Kirkpatrick: I have never done it, historically, at my other agencies except in Special Olympics, because I've never been asked. Q View: But what is your opinion? Chief Kirkpatrick: I don't know what you're asking me. Q View: Do you have a personal opinion on whether someone should be able to wear their uniform at a gay pride parade? Chief Kirkpatrick: I don't really care. Whether or not the ordinance allows it, I do have governance over the use of the uniform. I have personally tried not to take political positions in a community. I want to be a good steward. Q View: Do you see gay rights as a civil rights issue? Chief Kirkpatrick: I never even thought of it as that. I don't spend a lot of time on whether something's a civil rights issue or not. Q View: Do you have a position on gay/equal marriage? Chief Kirkpatrick: As a personal decision, yes I do. Q View: Can you share that? Chief Kirkpatrick: I don't wish to share that because I'm not a politician. My job, as the Chief of Police, is to serve all people. Period. Regardless. If I were running for office, that would be a fair question. I am not running for office, so some of my positions politically are my opinion. And they will remain so. Q View: Would you consider appointing a gay/lesbian liaison officer who would specifically deal with gay/ lesbian issues? Chief Kirkpatrick: We have invited a member of the [gay/lesbian] community to my citizen's advisory committee who is supposedly the liaison community voice for gays and lesbians. Q View: Who is that? Chief Kirkpatrick: I'd have to get his name from the PAC group. We Please see KIRKPATRICK page 8
Hollywood's Eternal Closet
Merv Griffin's death is a sad reminder that many people still view coming out as an impossible act
The obituaries for entrepreneur and TV legend Merv Griffin in the mainstream media are predictably lacking certain details. Gay readers have learned from the recent deaths of Susan Sontag, Luther Vandross, Ismail Merchant and others not to expect too much in the way of honest reporting in the obit pages. Celebrities are doomed to an eternity in the closet when it comes to how the mainstream media cover gays, even in death.
In all the fawning tributes to Griffin, praised by everyone from Nancy Reagan to Vanna White, the issue of his sexual orientation is addressed only via mentions of his 1970s-era wife and his "longtime companion" Eva Gabor, a rather unconvincing beard. Some obituaries include a reference to two lawsuits filed against Griffin -- one for palimony by a former employee, Brent Plott, in 1991 and another by "Dance Fever" host Denny Terrio for sexual harassment the same year. Both were later dismissed. But Ray Richmond, a Hollywood Reporter writer, crashed the straightwashing party with a surprising and welcome article published Aug. 17. "Merv Griffin was gay," Richmond began his piece. "Why should that be so uncomfortable to read? Why is it so difficult to write? Why are we still so jittery even about raising the issue in purportedly liberal-minded Hollywood in 2007? We can refer to it casually in conversation, but the mainstream media somehow remains trapped in the Dark Ages when it comes to labeling a person as gay." Some of us have been asking these questions for a long time. It's gratifying to see others on board, even if someone should have written the story before Griffin died. And despite the common perception in some circles that being gay is no longer a big deal, the roster of out gay celebrities and public figures remains startlingly short. As Richmond put it, "While it would seem everything has changed today, little actually has. You can count on the fingers of one hand, or at most two, the number of high-powered stars, executives and public figures who have come out. Those who don't can't really be faulted, as rarely do honesty and full disclosure prove a boon to one's showbiz livelihood." The problem with that rationale is that there are plenty of wealthy gay closeted stars, executives and public figures who could afford to never work again. Some of those folks need to find the courage to stand up to the Hollywood system that employs countless gays, while hypocritically insisting on their silence. Griffin died at 82 and so perhaps we ought to cut him some slack. After all, he came of age in an era when coming out in Hollywood meant career suicide. Of course, there are plenty of octogenarians who are proudly out -- and who don't have the benefit of hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank -- so that slack should be short. But the extreme secrecy that Griffin lived by concerning his personal life is unfortunately not limited to stars born in the early 20th century. The unwritten rule that says all personal details of straight stars' lives shall be fodder for People, Us Weekly, TMZ.com, etc., while those same sorts of details about gay stars shall remain hidden persists today. That double standard is wrong and can be seen at work in the obituaries published this month about Griffin's remarkable life. We can rest assured that as Jodie Foster promotes her upcoming film, "The Brave One," due out next month, she will dodge any question about her personal life and interviewers will be made to agree in advance not to ask about such topics. The Griffin obit saga took a predictable turn when The Hollywood Reporter yanked Richmond's piece from the web, presumably after advertiser complaints. After protests from bloggers and satellite radio host Michelangelo Signoreli, the article reappeared, though in a less prominent spot. Meanwhile, Reuters, which syndicates content from The Hollywood Reporter, also pulled the story. Support for those cowardly moves came from unlikely places. Respected Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales denounced those who would out Griffin in death, citing anonymous angry web postings as evidence that only "fringe" people were disappointed by Griffin's lack of honesty. "The Internet is rife with rantings from what sometimes sound like members of a lynch mob," Shales wrote. "In this case, one might think that victims of persecution would feel a tad more reluctant to persecute someone else, especially a recently deceased man." Shales' assertion that writing honestly about a public figure's sexual orientation amounts to "persecution" is wrong and insulting. He, and so many of his colleagues in the mainstream media, still don't get it. Sexual orientation should be no more a private fact than your eye color. It's not a private fact for straight folks, who wear wedding rings and walk hand-in-hand down the street. It's even less private for straight celebrities, whose sexual antics, including videotaped bedroom romps, routinely make the news. Shales and other journalists should be concerned with reporting the truth, however uncomfortable it may be for some to accept. Keeping Griffin's -- and Foster's -- dirty little secret only reinforces the notion that homosexuality is something to hide. Those who would report the facts honestly, like Signoreli, Richmond and even controversial blogger Perez Hilton, should be applauded for their efforts at breaking down Hollywood's closet doors once and for all.
Reprinted with permission, and courtesy of, Kevin Naff, Editor, www.washingtonblade.com
September 1, 007 | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition | Page