BTL COVID-19 Resource Guide

As the world continues to learn more about coronavirus and its spread, it's vital to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. However, it's also important to make sure that the information being distributed is from credible sources. To that end, Between The Lines has compiled, [...]

Coming out the hard way

By | 2007-06-07T09:00:00-04:00 June 7th, 2007|Uncategorized|

A basic tenant of the LGBT community is one of cooperation and community building. In many ways the LGBT community achieves these goals as it works together in our fight for full equality. However, when we look more fully at our diversity which includes race, gender, gender identity, height, weight, sexual orientation, disability and political affiliation, we see the dozens of differences this diversity wrestles with all the time.
We certainly believe our diversity is what makes us strong. But what if one of our community members is assisting in our oppression? What if a person is a modern day Roy Cohn? Do we continue in silence, knowing this person is aiding the antigay agenda, or do we stand up and report this news?
BTL has had to wrestle with this issue this past week.
Tyler Whitney is coming out, a generally private act.
But Whitney is not an average person. He is the immediate past leader of Young Americans for Freedom Western Michigan University. He considers among his friends Kyle Bristow, the virulently antigay leader of Young Americans for Freedom Michigan State University chapter, officially listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He currently gets a paycheck from Rep. Tom Tancredo’s campaign for president.
Tancredo has a zero percent voting record on issues for the LBGT community, which means he never met a piece of pro-gay legislation that he would support.

When Whitney was originally contacted by BTL he was eager to talk. But after several days, phone calls and emails, he withdrew from participation, saying he was only 18 years old and his coming out was his private business.
We would have liked to have agreed and left Whitney to his coming out process. But giving a pass to someone who is actively working on political campaigns targeting LGBT people crosses the line.
Let there be no mistake, Whitney is not just a rank and file conservative activist, or a nameless, faceless cog in a campaign machine. He is pictured at a protest at Lansing City Hall holding a sign which read “Back in the Closet.” He is quoted in a Washington Times article about the protests that disrupted the Tancredo speaking engagement at MSU in November of last year. He is currently creating the cyber image of Tancredo’s long shot bid for the presidency, a bid that is supported by such hate leaders as David Duke and well known white supremacy organizations.
We hope that Whitney will not have to see the ugly side of his friends. The side that had Kyle Bristow exposes when he says he’d kill his son if he were gay, or calling on homosexuals to be jailed. The side that says people should not be allowed to marry the person they love if they are of the same gender and the side which says if your sexuality is not heterosexual, you should be able to be fired without recourse.
We hope that Whitney is accepted by his fellow conservatives and his belief in equality for all is a message they hear and to which they respond. We all need to pause and listen to Whitney. His voice may vocalize a different viewpoint that we need to be aware of. Too often young LBGT people are not involved in the political process. Whitney is involved and whether you agree with the people he supports or not it is important to pay attention.
Mr. Whitney, welcome to the LBGT community.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.