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We Need To Take Care of Our Own

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2010

Jo-Vanni Roman, the young man at the center of the storm

Dan Savage provides the background to the problem:

The gay movement—which can be overly concerned with appearances—didn’t know what to do with Mike Jones after he outed Ted Haggard, then the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and a good buddy of George W. Bush. Gay organizations and groups treated Jones like he was radioactive because—gasp—the man was a sex worker. Jones was left feeling bitter and broke after he did gays and lesbians everywhere a huge service stepping forward and outing/truthing Haggard. By exposing Haggard, Jones did real and lasting damage to the credibility of anti-gay ranters everywhere.

Jones was 49 when he outed Haggard, and he was completely overwhelmed by the controversy and intense publicity. Jo-Vanni is only twenty and still trying to put himself through college. It’s impossible to expect that anyone at twenty has the wherewithal to negotiate the landmines around him in a situation like this. There will be people seeking to exploit him, take advantage of him, sue him, and yes, condemn him for being a sex worker.

Meanwhile, anti-gay activists are already eager for us to turn on him so they can swoop in and claim him as their poster-boy.

Rekers has been one of the most virulent and dangerous anti-gay extremists in decades. Think of Paul Cameron without the calls for quarantines or death camps — although the two have worked very closely together on a number of projects. What Jo-Vanni did in revealing Reker’s hypocrisy is unprecedented in its importance. I cannot think of another exposure as big as this. Haggard, John Paulk, Michael Johnston — none of them have had the wide-ranging impact that Rekers has had over the past three decades.

We know very well how to take care of people in our community who need our help. We became experts at it in the 1980′s and 1990′s. It’s time to put that expertise into use again. Joe Jervis is organizing a support team for Jo-Vanni in South Florida, and he’s looking for your help and suggestions. You can email him with your suggestions at JoeMyGod@gmail.com.

Comments

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Emily K
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

Can’t we find sex working distasteful (and even somewhat icky) without having to go through screams of “SEX-NEGATIVE! CLOSET CASE! SELFISH! VAIN! ASSIMILATIONIST!”? I’m not saying Jo-Vanni has character flaws (I don’t know him) but I’m not fond of what he does for a living.

I’m gay but I don’t like Dan Savage much either. I wouldn’t turn to him for sexual advice, let alone political advice. Somewhere along the line he and other people have decided he’s some kind of truth-teller for the gay community. Oh, brother. He’s got a mouth and knows how to get attention. And that’s where it ends for me.

Let’s maybe not label Jo-Vanni as “the prostitute that outed a closet case Christian by stroking his cock” and instead label him “a whistle-blower who outed a man who wreaks havoc on innocent people.”

That way we humanize him and don’t have to obsess over what he does behind closed doors for certain people.

We don’t have to make him “Jo-Vanni the sex-positive sex worker with a heart of gold” anymore than we have to vilify him.

Timothy Kincaid
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

Emily,

I didn’t see Jim use any of the terms that you accuse him of using. Nor do I see anyone suggesting that you cannot or should not find sex work distasteful.

But we are talking about a member of our community who needs our help right now. I hope that some compassion and concern would outweigh your objection to how he’s been feeding himself.

Emily K
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, if you read my entire comment more closely, you would see that at the end I propose NOT labeling him as “THE SEX WORKER WHO OUTED THE HOMOPHOBE WITH SEX ACTS OF GAY SEX” but instead call him merely what he is, a whistleblower.

That way no one would have to worry about, constantly bring up, or obsess over what he does for a living, and it would somewhat neutralize the strong opinions people often have surrounding prostitution. I for one do not care what he did with Rekers. The fact is though, he was sexually involved with Rekers, which outs a homophobe. That is all I care about: that another closetcase who hates us and works to denigrate us is outed.

And fyi, I do not subscribe to an all-encompassing brotherhood/sisterhood of gays. If there is someone who needs help, they need help, based on whatever merits it. For example, I do NOT support the Israeli government unconditionally. And I do not want to help someone who is Jewish just because they might worship like I do. Look at JONAH. I don’t want to help them.

I do not support helping Jo-Vanni because he is “one of us.” I support helping him because he outed a wretched homophobe who denigrates us for a living.

Burr
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

Regardless of how you feel about their profession, it’s an undisputed fact that all sex workers (female, male, gay, straight, etc.) are treated with far less dignity than they deserve. That’s why I hope it shouldn’t be hard to find some compassion for them even if it keeps getting brought up to the discomfort of some as opposed to shoved under the carpet.

The fact also remains that he will never be able to work as one again now, anyway.

Pender
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

COMPLETELY agree, and was thinking much the same thing earlier today.

Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s important to make the experience of exposing anti-gay closet cases as painless as possible.

In fact, part of me wonders if we should set up some sort of bounty program (in addition to a legal defense fund) for anyone who can offer proof of gay sex by anti-gay bigot types.

Richard Rush
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

I hope some more people will step up to help Jo-Vanni.

Depending on how this continues to play out in the next few days, my partner and I have decided to send $100 to either a fund set up for Jo-Vanni’s benefit, or directly to him (if we can obtain an address). We tend to be leery of funds until seeing evidence of good work, but we’ll see what Joe Jervis (Jo.My.God.) comes up with. If we send it directly to Jo-Vanni, at least we know it’s getting to the person who needs some support. One factor in favor of contributing to a fund is that Jo-Vanni may need some quality guidance more than he needs money right now.

While our $100 obviously won’t do much by itself, it’s what we can afford, and it is a tangible way for us to express our appreciation and respect for him. I hope others feel motivated to contribute. I expect nothing from the national gay-rights groups based upon how they all ran as fast as could from Mike Jones a few years ago.

Emily K
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

guys, I know it might be tempting to pull out all the stops and call this guy a hero, but we have to be real here: We don’t know a thing about him as a person. We don’t know how good he is with money, or how trustworthy he is when receiving funds. Unless something official is set up, let’s wait a little bit before we shower him with laurel crowns.

and no, this is not because he is a prostitute. this is because he is a human.

Every person is complex and complicated; nobody is single-sided saint. Remember how quickly the Christian Right canonized Carrie Prejean before finding out she had starred in a number of pre-marital sex tapes? I’m simply saying we can be careful as well as caring.

CHAS
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

Why not a scholarship fund?
The former sex worker or other who suffer from benefiting gay causes could get an education and find new work.
The anti-sex worker crowd could justify their donations because they are helping to save someone.
The donations would be deductible.

Evan Hurst
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

I’m glad to see we all picked up Dan & Joe’s call at the same time.

That being said, I really don’t see why this is even an occasion to pass judgment on sex work. It’s called the world’s oldest profession for a reason, and it’s ludicrous that we live in a society where it’s still illegal, and thus, more dangerous.

And, to take this suggestion

“Let’s maybe not label Jo-Vanni as “the prostitute that outed a closet case Christian by stroking his cock” and instead label him “a whistle-blower who outed a man who wreaks havoc on innocent people.”

would actually be to minimize the story as it is. And this statement

“That way we humanize him and don’t have to obsess over what he does behind closed doors for certain people.”

dehumanizes sex workers. Is there somehow a separate category to distinguish “humans” from “people who do things I think are icky behind closed doors,” because if so, I know of a certain Religious Right which goes by that same playbook.

“That way no one would have to worry about, constantly bring up, or obsess over what he does for a living, and it would somewhat neutralize the strong opinions people often have surrounding prostitution.”

But again, that is what happened. As long as this story has legs, it’s going to be “constantly brought up.” Any “obsessing” is completely up to the reader. I, personally, am not “obsessing” over the fact that Jo-Vanni is a sex worker. It’s merely a fact.

“I know it might be tempting to pull out all the stops and call this guy a hero.”

No, it’s not “tempting.” Regardless of what kind of a person he is (and we have no reason to believe he’s NOT a decent person), the fact that he’s been willing to talk and appear on camera once he learned the character of the client involved, when HE DID NOT ASK FOR THIS, is, in and of itself, a heroic act.

As Jim & Timothy have said, it’s hard to overstate the significance of these revelations.

“We don’t know how good he is with money, or how trustworthy he is when receiving funds.”

Beware, for that’s really, really close to the argument I hear from wealthy white people about how poor black people should be denied aid because they’re just going to spend it on drugs.

anteros
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

other than his role in making life better for all LGBT people by exposing a big shot anti-gay hypocrite, i dont think i need to know anything else about Jo-Vanni in order for me to send some appreciation his way.

i’m not his parent, guardian, fiance or insurance broker… so, i really dont care about how he earns his keep, whether he’s good with money and i dont care about how he chooses to spend his spare time. if he cant afford a lawyer after choosing to party away 10 grand of whatever gets sent his way in appreciation from grateful LGBT people, that’s fine by me… A-O.K. …it’s his life and his decision regarding what he does with whatever money gets sent his way – just like it’s his life and his decision regarding the outing of that monster.

anteros
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

that said, i hope he gets all the support he needs to get through this… legal, financial, emotional and whatever other kind of support he may need. and i hope he gets enough financial support to get him through college and still have some left over to spend as he pleases – partying or shopping or whatever.

amazingly, Jo-Vanni says he’s not doing any of this for the money.

Lynn David
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

We should. Hopefully those who pressured him into making further statements are.

On a lighter note, this is what Rekers has wrought….

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/rnr/1728029117.html

Emily K
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

Beware, for that’s really, really close to the argument I hear from wealthy white people about how poor black people should be denied aid because they’re just going to spend it on drugs.

..It’s also the argument one could make for not giving Enron money (by buying their stock) because we don’t actually know how they handle their accounting and they won’t tell us. (if this was 1999.)

As for “poor black people aid,” well, guess since I’m in that same bracket and I’m on welfare, I count as a “poor black person.” Except I’m not a poor black person. I’m a poor white person.

Maybe we shouldn’t call anything “poor black people aid.” It just doesn’t do anyone any favors and equates race with class, something I personally try to avoid.

So spare me the self-righteous grandstanding. As long as we keep saying “SEX WORKER Jo-Vanni,” we segregate him. It’s the same as saying “What a well-spoken black man he is” instead of “what a well-spoken man he is.”

Richard Rush
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

I think Dan Savage struck the right chord in his article (Jim Burroway provided a link above):

Bringing something like this—this being the appalling, malicious hypocrisy of George Rekers—out into the open can’t become a path to fame and/or fortune. It isn’t and shouldn’t be something that sets a person up for life, or something that an escort cashes in on as he leaves the rentboy business. Because that dynamic would undermine the credibility of anyone who does the right thing and steps forward when a powerful political or religious leader is saying one thing in public about homosexuality and doing quite another thing in private. But we can’t leave people like Jones or Roman dangling, not if we want people like Jones and Roman to keep stepping forward.

I think it’s important to express appreciation in a tangible way, rather than just the empty words of “thank you.” Jo-Vanni is vulnerable to being hurt now, and he deserves some support for speaking out. And he deserves to feel good about himself. Who knows, maybe this episode in his young life may be a spark that launches him toward a better future than he would have otherwise.

Jim Burroway
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

Emily,

I find your position incomprehensible. I haven’t — and neither has anyone else that I know of — put the phrase “sex worker Jo-vanni” together in a sentence like that. But of course it’s impossible to talk about the events that are unfolding without talking about what he does. And that’s not an act of segregation, that’s simply explaining what Rekers was up to.

Please… Jo-vanni didn’t bring douwn one of the worst anti-gay activists in history by beling “well-spoken.” It would appear that you would want to shove Jo-vanni into a closet. What are you ashamed of.

This is the same reaction that left Jone high and dry.

And I would point out that nowhere did I suggest we all just open up our checkbooks and send him money without any kind of accountability. But what Jo-vanni needs most right now — legal advice, media advice, people to help steer him from charlatans, freeloaders and others who would exploit him — some of that requires money, but more than anything it requires people who are already savvy in these things.

You know, a support team, like I originally wrote and that Joe Jervis is trying to set up. I really do wish people would read what I actually wrote before they let their emotions and hangups get away from them.

I hope there are gay orgs in South Florida that can provide resources and guidance for this young man. And I hope we don’t trash him as a community the way we did Mike Jones. And let’s face it. I think we know one of the principle reasons we trashed Mike Jones.

Paul in Canada
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

It would be great if GLAAD would step in giving the potential of law suits.

I hope all of us in the international gay community come together and demonstrate unity as ‘thanks’ for the courage this young guy has shown in putting another blemish on the anti-gay lobby.

Perhaps we could set up a ‘foundation’ of sorts that helps anyone who exposes the anti-gay hypocracy.

Regan DuCasse
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

I think the real implications behind sex work are still kind of unspoken.
It’s because of the last resort status it has. A means of income by way of desperation for most people who engage in it.
Decriminalization isn’t the point. But the impetus for doing it in the first place.

It lines right up with stereotyping and relegating certain members of society to being most at risk of engaging in it.
There are demands or expectations made on sex workers, that their clients wouldn’t DARE want or expect from their significant others. If they even see life with a significant other as a desirable goal.

This is mercenary/recreational sex and although we like to tell ourselves there’s no harm in it if the parties are consenting and adults, but whoever is getting cheated on isn’t.
But those that engage in such sex, are detached in ways that do bleed into society at large.
Nor should anyone think, that it’s healthy and should be encouraged.

We already live in an age of serious detachment and unrealistic expectations and gratification without accountability.
And Rekers’s situation is a symptom of part of all that. As is the young man who made himself available to him.

And it’s something the gay community, like blacks, can’t afford to indulge. Our respective communities are often accused, (and discrimination justified by) what appears to be a mercenary/recreational attitude about sex as it is.

That marriage and monogamy aren’t the goal of gay people, but through activity like this, are validating the suspicions and stereotypes instead.

I think it’s sad that such a beautiful boy with educational goals in mind is going this route in the first place. That he sold himself to someone icky like Rekers.

And, that Rekers, doesn’t think any more of young gay men than that they should serve him in this way.

I have gotten treated very abominably in all kinds of situations because of what too many men think they are either entitled to, or how little they think of women beyond a piece of meat.

And since I’m a female, and females being the most obvious victims of sex work and sex worker’s, I would rather look at the subtext of it and look at the real harms, than being so disconnected as to think that the only reason it’s not encouraged, is because it’s illegal. It’s illegal because it’s really not a GOOD thing, or a NEUTRAL thing for people to take for granted.

It’s illegal for a good reason.

Jason D
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

Jim, I get what you’re saying. It’s far too easy to say “ewww, sleazy sex worker” but how many of us out there watch porn and are “fans” of the stars of that avenue of sex work?

Here are the facts of the case:

Upon finding out who his client is and what he does, Lucien (Jo-Vani) immediately came forward and told the truth.

He has refused payment for interviews.

He’s a 20 year old who’s at risk for being demonized by both sides. If the ex-gays and anti-gays pull him to their side WE LOSE. Not only a brave member of our community, but yet another gay person who has a lot of years ahead of them that could be very productive if he gets the support he needs right now.

Emily, he is (or was) a sex worker by trade. I don’t see any reason to sugar coat that or put him in the sex worker closet. That’s what our opponents do. Sure, he’s a whistleblower. A whistleblowing sex worker who deserves some credit, support, and plenty of gratitude for having the courage to come forward.

Think about it. His career as a sex worker is over now. His ability to ever have a normal relationship and or life is seriously in question, maybe gone forever as well. Regan can possibly speak to this, but everything he’s said so far could potentially be considered an admission of guilt to the crime of prostitution. He’s about to get sued. He’s getting roasted on websites left and right (I even did some of that roasting, god help me). Above that, he actually liked Rekers, and considered him an okay guy, in some respects a fatherly figure, until he found out who he was—and he’s lost that, too.

So yeah, I don’t think giving him support, calling him a brave hero, is out of line.

Evan Hurst
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

There is an enormous difference between Enron, a corporation that did tangible harm to millions of people, and a kid who’s making money by being an escort, presumably because it was one of the only ways he knew to make the money he needed to make to pay for college. As many have said, there is this really gross stigma out there and this tendency in this country to look at those who have less than we do and try to find some way to blame them for their circumstances as a way to make us feel better about our dignity, our moral rectitude, etc., and to absolve us from any responsibility toward seeing them as people.

This tendency is on full display in the Tea Party movement, freaked out as they are that a poor single mother might get to see the doctor before they do.

Jo-Vanni doesn’t need to do anything to earn our support or prove his worthiness. He’s already done it, by putting himself on the line once he realized the nature of the client who had been outed.

Emily K
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

Crying “bigot! tea-party sympathizer! closet-lover!” doesn’t make anybody’s “point” against anything I’ve said any more logical.

It would appear that you would want to shove Jo-vanni into a closet. What are you ashamed of.

right, because short of glorifying his line of work, it means you want to make buggery illegal. Please. That line of “logic” insults your intelligence.

Evan, my comment about Enron wasn’t related to sex workers. It was a response to your accusing me of bigotry-by-proxy. People are allowed to be skeptics.

As for “never being able to work as an escort again,” well, can’t he find work in another field? He’s going to college, yes? I doubt he’s going to college so he can climb the corporate ladder of escorting. Maybe he can get a job closer to the field he is studying. It might not make as much money as prostitution but it IS a job.

Regan makes a lot of great points nobody is talking about. These in particular:

[I]t’s something the gay community, like blacks, can’t afford to indulge. Our respective communities are often accused, (and discrimination justified by) what appears to be a mercenary/recreational attitude about sex as it is.

That marriage and monogamy aren’t the goal of gay people, but through activity like this, are validating the suspicions and stereotypes instead.

I think it’s sad that such a beautiful boy with educational goals in mind is going this route in the first place. That he sold himself to someone icky like Rekers.

And, that Rekers, doesn’t think any more of young gay men than that they should serve him in this way.

I have gotten treated very abominably in all kinds of situations because of what too many men think they are either entitled to, or how little they think of women beyond a piece of meat.

And since I’m a female, and females being the most obvious victims of sex work and sex worker’s, I would rather look at the subtext of it and look at the real harms, than being so disconnected as to think that the only reason it’s not encouraged, is because it’s illegal. It’s illegal because it’s really not a GOOD thing, or a NEUTRAL thing for people to take for granted.

people can call me a self-loather, a closet-lover, a bigot, anti-equality, or anti-sex, but they’re not going to change my opinion or skepticism of so quickly placing a person we barely know on a pedestal.

Evan Hurst
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

No, I didn’t accuse you of being a bigot by proxy. In fact, I carefully pointed out that your lines of thinking are strangely similar to the rationalizations of the Religious Right and the Tea Party movement.

The issue here is the slut-shaming, which, to draw another parallel, is often the response you get from anti-choice men when dealing with women who exercise their reproductive choice, and from more conservative men and women in response to rape victims.

The fact that we’re having this conversation is a bit silly, honestly.

“I doubt he’s going to college so he can climb the corporate ladder of escorting. Maybe he can get a job closer to the field he is studying. It might not make as much money as prostitution but it IS a job.”

Yes, but it’s not your place or my place to pass judgment on his choice of work.

As to a couple of Regan’s points:

“I]t’s something the gay community, like blacks, can’t afford to indulge. Our respective communities are often accused, (and discrimination justified by) what appears to be a mercenary/recreational attitude about sex as it is.”

“Can’t afford to”? The greatest market for prostitution in this country is among straight people, first of all. The only difference is that some within the gay community are more willing to be honest about its existence, rather than pretending, as so many straight people do, that it doesn’t happen, just as…

“hat marriage and monogamy aren’t the goal of gay people, but through activity like this, are validating the suspicions and stereotypes instead.”

Some in the gay community are more willing to acknowledge that infidelity and non-monogamy are decidedly NOT the purview of the gay community, but rather are practiced by LOTS of people of all sexual orientations, but are more honest about the fact that some people choose relationships which are not monogamous, instead of, again, slut-shaming those who do so as a way of making ourselves feel better than someone else.

Again.

We’re placing the kid on a pedestal because he did something worthy of that pedestal. But that’s not even really what we’re doing…we’re trying to rally support for a kid who put himself on the line in order to corroborate the reports in the media which are serving to knock down a particularly contemptible pillar of the anti-gay/ex-gay movement.

It is beyond me why any would feel the need to make that support hinge on whether or not we get to shame the slut to someone’s satisfaction. And trying to throw his line of work under a rug is beyond silly, because it’s precisely BECAUSE the kid was in this line of work that Rekers is being taken down in this way. If Jo-Vanni had been his barista, rather than a hired escort, I daresay George Rekers would still be sitting pretty.

Jason D
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

“As for “never being able to work as an escort again,” well, can’t he find work in another field?”

Oh dear, do I really have to point this out?

You don’t know if Lucien had planned to retire today, tomorrow, next week, next year, or never. Perhaps his Reker’s money paid his rent. Perhaps not. Perhaps he’s been saving some of that money up from his tricks, perhaps it’s all been toward school and his bank account is dry. Ever been on your own and faced with suddenly being jobless? It’s not fun.

Ever stop to think that the reason he’s an escort is because he can’t get a different job? Or that his bills (he’s a college student after all) are such that a different job won’t cut it?

You don’t know if he has loans, if his family might normally help but is now so embarassed by the scandal that they’ve disowned him.

You also seem to be missing the point that we’re kind of in an economic pickle.

I’m a well-qualified college GRADUATE and I’ve been barely employed as a temp for the past two years (when I got laid off by 2 different employers within six months of each other) Now is not a good time to be unexpectedly unemployed, especially if you’re knee deep in scandal.

In a word. DUH.

“He’s going to college, yes?”

Yes, and the key word is “going” as in present tense…and escorting was paying for it. But that job is poof, gone. How’s he going to continue going to college if he’s unemployed and can’t pay tuition? To say nothing of the fact that his school might just frown on a student working as an escort, especially with the scandal it might bring to them.

“I doubt he’s going to college so he can climb the corporate ladder of escorting. Maybe he can get a job closer to the field he is studying. It might not make as much money as prostitution but it IS a job.”

Who exactly is going to hire a publicly scandalized ex-prostitute right in the middle of the scandal itself? I’m pretty sure Dunkin Donuts isn’t interested.

“Your application looks great, mister…hey what a second, weren’t you on CNN last night? Nevermind we’re going with another candidate”

The fact that I had to explain all of that to you, to me, just shows how far gone you are on this subject, that you can’t even comprehend the basics of the situation he’s in. That you lack any sympathy for the situation because you’re so preoccupied with judgement.

Emily K
May 8th, 2010 | LINK

That you lack any sympathy for the situation because you’re so preoccupied with judgement.

Who said I lacked any sympathy? And what exactly is my “judgment?” All I’ve done is ask questions, not make declarations. It’s everybody ELSE who has made declarations, mostly against my character for failing to take something at face value for the sake of “the greater gay-good.”

I’ve asked legitimate questions, all of which people seem to read as “HE’S A DIRTY DIRTY GAY BOY WHO HAS DIRTY SEX FOR DIRTY MONEY, ABANDON HIM IN THE STREETS!” Wrong.

Maybe people are so pre-occupied with their own groupthink and politically-correct “gay liberation” theology to see that. Maybe it’s a generational thing. That I can buy.

And if he decides to move on from the escort field, I’m sure he’ll be able to find a job somewhere. Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, is NOT that selective when it comes to who they hire. Maybe he can get work study at his college.

..oh, and since I’m on welfare, managing an expensive chronic illness, and work an $8/hr, 40-hr a week job with a 1.5 hr commute each way, I do kind of “get” that we’re in an “economic pickle.” ..But it IS turning around.

I’m not even going to comment further. Not even if people DO decide to climb down from their soapboxes and get over themselves.

AdrianT
May 9th, 2010 | LINK

I sense some kind of revolsion of the sex act as an underlying theme of this thread here.

Has anyone even considered that Jo Vanni might be quite happy to offer his services? And if so, why not. He’s clearly not filled with all this superstitious self-hatred and shame about one of life’s most wonderful pleasures. Get off your high horses.

Unless he is a secret member of the KKK or something, it makes no difference that we know nothing about Mr Roman’s life, other than this truly heroic deed, which potentially puts him at great risk.

I salute Jo-Vanni for exposing one of the most appalling characters of the religious right. For those who value reason, truth and dignity, this is the happiest day since the death of the unraptured, chinless Jerry Falwell.

Seriously, I am considering writing to the National Secular Society here in London, as he deserves to be nominated for the ‘secularist of the year’ award.

TNgwm
May 9th, 2010 | LINK

I have a question that’s been bothering me since this story broke. Maybe it’s been answered already, and if so I apologize, I’ve missed it.

From a legal perspective, where is the line drawn between defending yourself and breaking a “confidentiality agreement?”

I seems to me, as someone who is woefully ignorant of the law (at least in this situation), that Jo-Vanni’s statements have all basically been in response to Rekers’ statements. Jo-Vanni did not leak or break the story, and seemed not to have any comments at all until late in the life of this story, after the numerous and conflicting explanations offered by Rekers, many of which involved apparent lies in regard to Jo-Vanni and how they met, when he “discovered” Jo-Vanni’s profession, etc etc etc.

So, is the agreement so binding that he should have no recourse to defend himself from those lies? Or should (and does) the validity of the agreement become null and void when one party breaks it? It seems to me that it’s Rekers who should be held accountable for breaking the confidentialiy LONG before Jo-Vanni.

The fact that there is even the possibility of Jo-Vanni being sued for “breaking the agreement” is extremely confusing to me.

chrissypoo
May 9th, 2010 | LINK

“So, is the agreement so binding ”

Actually, the agreement is not binding since it was for an illegal act (evidenced by the nude sexual massages).

Jason D
May 10th, 2010 | LINK

“Who said I lacked any sympathy? And what exactly is my “judgment?” All I’ve done is ask questions, not make declarations. It’s everybody ELSE who has made declarations, mostly against my character for failing to take something at face value for the sake of “the greater gay-good.”

And you accuse us of not getting you? Who said anything about the greater gay good?

Your comments illustrate your willingness to read between lines that aren’t there. That’s probably why you get such hostile responses, you do more accusing than you do making points.

Ben in Oakland
May 11th, 2010 | LINK

Hello, everyone. We had a pretty decent vacaton. Thank you for asking.

I’ve been gone for two weeks, and now i come back to this. Not Jio-vanni, but the whole George “Family” Rekers (say it quickly) schtick. (A RARE true double pun I’m quite proud of). I hope i have the time and energy to write on this. This is a subject I’ve been a burnin’ for.

Unfortunately, I don’t know whether to tell the jokes or write a serious polemic. OK, just one. When they make the Hallmark Channel movie of this, will they call it Broken Back Mounting?

Regan’s comment grabbed me:

“…that marriage and monogamy aren’t the goal of gay people, but through activity like this, are validating the suspicions and stereotypes instead.”

Here’s what I think: of course they’re going to do it… because that’s what the do. They start with a premise: either I hate gays, or my religion tells me to hate gays but I’ll call it love so it’s ok, or, as I suspect with “Family” Rekers, “I smell an opportunity here, and since I have no integrity anyway, why not get rich”.

(It is, BTW, a very common syndrome: witness Wall Street, Faux News, your average congressman, and a host of others. but more anon).

No matter what WE do– no matter how good, how noble, how generous, how loving– it is going to be turned upon us. Becuase it really isn’t about us, it’s about them, and that is what they do. I’m surprised that they haven’t stumbled upon and exploited the advantages of turning on and devouring thier own at all times — the Ted Haggards, the Mark Foleys, the Larry Craigs, a good portion of the Catholic priesthood– whatever. Bill Donanhue tried it with the pedophile scandal, but he is such an idiot that no one took it seriously, except for the people who believ what he does. It’s where that belief in redemption always gets in the way of practical politics. It’s why Ted Haggard can start another church of the Holy Flamer.

So many examples of the basic prejudice being the motivator here. We say we want children. They say to molest and convert them. We say we value marrige. they say only to destroy it. We say we are Christians. they say we have corrupted their churches. There is no winning with them, and there is no good will.

All of course, evidence be damned. And that is the clue, because reasonable people look at evidence. If i told you your partner was sleeping with george Clooney, you would probably demand evidence. Evidence is the last thing they are concerned with.

And thus they should be the last thing WE are concerned with. They are an enemy, but i don’t really care what they think, because i already know that they are bigots. I would rather we put our attention on the real enemy, which as I have often said, is not the bigots, but the closet. There are a lot of people who are merely ignorant, sometimes even flat out stpuid, but they are not bad people.

And those are the people who mattter.

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