Sometimes life is disillusioning. I have sat here in my closet for about twenty years now, and for the past five or so the door has been open far enough to hand out these columns. Believe it or not, I really don't have a great urge to fling the door open and come out in my finest. I know that I am too far from the feminine norm to ever be more than a conspicuous fraud, but it doesn't bother me. I enjoy dressing for the sake of dressing, and enjoy the company of my sisters once removed via the post office. On the whole, my family, myself and the world in general have come to a working compromise.

But now it seems that this working arrangement is not enough for some parts of the world. The other day I read Mike Royko's column on the strange subject of "outing". While the column dealt with the gay community, it is not all that far removed from our little sisterhood, and what affects them will sooner or later affect us.

In Chicago, some of the more forceful gays have decided that those of their number who are still in the closet are cowards and hypocrites, and it is the divine mission of the true gay to expose their cowardice and hypocrisy, especially if they are political, spiritual or media leaders. So for the good of the gay community, these activists are forcing the recalcitrant out of the closet and in to the spotlight, allegedly to assume their rightful and proper place as leaders of the gay community.

Good grief! Just what we need, a plague of fundamentalist gays, out to save the world and make sure that everyone conforms to their set of beliefs, and damn the cost to any one person or institution. It's a holy mission, so betraying the trust of the fellow in the closet is not to be considered. Don't worry about his family, his job, his sanity; this is for the greater good of all gays.

Gack! I'm starting to choke on my own platitudes.

The whole phenomenon is achingly human, of course. If you are not at the top of the totem pole, there is always someone lower than you to spit on, someone you can feel superior to. At the risk of stereotypes, think of the Hindus and Seiks, the Israelis and Arabs, Irish Catholics and Protestants, or even American Blacks and Hispanics. In each case some part of the culture feels better by disdaining another culture in exactly the same way they themselves have been disdained. And nobody ever learns! Go ahead, ask a member of one of these groups if this isn't hypocrisy in the highest. Go ahead and ask, but don't expect a sensible reply. It's never the same when you do it to someone else; there is always a good reason that simply can't be questioned.

So what's the point of this? What does it have to do with you, dear sister, you sitting alone in your closet. Maybe you had better start asking yourself some objective questions before one of these well meaning terrorists comes upon you, or worse, you join their ranks.

Think about it.

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