As much as I hate to side with semi-professional homophobe Philip Irvin—a City Light employee and an anti-gay Christian nutcase—Seattle Public Utilities should honor his public records request and release the names of members of its "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Friends (LGBTQ&F)" affinity group. The group, says Publicola, is filing an injunction to block the release of the names of its members. Irvin calls bullshit, pointing to threats by gay activists to publicize the names the of people who sign on to I-71... which is a bit of a reach. First, SPU's queer employees aren't the same gay activists threatening to create a website listing folks who sign I-71—and, more relevantly, petitions are public records and when you sign one you're electing to put your name out there. But Irvin's on firmer ground when he says...

Call me a homophobe if you want to but I don’t think the City should fund a secret gay employees group.

You're a homophobie, Phil, but you're right: the city shouldn't be funding secret groups for gay employees. And if SPU's gay group is an official city group, and it receives funding from the city, it should be subject to the same rules and regulations regarding openness and public disclosure that all other city groups, agencies, individual employees, etc., are subject to.

And that's easy for me to say, I suppose, sitting here at the Stranger, where everyone is gay and everything is glorious. What about SPU's closeted employees? What about their privacy? Privacy is a concern for some gays and lesbians—for closeted ones—in way that it isn't for, say, women at SPU who might form an employee's group. But the lesson here is this: if you're not out, an employee group funded by the city—and subject to public records requests—isn't the right support group for you.