Not feeling sorry for you, Roy:

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Republican Sen. Roy Ashburn, who has been on leave from the Senate since his DUI arrest last week, confirmed today that he is gay. "I'm gay," Ashburn told KERN radio host Inga Barks in an interview this morning. "Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long."

What I wrote about Spokane mayor Jim West in January of 2006 applies doubly to Ashburn:

But none of the sympathy I felt for middle-aged gay men I met in the early 1980s extended to West—or to any closeted middle-aged men today who fear getting caught.

West is 54 years old. That means he was 18 in 1969, the year of the Stonewall riots. He was 26 in 1977, the year that Harvey Milk was elected to the board of supervisors in San Francisco. He was 29 years old when I was 17 and hanging out in bars in Chicago. He was 34 years old when my boyfriend was being beaten in his Spokane high school, in a district that West represented in the Washington State legislature

Jim West knew better. He knew he didn't have to live a lie. He knew he could have lived as an openly gay or bisexual man—bisexual is all West has admitted to in most of his interviews, although no pictures of young women were found on his work computer—but he chose not to. Unlike the older gay men I met in 1981, West and other closeted middle-aged men today didn't come of age at a time when no one could conceive of openly gay and lesbian people and communities. (Or politicians: Washington State has four openly gay members of its legislature.) Jim West chose the closet and shame and lies and hypocrisy.

So while I had sympathy for gay men who came out late in life in the 1970s and 1980s, I find I have no sympathy for Jim West or other men like him today. Their stories aren't tragic, they're pathetic. They didn't miss out. They opted out. Fuck 'em.

Ashburn was 15-years-old in 1969. Fuck him.

UPDATE: Joe points out that Ashburn—even now that he's out of the closet—still plans on voting against gay rights legislation and opposing marriage equality. So, like, fuck Roy Ashburn. Fuck him with something that's been dipped in napalm and dredged through ground glass. Seriously.