(UPDATED 2/3/09: See Illinois Review's reaction to this post.) Normally, I don't care what somebody's sexual orientation is so long as it only involves consenting adults. In the case of Chicago's new public schools chief, however, it matters very much. As I wrote on January 28, "Duncan is Daley's Golden Boy, popular in the gay community (not that there's anything wrong with that, but it neither disqualifies nor qualifies somebody to run a school system)."
Ron Huberman is a homosexual. No surprise to some, but a big surprise to most. Until very recently, he was the head of the Chicago Transit Authority. He left CTA with a bloated bureaucracy, rotting infrastructure, and a history of threatening service strikes if they couldn't extort enough money from the state legislature. Mayor Daley chose him to head the Chicago Public Schools last week, and has many very upset. "Outrage" and "Ron Huberman" are words commonly heard in the same sentence these days.
Last Sunday, Illinois Review published a post titled " Mayor's 'pet' and new CPS CEO is gay." In that post, the reasons why Huberman's homosexuality matters are explained well.
There is an aspect to the story that IR - and the Sun-Times story they draw on - missed, and that's Huberman's dishonesty. Up til now, Huberman has been flying under the gay-dar. That is, many of us knew or suspected that he was gay, but he did not wear it on his sleeve. Stories about him slinking around the gay clubs along Halsted and Broadway in Boys' Town (usually at Sidetrack) have circulated for years, but he did not acknowledge it publicly.
Suddenly, however, Huberman could no longer hide this fact when, in the wake of Daley's announcement, gay blogs throughout Chicago were emblazoned with posts screaming about Huberman finally coming out of the closet. Comments sections were steaming, too. Take a look at these excerpted comments from towelroad.com, a gay website:
Posted by: jack Jan 27, 2009 9:47:47 AM
does this guy have a porn past? he looks very familiar...
Posted by: CUB Jan 27, 2009 9:53:09 AM
Dunno if he's qualified for that job, but he sure is a cutie! If more cops looked like him, I'd stay in trouble! ;)
Posted by: Luke Jan 27, 2009 10:49:51 AM
I always had a crush on Ron whenever he was featured on the local news here, and he even had a starring role as my future-husband in my fantasies , but I didn't even know he was gay until now. I guess my gaydar isn't broken beyond repair after all! :-)
Huberman has dazzled not only Mayor Daley for years, but is now dazzling much of Chicago's gay community. A post at chicagocarless.com (which is an excellent blog) said this on January 31 (emphasis added):
As all of Boystown–and all of Chicago media, for that matter–already knows quite well, Ron Huberman is a proud gay man. (It wasn’t exactly a secret in that gay-friendly Chicago North Side neighborhood considering how many times the phrase has been uttered, “Did you see Ron at Sidetrack last night?”)
Huh? Huberman is dazzling people out of their wits, is what he's doing. The author of the chicagocarless post called Huberman "a proud gay man." Oh, really? Then tell us why the proud gay Huberman waited until now to admit that he's gay. Does that sound "proud" to you? And are you ready to admit that he probably would not have gone public had it not been for his outing in the gay media? When I, a straight guy, simply said that he was "popular in the gay community," I stopped short of outing the man. I did that out of respect for his privacy. How much respect have the gay websites shown Huberman by outing him for nothing more than a petty, selfish desire to seize upon some misdirected need to self actuate?
In short, Huberman has been living a public lie. He has insulted the LGBT community by hiding his homosexuality. How's that for "pride?" How does one justify that in this day and age, when tolerance for gays is virtually universal in this country? What does Huberman's dishonesty about the essence of what and who he is say about his overall character?