I do not accept that in the age of the Internet and social media privacy is an atavistic fantasy. Claims to the contrary are, politely speaking, stupid. Therefore, the loathsome things about New Zealand gay rights advocates calling on a suspected, anonymous homosexual member of the All Blacks rugby club “to openly declare his sexuality and act as a role model in the fight against bigotry” (Jan. 7 AFP sports brief, “Advocates want All Black to come out“) are, first, the underlying notion that it is acceptable to sacrifice this kind of personal privacy to this particular calling and, second, that it is appropriate to interfere in another’s life like this.
Sex and sexuality are private. I don’t need to know if a person is gay. It’s not my business, and the knowledge would probably compromise more than enhance my regard for his humanity.
In contemporary Western culture, too many confuse exhibitionist self-celebration with self expression and wrongly advocate publicity through confession in the false belief that exposure can be a vehicle for dignity. I’m old-fashioned in that I admire reserve and humility, and my life is a labyrinth of privacy — not secrecy, which is a different thing. While the ambient culture considers it a virtue to pursue personal potential through gross self-promotion, I am increasingly adamant that greater exposure actually diminishes our humanity more than anything. People are confusing a vice with virtue, which is a common confusion.
The crux of the sexuality issue is this: So long as we aren’t breaking the law or harming anyone, our bedrooms are nobody’s business. Neither to know nor to tell. Only boors concern themselves with other people’s privacy or flaunt their own privacy in public, and support groups advocating that lesbian-gay-bisexual people come out to fit their own agenda are just boorish. It is a recipe for diminishing humanity, not augmenting it.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.