Malcolm Forbes outed March 1990: a cover story in Outweek edited by Gabriel Rotello, launches the outing debate. (Changing perceptions).
In March 1990, I edited an OutWeek cover story titled "The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes Malcolm Stevenson Forbes (August 19, 1919 – February 24, 1990) was publisher of Forbes magazine, founded by his father B.C. Forbes and today run by his son Steve Forbes. ." It launched one of the most fractious frac·tious
1. Inclined to make trouble; unruly.
2. Having a peevish nature; cranky.
[From fraction, discord (obsolete). debates in modern gay history.
The focus of Michelangelo Signorile's article was how the media had colluded in maintaining the "secret" of the late media mogul Mogul: see Mughal. Malcolm Forbes's gay life. But the larger purpose was to initiate a debate over a media double standard in which virtually all aspects of public figures' private lives were open for scrutiny--except homosexually. This made homosexuality seem inherently worse than commonly reported things, such as adultery adultery
Sexual relations between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse. Prohibitions against adultery are found in virtually every society; Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions all condemn it, and in some Islamic countries it is still punishable by and abuse. It also rendered many successful gays invisible.
People argued over outing's historic, strategic, and ethical aspects; its implications for privacy; and its impact on those outed. To some, it seemed cruel; to others, a revolutionary redefinition Noun 1. redefinition - the act of giving a new definition; "words like `conservative' require periodic redefinition"; "she provided a redefinition of his duties"
definition - a concise explanation of the meaning of a word or phrase or symbol of homosexual identity. It was a rare moment when the gay and straight worlds were fully engaged in the same discussion.
I've always considered the debate's unofficial end to be 1995, when the The Wall Street Journal revealed that another media mogul, Jann Wenner, had left his wife for his boyfriend. That was precisely what we at OutWeek had advocated: that the media report the truth about public figures when that truth is relevant.
Rotello is now a director and producer at World of Wonder.