Secret Lives

Kirby Dick's new documentary looks at closeted politicians

Washington loves its secrets — or at least it loves pretending something is a secret even though it’s made its way through the rumor mill a couple dozen times. So it’s little surprise that documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick was in D.C. to promote his last film, This Film is Not Yet Rated, when he stumbled upon the topic of his next film, Outrage. His trip here coincided with the outing of a politician with an anti-gay record, and it made him think that, ”There must be quite a few stories that people inside politics, inside the Beltway, would know that perhaps very few others would.”

The more Dick peered into the closet to see who was hiding, the more amazed he was by its contents — in numbers and complexity. ”Here are people who, in exchange for having a political career, are choosing to live a double life for decades.”

Outrage: Frank, Kramer, Birch
Outrage: Frank, Kramer, Birch

Just who are these people? Outrage is more than willing to name names when the evidence is strong enough. But the litmus test for making Dick’s list of worst-offenders is hypocrisy. Rising to that level required that, after a hard day of squashing gay rights, you headed home to call up a gay sex line, post an online profile, or head to the bathroom in Minneapolis. Fortunately for Dick, there was no shortage of qualified candidates, including former Louisiana Rep. Jim McCrery, former Republican National Committee staffer Daniel Gurley, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. And to prove there’s no sexism at work, Dick concedes that, ”We did look into a couple [female politicians] that met our standard of hypocrisy, but we didn’t have the corroboration to really include them.”

The damning evidence presented in Outrage might not be enough for mainstream press, according to Dick. ”The mainstream media, in particular the mainstream television media, is struggling with an unwillingness to report on the names that are reported on in this film,” he says. Fortunately for Dick, blogger Michael Rogers and other local favorites like Councilmember David Catania were more than willing to go on record and discuss the damage being inflicted by these politicians living double lives, making the closet a little less cozy. — Tim Plant

Outrage opens Friday, May 8, at the Landmark E Street Cinemas.

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