On Tuesday, Jason Kenney told the editorial board of Postmedia’s Calgary papers that he believes parents should be informed when their child joins a gay-straight alliance at school, unless there is “evidence that the parents are abusive.” The former Stephen Harper cabinet minister and new leader of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party appeared to not contemplate the idea that such harm could come as a result of outing.
In response, Edmonton-born k.d. lang asked:
You’re gay aren’t you? @jkenney
— k.d. lang (@kdlang) March 29, 2017
In a Facebook statement a few hours later, Kenney attempted to pull back his comments.
The general rule for outing is that it is only something to be done in exceptional circumstances, to illustrate the hypocrisy of a public figure who, through their rhetoric or actions, is engaged in bringing harm to that same community of which they are quietly a member.
It is not the first time the question has been posed to the former minister of immigration, who was once asked by Xtra‘s Andrea Houston (my own partner) in the context of a 2012 interview on his government’s problematic views on queer refugees:
AH: Are you gay or straight?
JK: I’m sorry, I learned a long time ago, I don’t answer personal questions from journalists.
He has so far also declined to respond to a personal question from an iconic lesbian musician.