With enough scandalous conversation-starters to keep a whole holiday weekend with your conservative in-laws dull-moment free! Glen Maxey, the first openly gay man to serve in the Texas legislature, a gay-rights activist, and, evidently, something of a muck-raker, has taken five months of journalistic digging and compiled it all into one big "Rick Perry is Gay" handbook — an omnibus of rumors and speculation called "Head Figure Head: The Search For the Hidden Life of Rick Perry." (If there's a pun there and someone can explain it to me, please do.)
Gay rumors have swirled around Perry for decades. The book has the standard, somewhat dubious evidence one tends to find in these sorts of things: testimony from escorts who claim to have slept with him, some alleged Craigslist postings, a few reproduced Facebook conversations, and, of course, a description of his penis. Hardly an open-and-shut case, but on the other hand, a little more interesting than I'd expected — in part because of its scope, and in part because it doesn't come from a rent-boy with blond highlights and reality TV ambitions, but from a guy who was an elected official for over a decade.
Now, in general, I'd say trying to out someone is very bad form. But all bets are off when you go around trying to get elected on a virulently homophobic platform — then it seems quite relevant. Did everyone see the ad in which he walked around talking about how terrible he thought gays in the military were? And then how the whole internet and Rachel Maddow noticed that he did it wearing the coat Heath Ledger wore in Brokeback? Plus, something's off when a guy that macho has little giggle fits and says "woopsie!"
Is Rick Perry gay? Probably not. But maybe he's had a bi-curious fling or two. In either case, I'm glad this book exists. Now, all I can hope for is that Herman Cain's mistresses really do get together to record that Christmas album.