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Homophobic NYT story on England's spy agency

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There's a story in today's New York Times about Britain's spy agency, MI6, and how a top young spy, Gareth Williams, recently died under unusual circumstances. The article, "Theories and an inquest after a spy's death," is behind the pay firewall, and it seems like some awfully thinly veiled homophobia. Let me walk you through it.

The Times refers to the agents possibly "sexual misadventure" - meaning, one theory is that he died during a somewhat unusual sex act that involved stuffing him in a small duffel bag. Now here's some of the proof from the Times that the guy might have been sexually misadventurous:

1. He was a bachelor. (i.e., he was gay?)
2. The apartment was "conspicuously tidy"
3. He went to transvestite performances (uh, otherwise known as drag).
4. Visited sites on the Internet dedicated to bondage. (ooh, crazy)
5. He had lots of designer women's clothing, and a wig thrown on a chair (which, if you're, just hypothetically, a straight spy organization trying to frame someone for their own murder, is something you'd say to try to show other straight people that he's really very gay).

But here's my "favorite" part of the story.

"MI6 and other spy agencies in Britain... are no strangers to scandals that have involved the sex lives of some of their greatest talent."
The article then goes on to list several men who were gay. The first, Alan Turing, was basically pushed into suicide by British intelligence simply because he was gay. How exactly is that a "sex scandal"? A bigoted homophobic witch hunt, yes. Sex scandal, uh not really.

The next example they give is just as weird. Several English spies fled to the Soviet Union in the 1950s, and a number of them, according to the Times, "had homosexual liaisons as young men."

Again, yeah - who didn't have homosexual liaisons as young men?

The entire article strikes me badly. If you dare risk one of your ten articles a month, take a look. I think it's poorly written and poorly edited. Being gay isn't a scandal, and it most certainly is not a sex scandal. And someone needs to get out more if they think going to a drag show is evidence of sexual misadventure.

Upon re-reading the piece, and the comments below, what really bothers me about the NYT story is that it reads to me like some spy organization, British or otherwise, knows that the guy was murdered and is trying to cover it up by, rather clumsily, "proving" that he's gay (or at least a straight person's version of "gay" - which is the same thing as being a cross-dresser, to them). And it reads like the NYT reporter fell for the spin he got from MI6, hook, line and sinker.

If I were this guy's family, I'd be raising even more hell after clearly biased leaks like this.

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