Question: What percentage of politicians today do you think are closeted
Fred Karger: Just like in business and entertainment—and certainly politics is no exception—there is a stigma. And I know because I was a part of that. I've been gay since I was 18, I lived a terrible double life for close to 30 years where I had a gay life; it was a very healthy gay life, but my career, professional life I was completely closeted. And it's a terrible existence. I thought it would hurt my career, I was in... I thought it would jeopardize my relationship with my family. So I kept this deep, dark secret.
I hope that everyone around the country who sees this, you know, will think twice and come out to your friends and families and to yourself. There are a lot of people sitting on couches watching this or at their computer screens. You know, it's important to live your life honestly. It's okay to be gay. Rosie O’Donnell said it beautifully on "The View" after this terrible incident with this preacher in Colorado, Ted Haggard. She looked in the camera and she goes: "It's okay to be gay!" And that really resonated with me.
And it is. It's the only way to live, to live your life honestly and thankfully, the Congress and the President signed this, just recently, the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." It’s not the stigma; religion is the culprit here in teaching people that this is wrong. It’s not. It’s the way we're born, it's a huge part of our being and to be able to live openly and honestly is great.
I’m sure there are plenty of closeted gay people and lesbians in politics all over this country; they’re coming out, just as entertainers are and business people and just normal Americans. And so it’s a wonderful thing and the more younger people realize that it’s perfectly fine... One of the reasons, probably the main reason I’m considering running for President, is I want to send that message to younger people, that it’s okay. You’re okay, you can be gay, you can even run for President of the United States if you want to. It gets better. It gets really good.
Recorded December 22, 2010
Interviewed by Andrew Dermont
Directed by John Keitel
Produced by Elizabeth Rodd