METRO WEEKLY: From Coverboy to Cover Story


Metro Weekly, the weekly lesbian and gay magazine of Washington, DC, has posted an article on its home page relating to the controversy surrounding Senate Staffer Jonathan Tolman, who is employed by Sen James Inhofe (R-OK). Click here to see the article AND the ORIGINAL TOLMAN INTERVIEW from 2001 (PICTURES)

36 Comments on "METRO WEEKLY: From Coverboy to Cover Story"

  1. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 7:19 pm · Reply

    What is outrageously funny is that he is asked where he wants to be 20 years from now and responds, “a job doing something that doesn’t just make money but also helps people, like running a nonprofit.” Evidently he’s sold out to the job making money and could give a damn about the people he’s hurting!

    And when asked who really needs to come out of the closet, he chose to say Keanu Reeves rather than himself!

    I’d love for his senator to read some of the other responses.

  2. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 7:46 pm · Reply

    I’ve met Jonathan Tolman on a professional basis before. It was regarding work he does for the Majority Staff of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Please note what issues he works for on the committee, ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS… not any issue relating to his or anyone else’s sexuality.

    I’m a gay male who is out. Did I wonder in my mind if the guy was gay? No. To be truthful I never really even thought about it because *gasp* I was doing my professional job and at that moment, whether I was gay/straight/bi/white/black/fat/skinny, etc did not matter one bit. What mattered was what we were working on professionally. Jonathan Tolman is a professional and he deserves to be treated like one.

    I think it seems like the person who is starting all of this outing should maybe take a few classes on professionalism, or at least get a life. GROW UP!

  3. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 7:47 pm · Reply

    So I guess it’s okay that he works for a man who would strip you and him of the rights that gays have worked to win, and are still fighting for? Regardless of what aspect of his employer’s many duties he assists with, he assists a man who thinks nothing of you and would fire his own employee for simply being gay.

    In this particular case, no one is outing him…by appearing in MW, the most widely read gay publication in this city other than the Blade, he outed himself. This campaign is simply reminding him and everyone in this community that he’s gay and works for a bigot.

  4. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 7:50 pm · Reply

    Staffer who work on campaigns, especially if they are higher ranking staffers or those who are high up advisors for important issues (which maybe not in this case since Republicans don’t take the Environment very seriously) make plenty of money and if they do well and impress their bosses, who may have higher aspirations than just Senator, can make even more. They can certainly take that experience and go elsewhere with it and make plenty. So for now, since he’s not doing much by being an advisor on the environment to a Republican senator who happens to hate those in the very community Tolman is a part of, then he’s a sell out if you ask me.

  5. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 7:53 pm · Reply

    This is hardly a gay bubble. I am not a homo-centric person who’s life revolves around the bars, and in most cases, most homos who care about marriage aren’t part of the mainstream gay scene…so this isn’t a bubble…it’s a serious issue.

    And Tolman doesn’t happen to work for this senator…he chooses to. No staffer gets a job for a Senator by walking in as if he’s applying to a Starbucks.

    I think it’s fine if he chooses to work for the Senator because he gets satisfaction for assisting his Senator in making policy decisions regarding the Environment, but in “harrassing” him by reminding him that his own boss said he’d fire any staffer who was openly gay, no one is out of line.

  6. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 7:55 pm · Reply

    Okay, well maybe he’s not being “outed”, but he is being harassed.

    Yes, we may not agree with his boss. Who’s not to say we all don’t, or haven’t at some point in our life worked for a bigot. He loves his job and he can’t help it who is the chairman of the committee and who is boss is.

    Its sad how so many people just live in a gay bubble.

  7. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 7:57 pm · Reply

    Well, I worked on the Hill (for a Senator) and I know how the structure works. He works for the Majority Staff of the EPW Committee, which Senator Inhofe happens to Chair. This means he only works on the issues pertaining to the EPW Committee.

    This is the last post I’m putting up because I’m sick of the issue.

    Jonathan, if you read this, I hope they’ll come to their senses and realize that you’re not sitting outside the Senator’s door assisting him with all of his policy decisions.

  8. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 7:58 pm · Reply

    Now don’t get me wrong…after seeing the MW cover boy story, I feel less sorry for him in being “outed.”

    He is super cute though. Sorry, just the typical gay response to seeing the story. 🙂

  9. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 8:40 pm · Reply

    Congressional committee staff are basically lifetime positions, unless there is some egregious reason for removal. The jobs frequently pay in excess of $100k. But money/finance aside. . . hypocrisy is intolerable! Amazing how republicans have turned compartmentalization into an art form.

  10. Michael Rogers July 13, 2004 at 8:47 pm · Reply

    From Today’s Metro Weekly…

    “While Tolman’s appearance in Metro Weekly is evidence that he is out of the closet — at least to some degree — it doesn’t change the fact that his work supports one of the most virulently anti-gay members of the Senate to co-sponsor the Federal Marriage Amendment, Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe.”

    In the words of pResident G. W. Bush: You’re either with us or Against us. And I think it’s clear, that Mr. Tolman is, despite his appearance in Metro Weekly, against us.

  11. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 11:06 pm · Reply

    Hmmmm . . . a lot of posts getting removed here. I wonder why . . .

  12. Michael Rogers July 13, 2004 at 11:11 pm · Reply

    Someone has been spamming the site with unrelated posts. It’s a typical tactic of the right wing forces in America …. they do it to stop the truth.

    Here’s the deal…. If someone has a problem with any posts here or the fact that the moderators may delete any post at any time for any reason they desire, we suggest you start your own blog…

    We have not, and will not, delete ANY posts which are germaine to the topics here or on the FMA

  13. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 11:12 pm · Reply

    … and they’re all anonymous..

  14. Anonymous July 13, 2004 at 11:30 pm · Reply

    Why are all the posts being censored?

  15. Michael Rogers July 13, 2004 at 11:35 pm · Reply

    Here’s how it works…

    If you have a post that is germaine to the subject…Feel free to post it. If you have a post that is a personal attack on activists doing this work, email them directly.

    Non germaine posts will be deleted immediately.

    As you can see, there is a variety of opinion here. There is no attempt to stifle discussion…however, inappropriate posts will be deleted as soon as they are seen by a moderator.

    If you are not happy with the posts or the responses, please visit and set up your own blog…they’re not very hard to do and we will be happy to provide links to other blogs of interest.

  16. Michael Rogers July 13, 2004 at 11:49 pm · Reply

    Oh…..Not one of the deleted posts had anything about outing or this campaign.

  17. Joe July 14, 2004 at 12:09 am · Reply

    This is absolutely hysterical. Outrageous. You guys out there forget that we really are all gay? I now live in Dallas, but used to live on Pennsylvania Avenue just beyond the John Philip Sousa Bridge. Tolman is queer and obviously was enjoying himself enormously when he posed for those pics and answered
    o-so-tongue-in-cheek those playful little questions about his very, very private life. What a tease. The editor is right. Coverboy was a bit of fluff made for us so we could drool over the hunky Hill boy. And Jonathan loved it !! Just like any self-respecting guy sold on himself would. He needs to lighten up. Can’t have your cake and eat it too. Or can you? Maybe you can on the Hill, if you can sleep at night. Especially if you’re not sleeping alone.

    Seriously, though. Minor point. Tolman is not directly employed by Inhofe. He is employed by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Technically, he couldn’t be fired by Inhofe, could he? So, no prob. Another point. Don’t give me that crap about professionalism. There is NO need to live a split-personality in order to be viewed as professional in your work. There is such a thing as self-esteem, isn’t there? Or all gay men still haunted by their real identity? I thought there was nothing wrong with being queer, anyway. Remember Lawrence v. Texas? So who cares? Apparently, Jonathan Tolman still does. But, the GLBT community in wanting a little respect is interfering with his hypocritical lifestyle. No one is making Tolman continue in his present position on the Hill. No one is threatening Tolman with anything except that which he is not prepared to face himself. And the lie he is living is despicable.

    I commend Micheal Rogers and all his activists. Keep up the splendid work !!

  18. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 2:11 am · Reply

    I completley agree with the earlier comment made by the guy who has met Mr. Tolman.

    You people obivously understand nothing about the how our government works. Members of the Senate and House represent their constituents not their staff. Outing staff has done nothing but set us back as a community. Not to mention what are you doing to these people’s lives. THEY ARE PEOPLE TOO…but I don’t guess you care. Ther are so many people out there who work for our cause. Just because everyone in politics is carrying a gay flag doesn’t mean they are not on our side. It seems that the truely right wing has won. WE HAVE STARTED TO EAT OUR OWN….I am sure they are as happy as can be..

  19. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 4:26 am · Reply

    Could they reprint the photos of Michael Ferens? I heard he’s kind of annoying (and the membership of the DC LCR is down to nothing because of his wimpiness on opposing gay-bashing from the GOP), but I wonder how hot he is.

  20. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 5:41 am · Reply

    People who live and work in the closet, no matter the level or the degree lack basic integrity. Sooner or later or at one point or another, they turn on other gay persons to save their lives or living … In that way they are dangerous …

  21. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 6:22 am · Reply

    I’d love to give that man a necklace.

  22. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 1:41 pm · Reply

    You are such an asshole.

  23. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 1:44 pm · Reply

    I’m posting under the anonymous feature because the last thing on earth I need is another username and password.

    First, Mr. Rogers, could you kindly correct the grammatical error on your posting about the Coverboy Confidential article. Rather than the contraction “it’s home page” you want the possessive “its home page.” Thank you.

    Second, I’m not sure about Mr. Tolman’s case, but my understanding of committees is that there are really two kinds of staffers. Some are permanent staff of the committee. The hold the institutional memory of the committee and their positions exist outside of the particular membership of the committee from year to year. Others, however, really work for those who chair or have leadership positions. It sounds, on the surface, as if Mr. Tolman works in the later capacity.

    Third, I must say, that I think any arguments against this being public knowledge was negated when Mr. Tolman decided to be an MW Coverboy. The fact that he was in a summer house in Rehoboth or that he goes out in DC could still be construed as a private matter. However, he basically gave up his right to privacy about his sexuality when he chose to allow beefcake pictures and salacious quotes to be published in a very-widely-distributed, free, magazine in the same metropolitan area where he holds a job. He took a chance that people in his office would found out when he took that action. He gambled badly, apparently.

    –Michael Coventry, Washington, D.C.

  24. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 1:45 pm · Reply

    Lets see…Mike Rogers is targeting Kirk Fordham because he works for a senate candidate who supports the FMA. Hmmm.

    In today’s Washington Post ( states that many DEMOCRAT senate candidates support the FMA as well (in SC, NC, OK, LA, etc.)

    Let’s see if Mike Rogers will point out which gays work for those campaigns. (Waiting….waiting….waiting….) HE WONT! And not because there aren’t any (there are). What is the difference? None. Mike is the hypocrite.

    (And when you delete this posting, we will know I am right.)

  25. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 1:47 pm · Reply

    In my posting, “any arguments against this being public knowledge was negated” should read “were negated.”

    So much for my pompous correction of others’ grammar.


  26. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 2:13 pm · Reply

    Also, “The hold” should be “they hold.” needs a better text editor!

    I also should clarify that I’m uncertain how I feel about the overall tactics of this site. What I’m saying in my posting is that in Mr. Tolman’s case, it seems to me he’d already made a public statment of his sexuality by appearing in print.


  27. Michael Rogers July 14, 2004 at 2:32 pm · Reply

    THANKS. Since there are so few of us doing so much work, it’s great to see folks checking the spelling here…I’ll be more careful. (For those of you into statistics, I’ve been told of 4 typos out of 1,897 words. That’s an error rate of 0.21141649% (a tad over two tenths of one percent) — a whole lot better than Katherine Harris and her joke of an Election Commission in Florida can claim, I suppose.)

    Please send grammar corrections to:

  28. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 2:51 pm · Reply

    With regards to political affiliation, I assume that Michael Rogers would be working on outing hypocritical congressman and staffers from both parties. If not, I would have a problem with that.

  29. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 3:18 pm · Reply

    In regards to the entry earlier that referred to such a campaign as this as “eating our own,” as tantalizing as that might sound, I have to say that people like Tolman and others who go out and party it up and are openly gay 16 hours out of the day and then hide on the Hill because they have to work every day either with or for men who would strip them of the few rights we have fought to obtain over the last forty years ARE NOT OUR OWN. I don’t think Tolman or anyone has to wear muscle shirts and play techno in their office or hand out petitions and what not to support the gay cause, and in Tolman’s case I think he has little to do with any gay oriented legislation on the Hill, but for those who do or who work directlywith or for such bigots and who continue to keep tight lipped about who they really are, they deserve what comes to them. They are no part of my community. I’m not 100 percent sure I agree with this campaign only because I question any positive results that can come from it, but I think people being open about who they are, especially with those who obviously have little understanding or interaction with gays and lesbians, promotes the idea that being gay is okay and to hide at work promotes the idea that being gay is something to be ashamed of. That it’s wrong, and it fuels the notion that people should feel free to treat us like they do. I don’t think I deserve to be treated any differently and I won’t flaunt my sexuality at work because it has nothing to do with work, but if one person I worked with was proactively seeking to treat me differently than they would anyone else because of my orientation, you can bet your sweet ass I wouldn’t stand for it.

  30. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 3:21 pm · Reply

    ABSOLUTELY…This campaign is BI PARTISAN. Hypocrisy exists on both sides of the aisle. That being said…the vast (and I mean VAST) majority of gay people who hide in the closet while working for PRO FMA Senators are on the side of the current Majority party in the House and Senate. Hmmmmm….. more to come soon.

    And, please send leads of ANY kind, either party, either gender to We’ve even been receieing evidence of those crying “family values” on the floor and living quite differently off the floor…

  31. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 3:49 pm · Reply

    As a hill staffer, this is starting to get a little annoying. And I’m sure there are a couple of things that Mr. Tolman would like to clarify for the sake of having a more honest discussion about this issue.

    First, from his perspective he was out long before the MW article. The first public record would probably be a quote in a Washington Times article about gay pride in 1995.

    Second, with respect to the MW article. He did not pose for MW. He posed for a friend of his Kevin, who is a photographer. Kevin occassionally does free lance work for MW. For the particular issue in question, MW did not have a “coverboy” and asked Kevin if he had any pictures of local guys that they could use. Tolman agreed to allow Kevin to use some tasteful photos if his name did not appear. The initials JB were used. As far as the interview, MW called Tolman on the phone, asked a whole bunch of questions in rather rapid sequence. As is evident from the responses Tolman was perhaps a little to glib. When the article first appeared, Tolman caught a lot of flak from his friends, all of it deserved. He did not think, however, that someone would, years later, take that article, put it on the web and begin emailing it around to every email address in the House of Repesentatives. I guess that he thought the people who would see the article, gay men and women in the DC metro area, would be honest and decent enough not to do that.

    All of these events occurred before he worked for the Environment and Public Works Committee. Upon taking the job there, he was very aware of reputation of Senator Inhofe. Before taking the job he spoke with several former staff to try to ascertain whether or not it was a homophobic or hostile environment. Former staff assured him that Inhofe was not personally homophobic and that the committee was not a hostile environment.

    In the nearly year and a half that he has worked for the committee his orientation has not been raised as an issue once, until Mr. Rogers raised it with his “Fun Action” last week. Some of his co-workers on the committee were surprised, but to a person they have all said that it does not make any difference to them.

    I should also point out, with respect to job security, that although technically committee staff are federal government employees, they have no civil service protections and serve at the pleasure of the Chairman. In other words, if the Chairman doesn’t like your tie, he can fire you.

    Frankly, on the hill the biggest issue with the entire “outing” business is the distraction. Tolman may well lose his job over this entire incident, not because he’s gay, but because it is making it very difficult for him to do his job.

    One other observation — the supposed benefits of “outing” are based on an erroneous belief about the relatonship between elected politicians, their staff, and the constituents. The reality of a representative democracy is that the representatives will be far more responsive to those that hire them every election, than those they hire. I can not tell you the number of times where a constituent group was advocating one policy and a staffer (who was expert in that policy area) was advocating against it and the elected official sided with the constituents.

    From the elected officials perspective staff are replaceable inter-changeable parts. Constituents are their source of continued power.

    And one last observation (I promise), there has been a lot of discussion about exposing hypocrisy. Personally, I never cease to be amazed by the capacity of politicians to justify themselves in the face of any number of glaring logical inconsistencies. To think that pointing out the inconsistency of having a gay staffer while voting against gay rights is going to change the position of a politician is somewhere between simply naive and ludicrous.

  32. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 4:14 pm · Reply

    Out them all. Out them all real real loud. Those of us that are out pay the price for the freedoms that the cowards enjoy. Their silence is holding the whip that comes down on our backs. Just because gay people are able to “hide” their orientation does not exempt them from action. If they don’t want to come out, then they should settle down in a nice hetero relationship. You wanna live the life, then pay the price. We will not participate in their lies.

  33. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 5:05 pm · Reply

    Here’s the real scandal: His answer to
    the Rehoboth Beach question: “The White Trash.”?

    Pigs of a feather….

  34. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 5:18 pm · Reply

    Although I agree in principle with most of what the above post regarding Tolman said in regards to his minimal influence on gay agenda items or his ability to influence senators and therefore this campaign’s attempt to out him being a futile waste of time, I would like to address one comment made:

    ” I guess that he thought the people who would see the article, gay men and women in the DC metro area, would be honest and decent enough not to do that.”

    I want to make it clear that as a gay man, I do not feel that talking about someone else who is gay and making it known he is gay if he himself is open in the community (call it outing if you wish), is something indecent or dishonest. What is indecent about it…why would we clam up that he did that article? We’re not ashamed of being gay, why should we assume he is? His assumptions feed a fire that needs to be put out. That we in this community should keep quiet about who’s gay and who isn’t. If you’re not out and don’t want people to know, stay home. I’m not ashamed of being gay and wouldn’t be worried about being seen on 17th Street or holding hands with my lover.

    Although I think the intent is the key here when “outing” someone, I think we’ve established Tolman is out even if he refuses to discuss it at work. My point is that talking about someone being gay should not automatically be deemed as negative. It’s that whole mentality that feeds the stereotypes and fear that heterosexuals often feel. If we are so ashamed of who we are that discussing someone being gay is indecent or dishonest, then we have serious issues beyond a lack of marriage rights. The biggest issue I have with this whole campaign is that to “out” someone inherently admits that being gay is something others should deem as negative and feeds the need for others to remain closeted. If we admit that outing someone has the affect I assume the editor of this website intends it to have, we feed the idea that Tolman, et. al. have something they are and should be hiding. It says to those senators, even gay people recognize that being gay at work is a bad thing and that is why they are outing you for it.

    There is nothing indecent or dishonest with discussing someone’s sexual orientation because there shouldn’t be a reason for someone to hide it in the first place. IF you are hiding it, then you should do a better job of it than Tolman, et. al. and not assume everyone who is gay feels it’s something to hide.

  35. Anonymous July 14, 2004 at 5:23 pm · Reply

    One other point I’d like to make in addition to my earlier point above, is that had this campaign not taken on the negative tone by calling itself an “outing” campaign but had rather just said, we are identifying gay members of Congressional staff who we wish to question on why they work for bigots, I might be on board. Then you aren’t taking the stand that we’re outing folks to get htem in trouble, as if it should be something to be ashamed of. We are simply saying, you’re a hypocrite for working for a bigot when you’re gay and ASSUME that because they are open in our community, it is just understood that they are out. Why call it an outing campaign at all? Call it a calling a spade a spade campaign instead.

  36. Ricky July 14, 2004 at 6:40 pm · Reply

    The claim that Tolman works for a committee and not right-wing Senator James Inhofe is baloney. Inhofe chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee and hires and funds the Republican staff. Tolman works for a homophobe.

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