Should Everyone Come Out? (Post 33)

I suppose I should ask this question a little more specifically.  Let’s say, should everyone come out PUBLICLY.  I’ve been thinking about this in regards to Jodie Foster.  Sure, the actress feels she’s been out for years – to family, co-workers, almost everyone in the movie business, and close friends.  But, is that enough?  Does she/ did she need to make a public statement about it?

 

golden globes jodie foster speech

 

I have a different take on this – maybe.  I think it depends on the person and individual circumstances.  Yet, at the same time, I’m going to make a bold statement:

 

ALL GAY, BLACK AND LATINOS NEED TO COME OUT.

 

I feel this way because I believe that “gay or homosexual” is still really looked down upon in the black and hispanic communities, to the point of almost being dangerous.  So, when Ricky Martin comes out – YES – it means more than when Jodie Foster does.

 

Latinos do not vote as liberally as African-Americans do either.  Sometimes they vote very conservatively because of strict, Catholic beliefs.  So, I think it helps if a Latino KNOWS they have an lgbt person in their family.  It may help to better inform their voting opinion or at least round out the information they have.

 

ricky martin comes out

Read the photo link below to read about the mixed Latino response to Ricky coming out…

 

As far as everyone else, I’m not so sure.  I think it’s very important for young, gay, kids to have out and strong, adult, role models.  However, I think that we have a lot of those now.  (Thank god.)  So, I am inclined to think that if someone wants their privacy, they simply want their privacy.

 

I don’t believe in “outing” people or celebrities.  I don’t think -ultimately- shaming someone into “coming out” is really a good thing.

 

Love is such a deeply personal and specific thing.  Straight people NEVER have to come out.  So, to say that gays must is a double standard of the highest order.

 

Yet, I do get that with transparency comes more attention to the needs, demands, and unequal rights of the gay and lesbian community.

 

My mother said to me once, “Do you think you’re brother should be “out” on Facebook?”

 

I said, “Yes, I think people need to see that a normal and smart teacher can also be gay.  It humanizes it.  It shows people who think that “gay” is only someone in assless chaps, whoring around the gayborhood, well, it shows that there’s far more to it than that.”

 

So, there is benefit -GREAT benefit- to people coming out.

 

However, people need to do this on their own time, in their own way.

 

I get what Jodie Foster meant when she said that she lived the greater portion of her life, “in the spotlight.”  We forget that this is the woman that a crazed man (John Hinckley) shot a president over.  Imagine what that would do to one’s psyche and need to protect one’s self.

 

I think for Jodie and those who are gay and we all know are gay, let’s say – those that never deny it…for those folk I think it’s okay to go back into the closet if only to feel more like a whole human being.

 

Obviously, I have conflicted feelings on the issue.  As always, I’d love to know what you think, in the comments section.

 

xo, Sweet Mother

 

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There is a great post over at Canadica today by “daterofboys.” Go and check it out here.

 

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Sweet Mother is updated daily-ish.  If you’d like to follow this blog, you can add your email to the upper, right hand corner of the page.

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photo creds:

Jodieatglobes, ricky-martin

 

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54 thoughts on “Should Everyone Come Out? (Post 33)

  1. At the risk of sounding like spam, I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your stance on the whole “coming out” thing. I can’t wait for the moment that it’s a non-issue, more because of all the hullabaloo that comes with the idea that “omg someone’s gay!” when it should be more like “oh, you too? That’s cool.” When it’s less shock, and more of an identifier. I was so happy when Jodie came out. Proud of and for her.

    1. thanks for the great commentary, b. and it didn’t sound spammy at all. i agree completely. i can’t wait until this is a ‘non issue.’ but, until we have the federal right to marry, i think it will always be one. and some (okay, a lot) instances, it’s very necessary, but i also really respect one’s privacy on it. thanks for commenting here and tweeting. i really enjoyed reading it. xo, sm

  2. It shows what a bubble I’ve been in that I wasn’t even aware that Jodie Foster had come out! This post makes me think about when Sally Ride passed away last year and she was outed in her obit. A lot of people were really angry that she had lived a “closeted” life and we all had to wait for her obituary to know about her sexuality. In reality, though, anyone who knew her well was aware that she was gay. She never hid it, she was just a private person who was more interested in championing children (namely, girls) to devote themselves to science than she was in talking about her personal life. Great post, Moms!

    1. oh, yes, sally ride, what a great example! i thought the same. i was like she’s a scientist, who cares! plus, that’s such a man’s world. to both have to fight the guy’s industry kind of thing and be an lgbt spokesperson, man, it would be exhausting. anyway, i agree. let’s sally sexuality ride. can’t believe i just said that. sigh. more coffee. thanks for reading, ems. seriously. xo, sm

  3. Well written.

    The world is changing. Things are happening. Stuff is going on.

    It might not seem like it, but I can look back over the decades and see it.

    Keep thinking. Keep on being you.

  4. Can we publicly out the Larry Craigs of the world? Hee-hee. I’m only half serious. It really tans my hide when someone works hard to make life for gays harder then taps his toes in a bathroom stall. Tans my hide I tell ya!

    As a straight lady, I kind of feel like I shouldn’t have a stance on this issue. I wish male legislators felt the same way about my uterus. Great piece SM!

    1. fishes, your comments are always a joy. i’m with you. i think every a-rod, which is an asshole-rod, which is confusing, yet fun to say… every a-rod who is against the gay and then gets ‘found’ with a boy toy, every ted haggart, out them, out them, out them… for those a-rods, i totally change my stance. but, otherwise, live and let live, for the most part, i think. anyway, i heart you. xo, sm

  5. First, I look forward to the time when we are so tolerant and accepting of one another’s perfect expressions of Self, that all of these labels will be non-issues. I hope I live to see such a day.

    I have a profound respect for everyone’s right to privacy. Just because someone is in the limelight does not give those looking in to private details of their lives. How much we wish to reveal of ourselves, any one of us, is a very personal issue, and I feel we are all free to choose how much we wish to disclose, regardless what others may think.

    And as far as role models go, I feel that we should all openly espouse tolerance and benevolence for all. I feel that open acceptance of sexual, racial, and gender differences by everyone will pave the way to making these differences non-issues. That’s just my point of view, SM…xoxoM

  6. I think that “shaming” a person to come out is reprehensible. It should be each to his/her own. Question: if everyone was out, what do you think the percentage of straights to gays would be?

    1. i think we will always be a minority, but it really depends on how you classify ‘gay’. so, for example, if everyone in a committed gay relationship has to admit it then you’re only talking about 5-10% of the population. but, then if you add ANYONE who has EVER had a gay relationship or experience it probably ups to 10-20% of men and 80% of women, if you ask me… tho, there is zilch to back up what i’m saying other than gut…. looool. xo, sm

      1. 80%??? I classify “gay” as someone who prefers their own sex (not masturbation!) to the opposite sex. I am going to ask a gay friend for his estimate (I have four, but three are very quiet and the fourth goes on cruises then puts pictures on face book (not dirty pictures)). He is hilarious! I’ll get back to you..

  7. I don’t think anyone owes it to anyone else to come out. Some people just aren’t comfortable being seen as gay, and whatever their reasons, it’s their choice. Some might lose votes, others might lose fans; either way a person’s gains or losses from coming out are his or hers to weigh.
    I understand your point about Latinos voting more pro-gay if someone in their family or friend circle came out, but that’s still too much to ask IMO. Latino- and black-gay people deserve their privacy and their own pace to confront the public about their sexual orientation.
    We will recover as a people from this mess when we stop adhering to groups and identify ourselves as individuals.
    As for Jodie Foster bemoaning her lack of privacy, that’s the price of being watched and adored by millions.

    1. all great points, bharat. and i too wish that we can soon get past all these crappy labels. at the same time, i respect a person’s privacy. where we will agree to disagree slightly, is on the gay, blacks and latinos front – i sort of agree with harvey milk on that one in that it’s more of a political imperative there. i get i’m saying not for white people, but for these other groups, which sounds sticky and sort of horrible. that’s not what i mean, what i mean is that it weighs more – in a positive fashion, i believe – when a black or latino comes out. but, then again, only my opinion… xo, sm

  8. As always, mama, two things: 1) At first I thought you meant all gays, blacks, and Latinos need to come out, and I am thinking ‘If you’re in the closet for being black or Latino, you have really big issues, ‘cuz DUH.’ 2) Jodie Foster may be the only evidence that I have a functioning gaydar. Most of the time I am blindsided, and sometimes I am plain-old rutted in denial (Anderson Cooper, anyone?). That’s about all. ;)

    1. i love that your gaydar went off with jodie foster and NOT with anderson cooper??!! to me, they hit the same numbers on the scale! loool. and yes, all black people need to come out of the closet as black. this is also skating very close to a wanda sykes joke, so i’ll just leave it there… loool. xo, sm

      1. I think I was in denial about Anderson Cooper because, you know, he and I were SOOOOO close to being together. I think I was hoping that he was metro-sexual. Silly heterosexual me. Don’t tell my husband this, but I would totally sell him out to AC just for the experience. Oh my gawrsh… I am going to hell.

  9. I too am conflicted about the issue. We shouldn’t HAVE to come out, it shouldn’t be such a big deal. The problem is, well, it really IS a big deal and one day I really hope it won’t be. Until that day comes though, I do think celebrities and people who put themselves out there should be really out there. We are still a ‘movement’ and every movement needs popular spokespeople to show that we really are just people, looking for the same things as everyone else. I served in the Army for 15 years and came out to people as often as possible, not enough to kill my career, but those people who I became friends with knew about me. I am SO bummed I got out before the end of DADT!

    1. I’ve read all the replies and thought about it. 2 things I too feel that being straight I shouldn’t really join in and the 2nd I live in a different situation. Marriage is legal in the uk and if someone says they are gay it’s not omg and bad feeling its mostly ‘yeah ok… Are you gonna eat those chips?’ Kinda reaction. However I do not feel that anyone should be outed. It’s taking it upon themselves to broadcast to the world something so private and intimate that really is nobody’s business but their own.
      I can fully understand WHY from a political and cultural viewpoint that it would be amazing if everyone came out and make change come quicker. But to force their political activity onto someone else, weren’t the communists fought against for that.
      The change will come, it’s inevitable and welcomed. As a previous commenter said.. She has seen changes vast changes in a few decades. Look slightly further back and we can thank god guys aren’t dehumanised imprisoned for bring in love. Further back from oscars day … Hitler was sending gays to extermination camps. Vile in anyone’s book. So the good news is compared we have come a hell of a long way… So logically we will continue to until the day comes that every straight bigot has been bred out with time and all that’s left is people in love. Gender no issue.
      Well I’ve been serious and sensible far too long now I think I’ll go bath the cat… Danger and hysterically funny all in one.
      Don’t worry the day will come x
      Oh it’s emma (triffid and billy crystals brokrn penis girl lol)still can’t join the blog but can comment through safari.
      Great blog you brought the straights in too, you write well with passion about subjects with comedy and open your thoughts to the world. Admirable mate

      1. wifesy and i lived in the uk for a while and granted we were all the way the feck up in bloody scotland, BUT i will say we felt a bit more stared at for being gay there then we do in major cities in the U.S. even though it is legal! so, there’s an odd disconnect in some places between what is legal and what is accepted, me thinks. granted, i don’t think this would be a problem even for a second in london. but, that was our experience. AND what i loved is that the uk accepted our boston, massachusetts marriage, even tho all of the u.s. doesn’t accept it!!! i thought that was quite cool. anyway, emma, thank you for commenting here. your commentary was lovely to read. xo, sm

    2. i did a uso tour prior to dadt, but for the navy and it was sooooo interesting. i would love to see how the culture has changed now. i hear you it is very important that people come out, but also – i feel as you do – that for feck’s sake, i wish it didn’t matter. it does, i know that. i couldn’t live any other way then announcing the person i love. but, then again, i’m a loud mouth. hopefully one day none of this will matter… much love, sm

  10. I don’t think anyone should feel like they have to come out just to set a good example or help others. I think each person should be able to make that decision for themselves, celebrity or not.

    1. it’s at an odd place in history ‘coming out.’ on the one hand, this is a movement towards rights and that needs transparency and leaders. on the other hand, it’s such a personal thing… it’s interesting tho… xo, sm

      1. This debate reminds me of what I sometimes experience with my clients who have suffered abuse – sometimes I feel the need to urge them to disclose and press charges and testify and FIGHT BACK because look at how many people they will inspire!
        But then I remember that forcing my client to do something she’s not ready to or will never want to won’t end up helping anyone…

      2. ohhhhhhhhhhhh, so well said. so well said. the younger me used to be all, ‘come out, why wouldn’t you come out…are you afraid.’ and the older me feels like, ‘shut up, everyone has their own journey and heavy wagon to pull…’ xoxo

  11. I have wondered about this call for people to come out. I think we are all entitled to a private life and it’s up to each of us to decide what parts of us we want to keep private. It’s also up to each of us to decide what we lead with. Do we lead with our sexuality, with our talents, with our beliefs? I think we should decide that for ourselves.

    I read the Ricky Martin article – very interesting stuff.

    1. Absolutely I agree with all you said. Why is the focus on sexuality when that’s not what gay is. It’s not who you have sex with its who you fall in love with that makes it impossible to live a straight life. I am straight and not once EVER have I introduced myself .. ‘ hi I’m Emma and I’m a heteosexual’ so why should it be any different for gay people? People ask me what I do for a living hobbies friends in common even the weather before they even begin to think of asking about sexuality. If someone doesn’t look gay or act gay why do heterosexual people feel they have been lied to because he/she didn’t lead with hey guess what I do sexually.
      There is so much more to a person than their sexual orientation and personally I don’t care what other people so in bed straight or gay. I’d rather hear a funny story or something amazing they’ve seen….. Or if they have a kitten like mine warn them NOT to bath a kitten then turn on the shower head to rinse him off. You will be mauled and I’m just lucky I wasn’t mauled before the shower went on lol.
      So yes I am with you completely with what you said.

    2. it is interesting, isn’t it? the difference in the ethnic communities when it comes to coming out… anyway, i agree that people should have a right to privacy. i suppose i’m conflicted on the whole thing. tho, i totally agree about ‘leading with certain things.’ in the real world, i never lead w gay or even think about it that much. what’s funny is that my blog is gay-ish, which is not something i really intended. odd, huh? much love, sm

      1. I guess I don’t see you blog as gay-ish – but maybe that’s because I’m straight. I see a funny and thoughtful blog written by someone who is gay. You refer to your relationship easily and comfortably – it’s like anyone else talking about their spouse, and why shouldn’t it be that way? When I hear about celebrities revealing their political leanings or belief systems it makes me wonder how I am supposed to take that. Should a Christian feel better about there faith because Tebow is on their team? I don’t think so, I think people should be experienced as individuals. We are all so much more than these things, if that makes sense.

  12. I thought that how Jodie Foster came out, or whatever it was that she did that night at the Golden Globes, was a muddled mess. If her goal was to score attention points at age 50, she achieved that. How Anderson Cooper came out last year (when he was not compelled to bleat repeatedly, “I’m 45!”) struck me as a mere million times more intelligently handled, but his job is to deliver the news, not be the news. He said what he wanted to say about his private life and then went back to doing his job. My gut feeling is that when JF declared/joked, “I’m … single,” she might have choked. She couldn’t bring herself to simply say, “I’m gay.” If you can’t do that, shift gears, yammer about film, your career and your anti-Semitic, racist, abusive buddy, Mel. Whether she’s in or out, that’s her business, but this namby pamby-ism strikes me as cowardly. Don’t go there if you can’t. There’s no obligation for you to do so.

    As for highly suspect movie stars like Jodie, I can understand why she and others of her generation have chosen to keep a lid on their private life. Tons of money. Better roles. Academy Awards. Ann Heche’s relationship with Ellen gutted her up and coming film career. Even after she flipped and became whatever it is she is now, by the time she’s 50, the cable TV roles could dry up, and her career could be in freefall. She’s a cautionary tale. Also, I don’t think Portia de Rossi has much of a career anymore, either, but maybe there is a TV role out there that will revive her or possibly she’s infected with The Ellen Curse. Out Gen-x actors like Zachary Quinto, Neil Patrick Harris, Jim Parsons and the millennial generation’s, Jonathan Groff (among others), might prove to be the first generation of honestly out gay people that will not pay a price at the box office. Time will tell.

    Whatever the future holds, when your career is at stake, even if you’re not an up and coming actor, coming out might give you pause if you don’t work in a relatively open minded big city. Fortunately, the US is moving in a more accepting direction and younger folks are much more tolerant of LGBT people. If the Supreme Court overturns DOMA in June that will be a landmark decision that will further accelerate progress. Keep hope alive.

    1. great commentary all around. i think one of the biggest problems with jodie foster’s speech was that she’s just not a funny person. i read a great article that roger ebert posted to that effect. those closest to her basically say she’s not a funny person and more awkward then anything. that’s probably why her jokes pretty much, bombed out. i think she was attempting to make jokes (badly) because she wants to treat it as a non-issue, but i’m not sure she succeeded there. she only highlighted it more and made people scratch their heads. as to coming out or not and her privacy, i really do feel people should be able to do whatever in the feck that they want. except be friends with mel gibson. there we are in utter and complete agreement. he is a feckity, feck, feck. can’t stand him and don’t have one iota of a clue as to why she’s friends with him. i can only assume he rescued her from a burning building and i’m not even sure that’s reason enough… sm

  13. I think you said it all Mum. It’s not a simple question with a simple answer. Hopefully in the years? decades? to come, a person’s sexual preference will be no more important than the colour of their hair.

  14. This frustrates me because I’ve always been a huge supporter of everyone. I say everyone because I’m truly happy if you’re straight, gay, transgender, bisexual, etc. Happy that you’re happy.

    What really bugs me is that so many people use other people’s sexuality as a form of gossip. Unless if you have concrete evidence that a celebrity or any damn normal person slept with someone, why is there suddenly all this extra buzz to figure out who that person slept with now that they’ve pronounced to the world that they’re gay. I really don’t understand it. I don’t look at any random person and try to hypothesize who they’ve slept with.

    Maybe this is just a thing that I’ve experienced with some of the people who are around me but it bothers me nonetheless.

    1. no, i’ve totally experienced that too. i got into a total fight with a friend of wifesy’s who swore up and down that penelope cruz was gay bc she had a friend who had a friend who worked on a film set with her and saw her kissing a girl. i was like, ‘you have got to be feckin’ kidding me.’ i’m not sure why, but this annoys me to no end. i feel like leave people the feck alone and stop trying to bring everyone into your club to make you feel better about myself. that’s how i felt about wifesy’s gossipy friend anyway. ay yay yay. much love, vyvy, much love. sm

  15. You are lovely and have said it wonderfully. I think it is a private issue, especially for public people. No one should be forced to share their private lives and I abhor the public airing all the bits and pieces.

    Ellen is gay, she shares her live with a wonderful woman. Her wedding was beautiful and their life together is open. I am good with this.

    Jodie has tried to maintain some sanity in her life. Given some of the insanity and that she has been in the spotlight all her life, well she had every right to her choice also. She never denied she was gay simply never ‘came out’. I was always good with that also.

    Ricky Martin came out, I always thought his was a wonderful choice. For all the reasons you stated.

    I wish we were at a point where Ellen was the standard, where we could celebrate with a couple their love and joy at a marriage and a life together. We aren’t and so we still have to have the discussion of ‘coming out’.

    1. all wonderful points, val. i feel the same. i am good with ellen’s approach and good with jodie’s approach. they both had their own separate reasons for handling things the way that they did and that’s that. also, people hold ellen up as this big advocate – and she is, NOW – but, people forget, she was pretty much forced out of the closet… way back when or i’m not sure she would’ve done it. xo, sm

      1. Oh, I didn’t mean to imply Ellen is the icon of advocacy I am aware she was essentially forced out and abhor this. What I intended to say is her choices now, her public marriage and life are one standard and the one I wish for everyone.

  16. I agree with a lot of what lameadventures has to say, though I agree that all of this is very blurry. I too look forward to day when everyone is afforded the right to be as in or out about their lives as they wish. While I agree that black and latino youth need positive role models in the lgbt world, that puts a lot of pressure on those role models… one more unfair expectation, in a hollywood/music world that already makes it harder for them? Again blurry lines here… but I love what you put out there Mom. If my views are equally blurry, I’m very jet lagged and still trying to catch up on sleep and posts! ;-)

    1. not blurry at all and all very good points. i suppose i hold black and latino groups to a higher standard because there is the whole concept of ‘living on the down low’ in the black community. oprah did a whole episode on it. it’s basically black men who marry women and then live a whole second, gay, life on the ‘down low’ because the shame of coming out in their communities is too great. i think that’s bullshit and if more latinos and blacks needs to come out to stop it then unfortunately, i think it’s a burden they have to carry, until the practice stops at least… xo, sm

  17. Damn you for writing this post before I did (crossing blog subject off list)! Of course, your perspective is a bit more personal than mine is, but, on the whole, I agree with you.

    John Stewart has probably put it best a couple times when he states that conservatives don’t seem to change their minds about things like gay rights until it personally impacts them (i.e. a family member or close friend is gay). It is with this in mind that I implore those in the closet to step out into the sunshine. Be loud and proud so that those who think they can “pray the gay away” realize that there are people from all races, cultures, religions, income tax brackets, and neighborhoods who are gay. Being gay is not an aberration; it is a genetic fact. As a person with many gay friends – some who are happily and legally married to one another (amen!) – I’m still thrilled every time I meet another openly-gay person because they are spreading the word by just being “out.”

    On a side note, as a straight person, can I just say that Jodie Foster was smokin’ at the Golden Globes? OMG…she looked amazeballs!

    Sorry to be away, SM. I’ve missed you, but I’m back.

    xo

    Miss Snarky Pants

    1. snarks, i too thought jodie looked great and i loved that dress! i’m with you on the whole out and proud thing, but then again, i’m out and proud. so, i don’t know, i can understand a person like jodie wanting some privacy because she’s had such a public ride. it’s a difficult thing to be black and white about. ohhhhh and i think you should write your take on it. i always feel it’s through the filter of our own perspectives that we write the most interesting shit. and lawd knows, i love your unique one. xo, sm

  18. I really hope at some point this can be a non-issue. I honestly don’t need to know everyone’s sexual preference because I don’t see that as important! To me what matters is how we treat ourselves and each other, which should be respectfully. Period. Until we reach that day, though, I can sympathize with how difficult the personal decision whether to come out publicly or not must be.

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