My column this week goes into yet more sexuality talk about Juno star Ellen Page, so I’m bracing myself for the usual rounds of “How dare you?” and “Who cares?” In defense, let me once again get out the same rationales that I dug up when outing Methuselah and tell you why this sort of thing is OK. OK?
Firstly, a celebrity is a public figure whose life is regularly dissected by the media. By pursuing this high-profile profession and becoming a boldface name in the process, they’ve implicitly agreed to this kind of scrutiny (within the law and reason). I always find it amusing that no one ever complains when straight stuff comes out about them—you never hear, “How dare you say that male actor is dating that female actor? This is an outrageous invasion of privacy!” It’s only when the gay word comes up that people suddenly decide gossip is vulgar and irrelevant. But I personally feel that to gossip about every aspect of celebs’ lives EXCEPT the gay stuff is homophobic, hypocritical, and downright silly.
“But it hurts careers!” comes the inevitable response from the outraged. Well, I didn’t MAKE these people gay, I’m just saying they are. It’s up to them to come out or not, but it’s not up to ME to shut up about it. I’m not going to make homosexuality off limits because I might be tapping into the ethical failures of some bigots out there by speaking the truth. I don’t find homosexuality—or hints of it—distasteful at all and I’m not going to cater to those who do by shutting my trap on the subject. And if I should never say anything that might hurt a career, then maybe I should make a point of writing that Will Smith is white, Mel Brooks is young, and Norbit was a really good movie.
What’s more, Ellen Page—who may or may not be gay—is clearly playing along with all the speculation. She’s MAKING people talk by not giving definitive answers about her sexuality. She even did a sketch on Saturday Night Live that seemed to feed right into all the chit chat. By refusing to squawk, “How dare you! I am NOT a lesbian,” she’s letting us think that this kind of talk isn’t appalling to her at all. Even when her publicist called me, she never said, “She’s not a lesbian,” just “That was me with her at the Oscars” (though I hung up on her, so who knows what else she was going to say).
There’s even someone who’s gone on a lot of sites and shrieked that she knows who Ellen’s girlfriend is, even including the girlfriend’s supposed phone number. THAT’S going too far. I just need her address so I can send a wedding gift.