This will be the most self-aggrandizing thing you’ve ever read. Be warned.
When I hear about the bravery of people who come out after being closeted for decades, I think, “Sure, OK. Bravo to them. Very cool.”
But part of me thinks, “But I was out from day one!”
I know I’m not a huge movie star or any such thing, so the stakes are way lower, but still, it never occurred to me to pretend to be straight or evasive.
Openly gay was the only way to go, and it did cause problems along the way, but I still wouldn’t have even considered being in the closet.
I wanted to be honest–and I did so in print and on TV, where I battled one show that wanted me to stay away from gay topics and wear only monochromatic outfits, and another show that asked me to not be open at all in certain segments.
I stood my ground, but the gay groups paid it no notice, preferring to reward either closet cases or the types of gay who are tastefully out–i.e., they mention it once in an interview, then never again, certainly not while on camera.
The lack of respect added to my martyrdom, but I kept on going, devoutly out and unapologetic (and am extremely moved when people today tell me, “You saved my life. I was a struggling gay teen and you let me know you could be out and OK.”)
And now, when someone finally comes out because it’s actually a cool thing to do, we have to hear about how brave they are???
The same level of annoyance extends to the whole outing issue.
I now see articles in places like The New York Times where they address the absurdity of the celebrity closet and act so brave in talking about the silliness of living a lie.
Again, that’s lovely. I agree. Woo-hoo.
But where the fuck were they NINE YEARS AGO when I started writing about the famous guy who just came out?
Or 16 YEARS AGO for some of the other ones????
I always said it was a bad idea for celebrities to put out untruths or half-truths, and the mainstream press generally looked the other way, so invested in keeping everything closeted and hush hush.
They were projecting their own biases by acting like the most horrible thing you could do was to bring up the g word when it came to a famous person. It was a no-no to even just ask them about it in a lengthy profile about their personal life!
And now the Times will probably win an award from one of the gay groups for their incredible honesty.
End of rant.
I’ll go back to being self-deprecating now.