Interesting cover story in Entertainment weekly a couple weeks ago By the Way, We’re Gay. The New Art of Coming Out, which was released just before newsman Anderson Cooper’s recent revelation, surprising as sunrise to many. While I understand it intellectually, I always thought it was too bad that gay folks have to endure that process. After all, I didn’t have to go to my parents, palms sweating, and announce, “I AM A….HETEROSEXUAL!” Few people chastise me for promoting the “heterosexual agenda.”
The article noted how far lesbians and gay men have come since Ellen DeGeneres’ pronouncement made the cover of TIME magazine 15 years ago, which pretty much killed her career – until it didn’t. It’s the observation of many, and I totally agree, that her comeback started with one joke. She was hosting the Emmys two months after September 11, 2001, after a couple program reschedulings; she asked the audience, “What would bug a guy from the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?” It was just the right tonic. And now, she’s that dancin’ fool on her own talk show.
A pointed observation in EW: “Over the past decade, the press has become more hostile to, and aggressive about, celebrities who are perceived to be closeted to exactly the same degree it’s become more accommodating to those who come out.”
Conversely, I find more than a few people of my acquaintance who think that when gays, either public figures or private citizens, come out, they are “throwing their sexuality in my face.” Not the intention, just being honest with others, and quite possibly, themselves.
From the last paragraph of the EW piece: “So although the drip-drip-drip steadiness of coming-out news can seem inconsequential, cumulatively the stories serve as the very quiet herald of a major tectonic shift. What was impossible 60 years ago and dangerous 40 years ago and difficult 20 years ago is now becoming no big deal.” Which is as I would like it to be.