Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Monday, July 2, 2012

Anderson Cooper Comes Out

OK, so this is probably the most overexposed story of the day, especially on every rinky-dink queer blog like this one.  But renowned journalist and television personality, Anderson Cooper has apparently "come out" and admitted what was essentially an open secret that he is indeed gay.  Even as a famous figure, I can certainly appreciate Mr. Cooper's desire to keep his private life separate from his public persona, and it does him credit that he decided to make it official in response to the recent increased awareness in bullying, particularly LGBT bullyingSuper sexy Spock, Zachary Quinto, also apparently very guarded about his personal life, gave the same basic reasoning for his decision to publicly declare his sexuality.

Anytime a famous person announces that he or she is gay, you can read the online news story comments (if you're feeling particularly masochistic) and you'll see, in addition to the endless homophobic name-calling, a bunch of comments to the tune of:  "Why is this even news?"  "I'm gonna come out as straight?  Where's my straight pride parade?"  "I don't have to flaunt my sexual preference, so why do they?"  and on and on and on...

Why It Matters

Whether you want to admit it or not, homosexuals are marginalized members of society.  Many heterosexuals would desperately like to go back to pretending we don't exist while we obligingly live wretched lives in the closet, but it simply isn't a viable option.  The only true objective of the much-hyped and demonized "gay agenda" is to create a safe space for ourselves in society where we can be the people we were born to be without fear of ridicule, discrimination or violence.  Celebrity visibility helps to realize that dream of no longer being circumscribed, second-class citizens in our own communities.  It has been definitively shown that people who actually know and associate with homosexuals are less intolerant of homosexuality, and "out" celebrities help demystify us from unseen boogeymen to human beings of flesh and blood.

I have no interest in arguing with people who are going to tell me that they know my own mind better than I do myself.  But I can assure you, unequivocally, that I was born gay and cannot remember a time when I didn't feel different.  Because I had no one to talk to about my feelings, not even members of my own family, I felt so alone and isolated and scared.  This is the real boon of "out" celebrities!  Their visibility offers hope and inspiration to gay youth as does the rejection of homophobia by their heterosexual counterparts.  I would be willing to bet anything that Hulk Hogan's response after his ex-wife tried to "slander" him with allegations of homosexual affairs—"If it was true and I was gay, I’d embrace it, and I’d tell you guys about it and I’d celebrate it."meant a helluva lot to at least one lonely, scared teen out in the midwest, perhaps even the difference between life and death.

Assuming anyone reads this at all, I'm sure I am preaching to the choir; however, I would lastly like to point out what should be blindingly obvious: straight people don't need to "come out" because they have the luxury of being "out" all the damn time.  And they get to have their sexuality validated in almost every single movie, book, TV show, news story and toilet cleaner advertisement.  If a heterosexual would sincerely like to understand what a homosexual has to go through on a daily basis, then try to be mindful of how many times you reference your straight significant other or spouse throughout the normal course of your day.  Just because you don't go around saying, "Greetings, I am a heterosexual!" doesn't mean you aren't constantly taking for granted that you can say things like "My husband and I went out to eat last night" or "My girlfriend gave me a surprise party" without having to consider and weigh each utterance, worry about how it might be received, alter it just so you can "fit in" or censor it altogether because it's just not worth the risk.