Monday, July 14, 2014
I think whatever the beliefs we hold on so hard to, get reinforced with stories that touch us. It is interesting to me that Ian Thorpe's coming out has been used by so many to prove their believes that everyone, celebrities especially, must come out, and come out early. Some are using examples of how vulnerable and possibly suicidal teens could benefit from seeing strong examples in the public eye coming out. Problem is, that's not really the point. We all have the ability to help others by becoming a leader of a certain issue or social cause. We are not all however not meant, or mentally able or strong enough, to be at the forefront of change. Some of are more comfortable supporting, without being in the front of the line.
Everything that I have done to advance gay issues has not been to make being gay important. Everything that I do, and believe should be done, is to make being gay irrelevant. Irrelevant to one's rights, irrelevant to how one is treated, one's ability to marry and be a part of society. I believe gay people should not be trying to 'win' anything, we should be insisting that nothing get lost.
The entire ritual of 'coming out' has always struck me as a huge part of the problem. It seems in most cases, certainly with Ian, the coming out is more important to gay people than to anyone else. Most straight people don't really seem to care that much, they are not the ones writing about it and commenting and judging Ian's actions. Some argue Thorpe's closeted living, possibly indicating him struggling with his sexuality impacted many of the issues he has struggled with. This is entirely possible, but straight people struggle with addictions as well, addictions are not restricted to any one particular group of people or lifestyle. One might argue, Ian's struggle was his sexuality was more the pressure to define it, one we as a population often demand of others.
Coming out has been for many a wonderful and powerful right of passage. For others, it has been a painful journey, fueled often by fear. I certainly believe that there was a time, coming out loudly, and proudly was important, but I also think we are past that point. Wouldn't that fearful, suicidal teen feel equally empowered by the message coming out was unnecessary as one's sexuality really wasn't that important at all. Important to them of course, but not important to how others around them feel. Seems to me, this would be far more comforting than seeing a distant celebrity 'sharing all' on the cover of People Magazine. Coming out doesn't make one a better person, it doesn't make one more talented or more important. We all know many out and proud cruel idiots.... As incredible as Ellen's coming out was, how much more powerful would have been if she never had to come out to begin with. That, is the fight I want to be apart of.