Monday, July 14, 2014

Thorpedo Outing

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.


Anonymous said...

It's somewhat ironic, but if we want homosexuality to be seen as "normal", we need to become more visible.

There are no straight people in the closet. For them, there is no closet. I don't want a future where gays don't have to come out of the closet. I want a future where there is no closet to begin with.

TyeBriggs said...

I agree with your last statement completely. Seems to me however, that as time goes by, the closet is more and more just something thought of by gays themselves.

The only sites/blogs ect commenting on Ian are for the most part gay themed. There are also many gay people judging, commenting and criticizing how long it took him.

I don't care about the length, I care about the quality. Normal people don't have closets to come out of, so if if as you say we want to be seen as 'normal' we need at some point to ditch the closets and just be who we are.

Matthew Bomer and Jodie Foster to me, were never in closets, yet the gay community still seemed to need a date and time they came out of them.

Just seems to be creating more problems than solutions.

EffJay said...

I really like your comments and hope for a day when this is not a newsworthy fact in anyone's life.

The TV show "Major Crimes" recently broadcast an episode where a character who has struggled with his sexuality finally acknowledges it to the police squad. At the risk of spoiling it for others, the way they barely comment upon it and, instead, give another character a hard time about a secret romance seemed to me to be a great treatment of this issue. By essentially ignoring it and treating it like any other tidbit someone might share with you was a very effective take on the issue - in effect, it's no big deal. This is very tied to the storyline and the specific characters on the show, but it was a very refreshing and idealized approach. I hope to see more of it, especially on "mainstream" TV.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting a bit sick of the announcements. How about people just live their life and not have to have a coming out interview. Their "coming out" can be when the public sees them out and about with their partner and not denying them being their partner when asked about it.


Anonymous said...

I think I understand what you are saying, Tye. If I understand correctly, you are saying that there was a time when we may have needed to make a big deal out of someone coming out, but now we've made enough progress that doing so is now counterproductive.

While we may disagree on that point, and on how to get there, I think that we both want the same thing- for one's homosexuality to be a non-issue. We are also agreed that in order for this to happen, we all need to ditch the closets and just be who we are.

Part of just being who we are, is being able to say yes when someone asks if you are gay. It's a question Jodie Foster, Queen Latifah, Ricky Martin, Tim Cook, Kevin Spacey and Ian Thorpe have vigorously evaded, all while being out and their private circles. We are disagreed on this behavior being the model of what will get us to that place where there is no closet to begin with.

Perhaps the way Ellen came out was crass, but it was effective. I'm not suggesting everyone has to do that. Zach Quinto just answered yes the first time it came up in an interview and moved on. The gay blogosphere didn't make a big deal out of it. Perhaps that's the way it should be.