Maybe it’s just me, but I feel as if all this hype surrounding athletes and celebrities “coming out of the closet” has gone on long enough. The idea that we are supposed to be a more open and accepting society cannot actively happen until we stop feeling we need to stop the presses and create overly sensationalized headlines about every single person who reveals something personal. I also feel those who’ve been perpetuating this cycle need to stop doing it as well. This cycle goes both ways. We can’t “move on” from this stigma until the celebrities stop involving the media in their personal life and we as society stop applauding those stories when they become news.
Recently an actress by the name of Ellen Page revealed that she is in fact a lesbian. I don’t actively search for “celebrity” news so I only heard about this through a friend of mine on Facebook posting a news article about it (I’m seriously debating “unfriending” that person and anyone else like them…) and how much of a milestone and breakthrough she had created by doing so. Again, maybe it’s just me, but when I saw this, my first reaction was “who the hell is Ellen Page?” And I have to admit, after hearing from friends and doing research on my own about this woman I’m still asking myself, “who the hell is Ellen Page?”
Turns out her only claim to Hollywood fame, before this “coming out” revelation, was a movie she did in 2007 called Juno. I never saw the movie, nor did I watch any award shows that year where apparently she was nominated on all of them. Whoop-dee-do! Not since then has she done anything remotely blockbuster worthy, unless you count Inception in 2010. But let’s be honest, that movie was all Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt! So yeah, one HAS to at least speculate if her sudden “coming out” could be because she, like others in Hollywood, are seeing what is now possible if a person comes out of the closet. They are instantly put on this momentary pedestal high where doors in Hollywood open up for them. But is it for all the right reasons? I contend it isn’t.
When the reason you are given roles you probably aren’t suited for nor would ever have been considered for because of your acting ability (or lack of it) will suddenly become available to you, that does nothing for your career in the long run. And do you really want to have that label on your resume wherever you go? She will now have to wonder if the roles she is given are because she’s “good enough” or because “she’s gay” and that studio or director wants to be known as the ones who casted her “anyway.” If she were good enough why has she only been in TV movies and done animated voices in the last 7 years since Juno? Congratulations Ms. Page, you’ll undoubtedly make millions off of your public decree. I hope it’s worth it in the end.
Then on the other side of “celebrity” status is in the music industry. More specifically, the rap industry. A rapper, Frank Ocean, who actually sings more than he raps (but that’s irrelevant) came out of his closet, and the industry has never looked back. In fact, some could argue, that if not for his “gay news” (he actually identifies as bisexual, not gay, but again, it’s whatever) he wouldn’t have risen to the stardom he is taking advantage of today. Who will be next to “come out the closet” I wonder? Has Missy Elliot made an announcement? She hasn’t exactly made the come back many (such as myself) have been looking for and I’m sure many of us assume already that she’s gay. Well Missy, this is your time to shine sweetheart, the rap industry is just waiting to sensationalize another “outing” I’m sure.
And lastly, the sporting industry has its share of celebrity athletes. My mind was truly blown actually, when this veteran player Jason Collins was signed to a 10 DAY CONTRACT with the New Jersey Nets. When he played this past weekend for what amounted to less than 5 minutes, it officially made him the first “openly gay” professional athlete in the history of all sportdom. So the other 5 NBA teams he played for back in his “hey day” don’t count because he wasn’t “openly gay” to the world and his fans? Am I the only one bothered by that? The media acts like he was “in hiding” or just pretending all that time? Am I to believe his friends and family didn’t know?
And please excuse me if I’m not as sad as many have been that Michael Sam, a football athlete who would have been the first “openly gay” player in the NFL and professional sporting history, but Jason Collins and the NBA beat him to it. I wonder if he won’t get paid as much now because of it?
Since when has the term “openly gay” become a fashion statement anyway? Is it cooler to be “openly gay” now instead of “just plain gay”?
Why do we allow the media to make the personal lives of celebrities any of our business? Is it a big deal when anyone “comes out of the closet”? Yes, within their personal lives it is a big deal. Turning it into headlines doesn’t make it less of a big deal, as I’m sure the MSM would want you to believe is all they are trying to do. Talk about it enough and people will just stop caring? No, actually, talk about it enough, and people will just start getting pissed off! I’m one of them.
He’s not the ONLY gay athlete (professional or otherwise) he was just the first to make a press conference announcement about it, and now he’ll reap the benefits financially, good for him. Ellen Page is not the first gay actress, but to listen to the talking heads you’d think she was and she will reap the benefits financially as well. Frank Ocean, as surprising as this might sound, is NOT the first gay rapper! And even more surprising, none of them will be the last of their kind either.
Gay people really are EVERYWHERE and it’s not for us all to stand up and shout, making our presence known, from the rooftops (famous or otherwise) just to prove a point or make it any less difficult on us. There will always be someone who hates gay people and Black people and women, and Hispanics, and etc. etc. etc. And no matter how many celebrities you get to share their personal life won’t change that. It’s just a shame the direction I see this all going, and quickly…