A comic in France came on TV and tried to make a point by saying “Hi, my name is XXX and I have something to tell you…I’m straight!”. Great laughter and approval.
I understand why he’s done that. Actually a few years ago, I would have applauded as well. Everyone has been talking about it for years: someone should do it to show how ridicule the compulsory coming-out is, to show that homosexuality is as normal as heterosexuality.
I would have agreed with what he did if it were in relation to people coming out to their family. The absolute ridicule of the situation millions of gays and lesbians have to face one day when they feel like they have to admit into a crime to their parents. Yeah, why aren’t the straight ones doing it.
However, he referred to the stars coming out and the argument was to say that it should not be happening because gay sex is normal. He missed the point. Badly! And actually, he’s still playing into the idea that for gay people, sexuality is at the centre of their lives. What he’s saying is “It’s okay to be gay” not “It doesn’t matter whether you are gay ”.
When Gareth Thomas, or Tom Daley, or Zachary Quinto come out as gay, the point is not to say that from now it’s normal for a man to suck a dick just because they do it and they are famous. That’s reducing gay people to sex again and turning us into shallow teenagers who will imitate the stars. “Tom Daley gets it up the arse? It’s okay then, I can do it too!” It is a part of it but the real message is not to encourage the gays to be gay.
When Gareth Thomas says “I’m gay”, the message is: I am gay and yet I play rugby, a “man sport”. Not only did I play rugby but I played internationally and I gained respect for being one of the very best players in the world. Me, the gay man, in a world of macho straight men who think I am a role model. I am gay but I am very masculine, I also have straight male friends and I am very comfortable with them and my team-mates. I am not attracted to them because they are my friends and colleagues. No, not everything in my life is about fucking men!
When Bétrand Delanoë comes out as gay, he says I am gay and yet I made into politics and was a very good mayor of Paris. Zachary Quinto and Jodie Foster show you can be gay and yet be very successful actors that do not always have to play gay characters. Ellen Degeneres shows everyday that being a lesbian has not stopped her from making it to the top, amid terrible struggles. Tom Daley is showing that when you are gay, you can be a successful, Olympic medallist, have a flat of your own, travel the world, be crap at baking, and be friends with cute, hunky male divers without the need to orgy with them every night.
What these men and women are doing is helping gay people to be something else than sexual beings. They are encouraging them to be something more, to become more confident, to realise that their sexuality is not defining who they are and what they do. They are showing that you can be gay and yet succeed in whatever you like from playing “macho men sports” to politics, and arts, and plumbing because there is no such thing as “gay roles”. They are showing that it is possible to make it out of the little, narrow box in which society has put us.
This stuffy box labelled “Stereotypes for the gays: Things you have to stick to” that says we are uncomfortable with straight men, always fear locker rooms because we will get a boner, hate male-dominated sports, like Glee and musicals, are all sensitive and fragile, are our mother’s best-friends, love fashion and know how to dress, love shopping with “girlfriends” and love drag-queens…all because we are gay.
The coming out from stars are not here to say gay sex is “normal” because, first of all, normality doesn’t exist and frankly the ones who don’t believe it will not suddenly start to agree just because stars say it is. The coming out of stars is de-ghettoise gay people, to make them realise their sexuality is as irrelevant to their success as straight people’s sexuality is because we are all human beings with endless alternatives and ways of existing.
So yes, a straight man solemnly saying “I have something to tell you…I’m straight” has missed the point entirely and is still reducing gay people to sexuality.