I WOULDN’T NORMALLY DO THIS KIND OF THING
I’ve never been a proponent of outing. I definitely advocate people voluntarily coming out, but who am I to tell someone who’s earning $20 Million a movie or running for Congress that they should risk their career by opening up their private life to every goon with an AOL connection or a subscription to Premiere? And really, did anyone’s life change all that much when George Michael came out, except for George Michael’s? (Well, okay, including George Michael’s.)
The only way I’ve find outing justifiable is when the victim is an anti-gay-legislation-supporting elected official. Homosexuality is never worth outing, in my opinion, but hypocrisy always is.
That being said, I have a message for the Big Name Star who appeared at the HRC dinner this weekend
slobbering over introducing Barbra Streisand. Sure, like most people, I’ve heard the rumors about you. But I stopped listening to those rumors years ago. There are unsubstantiated gay rumors about just about everyone in Hollywood, and furthermore, see paragraph one above. I have to admit, though, that I was a bit stunned by your behavior. I mean, it’s great for a heterosexual man to appear at a gay rights organization to lend his support to a good cause, but when doing so, you’re under no obligation to appear so, well, gay.
What was startling about the whole display is that it didn’t seem to be an act. (Or maybe you’re a better actor than I thought.) I got the impression you were actually letting your guard down and having a good time, that maybe for the first time ever, I was witnessing you just being yourself. Believe me, I’m not one to assume people are gay at the mere drop of a wrist. This went way beyond gaydar. Remember those things you said about worshipping Barbara when you were a kid and wanting to dress like her and play her roles? Straight kids don’t do that. And I think you knew your audience well enough to know how we would interpret your speech. Your behavior was so unmistakable, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Is he coming out right at this very moment?” He turned back to me, equally puzzled, and said, “I feel like Tom Cruise is going to walk out next wearing a dress.” (For the record, Tom was a no-show, and furthermore, no, I don’t think Tom Cruise is gay.)
I hope I’m wrong, because the thought that you’ve been living a double life through your whole, long career and that this one night of being yourself was so liberating and exciting for you is more than a little sad. I’m glad you had a good time and all, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could feel that free all the time?
Then again, maybe you wanted to create suspicion. After all, I’m sure you know that if you want to keep your sexuality quiet, camping it up and gushing over Barbra in front of three thousand gay men isn’t the best way to go about it. Maybe you’re ready. Maybe you’re going to do it the hard way, like Rosie O’Donnell or Elton John. First you’re just supporting gay causes like a good Hollywood liberal. Then you get divorced. Then you start hanging out with Rosie O’Donnell and Elton John and saying things like, “I don’t like labels.” Then you’re talking in public about how you worship Barbra and how you’ve always wanted to dress like her and play her roles. On second thought, maybe you skipped a step or two.
Okay, fine, I’ll stop now. I won’t name names or drop really obvious hints like I would if I were the tabloids or Page Six. But I hope you realized on Saturday night that the other side isn’t so scary. There could be a whole lot of HRC dinners in your future, and maybe you could even be the guest of honor next time. Maybe you could even marry Jason Gould and call Barbra “Mom”. I know I realized something on Saturday night: that maybe, in addition to hypocrisy, there’s another justifiable motive for outing.