I was surprised at the negative press and general online comments that Jodie Foster received after her ‘I’m single’ speech at the Golden Globe this week. Do people no longer have the right to privacy when discussing their sexuality? Is this especially true for celebrities?
This was a speech by a 50 year old women with a tonge-in-cheek reference to rumours surrounding her sexuality but more importantly it was about privacy. She referred to the children she has with her ex-partner Cydney Bernard and spoke with genuine love for her.
“… my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love…. – I am so proud of our modern family”
She also spoke about having come out to family and friends a thousand years ago and that she is a private – and boring – person.
She didn’t mention the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, or any other label that people may choose to place upon her, and she didn’t make a speech supporting the great work of the charity Stonewall. But neither did she speak about supporting the great work of the charities dedicated to mental health and dementia, which her mother suffers.
“Mom, I know you are inside those blue eyes somewhere”
What she did was to speak openly and honestly about parts of her private life to the world but mostly to direct all of the sentiment to the people she loves – and I found that inspirational.
So back to my question…. Does coming out need to be a fan fair?
I watch a video yesterday by a young teenage boy called Harry Hitchens, who appeared on The Young Apprentice, called ‘I’m Gay’. This was a coming out to the world video and was performed in a very positive and informative way, and I won’t take anything away from this brave young role model. Harry is trying to question public attitudes, and in his latest video questions assumptions about where people live. He also lost 108 Twitter followers as a result of coming out, so please add your support by following him on Twitter and sharing his video.
George Clooney is a vocal support of equality, yet has chosen to stay quiet about his sexuality, stating that he doesn’t give a shit if people think he is gay or straight, and I think that Jodie Foster was in some way saying the same thing. Yet I seem to be in a minority as this article in New Statesmen summarises.
My point is that sometimes changing attitudes doesn’t have to involve in your face actions, demands, and unwavered support for the cause, but can sometimes start with changing the attitudes of the people closest to you and then the rest of the world, one person at a time.
The first openly gay American politician Harvey Milk said….
“Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all. And once you do, you will feel so much better”
…. but he didn’t say how to do it.