Never Too Late?
We all know that there are a gansey load of mos, bis and trannies out there who aren’t out. Plus, there are people who are homophobic only because they don’t know anyone who is gay. The Irish mentality about all things political is usually, “I don’t care coz it has nothing to do with me”. So, if everyone came out, homophobia would disappear. Who would want their loved-one to be treated as a second-class citizen? Well, Newt Gingrich, but who else? Coming out is just so important, in work, at home and at play. St. Harvey was always stressing how important it is for members of our community to come out.
If a bullet should go through my head let that bullet go through every closet door.
It’s tough to do, but the more people do it, the easier it will get. If this is true of the ‘normal person’, it’s especially so for celebrities. Their coming out reaches a much wider audience than yours or mine, making it an event in the community and a revelation for the straight person.
When Meredith Baxter came out recently, one generation of us went “wow!” and another “who?”. In the 80′s, Baxter played the perfect mammy on telly. Her Elyse Keaton was a liberal mother who, along with her on-screen hubbie, balked at the Republican views of her son, Alex played by Michael Keaton. Family Ties was in the top three of the rankings for all of the 10 years it was on the air and Fox won Emmy after Emmy for his portrayal. If he was the star, it was Baxter who was making waves becoming the highest-paid actress on television.
Her career after Family Ties never reached its levels of success. She was bottom of the B-list and must have been in at least 80% of made-for-tv movies in the years since. She said she realised she was gay in 2002 and has been in a relationship since 2004. So, while I am delighted that Meredith is happy homo who is now out and proud, why did it take so long?
Now I know I’m going to come across as ungrateful and I really don’t mean to. I appreciate that the gay community doesn’t own its members, that coming out is a personal journey and all that jazz. But there is a tradition of actors coming out when their career is over, or when they’re no longer on the show with the big ratings.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that they are either afraid to ruin a good thing, or they are contractually unable to come out, but it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It’s not just Meredith.
Richard Chamberlain- was Dr Kildare back in the 60s, and joined Meredith in made-for-tv-land in the years that followed.Came out when he retired.
David Hyde Pierce – played Niles for years in Emmy-winning and hugely-popular Frasier. Came out when the show ended.
Chad Allen – is most famous for playing the broody son in Dr Quinn Medicine Woman. Came out when the family favourite ended.
George Takei- played Sulu for years in Star Trek. Came out when he retired.
Cynthia Nixon- played uber-femme Miranda in one of the most successful shows of the noughties, Sex and the City. Came out when the show ended.
Since they’ve come out, all of these actors have been great ambassadors for the gay community, but why wait? Why, when they were at the top of the pile, could they not have come out? Professional fear, I know. But it rankles that now, when they’re finished with their show, we can have them.
They all say that they come out because it’s important to represent and educate about the gay community. Apparently not as important as your career.
There are no bones about it; coming out will make your career either end or change. Even Rupert Everett tells actors not to come out of they want to work
The fact is that you could not be, and still cannot be, a 25-year-old homosexual trying to make it in the British film business or the American film business or even the Italian film business. It just doesn’t work and you’re going to hit a brick wall at some point. You’re going to manage to make it roll for a certain amount of time, but at the first sign of failure they’ll cut you right off.
We have many great actors who are out and I salute them and their bravery. Their front-line representation makes these other coming out stories irksome.
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