Monday, July 2, 2012

Coming out.

So Entertainment Weekly ran a spread on celebrities and their official announcements of their sexuality. I didnt read it. But its sitting in my mail pile. Following closely on the heels of this it seems, Anderson Cooper has made the decision to make his sexuality public as well. Now I understand how this is helpful. De-stigmatizing and all that. I also understand that there are people in the world who decry this "lifestyle". The problem I have is,  what is the big deal?

When i was 8 or 9 or somewhere in that range, my dad was doing a play at the Civic and somehow the world of homosexuality was introduced to me. And it wasnt a big deal. I think one of the female actors was a lesbian, and somehow it got brought up and it was all very casual. Now dont get me wrong, it kind of blew my tiny mind. Woman liked WOMEN? Men liked MEN? And they were in relationships. Mind Blown! But because I had open hearted and open minded parents, it wasn't a big deal. Just another fact in a long line of facts you collect and move on with as a child. 

The whole concept didnt stay at the forefront of my radar. I recall there being guys in HS i was pretty sure WERE, but no one really talked about it. I dont recall there being much negative speak either, but i also might have been oblivious.

Sometime around my high school years, I found out my cousin in CA was gay. And a few years later he wasn't any more and was married, with kids. This is when I first was introduced to the power of the church and their ability in the right sects to take a perfectly fine human being and shame them into being someone they aren't.

Homosexuality is one of those things that simply never crossed my mind, unless I needed to defend it. When Steve and I had our first house in the burbs occasionally someone would say something mildly racist or homophobic (mildly? sigh, but you get my drift). Offensive, but not, HATEFUL. And it would infuriate me. And eventually they learned you cant say things like that around me.

I dont recall the conversation coming up with my kids, I've simply tried to raise them in a household of love that accepts all people (except mean people. and possibly Republicans - i kid.  . .). When Taylor was in 7th grade her boyfriend at the time invited her to the Aids Task Force Ball. Which I thought was adorable. One of her Bf's moms called me and very gently tried to explain what the Aids Task Force  was and what the event was. I calmly and gently told her my parents had been involved with the ATF since its inception and that I didnt have a problem with Taylor attending the event. I remember talking to Taylor about who would be there and about same sex couples and I believe she rolled her eyes in a big "duh" moment and that was the end of that.

Our culture, has been pretty open about gay characters in the last 15 or so years.  Will and Grace being one of the first I recall. Im sitting here trying to think of another show, another character, and I know they are out there. But i'm not coming up with anything. To me, its so woven into the fabric of our society, I hardly take note.

So when I saw the article, "Anderson Cooper is Gay", the first thing I thought was, who cares? Because really, why should I care? And then I have to remember, I should care. I should care that he is being open about it. Because its the being OUT THERE, that will hopefully over time de-stigmatize the whole thing.  Where once upon a time it was SHOCKING to have a gay character on TV, now there are just gay characters on tv. And once upon a time it was SHOCKING (and possibly career killing) for an actor to come, out, now its like "well duh".  But really, cant we just have characters on tv and actors who play them? Well no, because . . .

 . . of that segment of the population, who are so filled with fear and hate.  They are out there, sometimes lying low, sometimes shouting from the bell-tower about this SIN. This sinful behavior.(which i still cant figure out. is it the LOVING of another human? or where all the pieces fit in the bedroom, cause i'm pretty sure there is a whole lot of wacky that goes on in hetero relationships that arent in the bible either . . .)

I try to remember, that once upon a time (and i realize in some circles it still is) completely taboo for different races to procreate, to love one another.  If you were white and your partner was any other shade, you were SHAMED. It went against GOD and the CHURCH and society and well anything they could think of. I remember in the 70's it was SHOCKING to see an inter-racial couple on TV. But in most circles, even religious ones, its now ok . . you would think at least THOSE people would be more open minded. But sometimes even they are not . . how quickly we forget what oppression feels like?

So maybe it is very important for people like Anderson Cooper, to come out when they feel its appropriate for them. Maybe the cliched ONE PERSON will see that and go, huh . . maybe this isnt something that will collapse civilization as we know it.

I only hope that one day, its no longer an issue. Really, who cares?

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