Thursday, January 6, 2011

Three Thoughts On Coming Out

Richard Chamberlain, Keven Spacey, and James Franco all gave statements about gay actors coming out and whether or not actors should even be asked to declare their sexuality.  I thought it would be interesting to put the quotes together and discuss our reactions to them.


Richard Chamberlain: “For an actor to be working at all is a kind of miracle, because most actors aren’t. So it’s just silly for a working actor to say, ‘Oh, I don’t care if anybody knows I’m gay’ especially if you’re a leading man. Personally, I wouldn’t advise a gay leading man-type actor to come out,” he added. (source)


 An interview with Kevin Spacey.

We gay men have always proudly claimed you as a member of our tribe, and yet you don't proudly claim us back. Why? 
 
Kevin Spacey: Look, I might have lived in England for the last several years but I'm still an American citizen and I have not given up my right to privacy.

But that's where we differ. I don't think being gay is a private matter. Heterosexuals don't consider their heterosexuality itself a private matter. I'm not asking you what goes on behind a locked door anymore than I would ask a heterosexual. I'm not asking if you're a top or bottom. That's none of my business. 

Kevin Spacey: Let's enlarge the subject even more. I think what we have seen in terms of gay teenagers committing suicide because of bullying is anguishing. I think young people, if they are feeling like they are confused, need to know that there are people to talk to and that there are places they can go and not feel alone. But I feel that they have just as many rights as I do to not be bullied. And I don't understand people who say, "Well, this is a terrible thing that is happening to this young person whose life is being exposed," and then turn around and do it to another person. People have different reasons for the way they live their lives. You cannot put everyone's reasons in the same box. It's just a line I've never crossed and never will. (source)



James Franco:

"It's all cut-and-dry identity politics. 'Is he straight or is he gay?' Or, 'This is your third gay movie—come out already!' And all based on, gay or straight, based on the idea that your object of affection decides your sexuality. There are lots of other reasons to be interested in gay characters than wanting myself to go out and have sex with guys. And there are also lots of other aspects about these characters that I'm interested in, in addition to their sexuality. So, in some ways it's coincidental, in other ways it's not. I mean, I've played a gay man who's living in the '60s and '70s, a gay man who we depicted in the '50s, and one being in the '20s. And those were all periods when to be gay, at least being gay in public, was much more difficult. Part of what I'm interested in is how these people who were living anti-normative lifestyles contended with opposition. Or, you know what, maybe I'm just gay." (source)

How did each statement make you feel and how did you feel it reflects the culture of homophobia that we live?