Interesting article from the New York Times on celebrities coming out -- do such revelations matter as much today as they once did?
The relative indifference Americans have these days about high-profile people coming out appears rooted not only in progressively tolerant views of gay people but in the rather cynical supposition that stars wait to come out until they see a financial benefit, or have little to lose. Mr. Martin is past the prime of his career. Ms. Wright is promoting an album and a new book about her life as a closeted lesbian, and her revelation gives her exposure to a potential fan base outside traditional country audiences.
“With more and more gays and lesbians coming out in middle school and high school, it’s hard not to view coming out post-peak in your career or whenever as cowardly, if not opportunistic,” said Dan Savage, the gay author and editorial director of The Stranger, a Seattle newsweekly, where he writes an advice column called “Savage Love.”
“Now that I have my millions, now that it’s totally safe, now that I can scoop up a few more fans, I will come out,” Mr. Savage added. “Forgive me, but I have much more admiration for those kids coming out in middle school.”
I have to agree with what Dan Savage said. Still, in certain demographics such revelations may help straights understand gays better, especially the ones they find in their midst. I'm a little less harsh on the late coming-out stories of older people like Maurice Sendak and James Randi. I'm of a generation between them and the middle-schoolers coming out today, and I know how much the fear of revealing the truth about myself weighed on me more than I would like to remember just a few decades ago. When I was younger the celebrity revelations inspired me (some); today it's the kids daring to be themselves that bring tears to my eyes. There's still a long way to go, though...
"Coming Out: When Love Dares Speak, and Nobody Listens" (NY Times; and yes, I did fix that headline because the missing "s" was driving me batty!)