What follow is a somewhat edited version of a comment I left on a Hollywood gossip blog called JJ’s Dirt. As the blog owner decided not to approve my comment (as is indeed his right of course, so no nonsensical bleating about ‘censorship’… it is JJ’s blog and any comments on his turf are quite rightly at his unconditional sufferance. His blog = his rules), so I thought I would post my comment here. As it never saw the light of day, I have slightly expended it to more fully express my views.
I came across the article in a google search for something quite unrelated and saw a short list of people who are purported to be homosexual or bisexual in various so called ‘public’ walks of life in the USA. Although I am utterly indifferent to people’s consensual sexual behaviour provided it is not aggressively thrust unwanted in my direction, I have always been deeply uncomfortable with the self-righteousness of people who ‘out’ others. This was the trigger phrase that moved me to comment and my (slightly expanded) reply follows.
“The failure to come out on the part of figures in the public eye seemingly sends a message that homosexuality or bisexuality is something shameful that needs to be hidden.”
Or maybe they just have the notion that it is none of anyone else’s damn business and that unless they choose to openly discuss their private life, they should have their privacy respected by others when they are not on the job.
If someone is a politician, they are a person controlling the violence backed means of collective coercion and quite reasonably should have no right to privacy whatsoever, be it sexual, social or financial.
Being an athlete or actor/actress on the other hand is just a job, not a public office. Why should your wish to ‘out’ someone trump their wish to perhaps not have what they do in private known? Certainly no one can or should force you to stop this (unless they feel you have defamed them, which is a rather different issue that I am not addressing), but that does not make what you are doing right. Perhaps you define yourself by your sexuality but most homosexual people I know do not, so why try to force them to make common cause with you when they may well feel no affinity with you or your world view at all? It is already the case that in most of the civilised world (i.e. the western world) the law does not prohibit homosexual public displays of affection. You have legal protection against violence directed at you and being homosexual no longer mitigates your legal right not to be assaulted… and rightly so of course.
Moreover by and large you have tolerance socially too, in that people will not take action to try and stop you holding hands with your partner. That is what tolerance means. It is the natural right of everyone to have their consensual behaviour with others tolerated.
However if your ‘comfort’ means it is ‘acceptance’ you want from straight people, rather than just tolerance, well you may ask people for it but you have no right to it and a significant number of people will choose to not accept you. No one has a right to be accepted. As long as someone tolerates you (as they must), it is their right, not yours, to judge you according to their sensibilities.
In short, if all someone does is sneer at you and your partner holding hands in public, deal with it. The world is full of jackasses and always will be. But please, stop poking into people’s private affairs if they do not want them poked into. I do not think what you are doing is immensely harmful but it is neither admirable nor justified.