Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Come Out Come Out Wherever you Are! Letter to Ricky Martin & other closeted celebrities
Would you ever see a Jewish person get up on stage and dance the Hora with a Skin head? Would you ever see a black person paint themselves white and dance on stage with KKK leader David Duke? No you wouldn't. So why then would Ricky Martin, the biggest and most obviously gay celebrity since Liberace get on stage and shake his "bon-bon" with the gay community's biggest enemy, George Bush at his inaugural concert? Because he can hide his "gay-ness" and he somehow believes that selling out to the highest degree is absolutely correct and appropriate. To dance on stage with the leader that tried his hardest to change our constitution to deny us gays rights to equality in this country. Why do I single out Ricky Martin, you ask? Many reasons, he is latino like I am, he lives in Miami and I am completely over hearing stories about his sexcapades all over Miami with guys I am friends with and last but not least because gay youth in America are more likely to commit suicide 4 to 9 times more than their heterosexual counterparts- http://www.thetrevorproject.org/info.aspx. Although Ricky Martin has done good work in protecting children with his charities, http://www.looktothestars.org/charity/390-ricky-martin-foundation, these are the children that Ricky Martin forgot to help. His fellow gays.
On the other end of the gay spectrum, we have Harvey Milk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Milk) who was our "Martin Luther King", the first openly gay politician elected to office in the United States in the 70's. He was our champion, our leader, our reason for pride. He was such a visionary that we are still fighting the fight he lead a full 3o years later, he even envisioned his own death by assasination 10 years after the assasination of Martin Luther King. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U_owSvbn00
They both died for exactly the same fight, a fight for a disenfranchised minority to gain equality and protection in the United States. So why did Martin Luther King's battle succeed and ours still a full-on civil rights battle? Well my theory is simple, it's because BLACK people CAN'T HIDE their difference to the rest of the world and we CAN. The Catholic Church a few years ago released an official statement to the world stating that to be homoseuxal is not a sin but to practice is. The Don't Ask Don't Tell policy enforced by the US military is more of the same. If you hide your "gayness" it is acceptable and you will not be discharged but if we find out you are you are out. By hiding in the closet these "traitor gays" are tacitly allowing for this mentality to go unchallenged. In the avoidance of the truth they have inherently allowed for this crime to go unchecked. Just like the law in New York city that holds you in violation if you see a crime in progress and do not report it, the same principal is applicable here.
Imagine if every gay person in the world woke up tomorrow somehow genetically altered to have purple skin. Yes, purple skin. As purple as a teletubby. There would be a worldwide upheaval causing every country's citizens to reanalyze their beliefs on what it means to be gay and the rights that are associated or denied with being that way. When they realize how large a portion of every society that we really are, that we include every sector of society from servants to blue collar workers to corporate leaders to even royalty. They would be forced to accept us because it would be too large a reality to theologize away with any known religion. You wouldn't be able to block the instantly huge worldwide population of gays finally united and out'ed by their beautifully purple color. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have to admit that indeed his islamic country has thousands of gays. The Mark Foley's, Ted Haggard's and Larry Craig's that fight so hard to prove they are not in the closet by promoting laws aimed at pushing us further into the closet would be instantly outed for the hippocrites they truly are. It would be the end of our civil rights war. Yes folks, it is a war. A social and legislative war. We still cannot adopt, marry, inherit our deceased partner's social security benefits or legalize through marriage our partners who are living undocumented in the US. It is still illegal in some states to have sex in the way that we please (anti-sodomy laws still in effect in 40 countries- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodomy_law ). The military's Don't ask don't Tell policy is still enforced. The war is ongoing and we have a way to go.
The "outing" movement of the 90's was a direct result of the massive die-off of so many of our own. It was hatched by activist groups Act Up and Queer Nation, fighting the good fight in the most effective, grass roots way they could think of. They believed the worst enemy of the gay community was not the religious folks, but the self-hating, closeted gays that will stop at nothing to prove to the world they aren't gay. Closet cases live with a constant angst that affects their relationships with partners, friends, co-workers and the rest of the world. It's basically a self-inflicted barrier against feeling complete happiness and like the saying goes, "you can't love others until you can love yourself". When someone like Ricky Martin whom is a celebrity refuses to admit that he is gay, even though every one knows he is, it is a silent approval promoting the notion that we should keep ourselves hidden. It doesn't matter that gay mecca's have arisen throughout the U.S., (Atlanta, South Beach, Chelsea NYC), these migratory gay birds carry their fears and their closets with them. They come to South Beach to be free from discrimination but fear, unfortunately is part perception and part reality. Even though they are no longer in the backwoods of Ohio, they still carry the same fears with them. We have to think out of our gay safe zones and be conscious of all the other cities and countries that are still extremely hostile and violent to gay people. It is far from rosy in these places. Even though "outing" was a terror tactic, it worked. It pushed many hiding in the shadows to come out and start behaving like self-respecting gays and start joining in the fight for our equality. Is it now time for us to return to the extreme tactic of outing our fellow gays that hate themselves so much that they become our enemy and our worst PR nightmare? (ex: George Michael) I vote "yes we should". Will the next Harvey Milk please stand up?
So to you celebrities out there, take note of the words in the song Superstar by Lupe Fiasco; "If you are what you say you are, a superstar then have no fear, the camera is here and the microphones and they wanna know oh oh oh oh. If you are what you say you are, a superstar Then have no fear, the crowd is here."
The crowd is us, thousands, probably millions worldwide who are waiting for a superstar to come out and stand up for us to feel pride to reach higher to stand up to the contradictions and weak religious justifications. Come out Ricky Martin, you sure aren't selling any records but you can be our superstar. For real, this time. Think of all the children's lives in Latin America that you would change by saying two words; "I'm gay". You would save hundreds from suicidal thoughts or actions. They would have a role model to believe it is possible to be out, proud, happy and successful in the latino world. You too Tyler Perry, you have your millions, your shiny new studios in Atlanta. Think of how many young African Americans would be rescued from a life on the DL by saying two words; "I'm gay". The African-American and Latino communities need their gay icons too.
Here are the closeted celebrities im writing about today (allegedly, so I don't get sued)
Ricky Martin (the most obvious closet of them all), Tom Cruise, Richard Gere, Anderson Cooper, George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Zachary Quinto (Evil Sylar from Heroes and soon to be the next Spock), Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Ryan Seacrest, Cristina Aguilera, Michelle Rodriguez, McCauley Culken, Hayden Christensen http://gaygoss.blogspot.com/2008/06/hayden-christensen-gay.html, Sean Hayes from Will & Grace (I know I can't believe he isn't out yet either), Latin heart throb Eduardo Verastegui, and yes, Barry Manilow (no surprise there).
Black Celeb's in the closet;
Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah http://www.theinsider.com/news/505561_Queen_Latifah_Coming_Out_Of_The_Closet_And_Getting_Engaged, Eddie Murphy,Will Smith, Alicia Keys, Toni Braxton, Prince, Tyler Perry
Some kinda black celebs still in the closet;
Vin Diesel, The Rock
Celeb who has "kinda" come out;
Jodie Foster- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-501256/Jodie-Foster-comes-emotional-tribute-girlfriend-14-years.html
Some dead ones:
James Dean, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, Michelangelo, Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, King William III of England, Alexander the Great
Some that don't need to come out, we just know they are and kind of wish they would go back in the closet:
Clay Aiken, Richard Simmons, George Michael
Wanda Sykes, who is known for her feisty and blunt style, said the passage of California's Proposition 8 made her feel like she was "attacked." This led to her publicly coming out.
"Now, I gotta get in their face," she said. "I'm proud to be a woman. I'm proud to be a black woman, and I'm proud to be gay."
Drew Barrymore- our new ally, for the moment:
Actor James Franco kisses david letterman after Letterman hounded him about his on-screen kiss with Sean Penn in Milk:
George Clooney's wimpy, half-witted remark against the passage of prop 8:
Kevin Spacey semi-outed with a male stripper:
Sarcastic blog about Ricky Martin dodging Barbara Walters' outing attempt:
Blog about Will & Grace's Sean Hayes and his closeted position:
One of Harvey Milk's most famous speeches:
Slideshow of hope highlighting our past and present victories/failures
Article on "outing" politicians as discussed in movie Outrage:
Excellent book covering the history of outing in America: