Is it just me or have recently the coming out stories been flying in from left, right and centre?
Noteworthy out and proud alumni this year include comedians, radio hosts, swimmers and a slew of American stars. It makes you wonder is 2010 the year to come out and why is that? Also how does it make those who came out in the 70s, 80s and 90s feel as generations who, amongst other things, simply didn’t have those out media personalities to look to?
For me, a role model growing up alternated between someone I wanted to be and someone I wanted to date. Thus when I spot primetime network darlings Ruby Rose and Josh Thomas, I can’t help but smile and feel a little warm inside. Josh is absolutely adorable, a little girly, funny and charming. Cue boys and girls swooning. Whether he likes it or not, he will be a role model to boys who don’t fit the super-masculine stoic mould, gay, straight or otherwise. Ruby Rose remains a refreshing presence; she’s stunning, opinionated and (unfortunately for her) endlessly hounded by the media. Yes she’s a classy lesbian “IT girl” and not just for a day in a Lindsay Lohan way.
As a part of Generation-Y I didn’t have an out role model equivalent to Josh or Ruby when I was in high school. But being asked if you listened to Elton, KD or if your favourite sitcom was Ellen, were not entirely complimentary but common ways of intimating someone may not be as heterosexual as the rest of the pack. Those three people caused shockwaves when they did come out in the late 80s and early 90s. They were role models but its not quite the same as current trend because they were all in their 30s with well established careers.
Part of me chastises myself for taking such an interest in the sexuality of stars. After all the lives of famous people need not be a reflection of my own identity. But I can’t help it. I am not alone; many millions of people look to some form of media to reflect the norms and trends of society. Right?
For those that remember the impact Stonewall had on activism or who have fought for the cause through the last few decades it might seem that someone, famous or not, coming out in 2010 is riding on their coat tails. For example walking into an established gay venue, you can sense animosity between the different generations. Say that group of bombastic “baby dykes” who are vocally annoyed about the all-age attendance at a party. They simply don’t realise that the venues they frequent were established by the very men and woman in that room. They setup the venues; they established gay pride and in the media came little support, instead there was an eerie silence from within the closet.
Outing myself just two years ago I would not suppose to know what it was like coming out (or choosing not to) ten, twenty, thirty or more years ago, let alone in the spotlight. All I know is this; yes it is easier now than ever before but it is still not easy. Each person that shows the courage and strength to stand up and say yes I am part of a minority, a second class citizen, must be commended. My only message to any generation of queer minded folk is that at the end of the day the gay community is there to be supportive, not exclusive.
But let’s face it; like never before it is a lot of fun being out (celebrity, citizen, young or old) living in Melbourne and Sydney in 2010. It would be great if 2010 really does become the year to be queer, it is the year of action after all!
Maybe in the meantime this generation of queers do need to put get their gay activist on, instead of simply partying and congregating for a latte in Collingwood, Commercial or Oxford Street. Okay not instead, lets just do both. Because I’ll admit I’d be just a smidge excited to spot out of the corner of my eye Ruby or Josh at the same café as me along Smith Street; just saying.