Jodie FosterFebruary 13th, 2013 |
Some things about Jodie Foster:
First I’d like to say that, as far as coming out of the closet or staying in it, I don’t think anybody should ever be forced or pressured to do anything other than exactly what they want to do. Talking about sexuality in general, I don’t understand the inclination to tell other people what to do when it has no effect on you. I don’t think this is any less true for celebrities. Nothing pisses me off more than the idea that because you like an artist they now somehow owe you something. If you bought a ticket to see a movie, that’s what you bought, a viewing of that movie. If you bought a CD, that CD is what you bought. You didn’t buy a piece of them.
However. There are some misconceptions people have when they talk about coming out or staying closeted that really piss me off. For one thing, telling somebody you’re gay is not the same as telling them about your sex life, and it’s not telling them “personal” information, any more than knowing that somebody is black tells you something “personal” about them. If you find out that somebody is gay and you think that you now know what type of person they are, you’re a bigot. There is also a lot more to being gay than sexuality, and the sexuality of gay people is as varied as the sexuality of anybody else. Telling somebody you’re gay isn’t telling them about your sex life any more than a straight man saying he has a wife is telling you about his sex life.
Also, coming out isn’t a choice in the same way that being closeted is a choice. In an ideal world, “coming out” is passive. You come out by living your life like anybody else would, and people who know you will figure out that you’re gay by little hints such as you having a partner who is of your gender. Being closeted, on the other hand, requires a great deal of work, and requires you to shape your life around other people so that they don’t see parts of it, and requires you to lie and dissemble. Obviously, people do that to avoid negative reactions that they would suffer if they did differently, but that’s because small minded people have forced you into that position. I’m irritated by the notion that “closeted” is somehow the natural state in which gay people start, and then they have to make the choice to move to another position.
Although many people obviously have good reasons for doing it, staying closeted is damaging. Homophobia is ignorance, and people’s opinions change when they learn more about it, which they do by gay people being more visible. Obviously, it shouldn’t be the responsibility of every gay person to be a teacher to the rest of the world, and it pisses me off much more that people choose to be ignorant until they’re prodded, and that they’re vociferously opinionated on gay people when they don’t know the first fucking thing about gay people. However, there’s no denying that us being more visible helps. In the last few decades, actually, it’s started to cause a sea change.
Which is also important to the Jodie Foster thing. A few decades ago when she was becoming an adult, coming out meant something entirely different, and it very likely could have destroyed her career. I don’t judge her for anything she’s done, even if I might have preferred that she do something different, and to hold her behavior to the same standard as somebody who’s struggling with how to deal with the same questions 30 years after she did is just ignorant.
But I’d really like us to get to a place where in or out of the closet isn’t even a question. It comes from us assuming that everybody is straight unless we’re told otherwise, and that comes from a limited understanding of human sexuality that’s decades or more out of date. There aren’t just two types of sexual orientation, and it’s idiotic to look at it as though plain vanilla heterosexuality is the default position and everything else is an aberration on that. And the idea of hiding who your significant other is because of their gender only exists because bigots and ignorant people have been given the power to make it that way. Very soon the notion of having to hide such a thing for fear of the reaction that vocal bigots might have will hopefully seem as bizarre and chilling to us as it does now to think that recently interracial marriage was illegal, or that women didn’t have the right to vote.
Lastly, Mel Gibson is obviously an asshole, but why on earth do people care if she’s friends with him? Who she is and isn’t friends with has no bearing on anybody else, and that actually *is* personal business.