Did you watch the Golden Globes last night? I could not resist the lure of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting, and they did not disappoint me.
But what I really want to write about is Jodie Foster.
Despite all the raves on Twitter about her coming out, I was unimpressed by her rambling speech. First, I thought she'd already come out via an acceptance speech about 5 years ago in which she thanked her then partner now "co-parent." Anyway, in light of that, it seemed odd to play it up with the presumably faux-nervous lead-in and bait & switch.
I didn't want a big coming out speech. I just wanted her to say, "I'm gay" or "I'm a lesbian" or some variation thereof with the same enthusiasm as she said, "I'm 50!" (Nice nod to Molly Shannon's character from SNL that no one in the audience seemed to get.)
Anderson Cooper's coming out letter last year came to mind. In it he talked about how he didn't want his sexuality to affect his work but realized that his silence over time was giving the impression that he was ashamed or otherwise not OK with being gay which is not the case. It was a good letter.
I tried to figure out why Jodie's speech was bothering me. It hit me today when I remembered that when you're pointing your finger at someone else, you're pointing three at yourself.
We have some things in common. I'm not straight either, though I consider myself bisexual rather than lesbian. I am, despite possible appearances on the blog, a private person too. In the past I often said, "If a person doesn't have the courage to ask me if I'm not straight, they aren't ready to hear the answer." Of course, they could have just been respecting my privacy by waiting for me to tell them. What business is it of most people's anyway? It's just one aspect of many about me.
Without her fame, I've done things somewhat out of order. Close friends first, then the entire audience at a film school screening who made the assumption based on my movie. To be fair, I showed the film to my family first to start a dialogue to come out to them, but they did not make the leap or didn't acknowledge it at any rate. Maybe they weren't ready in 1996.
Then there were more people I met and then the internet. Oh, and then my immediate family finally in 2009. There are still people I know in real life who don't know, but it's not like I have any context for bringing it up. There's no one to introduce them to and we don't talk about their romantic lives, so why bother? I suppose I could be prouder.
I'm tired of coming out speeches too (even the super short variety), but likely have more in my future without an international audience of millions.
As Jodie said, she's 50. Eleven years older than me with a career that started when she was 3. She grew up in the heyday of being gay and playing gay killing your Hollywood career. I get it.
What I hope she gets is that her coming out in 2013 is not much about her personally but rather the visibility she adds as someone gay and successful to a group with so many who struggle (to get through the day, to be married, to have equal rights under the law...). I just want to know that her desire for privacy won't keep her from being on our side. For fuck's sake, she has Mel Gibson's back for some reason, so I hope she'll have ours. Hmm, that doesn't sound as ideal as I meant.
And now off the lgbt for a moment but back to the speech:
Did anyone else find it strange how many contradictions there were?
Her quote which they started her life's work montage with was about how being normal is to be avoided and yet, due to early and enduring fame, she has spent her life trying to have one that is normal. That's why she values her privacy so much. But then she wants to be "deeply known."
I'm often ambivalent myself, so I suppose I can understand these dichotomies. I'm a private person and yet I blog to put myself out there, to connect with people. I relinquish some privacy to do that. Perhaps that's Jodie's struggle to a degree: to connect and be known but not tabloid fodder.
Despite your oblique approach to coming out all these years, congratulations, Jodie Foster. It does me good to see you loud and proud.
4 years ago on TTaT: In the mail...