(This is a little late, but … )
I didn’t even watch the golden globes and minutes into Jodie’s speech my tumblr and twitter feeds were flooded. Droves of people just couldn’t wait to tell the world … that Jodie was taking too long with her acceptance speech. I only found scant evidence in the myriad of posts that Jodie had come out.
I went right to YouTube and watched it for myself.
I suppose what struck me most about her coming out was the nonchalantness of it all. The experience of coming out is, of course, vastly different for a teenager living in a small town, and a grown woman giving a speech to one of the most socially progressive crowds in the country. I just wasn’t prepared for how it was all stirred in with the rest of the speech. Her coming out was like the chocolate syrup in a mocha and I’d expected it to be more like the foam on a cappuccino; frothy, fabulous, two inches deep and dotting the tip of your nose.
The comments below the video (besides the usual homophobic spam) were all over the board. One person wrote that she has a right to privacy while another chided Jodie for staying silent about her sexuality while she could have been a role model for young people. Another commented on the sheer banality of her being gay while another person criticized her for tiptoeing around the issue by calling her lover her ‘BFF’.
Now that Jodie has come out, it seems as if everyone has an opinion about how Jodie should be gay.
Role defining is, in general, kind of a shitty thing to do to another person. Telling someone how to be gay, how to be a woman, how to be black, how to be white, how to be a man, and even how to be straight, is unnecessary and will, most likely, not garner thanks.
Harvey Milk asked people to come out because he believed visibility would dispel myths about gays and could help pave the way for equal rights for the queer community. Harvey asked people to publicly claim their identities in the 70’s because there was not yet equality.
And do we now have equality for gays? For women? For blacks? For immigrants?
I’m not a fan of role defining without purpose, but when it comes to the issue of visibility in queer, feminist and classist movements, I stand with Harvey.
Jodie Foster did a good thing by coming out. Her nonchalantness reflects the progressiveness of the crowd in which she came out, the security that she has as a retiring celebrity and even the false sense of ‘normalization’ that’s been created for gays in hollywood in the past ten years with a rising number of shows and movies featuring gay characters. If equality had been reached for the queer communities across the globe, I might even rejoice at the haphazard comment ‘who cares?’ when responding to Jodie’s coming out – but it’s not time for that yet.
Yes, Jodie Foster is gay. Yes, it’s still a big deal. Tell your friends.