Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Glass Closet

Speculation has occurred for years regarding celebrities who are gay. Most of us in GLBTland already have an idea of who is and who isn't. Of course, we are building our lists based on rumors we have heard in the media and putting 2 and 2 together. The person is single, attractive, has adopted children and/or is never repeatedly seen in public with the same person of the opposite sex.

Glass Closet: a contraption that allows public figures to avoid the career repercussions of any personal disclosure while living their lives with a certain degree of integrity.

So what of the "glass closet"? I guess I see it from two angles. The celeb has just as much right as I do to live my life and excel at my career without being judged about my sexuality. I can understand that thought process since I do not make any attempts to "out" myself at my workplace. Just not necessary in my opinion. It does not place any limitations on performing my normal daily routine.

However, there is another side to me that says........that's all well and good but I am not in the business of being a figurehead in society. I have a cube in corporate America. Celebrities (and I am wrapping up all types of celebrity - not just show business) have a public persona. Some are considered role models and while in some cases I haven't quite figured out why, it is what it is.

So, as role models or public faces of society, do they not own the responsibility of being honest and forthright? Does it not benefit all in our community to have this type of support from those who live the life of celebrity?

It seems to me that celebrities have the unique ability to "turn on" their support for special causes or efforts as the mood strikes them. However, the same celebrities lending their faces/voices to other causes (anti-war, global warming, etc) fail to unlatch the door to the glass closet because that is just too much of a risk to their careers. It appears that it may be truly about the dollar and not truly about making the world a better place to live for all mankind.

It is better to continue to lend support for the "high road causes" than to take the risk of losing the next movie deal, political campaign or news anchor position. They fear being known only for their sexuality and not their body of work.

So the next time you watch one of the awards or nightly news programs, look closely and you will see that nicely secured latch on the glass box that surrounds these individuals. By their silence, they are telling us that with "privilege" comes security and the avoidance of the real life struggles that all openly gay and lesbians have to endure every day.

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