Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Coming Out is In?

So, in continuation from the last entry, I am going to start with the question posed by the referenced blog: if we discovered that those we see as relatively good people are revealed to have questionable lives after hours, would we respect them any less? Maybe we should also go one further: what about those whom we already know to do that stuff? Homosexuality is the action to address in this entry. There is the personal reaction, which depends on each person and his or her views. Then, there is the public reaction; how the masses accept the person. I can’t predict how each individual person would react, but I think I have a pretty good idea about how society would.

Directly related to the first question, think of a character that has captured the hearts of parents and children everywhere with her “just keep swimming” attitude. Yes, Dory, that forgetful, funny, friendly fish on Finding Nemo was brought to life by none other than Ellen DeGeneres, the successful comedian who came out of the closet in April of 1997. The linked article explains quiet a bit about what all she went through, and I’m not surprised. After she came out, the public was confused about how to react, so she was rejected by most of our culture, or at least made fun of. It seemed that her proclamation as a lesbian canceled any good entertainment she had provided before. This isn’t the point I want to end on, though. DeGeneres rose above people’s prejudices and won her spot back. She now hosts her own show and is doing very well.

This is where I believe society is heading in respect to the homosexual acceptance. For so long, they have been spat upon and rejected as the scum of humanity. Think of the movies Blow Up and Saturday Night Fever where homos were jeered at and seen with contempt. I feel that the intensity of this rejection has subsided quite a bit over the past few years. We still have a long way to go, but overall, society is becoming more accepting of homosexuals. We are seeing them as the people they are, not some freaks with weird desires. It seems that “coming out” is a common occurrence as people become more comfortable with who they are and who others are. It is no longer un-cool to be homosexually-affiliated. In fact, it seems to be a very cool, individual-defining thing to not be titled straight. You can be fully Homosexual or Bi or anything. Gender is no longer simply male or female. The specification makes people stand out and have a cool independence about them.

The queens in Paris is Burning are just wanting to be accepted for who they are, as does any one in the world. I don't know if I would say what they do is deemed "cool"...yet...but the end footage of the news coverage of the Drag Queen Ball fundraiser was a mighty step into acceptance. I would say that the coolest thing about these people is that they stand up for who they are. Instead of submitting fully to society, they make a special event to flaunt their identity.


  1. I totally agree with you about Ellen DeGeneres. It seems that more and more famous people are part of the LGBTQ community and that they are cooler for it. How has such a negative tratit been transformed into a positive one?

  2. Technically speaking, homosexuals stopped being freaks when it was declared that being gay wasn't a mental disorder in the DSM-II in 1974. We have come a long way since then, but there is still a long way to go. Your entry notes this as well.

    You close on an odd point - that at least if society can't adjust to homosexuals, they can go have their own events without including the world on the invite list. This statement could just as easily be applied to a segregationist ideal - that it would be better if we all just separate anyway, because the homosexuals community could actualize the homosexuals within it, and the straight community could actualize itself without having to adjust to provide equal protection for all. While I know this isn't what you were saying at all, I just wanted to point out that it's not a great way to live - out the outskirts and unassociated with the mainstream. And to drive home the point, this isn't at all what the men and women in Paris is Burning wanted. They wanted to be a part of society. So the fact that they had to have their own event is contrary to their actual desires.

    Avoid using "homo" to refer to a homosexual, as it comes off rather slangy and derogatory. Otherwise, a good entry and a hearty improvement over the last entry. I appreciate that you were able to take FJohn's and my advice and dive into the questions that you referenced.

  3. I agree that the separate communities isn't a great way to live, and that closing point can be viewed as saying that we should all be separated. But you are right in that I really didn't mean it in that way. What I meant wasn't a separation idea but mainly that they hold to who they are. I do also say that everyone wants to be accepted for who they are. The method isn't loud or in the straight community's face, but it is a type of rebellion and proclaimation of independence and pride. Society can't make them stop being homosexual.

  4. Oh, and I don't know if this just doesn't work, but I meant to put "homo" when referencing Saturday Night Fever and Blow Up to emphasize how they were treated...