WELL KNOWN GAY MEN & WOMEN: Are they under any obligation to "change social perceptions"??

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jul 06, 2012 12:54 PM GMT
    So the recent "coming out" or acknowledgement by Anderson Cooper about being gay got me thinking. We have quite a number of famous gay men and women, role models for the "gay cause". Many have taken it upon themselves to improve public perception about acceptance of gay men and women in society in general.

    When they come out, should they feel any obligation to do so or is just the
    acknowledgement of their sexuality enough? Even if they do nothing beyond
    public acknowledgement, most have helped our cause by just serving as another example of a successful gay man (or woman).

    So what do you think? Even to go further, is there an obligation to "come out" when they are in the public eye?? Is it really their own option and they have no obligation beyond what they are most comfortable? Curious.....
  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Jul 06, 2012 1:30 PM GMT
    I don't think there exists an obligation for any one to adhere to so as to improve public perception of homosexuality.

    That would be to change the opinions of those who are narrow-minded. No need to be concerned with what they think.

    And comIng out is personal. It helps, but no one should feel beholden to come out.

    Edited to add:

    I don't mean to be blunt when I said there is no need to be concerned about what narrow-minded people think. I think it's a noble effort to want to change their mind.

    But I get the impression that when people say we need to change public perception, it is usually regarding behavior modification to "fit in." I think this is nonsense. Just be yourself.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19138

    Jul 06, 2012 1:36 PM GMT
    HndsmKansan said

    When they come out, should they feel any obligation to do so or is just the
    acknowledgement of their sexuality enough? Even if they do nothing beyond
    public acknowledgement, most have helped our cause by just serving as another example of a successful gay man (or woman).

    So what do you think? Even to go further, is there an obligation to "come out" when they are in the public eye?? Is it really their own option and they have no obligation beyond what they are most comfortable? Curious.....



    I don't think celebrities have any obligation whatsoever to reveal any more of their private lives than they are comfortable with. I think it's great when they have the courage and willingness to do so, but beyond coming out in a public way in the manner that Anderson Cooper did, I do not feel they should be expected to do any more than that. Again, it's great if they want to take on some sort of activist roll, but it should only be something they do if it is within their own comfort zone and is something they really feel passionate about doing --- NOT because they were pressured into it. I think the way Anderson Cooper did it was perfect. He acknowledged it publicly through an email reprinted in someone else's blog, and he has not commented any further beyond that...No PEOPLE magazine cover stories with the headline "I'M GAY!" like Clay Aiken did....no CNN interviews in which they think it's so big that they bring Larry King back to do one-hour CNN presents special...no press conference. Anderson's approach was pitch perfect and very appropriate.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 06, 2012 1:38 PM GMT
    Whether your a celebrity or a regular Joe Shmo, I believe just the simple act of acknowledging it makes a great impact.

    Not saying you have to make an official statement, just don't refrain from actions that straight celebs would simple because you are gay. Eg thanking a spouse at an acceptance speech.

    Than again I guess an argument could be made that if it going to hurt your career then should you? If you have built yourself up as a Hollywood heartthrob then should you jeopardize that? Other actors will downplay their love life to appear more attainable, so why shouldn't gay guys be allowed to stay in the closet for the same reason?

    I know it's silly, but NPH's openness is what lead me to accept and come out. So it does have some impact.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 06, 2012 1:43 PM GMT
    It makes for less of an impact when it's an open secret, like Anderson and to a far greater extent Ellen Degeneres or Rosie O'Donald. Rosie used to get a lot of heat for not coming out, then not coming out sooner, but look at her now - not only did she become the face of gay family cruises and gay adoption but gay divorce.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 06, 2012 2:18 PM GMT
    I think celebrities coming out tends to give society a 'face' to put on to homosexuality when, to many, it's something they can't grasp. Just coming out moves being gay to a more acceptable level for many.

    I think sometimes coming out blazing with the stereotypical image can actually be harmful in that it instills that 'single perception of a gay person' that we try and avoid.

    Coming out as just another success guy that happens to be gay and embracing social causes for the good of society, gay or not, is a sign of someone who truly does want to improve the way we view and live life.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jul 06, 2012 2:25 PM GMT
    Anderson Cooper made a good point when he said he came out, not because he wanted to share his personal life, but because he wanted people to know that he isn't ashamed and is proud of who he is. Sounds like a great reason to me!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 06, 2012 2:52 PM GMT
    I'm not sure that I call it an obligation, but I do think it helps improve the public's perception for every person...not just celebrity...that acknowledges that he or she is gay. We eventually want there to be such tolerance by our society that it doesn't matter whether you are gay or not or whether you announce that you are gay or not, but in the meantime we need the public exposure. If it's a celebrity that comes out, there's a much greater impact than just you or me doing it. Is it an obligation...no! If you can do it...great...but if you can't, thanks anyway.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 06, 2012 4:52 PM GMT
    They can change perceptions just by living their life just the way heterosexual people do. When they go to a red carpet event or other public event, just show up with their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend the way a heterosexual would. When they do interviews, don't present their life with their partner as being something gay, just talk about their life together and the things they do in their day to day life, like vacations and family life, the way heterosexual celebrities talk about their life with their partner.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 06, 2012 4:57 PM GMT
    Obligation to come out? No. Though it is awesome and is helpful to the fight for tolerance when they do.