Is it old school and counter productive to gay acceptance to advise someone to stay in the closet for their career's sake.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 04, 2009 10:53 AM GMT
    I haven't really felt the need to post for insight on a topic until now.
    I'm curious about what Rupert Everett said in the below quote concerning Adam Lambert's AMA performance and subsequent unashamed approach to being out and gay in the entertaiment business. I personally don't think anything changes for the better by hiding that you are gay. I disagree with his comment and think it sets gay acceptance backwards.

    Rupert Everett regarding Adam Lambert:"The fact is that you could not be, and still cannot be, a 25-year-old homosexual trying to make it in the British film business or the American film business or even the Italian film business," Everett, 50, says. "It just doesn't work and you're going to hit a brick wall at some point. You're going to manage to make it roll for a certain amount of time, but at the first sign of failure they'll cut you right off."
    He adds: "Honestly, I would not advise any actor necessarily, if he was really thinking of his career, to come out."

  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Dec 04, 2009 11:02 AM GMT
    I think Ruppert meant in his field. For example if Tom Cruise said he was openly gay would he have gotten so many roles as the leading man in movies. He defintitely wouln't have had the same success because woman wouldn't invision him the same way and straight men wouldn't identify with them, or want to take their g/f or wives to any of his chick flicks.

    As for Adam and Ruppert it shouldn't make a difference because they can't hide who they are if they tried. Ruppert is upset because he's been type cast ever since. Not too many lead roles for gay men in blockbuster film.

    If you still think Cruise is straight, you didn't grow up in NJ with him.
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    Dec 04, 2009 11:52 AM GMT
    Well this is kind of a tough question, because technically your orientation isn't something that is pertinent to your job.

    Your happiness, which makes you more productive at work, is. If you come out at work, and it's not a gay friendly or neutral environment you're not going to be very happy.

    We'll ponder this a bit more and come back.
  • jeffreyr

    Posts: 43

    Dec 04, 2009 12:34 PM GMT
    Two things pop into my head:
    a) Who give a $%@$% about a career if your trying to be someone your not.
    b) Look at Neil Patrick Harres who is currently playing a ladies man on a highly rated sitcom.
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    Dec 04, 2009 12:42 PM GMT
    A number of US states allow the legal firing of someone for being gay. In fact, in North Dakota the state supreme court ruled a landlord can also evict a tenant for being gay. And we all know gays are discharged from the US armed forces. Plus there are many cases of gays hitting a "glass ceiling" to promotion. So being out can have many negative career & life consequences in the US.

    As for the entertainment industry, the results are mixed. Ellen Degeneres lost her TV sitcom for coming out, but she fought her way back into the daytime talk show format, where fellow women are the biggest part of her audience. Some actors managed to successfully come out, but only after they had established careers. Sir Ian McKellen is one (Gandalf, Professor Dumbledore), but then he doesn't need to play straight romantic leads at his age anymore, concentrating on single characters, some even gay themselves ("Gods and Monsters").

    Nor can every aspiring actor hope to fit into niches like Nathan Lane does, a largely musical stage actor, whose film characters tend to the quirky & comedic ("The Birdcage" "The Producers" for example). What audiences will overlook in a musical comedy role they will not accept in a straight romantic or dramatic role.

    And that's what the film industry looks at: potential box office appeal. Weaken that, and your career falters, or never gets off the ground. It's not surprising that gay actors would be cautious about coming out, and those who urge them remind me of the classic image of spectators yelling "Jump! Jump!" at a person contemplating suicide.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 04, 2009 12:50 PM GMT
    It's an excellent strategy. It works perfectly for the catholic church and the US Congress. Why should acting be any different?
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    Dec 04, 2009 1:00 PM GMT
    jeffreyr said Who give a $%@$% about a career if your trying to be someone your not.

    Closeted or not, anyone trying to advance in his career is trying to be something he's not, i.e., richer.
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    Dec 04, 2009 2:44 PM GMT
    If you don't think it's going to hurt your career then do you. I most def. act differently at work than when I'm out in the community. It's called being professional.

    When Ellen came out her show got the boot. It took years for her to come back. With her talk show now she does not flaunt or ram her life down the public throat nor does Neal.

    What Adam Lambert did was just over the top. I still think he was to focused on shock value than his performance. Which was rocky.
    When Madonna and Britney kissed I thought that was inappropriate as well.

    I think Rupert was on point.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Dec 04, 2009 2:57 PM GMT
    IMO, Ellen's show got canceled because it started to suck, not because she came out.

    If an actor is a good actor and keeps professional, they can be 'out' and still get work without being typecasted. It's the people that focus more on being celebrities than actors that have issues with typecasting.
  • drypin

    Posts: 1798

    Dec 04, 2009 3:59 PM GMT
    I haven't read the book, but looking at the OP's quote, I can see that Everett's wording is cautious.

    He's in the business. I am not. If I were, I'd take the advice for what is it, that of one professional to another.

    In terms of career success, can we put Rupert Everett on the same scale as Tom Cruise? I guess we'd have to ask them how they measure success. In terms of income, there's no comparison. In terms of getting the choicest, most fulfilling roles, I'm not sure. In terms of being open about who you are and still being able to support yourself and fulfill your dreams through your career?
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19138

    Dec 04, 2009 4:20 PM GMT
    I think a lot of it has to do with the way in which someone comes out, and how "public" they want to be about it once they come out. Neil Patrick Harris commented on it but he doesn't focus on it, nor does he go around beating the "I'm Gay, deal with it" drum every time he gives an interview. He doesn't make it an issue, nor should it be. Adam Lambert on the other hand, now that he's openly gay, is a bit too "in your face" with it for his own good and I think it could backfire on him. There are many "out" actors and actresses who work all the time because they simply don't make it an issue. Jodie Foster is a prime example. Everyone knows she's gay, and she doesn't hide it, but you're not going to see her giving interviews in PEOPLE magazine on the subject either.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Dec 04, 2009 4:39 PM GMT
    Doogie will never make the box office blockbuster bank of closetted Tom Cruise. That was like comparing apples to rocks!
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    Dec 04, 2009 4:39 PM GMT
    Well at least he is not in the military lol
    Cough*DADT*coughicon_confused.gif
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    Dec 04, 2009 4:40 PM GMT
    I don't think there is anything wrong with Rupert giving his opinion on a situation he is intimately familiar with. While I think it would be great if everyone came out, this is a personal decision that has very different implications for each person. Not everyone is equipped to handle the repercussions of coming out.

    I respect Adam Lambert and Rupert Everett for following their hearts, and being themselves. I think Adam is very talented, and if he manages his career properly he has a future. However, he does not represent me as a gay man anymore than Brittney Spears represents my sister as a hetero woman.

  • pandx970

    Posts: 357

    Dec 04, 2009 4:54 PM GMT
    love creyente's post.

    not to say anything bad about Mr. Everet's realist analisis of the film biz. I dare to be hopeful for a world where one can be gay, lesbian, purple, or green and not have to hide it.

    There's a beautiful quote, that I can't find so i'm going to paraphrase, that just is in opposition to what Mr Everet just said. if you encounter a wall, the wall must have been put there for a reason and that there's a big green expanse on the other side of it.

  • kietkat

    Posts: 342

    Dec 04, 2009 5:04 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidSome actors managed to successfully come out, but only after they had established careers. Sir Ian McKellen is one (Gandalf, Professor Dumbledore), but then he doesn't need to play straight romantic leads at his age anymore, concentrating on single characters, some even gay themselves ("Gods and Monsters").


    *cough ... Ian never played Dumbledore ... *cough
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    Dec 04, 2009 5:14 PM GMT
    kietkat said*cough ... Ian never played Dumbledore ... *cough

    Of course, why the HELL did I get that mixed up? That's the late Richard Harris, and currently Michael Gambon. Guys in long white beards and robes do tend to get me confused. Thanks for the correction. icon_redface.gif

    gandalf.jpg
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    Dec 04, 2009 5:20 PM GMT
    meninlove said Well this is kind of a tough question, because technically your orientation isn't something that is pertinent to your job.

    Your happiness, which makes you more productive at work, is. If you come out at work, and it's not a gay friendly or neutral environment you're not going to be very happy.

    We'll ponder this a bit more and come back.


    I concur with your view. You can't advance society unless it's in the open. We should have learned that with our health care system, and "The War on Drugs."

    Hiding, such as those in false belief systems (religion, cults, superstitions) only allows folks to see the bad side, and make things worse across the board.

    Think of all the suppressed homos that work in The Priesthood of the Catholic Church, or the miserable fucks wearing their holy underwear yet masquerading as Mormons. It's sick. It's wrong.

    In my view, best not to promote the illness.

    Often, leadership is hard. Folks who are honest should never be faulted. They're truly leaders blazing new ground and show that integrity should outweigh the dollar.

    I have no respect for a picture-less, a liar, a wife-cheater. Wrong is WRONG.
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    Dec 04, 2009 8:14 PM GMT
    yes
  • GoodPup

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    Dec 04, 2009 10:59 PM GMT
    I hide it at work... at least for now. To me its not a big deal to keep it quiet while I am new and trying to impress people. At the fire station I'd rather be known for my good work ethic and hard work rather than being that new gay guy. Eventually I might come out... but I don't want to distance myself from anyone. Kind of like with family... its family and if they respect you they'll stick around. Well I gotta earn the respect of the guys at work especially considering I'll be with them for the next 30 years... and no one needs to know what I am doing in my bedroom. ha!

    My old work was my church... worked there from 15-24... right in the middle there is when I starte figuring myself out. So I had to hide it there obviously. I guess always having to hide it so far its no big deal to me but eventually would be nice to not have to have cover stories and reasons for why I am not married. haha!

    As for Adam... I said a lot about him in another forum discussion. But yeah, based on the reactions of my straight family and friends and co-workers and stuff... he has only distanced gay people from conservative hetero's even more. For example, my mom loves Ellen and thinks she is such a great person and was happy when she saw Ellen get married. Then Adam comes on the scene forcing his gayness and telling people to basically get over it... well it is people like him that got her and her many firneds from church to support the ban on gay marriage. Obviously more to it than that... but I think stuff like that doesn't help.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 05, 2009 6:02 AM GMT
    OK, we're back. It's a complicated question because your well-being, being able to eat and have shelter, comes before displaying or wordily advertising your orientation, which really has no place at work in many positions.

    That said, to have people admire and respect you first and THEN come out is great! They'll look like stupid bigots when it becomes apparent they suddenly dislike you BECAUSE of your sexual orientation after falling all over you about your performance. heheh
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 05, 2009 3:23 PM GMT
    Ooooh. Great topic and one that I recently had the pleasure of discussing in an open forum with LGBTQA youth.

    I think it boils down to this: You shouldn't hide your sexuality but neither should you beat people over the head with your rainbow flag. You also need to be very cognizant of your work environment, your state or country's laws, and the avenues available to you should you encounter problems in the workplace.

    Essentially - and this might make some of you hate me - you have to tailor exactly how far out of your closet you are depending on the environment you work in. In some environments, it makes sense to be more discreet. Not hiding, or fully in the closet, but discreet. And by discreet, I mean knowing when it is and isn't appropriate to bring out the rainbow flag.

    There's also the aspect of how and when you come out at work. I've generally found with my co-workers that if I don't make a big deal about it, then they don't either. I don't go out of my way to proclaim "I'm gay" but I have a picture of me and my boyfriend on my desk and I wear my LM Pride shirt with ... um ... Pride. I tend to let people approach me and ask me about it. Typically if they're asking, then they'll be cool with the answer. If they don't ask, well I'm not going to make it a point to shove my gayness in their face.

    As MenInLove said, it also tends to work better if you let people get to know you, and respect you, before you drop the G-Bomb. Then it becomes really apparent who has issues with "the gay" and opens an opportunity for discussion, education, and maybe a change of heart.
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    Dec 06, 2009 12:56 AM GMT

    Thanks very much CharlieBrown.

    Love your blog!

    Hey guys - the link to it is on Charlie's profile.


    -us
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 06, 2009 1:02 AM GMT
    I see where Rupert is coming from, but I disagree. Sure, it might mean you have to work that extra bit hard, but I would imagine any person new to the industry is going to have to work hard. If you're talented, then you will (hopefully) succeed. Just being known as another gay entertainer won't build your career.

    There is, I think, a difference between being openly gay and flamboyantly gay. People in the mainstream, I think, are happy to accept an openly gay entertainer, but not a flamboyant one (there are exceptions, of course).

    Me thinks Rupert is just lamenting his own career.
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    Dec 06, 2009 1:55 AM GMT
    It depends on what you want more, your career or your honesty and integrity. Being closeted unnecessarily causes internalized homophobia. Society is so steeped in homophobia that people keep justifying, accepting, and reinforcing that there is something wrong with homosexuals.

    All that said, I don't feel it is necessary to make a big deal out of your sexuality, but going out of the way to hide it is bad for your mental health.

    Adam Lambert is a grown man, he can make up his own mind and decisions. He is a part of a new generation .. things are different for him than Rupert Everett.