What does it mean to be an openly gay celebrity? Does it mean being representation for the LGBTQ community, or does it mean losing out on the chance of becoming anything other than that?
This question was brought up by a recent reddit user for the Actual Lesbians subreddit.
The original poster said that she was a real pop singer who started off being openly bisexual. At the time, she preferred to date men more and was encouraged by the people around her who said it was “hot” to be bi in the entertainment business.
Only later did she start to think that she was into women more than men and wanted to officially come out as gay.
I told my manager and producers, who I'm really close to. First words out of his mouth were, "Don't tell anyone." Said I'd lose tons of male fans and become a niche gay artist. And that I better not "shave my head and go all dykey".
Now before I get into my own thoughts on this topic, I have to first express the obvious. This post could be a total fake. It could just be some random person trolling the internet. In which case, the redditors, Queerty, and myself have fallen for it.
That said, the topic brought up by the OP was interesting enough to talk about, so I felt like talking about it.
Now, what makes a pop star, a pop star? Fans, media coverage, and attention.
Coming out as gay doesn’t necessarily take that away, at first anyway. But it can puncture a hole into your fanbase that will slowly leak away.
The example that I think of off the top of my head is Charice.
Remember Charice? She wasn’t a big pop star but she was (semi)famous for her singing. She was discovered by Oprah and sang “Note to God” like the beast performer she is. She then went on to cameo on Glee and make a (semi)splash in Hollywood.
But then, she came out as gay and went “all dykey” as the OP so delicately put it.
And honestly, she disappeared after that. I’m sure she’s still performing somewhere, but I haven’t the slightest idea where. American media has forgotten all about her.
Even saying the "dykey" line like that makes me feel like slime, but I hope at least the point gets across. Fans leave because of changes in stars and coming out is one of the big examples of that.
So the question is, should pop stars be brave and risk it anyway? The OP (and her managing team) said no.
They said I don't have to actively lie that I'm bisexual, but if any questions come up I should just avoid it by saying something about fluidity and not everyone needs a label.
Now that is interesting. We’ve all seen headlines that so and so celebrity says he or she “doesn’t go by labels.” Which normally I just think, “Yeah yeah, whatever. You’re a stranger to me anyway. Why do I care?”
But, thinking of that and then thinking of the reddit post brings new life and interest to the words. (Certainly, Harry Styles’s recent news comes to my mind too).
Of course, the intention of the words were never hidden, but at the same time the meaning and malice behind them becomes real.
Yes, these celebs are saying that they are queer in some context but don’t want to put a label on it (and have others judge them for it). But perhaps, they are saying it not because they want to, but because they have to.
It’s a survival tactic. It’s not a free willing, “I live my life” comment, but one that’s like a forced ransom note. A code like the handkerchief colors of gay culture in the ‘70s.
The Op went further to say:
It's totally changed my perspective. I used to wonder where all the gay celebrities were, and why everyone was "no label" these days. Now I know they are hiding in plain sight.
Of course a lot of them are actually in that grey area. And I will take their word for it. It's a real orientation, and doesn't mean you're closeted or confused. But it's sad how many gay people are forced to do it too.
We all know there are closeted LGBTQ celebs out there. We all know there are celebs who are without labels because they truly like it that way. But, none of us can imagine how many there are because the entertainment business likes to keep them locked up.
Fake or not, this Reddit post brought up an interesting topic. What do you guys think? Fake post or not? Do you think gay celebs should just take the leap and come out? Let me know all your thoughts and feelings down below, and let’s get talking.