Monday, January 16, 2012

The Gayest Thing You'll See This Week

Todd Glass has been performing his profanity-laden comedy for a while now. He suffered a very public heart attack in 2010 and after undergoing angioplasty, appeared on the Bonnie Hunt show a few days later to talk about. He practices Muay Thai kickboxing and uses decidedly 'straight' references in his standup, though I must assume that will change, soon.

Today, on comedian Marc Maron's WTF podcast (via), the ruggedly masculine Glass came out publicly. Out to his family and close friends for many years, Glass was prompted to go public in the wake of the suicide epidemic among young gay men, saying that he asked himself "...when are you going to have a little blood on your shirt for not being honest about who you are?"

Glass joins Kristie McNichol among the most recent public figures to come out for the same reason. He says he hates the word "gay" but finds it preferable to "homosexual," a term I've always found clinical and cold. I understand his feelings, because it's about labels. I may be a gay man, but that hardly defines who I am. I am a director, an actor, a singer, a son and a brother. I am a friend, an acquaintance and a co-worker. I am a blogger, a screenwriter and a playwright. I'm a cinephile, a TV addict and (gasp!) a smoker. I also happen to be gay. All of those things (among others) define who I am. Citing just one of them is both shortsighted and disingenuous.

I came out to most of my family in my 30's, though I had been out to most of my friends long before. I understand how difficult a decision it is to do so. But I have also come to realize that the more folks who do so, especially those in the public eye, the better. Celebrities have a platform that allows for public discussion and a better understanding of what it means to be gay. Gay men like Glass also let people know that being gay isn't a stereotype. There are plenty of masculine gay men, just as there are plenty of feminine gay women. And of course being butch or fem, masculine or feminine and/or any permutation thereof, doesn't (and shouldn't) matter.

What does matter is that we are all human beings with he same hopes, desires and dreams of happiness that everyone else has.

So, to the Rick Santorums and Pope Benedicts of the world, I say "Get over yourselves, already."  We don't want to subvert society. We don't have an agenda. We aren't interested in 'recruiting' your children. We only want the same rights that straight people have. I don't think that's too much to ask, do you? I can imagine a day when all of this is history and people are ashamed to remember a time when the LGBT community was marginalized as much as black people were in the 60's. In fact, I can't imagine a better subject to talk about on MLK Day. I would hope that if he were alive today, Dr. King would be a powerful and vocal ally in our fight for equality.

If you are not familiar with Todd Glass' standup, here's an NSFW clip:

Come out, come out, whoever you are!

More, anon.


Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Life is so hard for all of us. We continuously must out ourselves to every new person that we meet for the rest of our lives. It gets tiresome. But if you don't do it, then people just "assume" you are straight. I've had to switch jobs twice and at both places "I'm gay". And then "I'm gay". It gets tiring.

Prospero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prospero said...

I never "came out' at at the job I have now. I just talked about life openly and everyone got it. I never had to say "I'm gay." People just got it and then moved on (I work for a very liberal and accepting NPO). It was never really an issue. I guess I'm lucky.

Stephen said...

Good for him. I am unfamiliar with him, but I find him rather hot in the clip.

I bravely came out when I was 8 years old. I did it for the attention.