Jodie Foster turning the Golden Globes into her coming out party was hailed by many as as a brave admission and by others as a self-indulgent, narcissistic, ego trip by a pampered Hollywood prima donna. In a scathing essay, “Jodie Foster Stops Lying,” columnist Andrew Sullivan ripped Foster a new one for her remarks:
I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family, co-workers, and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now, apparently, I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show.
“What unadulterated bullshit. She never came out until, very obliquely, in 2007,” a snarky Sullivan sneered. “And virtually every coming out these days is low-key, simple and no-drama. I do not remember Anderson Cooper’s press conference, fragrance or reality show.”
Hey, Andrew? You’re being an asshole.
Coming out is a personal,private decision and no one should ever feel they have to do so to meet someone’s political agenda.
If Foster were some hypocritical politician who rails against lesbians by day while fiendin’ after them by night, that would make her worthy of scorn. But she’s a private individual who chose to keep her sexual orientation her private business and so what?
Foster merely confirmed what the world knew years ago. Clarice Starling is a lesbian??? Who knew? Oh, that’s right…EVERYONE knew!!!
I can’t remember how many years ago it was I was in NYC and there were handbills stuck on walls of Jodie Foster with “Absolutely Queer” plastered under her picture. Foster being part of the sisterhood has been one of the worst-kept “secrets” in Hollywood for a long time.
This is a country where we pay an inordinate amount of attention to celebrities. Whether we should is a different question. But to the extent that someone famous and accomplished reveals their sexual orientation and it makes it easier for someone else to do likewise, that does make it worthy of our attention.
I have a friend who headed the LGBT Student Services at Ohio State University and he told me, “Coming out is the bravest thing someone can do.” I believe Jodie Foster just proved him right.
However, I’d be more impressed if it were Queen Latifah up there coming out to play. Or Raven-Symone. Or Shemar Moore. Or Missy Elliott Or Tyler Perry. Or Oprah. Or any of the many other Black folks who may be gay but are trying hard to be something they are not because they’re afraid of what it might do to their careers.
Anyone who watched Set It Off where she lip-locked another woman knew Latifah was a little too convincing just to pass it off as Method acting. Latifah has tried too hard and too often to fake where she’s coming with lame rom-coms like Just Wright where she failed to convince she was hot and bothered for Common and not Paula Patton. I call bullshit on taking the down low to those sort of extremes.
Perhaps in a clumsy way, Jodie Foster stumbled out of the closet and doesn’t deserve the round of applause she’s getting. You can’t blame anyone in the gay community for rolling their eyes and sighing in response to Foster making a show of her admission by saying, Wow, that’s great, Jodi. Anything else you want to tell us while you’re monopolizing the microphone?”
But in my community, what Foster did (and is being dinged for) rarely happens in the same way and I sort of wish it would.
It isn’t required for gay people to come out it can be an act of courage and a source of pride and inspiration to others when they do.
Everyone needs heroes and sheroes. Maybe Foster telling everyone what they knew was already true isn’t all that much of a big deal and isn’t deserving of a standing ovation. Yet, even if it comes late, isn’t being honest about who you are and who you love still more of a good thing than bad?
Tough crowd around here these days…
- Jodie Foster Comes Out and Maybe Retires (advocate.com)
- judging jodie (ngforequality.blogspot.com)
- Complexities of Coming Out: The Jodie Foster Edition (blogher.com)
- Jodie Foster Comes Out in Most Amazing Awards Speech of Our Time (jezebel.com)