|Friday, 06 July 2012 13:58|
A couple of days ago, after it was announced very publicly that Anderson Cooper"s sexual orientation is "gay," I wrote a post saying, basically, "So what? Is this news?" I didn"t believe it was a genuine news story. I felt it was no big deal: He"s gay. Who cares?
Well, I suppose the moral of this story is that what is largely irrelevant to some people can be big news for others. I should have remembered that when I came out as a transitioning woman, I was doing so to raise awareness about people like me with gender dysphoria. Now that I have been doing it for four years and counting, it"s old hat.
And, I have lots of gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender acquaintances and friends, most of whom are out. So, it"s no surprise that I simply shrugged when I heard about Anderson.
I still maintain that, ideally speaking, a person"s sexual orientation or gender identity should be no big deal to the world at large. I would still like to see everyone be "ho-humm" about it all. But the fact is, a lot of LGBT people do still live in the closet. They"re afraid to come out, they"re afraid of the very real discrimination that still exists in this world.
I"ve been reading a good article by John M. Becker on the LGBTQ Nation site. He explains why Anderson"s coming-out announcement is important news (to some), and why it matters. Here"s a brief excerpt, but I urge you to read the full article:
Writes John: "In our heterosexist culture, straight people feel no obligation to keep any details of their love lives private. We"re surrounded by art, music, literature, drama, and media dissecting, lamenting, and extolling every facet of love between opposite-sex couples. How often do we hear about the boyfriends/girlfriends, fiancees, spouses, or even the one-night stands of everyone from our straight friends and co-workers to heterosexual celebrities, major and minor? Yet as soon as LGBT people enter into the discussion, love and sexuality become a matter of a person"s "private life?" Give me a break. What it really boils down to is that LGBT people and couples feel pressure to keep our love and relationships private in order to avoid making straight people uncomfortable."
Good points, John.
I live a bit of a charmed life. Not only am I fully out as both a woman who has transitioned and as a bisexual person, I do share details about my love life. My colleagues, friends and readers hear about my boyfriends and girlfriends, and about other parts of my private life. I don"t face any real discrimination, because I live in a tolerant society and work with good, good people.
But I understand that many LGBT people are still afraid, and have good reasons to be afraid, and that Anderson"s announcement may be an inspiration for them. It will also help in the struggle for equal rights in the United States, because God knows, they have a ways to go in some states yet.
I yearn for the day when everyone will have the freedom I have, and I do believe it will come.