Coming out as a celebrity isn’t something to be scared of anymore. Acceptance has expanded from coast-to-coast throughout the United States. The LGBT community has made strides to change the lives of many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Coming out can be a stressful time for youth across our country, but LGBT celebrities have become role models for many homosexual men and women. Every now and then, you may hear of well-known faces that have proudly come out as gay or lesbian, such as Jodie Foster and Robin Roberts.
Some wonder if celebrities should or should not be obligated to come out to the public. According to some Ramapo students, “out” celebrities are an inspiration to LGBT youth, although there are mixed feelings about whether they should be coerced into “outing” themselves to the public or not.
Most recently, “Juno” star Ellen Page announced at the “Time to Thrive LGBT Youth Conference” that she is a lesbian. The young and talented actress received praise and acceptance throughout Hollywood and beyond after coming out, answering questions posed by the media about her sexuality. Page received a standing ovation at the conference after her motivational speech for the community of LGBT youth and counselors.
A trend can be seen here, as media outlets are often very eager in wanting to “out” celebrities.
“I don’t think anyone should be obligated to come out,” Yovanna Garcia, Ramapo’s queer peer services coordinator said. “A lot of the times celebrities or people who are prominent figures in the media are ‘outed’ inadvertently by the stories that are written.”
Michael Sam, a top NFL prospect, publicly announced that he was gay two weeks ago.
The University of Missouri All-American Defensive Linemen said, “I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it. I just want to own my truth.”
The 24-year-old athlete wanted to be open about his sexuality to the public so the media couldn’t run away with his personal story. He wasn’t forced out–he chose to come out.
“Everyone deserves to live the life that they want,” said sophomore Alex Ashwa. “Basically, if someone’s hiding who they are then the world doesn’t see them as the right person. Even if people think they are straight, people have to be real with themselves.”
In the end, it’s safe to say some feel an individual’s sexuality, no matter how famous one may be, is a private matter. An individual should have their own time and choose when they want to come out.
Others believe that celebrities are obligated to come out so that LGBT youth can learn not to be afraid and to be proud of who they are. Also, as a result, that celebrity can be at peace with their sexuality and not hide anymore.
No matter what way you look at it, a celebrity coming out is very important to our youth. Celebrities like Page and Sam want to inspire and motivate the LGBT community to be true to themselves.
These LGBT celebrities and athletes want to make a difference and they can because, like Garcia said, “when celebrities choose to come out it makes it easier for people or the younger generation of people to see that, and to see them as figures, so that they can follow in their footsteps and not be afraid to be out.”