For those who’ve never heard of this term, a “glass closet” refers to the situation in which someone is widely known, or at least believed, to be gay – for whatever reasons – but this person never confirms or acknowledges the rumours. For regular, everyday people, this isn’t usually such a big deal. However, when it comes to celebrities, the LGBT community doesn’t often take kindly to this silence. Now, I always think that if a person has the right circumstances aligned for them and they’re in a position to come out, then they absolutely should. It usually makes life so much easier. That being said, I understand just the same that not everyone is able to come out, or has the courage or support or whatever the case may be to come out. And, sadly, that does include celebrities. I totally understand the idea that the more visibility of gay celebrities there is, the better it is for LGBT youth who are struggling with their sexuality… I totally understand. However, it seems to me that we’re using this “think of the kids” rhetoric as often as the homophobic right is, just in a different context.
The reason I’m discussing this is because I was actually looking at some pictures of a particular celebrity today and this stayed on my mind. I won’t mention the celebrity’s name in this, not because I think that I’m being unfair to him or anything, but because he really does seem like such a nice guy and I’d like to respect his privacy because the conditions under which his sexual orientation has come into question borders a tad on the gossipy side, and I don’t like that. This celebrity is a young, good-looking guy who has starred in two hit shows and has at least one big-name movie expected to come out in the near future. Suffice it to say, he’s got a pretty good future ahead of him, career-wise. He is also widely believed to be gay, not necessarily because of any flamboyant characteristics, but of some let’s say “incriminating” photos of him from his past. Although he’s never confirmed that he’s gay, he’s never denied it either. Furthermore, while it would have been the most expected route for him to find a pretty young actress with whom he’s suddenly found himself in a “relationship”, he never did that either. In fact, he never addressed the rumours at all, which led me to this glass closet thing. If he isn’t outright lying about being gay, he isn’t saying anything homophobic at all, and he’s actually appeared in support of LGBT causes, does he absolutely have to come out? And if you think that he does, why?
Hollywood, and the entertainment industry on a whole, has always been rife with celebrities living in the glass closet. Before publicly confirming their sexual orientation, celebrities like Ricky Martin, Jodie Foster, Anderson Cooper and Zachary Quinto were all long believed to be gay. Even now, other celebrities like Kevin Spacey, Queen Latifah or youtuber Joey Graceffa refuse to acknowledge whether or not the persistent rumours about them being gay have any merit, yet in that same regard, they do nothing to contradict the rumours. They don’t speak badly about gay people, and Queen Latifah has often taken part in or performed at pride parades. Who knows what other support or financial backing that they bestow on worthy LGBT causes behind closed doors.
So, why is there this constant need for us to want them to come out? I’m not blaming anyone for wanting to see celebrities proudly wave their rainbow flag; I readily admit that I always feel a sense of pride when a new celebrity comes out of the closet (glass or otherwise). But that’s just the issue, isn’t it? We let our own sense of pride become too dependent on the “out-ness” of celebrities. So what if a celebrity is gay and refuses to admit it just yet? Does that make the rest of the LGBT community any less relevant? This has honestly been on my mind for quite some time today, and I have yet to reach a definitive conclusion. While I understand why we, at large, would want a celebrity to claim their sexuality for the whole world to witness, maybe it isn’t such a bad thing when the closeted ones who we “know” are gay take some time before admitting it. As long as they don’t throw stones at the rest of us, maybe their glass closets deserve the right to remain intact.