Wednesday, September 05, 2007

102. Inspired by Ellen

Two posts in two days! Insanity!

So, yesterday I was doing some cleaning, when I had a sudden realization, accompanied by a girlish squeal – Ellen’s back on TV. I missed her all last year because her show doesn’t air in Korea – which seems like it would be obvious, but they got The View, and Oprah… they should have Ellen! And I swear, it’s not the lesbian factor that makes me like her, I just think she’s hilarious and her show is awesome. (Funnily enough, the last daytime show that caused that sort of reaction from me was back when Rosie had her show… two lesbians, two fabulous daytime talk shows… hmmm… maybe that will be the new lesbian stereotype? Our equivalent of gay men and Broadway?)

Anyway, she had Hillary Clinton on for her first show back. Hillary has been on Ellen before, so honestly, I expected more of the same… funny, personable, not really political – you know; light, fluffy daytime talk show stuff. So imagine my surprise when Ellen just up and asked her about her stance on gay marriage.

First of all, it was very interesting to watch Hillary completely not answer the question Ellen asked, although, to be fair to her, with the political climate being the way it is in the US, I don’t think it is possible for anyone to come out for gay marriage and get elected, so I think she’s doing the best she can.

But it also got me thinking about a couple of other things. The first off being about celebrities coming out. I am totally of the opinion that a person should have the right to come out on their own terms, famous or not… so these fishing expeditions to out people against their will that are championed by people like that Perez guy bother me. A lot. (Incidentally, I should say that this opinion of mine is slightly different when it comes to people in positions of real power – as opposed to the false power of celebrities – politicians and the like, especially those who are so vocal about their hatred of gays… somehow it doesn’t bother me so much when their hypocrisy is exposed.) But watching that clip made me realize why I’m always so happy when a celebrity does come out. Every single time it happens, we become more human.

I remember this one time I somehow found myself in the middle of an intense discussion on the issue of gay marriage (before it was legalized here in Canada) with some ladies from my church. One of the ladies in the discussion knew I was gay, the others didn’t… I would have actually probably come out, except for one participant in that discussion who I fear may have run from the table in horror – perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but she almost certainly would have reacted negatively, and been horrified to think that she’d actually left her children alone with me on a few occasions. It was actually a pretty good discussion, with the exception of this one particular woman, nothing that was said was offensive or insulting… it was just some people trying to wrestle this issue out. The one thing that did bother me, though, was how clinical it was… they discussed this topic as if it actually didn’t pertain to real people. Just statistics, numbers, political viewpoints. It was just so impersonal. I kept trying to bring it down to people, mentioning the few gay couples I know, one of which I seriously keep expecting to get married soon (honestly, every time my friend calls me I get a little excited, hoping that maybe this time it’s “the call”). They would nod, and for a few moments the issue would be real to them, but then that moment would fade and gay people would go back to being the anonymous “other”.

Watching Ellen bring the issue home to herself, mentioning not just an anonymous girlfriend, but mentioning her by name, how it was important to her that the person she loves be protected under the law… I sat in my living room, wondering how many people at home who love Ellen, and have come to terms with the fact that she’s gay but try not to think about it too much, were suddenly seeing this issue as it pertains to an actual human being that they care about for the first time. Oh, I don’t thing she changed a whole lot of minds in that 3 minutes, but she may have made people realize that this whole fight is not about “attacking the institution of marriage” like the religious right insists it is.

Weird as this may be to say, I was proud of Ellen.

The other thing she got me thinking about was brought up just at the end. I’ve talked about it a little, but in the wake of yet another Republican gay sex scandal (seriously, what on earth is going on over there on the Right? Are they putting something in their drinking water?), I thought what she had to say about shame was really insightful.

And once again, it made me think about all of those celebrities who are rumoured to be friends of the family. They are totally within their rights to stay as closeted as they want, and until they come out themselves, well, it’s all just speculation and should be seen as such. But… I admit, I’ll be happy if and when they do come out, because as weird as it is to think about, their lives do effect me. Nothing tempers homophobia like knowing someone who is gay, and while few of us actually know any of these people, in our bizarre culture of celebrity, we all sort of do.

1 Comment:

just me said...

Talk about a link-rich post! And I get the glee at Ellen. I just netflixed her comedy dvd.

I am quite amazed in my learning lately how much it matters for people when other people come out. Who knew I could be impactful, not me.

Hey do you email? I have something blog post like that I can't post on a blog...