You know me: I love link bait. So when I saw this headline, I had to click over to an article on Rant Lifestyle, 25 Celebs That Shocked Us When They Came Out as Gay. It’s kind of a challenge, because really, how likely is it that anyone was shocked when whomever came out as gay. In fact, recently, I’ve been thinking about writing an article, “Celebs that Shocked Me When They Turned Out as Straight.” I have quite a list. Robert Preston as married for 47 years. Joel Grey was married 24 years and had two children, one of which was a rather bad actor. Tony Randall was married for 50 years to Florence Gibbs, when she died. But he was so heterosexual that he got married three years later at the age of 75 and sired two children. But maybe it’s just me: I automatically assume any man who was a musical theater star is gay. I’m also surprised that Grace Jones is straight. Regardless, at this point, an article about shockingly straight celebs strikes me as a lot more interesting than one about gay celebs. (And yes: I am using the term “celebs” simply because it annoyed me in the original headline!)
The list of 25 was divided into two groups: one small and one large. The small one consisted of people I had actually heard of. And there was one shocker that I will come back to. But first, let me list all the celebs that I have never heard of: Matt Bomer, the star of a show I’ve never heard of; Jason Collins, a basketball player who bravely came out after he retired—the article says he “truly came out” as opposed to Oscar Robertson who “falsely came out”; Raven Symone who appears to star in a show with her name in it; Lady Sovereign who is some kind of cute (I use that in the worse possible sense) rapper; Amber Heard is one of those models who looks hot emerging from bodies of water—but she’s not gay, she’s bisexual, unless, you know, Johnny Depp is a transvestite (which is possible); Zachary Quinto is a television actor with fabulous hair; Victor Garber is someone who acts in a lot of bad movies but may be great—how would I know?; Jonathan Bennett is a “leader star” which I think is Rant Lifestyle for “we don’t know how to write”; Matt Dallas played the title character in a television show I’ve never heard of; Sarah Paulson was in a television show; Jonathan Knight was in a boys band; Suze Orman who is one of those celebs that don’t seem to qualify as celebs at all—or maybe celeb isn’t short for celebrity (I’m so out of it, how would I know?).
Most of the people who I actually knew from their work I also knew explicitly were gay, because, you know, they talk about it all the time. For example, Ian Mckellen, who frankly couldn’t hide it if he wanted to. It was much more surprising to learn that Derek Jacobi was gay because (1) he doesn’t talk about it so much, and (2) he’s a better actor. It was only watching him nancing around while directing Hamlet that I found out. (Jacobi is not on the list because he wasn’t in Lord of the Rings I guess.) Another example is Portia de Rossi. Was not her marriage to Ellen DeGeneres something like an American Royal Wedding. Jeez!
It turns out that Ricky Martin is gay. I didn’t even know who he was in 1999, but after seeing this I knew:
Jodie Foster? Ha ha ha!
I didn’t know who Gillian Anderson was by name. But I found out that she was a star on a show I know was really big but which I never saw because I thought taste required it. She seems to be gay only in the sense that she had a lesbian affair in high school. Since then, she’s had two husbands, one long-term boyfriend, and three children.
I also didn’t know David Hyde Pierce by name, but of course, he’s the guy who played Niles Crane on Frasier. And of course he was gay. The producers got together and said, “Kelsey Grammer is just a total unlikeable jerk, we need to pair him up with with a nice gay guy.” It was magic! I was just disappointed that the series didn’t end with Frasier falling down in the park and being eaten by rabid squirrels.
Kelly McGillis has spent a lot of time married to men, but I guess the new haircut sealed it for anyone wondering for at least ten years.
Nathan Lane? Ha ha ha!
Cynthia Nixon is bisexual. She had a husband and two children with him. Now she has a wife. It’s weird how homosexuality is like blackness. If you are one percent black, you’re black; if you’re one percent gay, you’re gay. I did find out she’s suffered from breast cancer and has become an advocate. But I have no idea what the status of the disease is. She was first diagnosed in 2006, so hopefully she has made a full recovery.
Wanda Sykes? Yes, if you had never seen Sykes do her stand-up routine and had never heard her talk you might have missed this. She was once married to record producer Dave Hall, which might have pushed her over the edge. I know that I’ve remained straight all these years because of Dave Hall. (I’m kidding! I’m sure Dave Hall is a perfectly nice guy and great in the sack!)
Annie Leibovitz? Say it ain’t so! If only Susan Sontag were around to confirm or deny!
Okay, now I have to get serious. Was Eleanor Roosevelt gay? It doesn’t really look like it. Maybe she lusted in her heart. She certainly was comfortable with lesbian couples. And she had a very strong friendship with Lorena Hickok. But there is no evidence of them consummating it. What’s more, I think people want to jump from physical affection to sex when it isn’t necessarily warrented. Human beings are complex, and Eleanor Roosevelt was more complex than most. Regardless, her sex life is about the least interesting thing about one of the most interesting people of the twentieth century. Oh, and did I mention she had six children? Also: those rumors about Roosevelt have been around forever—they are hardly shocking.
Now for a real shock: Cary Grant was gay! Except, well, he wasn’t. This is a similar situation with Eleanor Roosevelt. Grant did have some strong friendships with men, and I’m afraid everyone wants to sexualize them. It’s possible that he was bisexual, we’ll never really know. We do know he was married five times and those women all confirm that they had a lot of sex. But I think there is something in a lot of us who like the idea that someone as witty and debonair as Grant must be gay. You know, someone like Noel Coward.
Regardless of all that, you can bet that when a website offers you “25 Celebs That Shocked Us When They Came Out as Gay,” we are not going to be shocked and many of the people are not going to be gay. Well, at least the list didn’t include Oscar Wilde or Alan Turing. But Nathan Lane? Really?! I mean, really: really?!