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Jodie Foster and the Silence of the Gays

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I have always liked Jodie Foster but I have no idea what kind of personality she is in private as she's been in the public eye since the age of three. God knows how she's ever managed to separate her public persona from her private life, so when I watched her 'coming out' speech at this years Golden Globes, I thought it was no big deal. Her lesbianism wasn't something she'd ever tried to hide and surely there wasn't a movie fan or film buff, straight or gay that was surprised?

So she didn't mention the 'L' word. She decided instead to eloquently 'out' herself by speaking of the great love of her life and the 'modern family' they had together. Who in a liberated and free-thinking world is going to be offended by that? Who, in a time when gays can get married, adopt and walk down the street hand in hand is going to feel slighted, let down and downright furious about an extremely successful, beautiful and seemingly well adjusted movie star expressing the love she has and has had for the last twenty years for another woman?

Well, apparently, a huge part of the gay community feels slighted, let down and more furious than Hannibal Lecter when faced with a census taker, some Fava beans and a bottle of Chianti. I didn't need to have the wits of Clarice Starling to realize that the usual suspects were going to take to Facebook and Twitter and strip, dissect and rake through the bones of her Golden Globes acceptance speech.

So what if it took her twenty years to stand up in front of the camera's and out her self?
Surely, she's been doing that in her career choices for the last ten years anyway. OK, her films do not feature full on, lesbian lip locks but most of them are like cat nip to every lesbian friend I have. She didn't need to scream it from the rooftops because lesbians are not gay men, and not every person's experience of coming out is akin to a Diana Ross lyric. I don't automatically connect Jodie Foster to being 'a lesbian movie star'. I automatically think of her as being Tallulah in Bugsy Malone, and you can't get more gay friendly than a 1920's flapper called Tallulah.

My life and self worth is not dependant on whom Jodie Foster decides to share her life or sleep with. It's not measured by anybody particularly rich, famous and gay. I understand that there will be others that say someone in a position of influence, of extreme wealth and in the public eye owes it every person struggling with their sexuality to come out, but I really don't agree.

Just because a persons life is in the public domain it doesn't mean they owe it to every young, confused or bullied teenager to fling open their closet doors and assure them that life is fine and everything will be OK, because it won't. I wouldn't think it healthy either for a bullied teenager to place all their hopes and dreams in someone who lives high in the Hollywood Hills and gets paid $20 million per movie when they are living on a council estate and struggling to find bus fare.

We all make choices in life and I truly believe that the choice to come out and identify yourself as being gay is such a personal affirmation that it's nobodies business but your own. A movie star or the girl next door can come from bigoted parents, just the same as they can face an intolerant boss or find an understanding friend. Role models are an essential part of growing up and of course, it helps if they are someone you can relate to but placing too much emphasis on sexuality is going to turn you into someone with a one track mind, and the track that you'll find yourself on is one with hardly any humor and militant tendencies.

Oh god, someone's got your gay goat and you're angry again?

Give yourself and everybody else a break please and be an activist about something more than an acceptance speech.

Who cares if Jodie, John, Tom or Portia are gay? Let them get on with their free living, high rolling, self-loathing lives and worry about your own.

I have a real problem with gay people who are determined to claim any effete or super butch personality (male or female) as 'one of us'. I don't need to know whom a star is sleeping with to want to watch their movie, read their book or go and download their record and I definitely do not need to look to them for any positive affirmations as to who I am and where I am going. I'm not living on gay street and I'm not living in a gay world so it's not the only thing that defines me. I am more interested in the gay men / women who go about their day to day life, hold down a job, speak to their elderly neighbor and are a part of their community (which is probably what any gay movie star is doing).

A movie star who has no financial worries, can pay their mortgage, fly first class and stay in a suite at Claridges is not going to help me pay my rent and put food on my table (even if they are uber gay or just gay friendly), so I have better and more pressing things to worry about than if Jodie Foster forgot to drop the L bomb on Hollywood for twenty years.

I like Jodie Foster. She comes across as a focused, successful, beautiful and loving woman, who just happens to be gay, and maybe by concentrating on her family and career, rather than her identifying herself publicly as a lesbian for the last twenty years, that's exactly what people should accept her for.

Gays included.