An issue which has occasionally been touched on before but perhaps not really discussed at length, is the matter of public figures such as celebrities and politicians refusing to reveal their own sexual orientation while being in positions of power or celebrity-status to influence the public perceptions and attitudes towards gays, lesbians and transgender people.
The matter has recently come to prominence with high-profile chef Gordon Ramsay outing Channel Nine television presenter Tracy Grimshaw as a lesbian during a Food & Wine Show presentation.
Despite being a high-profile personality in Australia and having graced the covers of many women’s magazines, Tracy Grimshaw’s sexuality has always been out of bounds. Typically, the subject matter of interviews with Grimshaw will revolve around her love of horses and her rural lifestyle south of Sydney.
At 49 years of age, it appears that Tracy is still a spinster.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
However, if (and I’m not saying she is) but apparently Gordon Ramsay is convinced she is, a lesbian, then wouldn’t it do Tracy and others a power of good if she just admitted it?
It seems that public figures, so called celebrities in particular, are still uncomfortable with the idea of coming out of the closet. If and when it does occur, it’s usually because public speculation has become so rife that the individual concerned is pretty much placed in a position to either confirm or deny.
Anthony Callea eventually came out of the closet when a Sydney radio station blurted out Anthony’s partner being a “he” which was pretty much public knowledge to everyone in the Sydney gay community anyway.
Everyone from major Hollywood blockbuster stars to a member of the royal family have been subject to speculation over their sexuality. Many go on to lead ostensibly heterosexual, in appearance at least, lifestyles.
Liberace, for example, maintained throughout his entire life that he was not homosexual and successfully sued a number of newspapers that alleged that he was. He maintained this position despite dying from an AIDS related illness in 1987.
And then there’s our very own pin-up boy who’s been known to wear the occasional pearl necklace Ian “I’m not Gay, Okay” Thorpe.
So while the “mainstream world” has jumped ahead in leaps and bounds in terms of society’s acceptance of gays and lesbians, it seems that the pressure to remain “in the closet” is still alive and well in the world of fame and fortune.
Wouldn’t it be tremendously inspirational for young people to witness more role models, such as Ian Roberts, come out and dispel the bigoted and prejudice views held against gays and lesbians and demonstrate that we’re just like everyone else and exist in all walks of life?
Personally, I believe this would help prevent many youth suicides, and even if it saves one confused teenager from taking their own life, or resorting to a life of self-destructive behaviour, wouldn’t it be worth it?
Do public figures and celebrities that make their fortune from their infamy have an obligation to make their sexuality known, or is their insistence to remain “in the closet” not just deceitful but actually perpetrating negative sentiment towards gays and lesbians due to their reluctance to admit to their own inner truth?