Apparently Jodie Foster came out on the Golden Globes Award show last night. I say apparently because she never said the word lesbian, gay, or shudder queer. She instead talked about coming out and rambled on in what can only be described as an awkward display of just how uncomfortable she still is in her own skin. Shots of her glowing sons made me wonder if they weren’t responsible by whining, “Mom, it’s 2013, just say it!” Of course I’m happy she did it and I’m happy it’s finally done. In 2007, she thanked her “beloved Cydney,” which for most of the audience could have been a man or even a dog for that matter but for those of us in the know, Cydney was her female romantic partner of 20 years, Cydney Bernard whom she mentioned again last night gushing over the arc of their relationship, ”ex-partner-in-love, righteous soul sister in life, confessor.” Having had one of those kinds of relationships myself, I do understand her stumbling over how to label it. But still, the confusion continues…
What did you think of her announcement? Do you think there’s still people out there who didn’t understand she was coming out as a lesbian? Do you think anyone really cares any longer? Do you think her stilted acting will improve now that she can be herself? And why is she friends with Mel Gibson? Do they throw back beers together and tag team bitches? For my money, Deb Baer at Huffington Post said it perfectly in Why I’m So Angry About Jodie Foster’s Coming-Out Speech,
But back to Jodie. She blamed publicly remaining in the closet all these years — even with a long-term partner and two children — on that whiny excuse that so many celebrities use: “privacy.” Sorry, but there are a lot of “private” stars who don’t do a lot of press and don’t talk about their personal lives, like Daniel Day-Lewis and Johnny Depp, but we know basic facts about them, such as whom they are married to. The “privacy” excuse is just that: an excuse.
Hamilton Nolan took a different route over at Gawker and penned the perfect piece, The Sheer Gall of Celebrities Demanding Privacy. Read it and weep. Just brilliant. Nolan writes,
Pardon us for resorting to cliche, but there is no better example of the “have your cake and eat it too” phenomenon than a famous Hollywood actress self-righteously asking for privacy on stage at an awards ceremony.
Michaelangelo Signorile also writing for Huffington Post, Jodie Foster: What Her Gay Coming Out Means in 2013 sums up the responsibility that comes with celebrity and privilege succinctly,
Personally, I don’t care if people like Jodie Foster are bitter or annoyed at activists. It’s the job of activists to challenge people and, yes, to annoy people. What I care about is that the repressive and suffocating gay closet not be seen as a good place even if it is still the only safe choice for many. The only reason that millions are still in the closet is that society forces them there under threat of punishment. But things get easier for all those millions of closeted individuals when Hollywood celebrities and media figures come out. And more and more, it appears that it’s becoming their responsibility, as privileged members of society, to do so.
I’ll end with a sound file to put a smile on your face. It’s from my favorite Foster film, Contact which by the way I adore. No images in this post. I’m honoring her need for privacy.
Click on this: I’m okay to go.
Update (1/15/13): Two more articles from Huffington Post deconstructing Jodie’s speech:
The Not-So-Unbearable Loneliness of Being Jodie Foster by Sandip Roy
Jodie Foster and the Queer Line Between Public and Private by Nathaniel Frank