Andy Cohen recently described himself as a “gold star gay,” meaning he’s never engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman, while chatting with his BFF Anderson Cooper. Now, blogger David Kaufman over at Quartzy is taking the 49-year-old Bravo exec to task.
“From Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to RuPaul’s Drag Race, there’s always been a level of convivial silliness about LGBT pop culture,” Kaufman writes. “But nothing has ever quite reached the sheer pettiness of the Gold Star phenomena.”
It’s not that there’s anything wrong—or necessarily right—about gays or lesbians who’ve only gone horizontal with their own gender. After all, same-sex attraction is at the core of LGBT identity. The problem is that qualifying sexual histories with terms like “Gold Star” adds a level of competitiveness to LGBT identity that’s not only inane—it’s downright divisive.
The term “gold star,” Kaufman feels, implies there’s a right and wrong way to be gay. Not to mention, it’s elitist. And that’s not cool.
Not every gay person has had the ability—or, yes, privilege—to avoid “performing” heterosexuality before they were able to come out. Indeed, for many young men and women, “acting straight” isn’t just an expression of sexual ambiguity—it’s literally an act of survival. Embedded in communities where rejecting straightness can mean losing their families, jobs and even their lives, chasing some nebulous gilded star is as removed from their realities as…well…being a millionaire cable TV executive or heir to an American dynastic fortune.
What do you think? Does Kaufman have a point or is he being overly sensitive? Share your thoughts in the comments section…