OFF THE RACK

EW Tackles “The New Art of Coming Out In Hollywood”

If you’re a slave to the media grind, you’ve probably noticed that celebrities have stopped broadcasting their homosexuality on the cover of tabloids, like Ellen DeGeneres and Lance Bass did once upon a time.

Now, the typical coming-out arc is: celebrity lives in paper-thin closet transparent enough that many think they’re officially out. Then celebrity makes casual comment at benefit or in interview (but, not, apparently at Long Beach Pride). Then the celebrity’s low-key message is blasted across the blogosphere without them looking too desperate or activist-y.

In this week’s Entertainment Weekly cover story, Mark Harris examines the new casual method gay celebrities are using to reveal their sexuality publicly for the first time.

Even if it’s accomplished in a subordinate clause or a passing reference, coming out casually is, in its way, as activist as DeGeneres’ Time cover, although few of these actors would probably choose to label themselves as such.

The current vibe for discussing one’s sexuality is almost defiantly mellow: This is part of who I am, I don’t consider it a big deal or a crisis, and if you do, that’s not my problem. It may sound like a shrug, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for indifference. By daring anyone to overreact, the newest generation of gay public figures is making a clear statement that there is a “new normal” — and it consists of being plainspoken, clear, and truthful about who you are.

We don’t know if we agree with Harris’ assement that the relative success of people like Zachary QuintoMatt Bomer  and Don Lemon have “put to rest any questions about the viability of being out in showbiz.” After all, those three didn’t come out until after their careers took off and they’re still not exactly household names. But it’s a fascinating read nonetheless.