Jake Shears: Gay Celebs “Have Responsibility To Come Out”


I think gay celebrities at least have the responsibility to come out. It can be tricky though. My very good pal, Anderson Cooper, finally came out publicly this year, and though it was hard for him as a journalist, I was so proud that he finally did it.”

Scissor Sister frontman Jake Shears discusses busting down the closet door with rucomingout.

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  • Brian

    The problem with coming out is that others want to make it the only thing about you. Your sexuality becomes the focus of their interest. Your personality, your interests besides sex, your hobbies etc all take the back seat as people wish to make your sex life the central theme in how they perceive you.

    It’s not just conservatives who drive this perception. Liberals do it, too.

    What I would say to people like Jake Shears and Anderson Cooper is this: stay in the closet. In a perfect world, coming out should be good because you feel so much better about yourself. However, it’s not a perfect world. If you’re in a business based on the marketplace, such as music or media, people will be less inclined to buy from you.

  • FStratford


    so you tell people to stay in the closet for money?

    But Anderson is already one of the richest person on earth, him being a VANDERBILT scion. He owns America, dontchaknow?

    So Anderson, based on your logic, has NO reason not to come out?

    You dont make sense at all

  • Dawster

    my personal opinion is that “responsibility” is the wrong word. YES, it is in the bester interest of the gay community as a whole, and beneficial to the next generation of kids, but coming out is a very personal and difficult process… FOR EVERYONE… and it is individual without adding the pressure of us and the weight of the world to the mix.

    there are other communities other than the gay community for some of us. I relate more to the art community than the gay community sometimes. and for someone like me, raised in a strict anti-gay religious household, I can’t relate to the life of Jake Shears. I could, however, relate to Anderson Cooper. and every negative comment every time his picture was posted on this website cut harshly and it was everything for me not to rebut each comment by saying, THANKS GUYS. THANKS FOR THE BULLYING PRESSURE.

    I’m proud of Anderson… AND of celebs like Jake alike. but neither of them have a responsibility to be anything but themselves.

    BTW journalists are not artists. Artists tend to be activists by nature, opinionated and slanted (ahem… as I am proving my own point). journalists are pretty much the opposite. I always seem to lose understanding how both should be held to the same flash bulb when the only similarity is fame.

  • pscheck2

    I think it would be great. However, many celebs can’t come out for fear they will lose their career (and livelihood); therefore, they are prisoners to their profession! But there are others who don’t have this constriction and could easily weather the storm and continue to be accepted by the public (Matt Bomer being one such celeb). I think that those who can but refuse to leave the ‘closet’ suffer a image problem they want to project to their fan base. EGO!

  • Wilberforce

    It’s always amazing to me that the public listen to ignorant celebrities. Shears is a singer right? And yet the masses treat him like a statesman.
    His quote here is more bilge, more gay celebrity bubble group think. Everyone has a ‘responsibility’ to come out? Please.
    Your responsibility is to yourself, to assess your circumstances, with all their pros and cons, and make the decision that’s best for you. Forget about what brainless, entitled media talkers have to say about anything.

  • RSun

    I think we owe it to ourselves to be honest and come out, as difficult as it may be. Staying in the closet damages your self worth (whether you realize it or not). It also doesn’t help the “cause” much.

    My two much younger, recently out cousins attribute my coming out nearly 20 years ago as a big boost for them. When you think about the small influence I had, you can just imagine the reach of a celebrity.

    I agree with Jake…celebrities should come out.

  • Little-Kiwi

    Coming Out isn’t the final goal – it’s actually only the FIRST step. Shears is right. Grown adults have a responsibility to open the doors for the next generations.

    When you Come Out you take the first step toward living your life on your own terms; no longer caring nor catering to the whims of others.

    So, Brian, you’re dead wrong.

    Stop caring about how people perceive you. Those of us who are actually Out know the truth.

    If nobody was Out, there’d be no “gay communities”, there’d be no Equality, there’d be nothing more than secret meetings the back of darkened living rooms.

    If you’re a grown adult in North America, in 2012, understand that you have no reasons to remain Closeted. Only excuses. And excuses are for boys, not Men.

    we have people coming out in Iran. Uganda. Afghanistan. Pakistan. Russia. And yet grown adults in North America continue to give excuses to remain closeted? *sigh*

    oh well, I tip my hat to the brave men and women who are more selfless than selfish. They risk a lot so that others can live freely. They’re the vanguards, and we owe them everything.

  • Little-Kiwi

    “but neither of them have a responsibility to be anything but themselves.”

    which is gay :-)

    remember – if you’re Closeted, as an adult, all you are doing is allowing others to pressure you to “Stay In” – there is actually no such thing as “being pressured to Come Out”

  • RSun

    @Little-Kiwi: 100% agree.

  • Spike

    Coming out is a personal choice and with all due respect to HAWTE Jake Shears, he did start his a career as Weho GOGO boy . . Candy Ass. Doesn’t exactly make coming out all that difficult.

  • Little-Kiwi

    attempt to articulate that with specifics, Spike.

    Coming Out and Staying In are both personal choices.

    but one is about bravely accepting a truth, and the other is about cowardly letting bigots dictate your life and living a lie.

    i never understand why some who choose to remain closeted insist, like you just did, that those who are Out seemingly didn’t have it be “all that difficult”….

  • RSun

    @Little-Kiwi: Why IS that? I resent that assumption. I put myself out there every single day to be judged and criticized while closeted cowards scuttle away in the shadows.
    I don’t regret it for one second. Being open, honest and proud is way better than living a life of lies and self-loathing.

  • Little-Kiwi

    exactly. i’ve heard idiots say things like “It was easy for you to Come Out, everyone could tell that you’re gay”

    Uh….how does that make it “easy”? is it easy to be a visible target for bigotry?

    No. but its what cowards say to excuse their own cowardice. “Oh, they’re Out so it must have been easy for them”

    yeah. RIGHT.

  • Joincny

    @Brian: So you think it’s okay for people to lie for money? Hmmm interesting set of morals you have there.

  • balehead

    But coming out is all some gays ever do (for money too)…..Gays can do more than just coming out…

  • Little-Kiwi

    the only gays who come out, for money, and that’s “all they ever do” are Gay Republicans.
    well, they don’t actually Come Out, either. they get Found Out. slight difference.

  • Aaron

    @Little-Kiwi: As someone who never “had a choice” I completely agree with you. Having everyone assume you are gay, and bully you about it, when you are 14 and still trying to figure it out yourself, is hard. Many “obviously” gay teens and tweens kill themselves.

    There is nothing “easy” about coming out. Yes, “everyone knew” – but I still got put into therapy by my parents, kicked out of my church, and had to deal with endless rounds of weeping relatives praying for my soul. How is that “easier” than being 40 years old with money and independence and owning up to who you are?

  • RSun

    @Aaron: Coming out isn’t for pansies. :-)

  • Little-Kiwi

    I was in a very similar boat, Aaron

    And just a few years ago I ran into a former-tormenter at a gay bar. He’s gay, now. Not Out, mind you. And he unleashed all that projected anger at me. It is, apparently, *my* fault that he can’t come out to his family. Because I was, or am, some Stereotypical Fag. And his family hates Stereotypical Fags. And yeah, he used that line:
    “it’s easy for you because everyone already knew”

    yeah. so easy. so easy that back in our earlier years he’d call me a [email protected] and get the other schoolkids to bully and harass me. that was totes easy.

    and now here he is, in his early thirties, and still Closeted. because only us “folks who had it easy”, come out. yeah. right.

    it wasn’t easy. we just got toughened up real fast.

  • Brian

    The irony of coming out is that you then go back in again. Letting everyone know that you are gay then morphs into becoming a member of that infamous closet called the “gay scene”. Biggest closet around.

  • RSun


    While I agree that there is a segment of the gay community who ARE defined by their sexualty (we all know people like that). Your ridiculous assumption that EVERYONE who comes out enters the “biggest closet around” is laughable.

    Being out and proud does not mean that you are defined by it. It means that you don’t cower to bullying and intimidation. It means that you advocate for your personal rights at work, at home and at play. It means that you are a good role model through volunteering and by being a good neighbour. It means that you are a contributing part of your family as a person who is honest and fulfilled. It means that you can live a life unafraid of who might find out your secret.

    It means that you never apologize for being gay. EVER.

  • curan

    Let me paraphrase a poem from Shakespeare.

    Sigh no more, then, sigh nor more;
    Men were deceivers ever;
    One foot in sea and one on shore,
    To one thing constant never;
    Then sigh not so,
    But let them go,
    The fraud of men was ever so,
    Since summer first was leavy.

    The intelligent, wise, artful, and long-lived opinion of the psyche of man is that he is a complete scoundrel.

    Why on earth would anyone be “proud” of loving such foul creatures?

    It does make quite the case for misanthropy.

  • RSun

    Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
    William Shakespeare

  • 2eo

    @RSun: “Fucking magnets, how do they work?” – William Shakespeare

  • Dawster

    are we just side stepping the idea that the two people we are talking about have jobs of a very different nature? Shears job is to sing or entertain. Working in that field means one should come out and set an example to be yourself, talented, visionary, activist, etc. etc.

    Coopers job is to inform. and anyone over the age of 12 knows that reporters such as christiane amanpour have had their lives threatened just by simply trying to interview persons from the Middle East (for example). in many parts of the world, Cooper will never be taken seriously… ever. that is a big step.

    Especially for someone who was never really IN the closet.

    Neither one has their first line of occupation listed as “celebrity”.

    everyone is so concerned about the words “I’m gay” while overlooking the fact that Cooper has brought forward many gay issues and topics in discussion on CNN whether it’s his documentary on the Sissy Boy Project or gay issues with elections. (Or Kathy Griffin on NYE, for that matter.)

    I agree, all celebrities who are gay SHOULD come out. it’s cowardice not to, ESPECIALLY in the professional world (I’m looking at you, Clive Davis). but it’s on an individual’s timeframe… not our own.

  • Mjl-428

    @Dawster: I think they’re all trying to deliberately ignore you. I think you’re right though

  • Little-Kiwi

    @RSun: actually, i’d counter that the only people who are “defined” by their sexuality are those who refuse to Come Out.

    they’re defined by a fear of being defined by their sexuality.

    even the “gayest” queen in the gayest bar is not, actually, in any way “defined by being gay” – their freedom to be who they are proves that they don’t worry about it. thus, they’re free to let it all out, as they know that there’s more to them than “gay” – no matter what someone else may choose to project or see in them.

    you can choose to care what bigots think, or you can choose not to.

    but the only people “defined by being gay” are those who refuse to be Out

  • jheryn

    The gay community advocates acceptance. We want acceptance in the world as equals no matter who we sleep with or what we do. I guess that acceptance is only what we want for ourselves and not for others.

    Coming out is a purely personal thing. Who are any of you to insist that coming out should be mandatory. You don’t know everyone’s lives and situations. You do not know what they have to deal with. You don’t even know how comfortable they are with their own sexuality. Especially those who are confused. None of you has the right to tell anyone else what to do. Doing ANYTHING is the decision of the person not the groups whom he or she happens to be lumped in with.

    I am proud to be out of the closet, but I did it when I was ready under my own terms. I did not come out of the closet for many years because I did not want to deal with the headache some of my family would have caused. What I scared to come out? Hell no. Did I not want to put up with the bullshit I would have had to deal with? You bet.

    By the way, your obvious disdain and hate of those who do not come out on YOUR terms is apparent, but you are also the first people to bitch when others do not accept you being gay. Where is your acceptance? Where is your compassion?

    Additionally, many of us are not involved with the gay community because we don’t relate. That old adage “They all know you’re gay anyway” is false. I shocked the hell out of my best friend who knew me better than anyone. I don’t fit the gay stereotypes. I have gay friends, but I am just not interested in the gay community and neither is my partner.

    For those of you insisting that these gay celebrities and ANYONE should come out, you are not thinking about those people. You don’t want to be judged by your sexuality or anything else for that matter? Then stop your own judgments.

  • Mjl-428

    @jheryn: “like” button

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