Out Raises Some Questions About Coming Out

If there’s one person we love, it’s that adorable scamp Rupert Everett. Sure, he may have a reputation for being a bit of a diva, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t got some valid points to make, so we’re thrilled to itty-bits that Out Magazine‘s taken some time to sit down with the gay actor to chat about his new memoir, Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins.

Sitting down with fellow Brit and Out EIC, Aaron Hicklin, Everett chats about his new book, growing up gay and the state of the gay celebrity nation. While he laments the dearth of out gay celebrities – a shortage that’s particularly irksome when straight actors land the choice gay roles – Everett’s not looking to be the go-to gay in the celebrity village.

Sitting down for some sushi, Everett waxes philosophical on the double-edged sword of being both out and famous:

If you were trying to promote yourself as Anderson Cooper, are you gay first and foremost, or are you Anderson Cooper? If he does agree to talk about it, well then you can’t talk about anything else, and no one WANTS to talk about anything else, which is understandable. They’ve got someone prepared to talk about it, so they’re like little kids–every journalist just wanting to know more and more and more, and as you’re talking about it you’re draining everyone of interest in you. Then people start thinking, ‘Oh, my god, he’s such a bore–I wish he’d shut up about being fucking gay, these fucking fags.’ And then you trigger another phobia, which is this impression that gay men and lesbians never stop going on about it.

…Being gay is not an identity, that’s the bottom line. It’s a sideline. But through nobody’s fault and everybody’s fault it’s become a subject for identity…

Certainly identity politics have largely gone the way of the do-do and Everett makes an interesting point. It’s hardly possible to mention him, Ian McKellan or the newly outed TR Knight without referencing their sexual proclivity. They and the other few out actors have become Hollywood’s homo voice, thus obscuring their other personal qualities.
While Everett (pictured above by Louis Decamps) wonders about the potentially negative side effects of coming out, columnist Josh Kilmer Purcell uses his monthly wordage to take on the dangers of sexual speculation. He writes:

It’s not the occasional watercooler gossip about “who is and who isn’t” that’s harmful to everyone involved: the fan, the closeted celeb, the gay community at large. It’s the obsessive, ego-driven compulsion that winds up frightening closeted celebs into hiding. If I were Clay or Anderson contemplating whether to come out, I’d be less afraid for my career than for my life. And their resulting silence robs young gay teens of gay role models. Thus continues the cycle of self-loathing among us.

Certainly an interesting take. Although, one must also consider (again) TR Knight and Neil Patrick Harris: both men responded to conjecture by coming clean. And, it seems to us, they’re in a more powerful position than some of the less courageous folk hiding in the shadows.

Of course, taken with Everett’s comments, one must take into account that once a celebrity comes out, they’re out forever. They’re forever the gay actor, journalist, singer etc. Whether that’s good or bad…well, we’ll leave that for you kids to debate.

In addition to these boffo pieces, the kids have a little sit down with Factory Girl‘s Andy Warhol, Guy Pearce, an Academy Awards-related rant from Dale Peck, an article on Kevin Sessums’ new memoir, Mississippi Sissy and a superb soccor-themed photo shoot courtesy Francois Rousseau: the photographer whose work on the 2004 Dieux Du Stade helped launch a thousand masturbatory fantasies. Judging from the samples below, this issue contains a few of its own.