The Rules

ellenportia.jpgThe new issue of Entertainment Weekly has an article about the recent wave of celebrities who are publicly coming out—like Lance Bass, Neil Patrick Harris and T.R. Knight (no mention made of Kristanna Loken or Michelle Rodriguez, ostensibly because EW had already gone to press when that story broke).

According to EW, there are a new set of rules to follow if a star wants to come out and maintain both their “career and credibility.”

  • If you don’t want being gay to be the most interesting thing about you, make sure it isn’t
  • Try not to have spent the previous decade lying
  • Sound bored
  • If you’re going to come out, do it in the mainstream press (EW recommends People, not The Advocate)
  • Skip any note of self-congratulation for your bravery
  • Brace yourself: Gay people will still gossip about you
  • Avoid proud characterizations of yourself as “straight acting” as if it matters, especially when you’ve been out for all of 10 minutes

I’m not sure that this handy guide applies directly to female celebrities (when’s the last time you heard a lesbian describe herself as “straight acting”?), so maybe we should try to come up with some alternative, lesbian-specific suggestions.
Here’s mine:

    • Start by outing yourself, then let your girlfriend set up her own interviews. Outing her first is like that old t-shirt slogan, “I’m not gay but by girlfriend is”—which was meant as a joke.
    • If you come out, stay out. Please don’t come out as a lesbian unless you’re like 98% sure that you actually are a lesbian. If you think you might be bisexual, just come out as bisexual. Nothing’s more irritating than for the rest of us garden variety lesbians of the world to be regarded as potential “hasbians” just because some famous girl who once called herself gay decides she wants a do-over.
    • Don’t tell people you weren’t gay before you met your girlfriend, that really annoys us.

Any others you’d like to add to the list?

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