Nothing like a small rant to get the blogging juices flowing again.
This past week the actor David Ogden Stiers publicly acknowledged that he is gay. You will probably remember him as Charles Emerson Winchester, III, on M*A*S*H. Stiers is 66 years old and has most recently found steady work doing voice acting in animated Disney films. He alludes to the fact that some of the powers-that-be in Walt’s World didn’t think it would be prudent for an actor in their “family-oriented” fare to be openly gay, and thus he remained closeted to protect his career.
This sudden flash of personal honesty (at about retirement age, ironically) was considered news this week, though it would certainly have been bigger news if a current, more visible celebrity offered it. He will likely now become more visible in the gay community and might even be seen grand-marshaling a few gay pride parades in future years. The fine folks at the Human Rights Campaign will probably figure out a reason to give him some kind of award, the best way to assure celebrity presence at the annual dinner. In short, he’s just set himself up for a sort of mini-hero status in certain circles.
And I say, “Pshaw!”
There are millions of people across this country and the world who have lived open and honest lives of true integrity for years. And no one has ever offered to put them on the cover of a magazine for it. These are people who risked family, friendships, jobs, and social standing for one simple reason . . . they chose to live honestly.
I feel sorry for David Ogden Stiers. To wait until 66 to be true to yourself would not be much of a way to go in my book. I don’t believe what he did was “wrong.” He did what he had to do. I don’t pass judgement on people who feel they must remain closeted. They have their reasons. But, I don’t necessarily celebrate them when they finally figure out that there is life outside the closet, like some sort of gay prodigal son.
The bottom line is, it’s only news when a celebrity does it. But, darlin’, he ain’t no pioneer.