Friday, February 22, 2013

Labels, Schmabels



I am venting today about the need of public figures to come out.  Do we care that Chief Executive Officer of Sony Music Entertainment, Clive Davis, came out as bisexual in his recent memoir The Soundtrack of My Life? He told Cynthia McFadden on ABC’s “Nightline” that he, 80, twice divorced, had sex with a man in the 1970’s and has been in a monogamous relationship with a man for the last seven years.  The most intelligent tidbit he told McFadden was that bisexuality does exist. 

Motives Behind Coming Out
It may be cathartic for Davis who launched the careers of Whitney Houston, Barry Manilow, among others, to write about his sex life, but do we need to know?  Sex sells, maybe it catapults memoirs to the Best Seller’s List.  Or maybe he is trying to be an ally to the Gay Rights Movement, you know normalizing the behavior so the public will gain greater acceptance of gays and lesbians?  Or maybe, leading by example with his openness (or self-serving ambition?), he is trying to get others to come out.
 
And, do we care that Kelly Clarkson, whose career he helped launch, is annoyed with him.  Her sexual orientation seems to be in question and she wallows in the flattery that “hot lesbian chicks come on to her?”

My Take
In any case, I’m of the old school that you don’t have to be explicit about your sex life that is no one’s business.  If you’re gay, and want to say so, fine.  If you want to introduce your partner, why not?  But skip the details.  Please don’t feel pressurized to tell the world.

Of course, I hope there will be day when anyone’s sexual orientation isn’t talked about, in private or public.: “ I didn’t know he was gay”; “ she’s too girly to be a lesbian.”

Other Labels
This week, The Associated Press got into trouble with gay rights activists over how to address gay married couples.  In a leaked memo, the AP stated that “generally AP uses ‘couples ‘or ‘partners’ to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages.”

Huffpost Gay Voices Editor-At-Large Michelangelo Signorile, in a huff (tee-hee) took umbrage.  Civil unions are not the same as same-sex marriages legalized in nine states and The District of Columbia). Said Signorile, “by deciding that gay marriages and heterosexual marriages are not equal, presumably until every state and the federal government recognizes gay marriages, the AP is taking the side of those who claim that marriages of gay couples performed and legally binding in nine states and The District of Columbia are not legitimate.  That’s not a judgment that journalists should be making.”

The Associated Press clarified its stance: “regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legalized recognized marriage.   Spouse or partner may be used if requested .”

What Do you Think? 
Should a person be defined as bisexual, gay by another?  Or if married, be called a “husband,” “wife,” “spouse” or “partner?”

Post your comment here.