Alex Blaze

Alan Cumming: It's 'Irresponsible' to Tell Actors Not to Come Out

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 27, 2011 7:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day
Tags: Alan Cumming, closet cases, Hollywood

"I think it's so mean-spirited. If you're living a lie, that's not healthy, and I think it is really irresponsible of Richard and Rupert to say those things. It's about how you exist as a person in the world, and the idea that your work is more important than you as a person is a horrible, horrible message. I always think about a little gay boy in Wisconsin or a little lesbian in Arkansas seeing someone like me, and if I cannot be open in my life, how on earth can they?"

--Alan Cumming

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We live in a world and culture where we have multiple 'responsibilities.' When he says 'irresponsible' to which community or group or entity or concept does he mean? Can we presume Richard Chamberlin would be just another queen with a failed acting career-- and without any significant "role model" status-- if he came out at 14? His generation lived in a culture where it was damn difficult to be queer and any kind of role model.

Unless we always carry a big sign marking our queerness, the heterosexual presumption kicks in and we all go through much of our everyday "in the closet". Coming out isn't something you do once. Coming out is a perpetual process we are all stuck with every day. We all make strategic decisions weighing our multiple responsibilities carefully when we decide to do it in one situation or another. The heterosexual presumption makes "coming out" itself an impossible task to do entirely right (satisfying all our responsibilities at once). Its a burden put upon us by the dominate culture as a means to oppress. If it can't be done right, it's petty (and playing into our oppressors' hands) to accuse each other of doing it "irresponsibly."