Uptown Bourgeois is an art space for the creative works of freelance writer, editor, author, and content creator Jefferey Spivey.

Are We Past The Celebrity Coming Out Story?

The headlines read “I Wanted So Badly to Be Straight For My Wife”.  The breaking celebrity news about Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos’ coming out story is juicy and salacious.  He wanted to make his marriage work but he couldn’t deny his true sexuality.  This is the kind of the stuff that makes the front page of People and Us Weekly magazines.  And it even sounds a bit like a Lifetime movie in the making.  But at a time where gay marriage is recognized nationwide and a major celebrity has taken us through her transgender journey, is the coming out story still worth telling?

Let me clarify the question.  Coming out stories will always be interesting, and they’ll always be needed. There are lots of men and women around the world who are in the closet and gain their strength to confront their loved ones by reading these stories.  There is a need for coming out stories in the LGBT community.  But I’m not sure these should be the only stories.

Unless you’re reading a gay publication, it often feels that mainstream media outlets only focus their gay people features on coming out stories and extreme discrimination.  It’s rare to open up the Sunday newspaper to read a story about what it’s like for a gay couple to raise children in today’s society.  Or a fun article about planning a wedding (from a gay perspective). Or profiles of successful gay entrepreneurs.

I know these stories are out there.  Cosmopolitan Magazine recently posted an amazing mini-documentary about a mother raising a young transgender boy named Penelope. The video detailed the unconditional love between this mother and her child.  And it also shared a very realistic, empathetic, and honest view of the joys and struggles of Penelope’s life. 

But these stories are not headline news or trending topics when they’re shared.  The story about Angelakos was posted everywhere immediately.  And now when you Google Passion Pit frontman, it’s the first story that pops up.  Our country is still obsessed with just knowing who’s gay and who isn’t.  With all of the advancement of the last few years, I’d expect us to be further along.  I want the stories about gay people to pack in more depth and emotional layers.  While coming out is an important step in any gay person’s life, there’s so much more to being gay than simply being gay.  We deserve a voice in media that shares all sides of gay life and doesn’t just retread the same territory over and over and over again.

The Year of Shame