General Question

dalepetrie's avatar

Is there anyone at all on Fluther, or on the face of the planet for that matter who was surprised that Clay Aiken came out?

Asked by dalepetrie (18002points) September 24th, 2008

Anyone….anyone at all? Is there a reason this is news? And perhaps someone can explain this to me…why do celebs stay in the closet when they’re not really typecast in such a way that it would really harm their careers to come out, especially when it’s patently obvious to everyone on the face of the planet anyway? I mean, I get that coming out is a very personal decision, but I would say that in the image conscious world of pop-stardom (unlike say being an auto mechanic in Jersey), it’s probably a plus to let your freak flag fly. The glamorous world of pop is custom tailored for individualtiy, and being open about one’s homosexuality doesn’t seem to have any real minuses there.

Maybe there were family issues…maybe he wasn’t concerned with what the public thought, but with what someone close to him thought…that’s all I can figure. It just seems like if everyone already knows, and you’re going to come out some day anyway, and you’re not afraid the Scientolgists are going to kick you out of their club (I’m talking to you Tom Cruise), why wait until people have been making gay jokes about you for a decade and THEN make a big announcement to the world? In fact, when I first say the story it wasn’t even “Clay Aiken comes out,” it was “Clay Aiken to come out.” It was as if he’d announced that he was ABOUT to announce he was gay. WTF? Hell, I remember Conan O’Brien making a joke shortly after Clay put out his first album…how many years ago was that…that he was working on his follow up “Aiken for Man”.

And hey, if you really were that adverse to people knowing…you’ve gotten away with it for years anyway, why even bother announcing it…just let people continue to assume that’s the case but don’t address it, what’s the problem?

I guess there’s one thing though that’s always bothered me about celebrities who don’t come out, I know it’s their choice and all, but let’s say I was gay. And let’s say I became famous. My thought would be that as difficult as it might be, what about the gay kid who idolizes me but who thinks there’s something wrong with him, and that being gay is bad? By coming out, I could be an inspiration to people like this, to show them that there’s nothing wrong with them, that it’s OK to be yourself. But if that same kid knows I’m gay, but I won’t cop to it, that’s going to reinforce the message to him that there’s something wrong with being gay, if there weren’t, I’d come out, right? I mean, here I am in a career where arguably it could HELP my career if I came out, and even I won’t admit I’m gay…what message does that send. I’d feel I was doing a disservice to a kindred spirit.

I know this issue is complex and all, but I just plain don’t get what’s up with this announcement. If it weren’t for that last aspect, I wouldn’t even care, it’s just that I feel like he’s a perfect example of what I see as a great self-serving hypocrisy. What do all of you think?

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57 Answers

shilolo's avatar

This is clearly more important than our impending financial meltdown… WTF am I going to do now? I guess I have to burn all my Clay Aiken records (that is, if I were i. homophobic ii. knew a single Clay Aiken song or iii. owned a “record”).

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

Maybe it was an elaborate Hollywood plan to wait until his popularity dwindled and then rip out the ‘coming out’ event as a boost of fame.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I think he was too young b4 this to come out publicly. Now that he and his friend will be raising a child, I think he felt he had to.

I read a lot of books by written by gay men (David Sedaris is my FAV author) & all that I have read (real stories) the guys didn’t come out until in their 20’s or later. I think it’s so complex, and all have had some family member that is totally against it.

I try to remember these people aren’t only celebs, but have the same persnickity Great Aunts, Uncles, cousins, grandparents, siblings and parents that we all have and have to live in two realms of reality.

just my opinion

dalepetrie's avatar

shilolo, maybe that was it. Maybe he was trying to bury the news amongst the financial crisis news, kind of like they do with political campaigns….put the news out when something else is going on, then it won’t get too much publicity.

sarapnsc's avatar

I was surprised, my mouth gaped open, that takes alot of surprise for me, to have my mouth gape open. I really hadn’t been following his life story, I’m just one to listen to his music. Maybe he was advised by his manager or someone to hold off on telling America, because of his career. Maybe he found someone serious and wants to bring them out into the open, who knows. Well we do know one thing for fact, that wholesome image that he showed us, will not get any advertising jobs with Disney now, will it! I still like his music though.

deaddolly's avatar

In this day and age, I’m surprised he waited so long. And, you’d of had to be living under a rock for centuries not to know he was gay.

shilolo's avatar

@Dale. Maybe. But look at Neil Patrick Harris. He has seemingly gotten more work since coming out than before. And, he’s a “singer” (I use that word loosely, because I think American Idol is rubbish). There are lots of gay musicians and singers whose careers are fine.

GAMBIT's avatar

With an election going on, our ongoing fight over oil, Wall Street crumbling, the housing market getting worse and worse I wouldn’t care if Batman and Robin came out of the closet. I wouldn’t care if John Wayne had a fling with Bob Hope.

These types of stories take away from more pressing issues. I would prefer if magazines such as The National Inquire would pick up these things and if anyone is interested they can read it by their grocery freezer. These type of water cooler articles distract from some of the larger main stream media stories.

I’m worried about another great depression on the horizon. I could care less what some kid does in his spare time.

sarapnsc's avatar

Doogie Howser is GAY??????????????????? I guess I’m one of those people deaddolly states have been living under a rock, because I sure didn’t know that!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@dead, I agree.

I thought over the past couple of years he was trying hard to make it completely apparent to all.

I presume he felt this was just a final step.

He was going to get publicity & pics in magazines w/his son anyway. He just killed 2 birds w/one stone!

deaddolly's avatar

@ sarapnsc Doogie came out awhile back. If you think about it, have you ever seen either him, Clay or Lance Bass romantically linked with a female in any magazine?

I can understand why Rock Hudson never came out way back when…but I don’t understand it today.

sarapnsc's avatar

@deaddolly no, but I wasn’t looking either, if they came on tv or I seen them in a magazine, it didn’t catch my interest to read about them or watch interviews of them…I was looking more at Nicolas Cage, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, those kind of guys!

Judi's avatar

Maybe it was to get people to start talking about him again.

Judi's avatar

oops, I didn’t see what aneedle had said.

Zaku's avatar

I sense truth in aneedle & Judi’s answer. Seems to be working. I tend to ignore current pop culture when possible, and I only recognize the name. I don’t even know what Clay AIken does… er I mean his work… or what he looks like. This question almost got me to google the name. But not.

Judi's avatar

Who was they guy I had never heard of that got famous when he was caught with a prostitute and then got a role in a movie with Julia Roberts???? Same concept.

augustlan's avatar

Isn’t he a pretty religious guy, too? Perhaps he was struggling with his own beliefs for a while. Having a child can really focus you in new ways.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Hugh Grant…
loves his work

Judi's avatar

That’s they guy, but I never heard of him until then.

Zaku's avatar

I think it’s geekily interesting that Fluther deems this question a sibling of “What do you like about Sarah Palin?”

Zaku's avatar

Oh, I see, they both share the “wtf” tag.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I don’t think it matters how he chose to handle the situation or when he did or didn’t choose to let the world know he’s gay. Yeah, most people already had a feeling, but still. He’s a celebrity, sure, but that doesn’t mean the world has to know everything about him. His sexuality has no relevance whatsoever to his career and that might be his stance on the entire thing. There’s such a thing as privacy and everyone deserves it. I know that if people started speculating about my sexuality or whether or not I might be pregnant (or anything else you can think of), I wouldn’t answer either way. It’s no one’s business but his own.

syz's avatar

I really don’t care. Why does anyone care? And I don’t like his music, either.

sarapnsc's avatar

I don’t think anyone really cares, and we know it’s none of our business, but we have to have something to talk about. So for a day on Fluther, we shall give it some of our attention. Besides, it’s a bit of fun.
Tomorrow we’ll poke our nose in someone else’s business.
all have fun and a good day!

deaddolly's avatar

I like to read up on pop culture or watch. TV. I agree, it doesn’t matter to anyone if he is or isn’t…or it shouldn’t.
All it really does is give more material to the late-night hosts and comedians. I forone, can’t wait to hear what Kathy Griffin has to say. lol

And I love Hugh Grant too. He’s been in a lot of funny movies…I think you were thinking of Renee Zelleweger, instead of Julia Roberts? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t seen Bridget Jones Diary.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I haven’t seen Bridget Jones Diary. :D

SpatzieLover's avatar

No, deaddolly she was thinking of Elizabeth Hurley…that who he was dating at the time

too much crap in brain, must dump

Zaku's avatar

Ok, so I do know who Hugh Grant is, and I think he was also in a film with Julia Roberts, named after a street in London… er… I’m not good with London streets… he owned a bookshop, she was an actress…

But ya, the Bridget Jones Diary films were a bigger deal, and even perhaps linked with the sleazy image from the tabloid story. Oh, this is way off topic, sorry.

deaddolly's avatar

OK, yes…I remember him with Julia now. Sorry. Yes, he was going out with Hurley…she dumped him after the transexual prostitute bust. I love him—think he’s sexy.

Drasticdreamer: Rent Bridget Jones—one of a select few movies to make me laugh out loud.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I can’t do it. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about Renee Zelwegger (sp?) that I can’t stand. :-/

Judi's avatar

I didn’t see bridget jones.

Knotmyday's avatar

Who the hell is Clay Aiken?

Bri_L's avatar

To be honest I thought he had already come out. Either that or I just didn’t care either way. a

deaddolly's avatar

@drasticdreamer I don’t like her either…she looks like she’s been sucking on a lemon. But she was really funny in BJ.

To all the female fluthers; next time you rent a movie, try Bridget Jones. I guarantee you will laugh.

loser's avatar

no news to me!

dalepetrie's avatar

Knotmyday, Clay Aiken is some dude who either won or came in second place on one year of the trainwreck that is American Idol. I have seen about 10 minutes of the show and just about had to scrub my eyes and ears with Lysol, so I’m not all that up on it, all I remember is that the two finalists were the fat black guy and the skinny gay white dude with the messed up hair, Clay being the later. He looks like the love child of Ed Grimley and Liza Minelli (apologies to the younger among you who don’t get that reference).

I find it hillarious to see the number of posts which say “who cares” when there’s like 35 posts to this question in about an hour and a half!

I get and agree with all of the following points -

1. Who cares/not relevant when we’ve got bigger things to worry about
2. Maybe it actually helps his career to do it now.
3. Maybe there are personal reasons
4. It’s no one’s business but his own.

To the later comment, please refer back to my question…though it isn’t anyone else’s business and he can do what he wants, again, as a celebrity you DO influence the thinking of people who idolize you (perhaps more so when your fan base is people who think you’re talented because you were on American Idol), and it seems to be doing a disservice to people just like you by making it seem like there’s something to be ashamed of. I say be yourself, that’s part of who you are. There’s a difference between letting out with the gory details and just providing the label (I’m not a fan of labels but people seem to need them). I look at gay rights as a civil rights struggle and I would feel personally invested in that struggle if it were to impact me directly (I try to fight the good fight even though I’m straight, I can’t imagine being gay and not having this be intertwined with my identity and my politics). I’d want to fight back at the myopic mindset that says there’s something wrong with “people like me.” I’d be pushing back at that the same way the PC is pushing back at the Mac (complete with “I’m a homo” commercials).

loser's avatar

I think if he’s going to be openly gay, he needs a much better haircut, wouldn’t you agree?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@loser if he came out 4 publicity, maybe there’ll be a special “Queer Eye” just for him to get stylin’

stratman37's avatar

wait, Clay Aiken is gay? No way!

asmonet's avatar

This seemed more like a blog – like a collection of random musings – than a legit question. It also seems vaguely disrespectful of the emotional weight gay men and women must deal with when they come out. It seemed that you don’t understand that celebrities are people, not drawn on paper idols. They can’t expose something personal to them at the drop of a hat because you think it’s ‘obvious’. How would you feel knowing you’re going to have to tell your most guarded secret to entire country?

You’re being dismissive of their privacy and their needs. Having many, many gay and trans friends your choice of words rubbed me the wrong way. To say the least.

deaddolly's avatar

@asmonet I know what you mean. I give Aiken a lot of credit for possibly alienating some of his fans. I’ve a lot of gay friends too and some still aren’t open about themselves and are in their 50’s. It’s a lot to deal with…like opening up your heart for the world to see.
and I saw him on GMA with his little boy and think he’s gonna make a great dad.

I don’t think anyone meant to poke fun at him. I always thought he was gay, so his announcment wasn’t really much of an announcment, I think that’s what was really meant.

GAMBIT's avatar

I have to agree with deaddolly. It wasn’t news to me but if I hurt anyones feelings I apologize.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Clay Gaykin!

He’s been called this by Kathy Griffin for, well, as long as he’s been in the spotlight.

dalepetrie's avatar

asmonet, you’ll see that I took great care not to minimize the emotional weight of such a decision. No offense was intended, but I think my points are valid, as are yours, and I really do think I addressed all of your concerns about my question already.

My main point of all this was more along the lines of “this is news?” I mean, really…someone’s sexuality really shouldn’t matter ANYWAY, I sure as hell don’t care about it, I treat all people equally. But this just seems like if Stevie Wonder put out a press release to say he was having a press conference to tell the world he was blind.

I understand totally the issues people as flesh and blood living breathing human beings confront when making a decision such as this one, and I realize fully that celebrities are human beings. But they are human beings who have willfully exposed themselves to the spotlight of human interest, and it is every bit as much human nature to be curious about others, particularly those whose job it is to entertain us. And therefore, it brings up a number of competing interests in my mind that make it a bit different than just Joe Schmoe coming out.

As I said in the last paragraph, I wouldn’t even ask, except that it seems to me that as a celebrity, whether you like it or not, people ARE scrutinizing your every move, and should you behave in a fashion which someone who is dealing with these same issues could deem to be shame, it legitimizes the shame, and I feel that people in the public eye who hide their homosexuality do more harm to the cause of equality by hiding it than they would by embracing it. And the personal issues notwithstanding, I feel a person who is a celebrity, particularly one of Aiken’s ilk, is in a unique position among humanity where the downsides to coming out are not as severe, and the upsides are more plentiful than they are for any Tom, Dick or Harry.

I find that to be a completely legitimate question, and I acknowledged that peoples’ attitudes and personal relationships play a bigger role than anything, I just see that with any big decision, it boils down to whether or not the downsides outweigh the upsides, and I find it hard to imagine why someone in Aiken’s position could find the downsides to outweigh the upsides, given how obvious this was.

Sure, I may have mused here, but I couldn’t boil down my question to a simple sentence…and I am simply striving to understand it. If you feel there was any ignorance involved in my question, then you should ask yourself, isn’t it the desire to relieve ourselves of ignorance that would lead us to ask an ignorant question? I assure you my motives were not disrepectful or mean spirited, it just plain didn’t make sense to me.

dalepetrie's avatar

Oh and I too have many, many GLBT friends and relatives and I don’t think a single one of them would have taken offense to my question, because they know I don’t judge people on that basis, and in that way, what you assumed about me is every bit as vaguely offensive to me as my question may have been to you.

stratman37's avatar

Clay Gaykin – that’s funny!

deaddolly's avatar

I adore Kathy Griffin…she’s one of a few that make me laugh out loud.

asmonet's avatar

I never said I was offended.. just that it seemed to be worded poorly. I understood what you were getting at it was just… it seemed a bit aggressive. That’s all, I appreciate the apologies, but it’s not necessary, and it seems I gave you the wrong idea as well. Sorry about that. :)

It just seemed like an answer that was pretty simple that was being over analyzed.

Why don’t celebrities come out when it’s obvious?
Because it’s hard.

dalepetrie's avatar

Fair enough. Just wanted to make it clear I wasn’t trying to be disrepectful or offensive, just curious about what motivates people (beyond the obvious).

asmonet's avatar

Ah, understood. I apreciated the effort to clarify on your part. :)

And no worries, as I said in a previous thread. I still love you. :P

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m touched, I was a bit worried that I might have lost your love! I feel much better now!

asmonet's avatar

Hugs all around, Dale?

I’ve been MIA a few weeks, dear lord.

dalepetrie's avatar

Of course! Hope you’re alright!

Jack79's avatar

Who the hell is Clay Aiken?
Well I agree with most of the points made in the “question” except that it’s not really a question but an editorial. Good at that though.

asmonet's avatar

@Jack: Have you been out of the country for five years?

Rude_Bear's avatar

To actually answer the question “Is there anyone at all on Fluther, or on the face of the planet for that matter who was surprised that Clay Aiken came out?”
Apparently yes. Some of his more devoted fans, the “Claymates” were so devastated when the object of their affection came out for the other team, they gathered together and did what anyone else would do. They filed a class action suit against him and his record label.

dalepetrie's avatar

@Rude_Bear – a class action lawsuit? Are you kidding me? I knew that being gay could still get you beat up some places in the US, but I didn’t know it could get you sued. Wow, I just hope you’re kidding.

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