Honestly, even I can't tell you why I react so strongly to these stories of coy non-denials much more than I do those deeply closeted Scientologist types, but I do. Trust me, I'd rather shut up about this too, but when it seems like we're so close to this finish line of actors and performers being able to come out without fanfare or controversy, stuff like Adam Lambert playing peek-a-boo with the press or the current (admittedly minor) dustup over Matthew Bomer seems all the more frustrating.
When Jason posted pics of Matt Bomer (currently starring on USA's White Collar, which I've got DVR'd but haven't watched yet) making out with a guy, my first thoughts (after, you know, HOT) was that one of the effects of living in the Facebook age -- besides how one ill-advised Mardi Gras can cost you a job and how athletes can no longer snort coke off a groupie's tits in anonymity anymore -- is that it's now become even more pointless to be closeted as a celebrity since there is almost certainlyphotographic evidence to the contrary out there somewhere. Be that good or ill, it's a fact of life, and if it discourages actors from living a lie, it's ultimately a good.
(My second thought, by the way, was how happy Bomer looked, in that young, drunk, "I really kinda like this guy" way.)
But besides the usual "Is he out? Did I know this? Does everybody know this? That's kinda cool" dance, I was mostly just impressed by how little hue and cry there was about it. No kneejerk denials. No disingenuous articles wondering if it would harm Bomer's career. When a little quick Googling revealed people kind of already knew, I felt heartened. Felt too soon, as it turns out.
As chronicled at Boy Culture (and Queerty), friend-of-Matt Sean Akers has seemingly taken a tour of blogs posting the pics and asked that they be taken down, on the grounds that they're old pics of Matt and an ex-boyfriend and are, as such, embarrassing to have out there today. Taken at face value ... okay. I can see the impulse to keep private photos private, of course. And Akers has made sure to say, at each and every pit stop on his tour de blog, that Bomer is gay and out and is not trying to hide it.
So what am I complaining about, then?
I don't know if I can say for sure. Is it because this whole thing has taken on the character of a co-ordinated P.R. campaign, which makes it feel less like a friend trying to help out another friend than a publicity team trying to sweep something under the rug as quickly as possible? (In fact, as Boy Culture and Queerty both report, Bomer's publicist refused to comment on the photos because they "don't comment on clinets' personal lives.") Is it because this kind of thing never, ever, ever, ever, ever happens with straight celebrities? Ever? I get that "private lives are private." But that sentiment doesn't sound at least a little disingenuous when it's used in service of a refusal to acknowledge something that's plainly obvious and should not be treated as a negative? At some point in an actor's career, when they've reached the point of starring in multiple major network TV programs, doesn't he (or she) kind of realize that a bit of gossip on their personal lives is going to happen? Why is it only the gay lives that need such steel-reinforced shelter around them?
I like Matt Bomer. I have since Traveler. I'm not posting these pics as a gotcha. I'm genuinely happy to hear another actor is gay. And, if his overly vigilant but well-meaning friends are to be believed, out. But I'd rather his publicist not be sending mixed messages, and I'd rather not get the impression that the wagons are being circled on account of two relatively innocuous photos.
This isn't one of those posts where I feel like I have something to say. This is one of those posts where I feel I have something to ask. Is something like this worthy of my annoyance? Is it realistic to expect explicit forthrightness from gay celebs? Is it fair?
I'm looking for an actual conversation about this in the comments, so if you're just looking to yell or whine or snark about how caring about how the discussion is beneath you, please don't bother.