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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    An open letter to Lance Bass

    Sam Feldmancolumnist
    Sam Feldman
    columnist

    Dear Lance Bass,

    Thank you for coming out recently on the cover of People. The entire membership of

    gay.com appreciates your newly admitted fabulousness. Your official gay card, redeemable at gyms and gay bars around the country, is on its way.

    I am writing to express, on behalf of the entire gay community, how excited we are to have you as one of us. Your celebrity and boy-next-door normalness will surely convince other lingering false-straights to hop the lesbian-built fence into the happiest place on earth.

    But, frankly, I am disappointed that you hid the fact that you were gayer than Dick Cheney’s daughter at Home Depot.

    You being popular and gay could have been great. The gay rights movement could have ridden that wave like Heath Ledger and Jake

    Having someone as popular as you were would have proved that being gay does not relegate a man to irrelevance.””

    Gyllenhaal on a pink tandem bicycle. Having someone as popular as you were (emphasis: were) would have proved that being gay does not relegate a man to irrelevance.

    For the gay rights movement right now, it’s important to be recognized and open. Every day, the men and women on the front lines are fighting for equality and equal protection under the law.

    And when you and other celebrities hold back your sexual orientation, it just furthers the belief that only the fringes of society are gay. This belief allows the homophobes to think of gay people as subhuman, extreme and sexually threatening.

    Just two weeks ago, my friend and I were harassed and seriously threatened at a bar in Crown King because we were perceived to be gay. It was humiliating, of course, and painful. And it’s one of the reasons we need all the help we can get to fight that kind of dehumanizing experience.

    At the same time, around the country, we are fighting bills that engender hate into law. We are working to end brutal hate crimes that injure or kill thousands of gay men and women. And our commitment to fighting AIDS in both the gay and straight communities has never been stronger.

    But Sir Lance-me-a-lot, during seven years of continued hate and discrimination, you just stood on the side when you could have used your celebrity to fight those stereotypes, bias and intolerance.

    And though now you are out, open and happy, your career is postmortem and not only does it matter so much less, but it confirms what the social conservatives say: Gays are not part of the mainstream.

    But back in your glory days, you were listed under the definition of mainstream! Women loved you and men wanted to be you. You were admired and perfectly normal. Yet you waited to admit your queerocity until you were as socially relevant as a new Sinead O’Connor album.

    Don’t you see, Bassanova? Staying silent all those years and just now coming out confirms what everyone believes: Being gay is a shameful experience that no mainstream star can maintain.

    But like bright twinkling lights in a straight-black sky, there are popular gay stars in Hollywood. Look at Rosie O’Donnell – she is an open lesbian and is now starting a new chapter in her life hosting “”The View.”” It’s not a secret either – she mentions her partner more times than can be counted on her strong, lesbian hands.

    Gay men, too, are not always hidden in Hollywood – Sir Ian McKellen is one of Hollywood’s gay elite, knighted too, and one of the best character actors in Hollywood. He has been cast in prominent roles from “”X-Men”” to “”The DaVinci Code”” and has not, generally, suffered because of his membership in the Pink Army.

    Even younger gays, like open Pen15 club member Rupert Everett, can still win roles in Hollywood as leading, romantic, straight men. Really, Lance, you’re just one of many gays in the acting/singing/loving category.

    With the help of you and your celebrity friends, we can further fight the attack on our freedoms and rights. We can beat back the conservative movement like the weed-whacker of justice and equality.

    But only through honesty, not deception, can we win the rights deserved by all Americans, gay or straight.

    Samuel Feldman is a political science junior. You can reach him at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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