Gay's essay, "A Tale of Three Coming Out Stories," questions whose business is it, and why should we care, when celebrities come out? Why is there so much interest in knowing? Why do we really need to know "...all the intimate details of the private lives of very public people," as Gay puts it. Why do we demand that LGBT celebrities come out and serve publicly as "role models" for all LGBT people?
She also problematizes privacy and privilege and the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Does a celebrity like Anderson Cooper enjoy more privacy, or have less to worry about when coming out than, say, Frank Ocean or Sally Ride or Ricky Martin? What about LGBT people who don't share the privileges of wealth or fame or color privilege, those who could lose their jobs or parenting rights?
Gay unequivocally states in the essay the importance of being an ally:
"As individuals, we may not be able to do much, but when we're silent when someone uses the word "gay" as an insult, we are falling short. When we don't vote to support equal marriage rights, we are falling short. ...We are failing our communities. We are failing civil rights. There are injustices great and small, and even if we can only fight the small ones, at least we are fighting.
Too often, we fail to ask ourselves what sacrifices we will make for the greater good. What stands will we take? We expect role models to model the behaviors we are perfectly capable of modeling ourselves. We know things are getting better. We know we have far to go."
-Roxane Gay, A Tale of Three Coming Out Stories,
in Bad Feminist, p. 197, Harper Collins 2014 ed.
refers to the process that people who are LGBTQ go through as they work to accept their sexual orientation or gender identity and share that identity openly with other people. Source: Planned Parenthood
Note: It was surprisingly hard to find an adequate and unbiased definition for comingout. This nuanced definition from Planned Parenthood is part of a supportive guide aimed at young adults.
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Selected Readings - Privacy & Coming Out
Black Men on Race, Gender, and Sexuality by Devon Carbado (Editor); foreword by Kimberlé Crenshaw"In late 1995, the Million Man March drew hundreds of thousands of black men to Washington, DC, and seemed even to skeptics a powerful sign not only of black male solidarity, but also of black racial solidarity. Yet while generating a sense of community and common purpose, the Million Man March, with its deliberate exclusion of women and implicit rejection of black gay men, also highlighted one of the central faultlines in African American politics: the role of gender and sexuality in antiracist agenda. In this groundbreaking anthology, a companion to the highly successful Critical Race Feminism, Devon Carbado changes the terms of the debate over racism, gender, and sexuality in black America. The essays cover such topics as the legal construction of black male identity, domestic abuse in the black community, the enduring power of black machismo, the politics of black male/white female relationships, racial essentialism, the role of black men in black women's quest for racial equality, and the heterosexist nature of black political engagement. Featuring work by Cornel West, Huey Newton, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Houston Baker, Marlon T. Riggs, Dwight McBride, Michael Awkward, Ishmael Reed, Derrick Bell, and many others, Devon Carbado's anthology stakes out new territory in the American racial landscape." (Publisher's description)
Call Number: Full text from LGBT Thought & Culture; Alexander Street
Publication Date: 1997-01-01
Privacy by Garret KeizerAmerican essayist and Harper's contributing editor Garret Keizer offers a brilliant, literate look at our strip-searched, over-shared, viral-videoed existence. Body scans at the airport, candid pics on Facebook, a Twitter account for your stray thoughts, and a surveillance camera on every street corner -- today we have an audience for all of the extraordinary and banal events of our lives. The threshold between privacy and exposure becomes more permeable by the minute. But what happens to our private selves when we cannot escape scrutiny, and to our public personas when they pass from our control? In this wide-ranging, penetrating addition to the Big Ideas//Small Books series, and in his own unmistakable voice, Garret Keizer considers the moral dimensions of privacy in relation to issues of social justice, economic inequality, and the increasing commoditization of the global marketplace. Though acutely aware of the digital threat to privacy rights, Keizer refuses to see privacy in purely technological terms or as an essentially legalistic value. Instead, he locates privacy in the humancapacity for resistance and in the sustainable society "with liberty and justice for all."
Call Number: BF637.P74 K448 2012
Publication Date: 2012-08-07
The Right to Privacy by Caroline Kennedy; Ellen AldermanIn what is certain to be one of the most talked-about books of the year, Alderman and Kennedy examine one of our basic--and most contested--legal and constitutional rights: the right to privacy. Through a seamless interweaving of landmark cases, lesser-known trial decisions, and dozens of anecdotal narratives, the authors make an urgent, complicated issue more absorbing and accessible than ever before.