Scientology Documentary and Travolta As Gay
Maybe I’m being far too relaxed about John Travolta, but I don’t find the way “they” keep hounding him about being gay to be in the best interests of anyone. I’ve posted differently about other actors and how they react when people refer to them as gay, but in Travolta’s case I think it’s different because I have never once seen him insult the LGBT community, I’ve never seen him gay bait, and I’ve never seen him do anything offensive like James Franco. He’s harmless. So if he is gay, I’m willing to wait for him to come out on his own terms. If he’s not gay, then fine with me.
I really don’t think coming out is ever black and white, and in some cases forcing the issue only makes it worse. As a gay man who remembers what it was like to be in the closet it would be highly disingenuous of me to tell any other man (or woman) what he should do. That, I think, would make me a douche.
In any event, there’s a new Scientology documentary that is supposedly going to out Travolta yet again. Why they would do this is beyond my comprehension, but it is what it is and we all know there are people who will do anything to make a buck.
The film, based on Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book of the same name, details Travolta’s involvement in the church dating back to the early part of his acting career. Back then, he was a halfhearted supporter at best. Why, then, is he now one of Scientology’s most outspoke zealots?
The film strongly suggests that the church is essentially blackmailing him by threatening to out him if he ever betrays them.
The rest is here. I know nothing about Scientology and don’t care to know more, so I can’t comment.
Tab Hunter’s Fear of Being Outed
In a case not unlike John Travolta’s, actor Tab Hunter is talking about how he feared being outed during his career.
There’s a documentary about Hunter, too:
However, Hunter had a secret he needed to keep hidden: he was gay. In the new documentary Tab Hunter Confidential (adapted from the actor’s 2005 memoir), the now 83-year-old shares his fear of being outed during his hey day, his love affair with Anthony Perkins and the incredible story of how he endured to become a happy, healthy survivor of Hollywood’s roller coaster.
The film will premiere March 15 at the SXSW film festival in Austin, Texas.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t changed and there are still closeted gay actors and actresses living in fear they will be outed.
We still have a long way to go.
Books and Cultural Appropriation of People of Color
In an unrelated subject, I ran across this blog post the other day and it reminded me of the many, many discussions I’ve read in the m/m romance community about straight women writing and being in control of the entire sub-genre of m/m romance. I’m not getting into that, and I’ve gone on record when it comes to my feelings about writers being able to write whatever they want as long as they do it well. There are, indeed and action, many straight women writing good m/m romance.
In this case, the topic is about straight white people writing about people of color and I thought some of the blogger’s comment were interesting and worthy of sharing. Janet Reid, the blogger, is a long time blogging literary agent and she tends to get right to the point on topics like this.
A writer queried Reid about writing something with characters that are people of color and this part of the reply stood out the most for me.
Appropriation is a loaded word for writers, whose job it is to steal everything they can and write about it. When does it cross the line? Everyone is going to have a different view on this, but the thing to pay attention to are people in that culture.
I didn’t understand that The Help wasn’t a fun book until I read the comments about it written by Roxane Gay. While it’s not about appropriating culture, it does seem to say that stories are given a wider audience only when those in power agree to tell them.
And there you have it… “a wider audience only when those in power agree to tell them.” If I have to explain that it’s not even worth the effort. But I will say this. As a gay writer I don’t come from a place of privilege or power and it’s ten times harder for me to get the same results someone with privilege and power (straight and white) can get…writing in any genre in publishing. I don’t even get that power on Twitter and I censor everything I tweet for fear of losing followers. And if you’re too gay, you lose them.
It’s NOT about whether or not someone coming from a place of privilege can write about another culture well. That’s not the point. The point is when people of privilege get more advantages than people in the culture they are writing about, simply because they have that power. It’s not actually cultural appropriation, but it definitely is a fact of life for all minorities, including gays.
Check out the link to Roxane Gay’s comments, too.
You can read more here.
There are 65 excellent comments that make fascinating discussion from some of the brightest writers I’ve seen in a long time, all very civil.