Monday, December 2, 2013

YouTube: A Newer, More Efficient Way of Coming Out

Has the British diver Tom Daley, bronze medalist at last year's London Olympics, just introduced us to the future of coming out?  In a remarkable five-minute clip the 19-year-old posted on YouTube this morning (and linked to on Twitter, where he has over two million followers), Daley comes out as bisexual* and explains why he chose to do so in a homemade video and not the more traditional print interview or TV sitdown: "I didn't want my words twisted."

Daley's announcement, which includes the preface "In an ideal world I wouldn't be doing this video because it shouldn't matter," is admirable for a number of reasons -- it remains unusual, obviously, for anyone at the top of their sport to come out while they're still competitive, and Daley has very publicly dealt with bullying in the past (Jack William Cooper has collected at Storify some of the homophobic Twitter abuse that was hurled at him today) -- but as much as anything else I admire it for its simplicity.

Back in the late '90s and early 2000s, when I was a teenager coming out to friends and family by piecemeal (I did it on couches, in cars -- in all the places where my peers were having clandestine sex, I was bumblingly telling relatives I was gay), I would have loved to have so efficient a means of coming out at my disposal, but not everyone was online then.  If I had it to do over today, one quick text or e-mail blast and I'd be done: "Hey guys, I'm gay.  By the way, we're out of milk."

* 12/4/13 Update: Daley has since clarified to talk show host Jonathan Ross that he is not currently labeling his sexuality, saying, "Everything is all pretty new so I don't see any point in putting a label on it - gay, bi, straight, any of those kind of labels. All that I feel happy about at the moment is that I'm dating a guy and couldn't be happier, it shouldn't matter who I'm dating and I hope people can be happy for me." A question I'd like to see asked now is whether Daley's rumored boyfriend, Oscar-winning screenwriter and gay rights activist Dustin Lance Black, helped shape his YouTube speech or if that was all Daley. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Actress Maria Bello Comes Out in New York Times Piece

Actress Maria Bello, she of a zillion TV shows and movies more people should see (The Cooler, A History of Violence) has written a piece in this weekend's New York Times about telling her son and the rest of the family that her friendship with a woman has turned romantic.  But keep it in your pants, squealing Law & Order: Special Acronyms Unit fangirls, because that woman is not Bello's BFF Mariska Hargitay. *

Bello's article, part of the Modern Love series, is a pleasant, low-key read and in line with the growing trend of casual celebrity outings.

* Because there exist on the Internet a gazillion photos of Bello and Hargitay gazing at each other more adoringly than some couples who have been married for forty years, I will direct you to basic Google image search results rather than select a photo to accompany this post.

12/1/2013 Update: Bello's announcement is starting to get picked up on gossip blogs and mentioned by bastions of journalistic integrity like the Daily Mail.  As of this writing one of the Mail's top headlines is "Prisoners actress Maria Bello comes out as gay and reveals she has a long-term girlfriend."  This is not quite true.  Well, it's true that her name is Maria Bello and that she appears in Prisoners, but anyone who bothered reading her piece in the Times (which the Mail "article" quotes at length, so presumably someone there at least tried to read it while copying and pasting the details) would know that she does not call herself gay in it, and that her current relationship is still relatively new.  That's sort of the whole point of what she wrote, you see.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why I'm Thankful for an Awful TV Movie About a Tormented Closet Case Starring the Mom from Harry Potter and Cora from Downton Abbey

Janet McTeer in Daphne: "That's what I get for not reading the script."

Five years ago this Thanksgiving my life changed forever, but it would be months before I knew it.

As I slept that night, a stranger who couldn't sleep – a stranger then living hundreds of miles away – found herself watching the BBC Two production of Daphne and regarding the screen with increasing disbelief at its epic crumminess. By the end, having watched a sullen and snappish Daphne du Maurier (lifelessly rendered by Geraldine Somerville) sulk and throw tantrums for 90 minutes because Ellen Doubleday (played by Elizabeth McGovern in the same pinched, pale style she now brings to her role as Cora on Downton Abbey), the publisher's wife and heterosexual object of her desire, couldn't magically turn gay for her – this while alternately rejecting Janet McTeer's Gertrude Lawrence and having strangely unsexy extramarital rendezvous with her – the insomniac was borderline enraged.

Turning to Google, she looked for reassurance that she wasn't alone in the opinion that Daphne was, for want of a more polite term, unmitigated crap. That's when she found this little whatsit I'd posted months earlier. And then, with a click of the mouse, the insomniac and I were introduced, more or less by search engine algorithm. Had she conducted the same search a week earlier or later, had the tides of the Internet shifted, she might have been treated to different results. Sometimes in the present day, when I say or do something idiotic (an event that reliably happens in hourly intervals), she must turn toward the heavens and mournfully cry, "Why didn't I use Yahoo?!" But Google brought us together that night, though it would be awhile still before we met.

Boredom compelled the insomniac to read more of my posts (as boredom had once compelled me to write them), but I remained unaware of her existence until some months later, when she sent the tiniest of e-mails to congratulate me on a minor achievement. I responded with similar (and uncharacteristic) brevity. We did not know each others' names then or really anything about each other. Our exchanges were short and impersonal. For weeks I was uncertain even of her gender and privately entertained the notion – it was possible, I knew, based on the demographics of my readership – that she was a drag queen.

So naturally it follows that we'd end up together within months (it turns out she wasn't a drag queen), and that today we will celebrate our fifth Thanksgiving as a couple. We have marked the occasion in all of our previous Novembers together by watching Daphne on Thanksgiving, after spending the day before Thanksgiving groaning at the thought of having to watch Daphne. When I mentioned last week that it was almost Daphne time, the insomniac groaned, "Already?!", much as she glares at me throughout the year when I sing "There Is Nothing Like a Dame" while preparing dinner or deliberately provoke her with cheerful references to "queer anti-climaxes" and "the most extraordinary thrill." 

Today would mark, for this poor woman who has been burdened enough by choosing me for her partner, the sixth year in a row of watching Daphne. To give her something to be thankful for this year, besides our health and our love and the life we've built together, I am officially releasing her from the bondage of Daphne. We don't have to watch a "keen archer" stomp around the moors tonight, indignant that a straight lady won't put out for her. We don't have to listen to any of that business about being "a boy of eighteen" when one is actually a middle-aged woman. Instead we can watch whatever she wants, if she wants to watch anything at all. I do hope, though, that it isn't Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. One viewing of that was enough.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Startling Revelation from Your Long-Lost Blogger

In the wake of the recent "Gay Girl in Damascus" and "LezGetReal" blog scandals, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do something I should have done years ago reveal my true identity: I, CrankyLesbian, am really Darryl, a 54-year-old sheet metal worker from Mobile, Alabama.

(Okay, not really. Still a biological female, still so gay I wake up singing Liza songs and still too busy with my career and my partner to blog regularly. But I couldn't resist posting that.)

(Also, really, what self-respecting lesbian would call their website LezGetReal?)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

As some of you might recall, this time last year I was blathering about cubic zirconias and fried chicken, as I'm wont to do throughout the year but particularly on our most romantic holidays (Valentine's Day, Koninginnedag, Polish Independence Day; you know, all the usual suspects). This year I'll be blathering alarmingly gooey "No, I love you more" stuff to the woman who has kept me away from this blog for months and months -- an act of charity toward the Internet that reportedly has her in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize -- but I wanted to dust off the old keyboard long enough to wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day. And a special Happy Valentine's Day to the mysterious Ms. Aarons (if that is your real name): You set my heart ablaze like Connie Stevens' flaming baby "brother" in "Susan Slade," dear, and I love you madly.

Pssst: That plastic baby? A better, more emotive actor than Troy Donahue.

(Told you I'd find a way to post that screencap!)

(P.S. No babies were harmed in the making of "Susan Slade," only Connie Stevens' and Dorothy McGuire's dignity.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

There's No Hiding 'Teh Gay,' Even on the Internet

First there was "gayface," and now there's "gayfacebook," as MIT students Carter Jernigan and Behram Mistree have found a way to determine whether male Facebook users are gay -- regardless of whether the men disclose their orientation to all of the Internet. Jernigan and Mistree's homosexualist-spotting program was unable to help them zero in on wily lesbians and bisexuals, and I'd make a lame joke that attempts to explain such a failure, except I'm not on Facebook (there's already enough aggravation in my life without being alerted every time someone from my third grade class orders pizza), so I've got nothing. Just one more post this month, though, and I win...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Will I Post More Than Twice in September?

It's the question all of America is asking (and by "all of America," I mean seven people, including two in the UK and one in Canada, none of whom will care enough to check back for an answer later this month unless they're really, really bored at work or forget to clear their browsing history and accidentally select "Cranky Lesbian" on their drop-down menu when they mean to click something else), and while Vegas oddsmakers don't think it's going to happen, I bet that it will. I wouldn't place a large bet -- I'm anti-gambling, mostly because I value my hard-earned money but also because Kenny Rogers put me off it back in the day -- but maybe a dollar or two...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Anyone Had Any Dirty Phone Calls Lately?"

Apparently that's what a lascivious John Gielgud would be asking you if he were still alive. But he's dead as dead can be, so I'll ask instead: Anyone had any dirty phone calls lately? I haven't. A few days ago I picked up on the third or fourth ring and was greeted by heavy breathing that was ultimately revealed as the work of my grandfather, who sucks in air like Darth Vader over the phone (when he isn't coughing and loudly repeating everything he is told to my poor disinterested grandmother). Was I disappointed? Perhaps, but only a little. You never know what obscene phone calls tomorrow might bring, and I'm always hoping for something that mirrors the famous "212 Fuck You" exchange from Serial Mom.

Anyway, writer Michael Thornton wants everyone to know that Gielgud was a dirty birdy (TM Misery) who liked younger men, didn't practice monogamy (is that like practicing the clarinet -- the longer you do it, the better you get?), and (presumably) whacked it to pictures of a nude Iggy Pop. And then told Judi Dench about it. Or something. I lost interest a few paragraphs in and moseyed over to to check out the draw for the U.S. Open; Roger and Rafa are on opposite sides, but I wouldn't be surprised if one of them doesn't make it to the final. Hopefully Nadal's knees will hold up, as I like what he'll be wearing this year and would rather see it than the bland ensembles most of his competitors sport...

(Yes, my thought process is a bit muddled today, but I swear it isn't my fault.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Classiest Gay Nuptials of All Time

Right here. When my girlfriend (who recently told me to get off my lazy ass and update this motherfucking blog already, but in a less Samuel L. Jackson-ish tone than that) and I get married, that's the first thing we're going to do: hit a guy with a shoe, both of us, so that way we can honeymoon in a luxurious prison cell that boasts amenities like a creaky cot and a toilet that hasn't worked since 1973. Truth be told, I'd rather spend a week in France or go to a quiet bed and breakfast for a few days, but she's a Roger Corman fan and you know how he romanticized women's prisons...

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