Today, a Wisconsin legislator called a press conference to announce that she was bisexual. Afterward, her colleagues and constituents congratuated her on Facebook for her courage. It made no sense to me at all.
I get the part about showing solidarity with fellow members of the LGBT community. I put a lot of value in the concept of 'standing with' people who are marginalized or, in this case, denied basic rights like getting legally married. So ok, if it's solidarity I get it.
But it comes off as something else. It feels to me like she felt obligated to announce her sexual orientation to the public. That because she is an elected official, she has to be open and transparent about her sexuality. It felt like something she thought she had to explain. I say, dear legislator, just bring your girlfriend to the next big political gala. Don't make a statement. Be one.
Same with Anderson Cooper. The dithering about his sexual orientation always baffled me. Was it because we wanted him to pair up with Erin Burnett? Oh wait. Is she gay? It's important because you know it would influence how she reports the news. For heaven's sake, isn't it her turn to be interviewed about who she was with and what she was doing Saturday night?
And then there's Sally Ride. So she dies, right? After what anyone would call a spectacularly successful life. There's not a woman alive when Sally Ride went into space that doesn't remember her jaunty walk with her team about to board the rocket or whatever it was. Damn, we all thought. She's going with the boys. And she's not carrying the thermos. Thank you, Sally.
Whenever a person dies, we want to hear they were loved. Not by the public at large but by someone in particular. And Sally Ride was loved. I wish the obits for her had just said that. 'Sally Ride left behind her partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy.' Nice. I get it. Instead we get from MSNBC: "Why Sally Ride waited until her death to tell the world she was gay."
Seriously? Her death was really just her special way of announcing that she was gay? This is the important thing for us to dwell on today - not the extraordinary courage and chutzpah it took to get on that damn rocket, not her smarts or commitment to science education for kids. She was gay.
So fucking what. I don't need to know.