It may seem like a lifetime has passed since then, but in reality, it’s only been fifteen years since Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet, then introduced her highly-rated television show’s character as a lesbian through a storm of controversy. The country had a moderate-to-intense freakout, the show became a landmark, and DeGeneres opened doors for gays and lesbians everywhere.
Now, a decade and a half after that famous episode, DeGeneres is the biggest name in daytime television. Just about every network, cable and premium channel has at least one gay or lesbian character in it (or at least address the subject among their plotlines); shows like Will & Grace, The L Word and Queer as Folk revolved specifically around their characters’ sexuality. Openly gay stays like Sean Hayes, Zachary Quinto, Neil Patrick Harris and Jim Parsons are on some of television’s biggest programs.
Yet, for all of the progress, there still seems to be a frustrating frenzy in the media to bring up the rumors about other stars who haven’t made sexual proclamations one way or another. The latest targets? Queen Latifah and Raven-Symone. They’re controversies that shouldn’t exist at all – frankly, we shouldn’t care about these rumors one way or the other.
Latifah is one of the most talented people in the world, period – an Oscar nominee for her acting, a rap superstar, an acclaimed soul and jazz singer.
Symone who has had a fine post Cosby-show career as a teen-idol actress and should continue to find success well into adulthood.
They’re both fine entertainers and – apparently – very fine people, and that alone is what we should judge them on. We shouldn’t care at all if these actresses come out of the closet, and they shouldn’t have to address the rumors. There’s nothing more private and more sacred to a person than their own sexuality; it should be left to them, whether they be a big shining star or an average everyday person.
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