WHAT’S IN YOUR CLOSET?

Beyonce

 

So, according to internet rumour, Chris ‘Wife-Beater’ Brown is allegedly bisexual. And a bottom. And slightly mad. Whether it’s true or not is up for debate, as at least some of the messages in the revelatory Twitter conversation appear to be fake.

Part of me thinks it makes perfect sense—why else would he be so bothered about continually reasserting his masculinity? And did Rihanna perhaps discover his little secret before he kicked several kinds of MOBO out of her, as The Superficial suggests? Then again, both stubbornly masculine posturing and domestic violence seem to be popular trophies in hip-hop. And I for one wouldn’t want a man like that sitting at my table. So perhaps it’s best if he isn’t one of us. Imagine the shame!

But there were a number of interesting things to come out of the ensuing social media frenzy. Other celebs were fingered (excuse the pun) as bisexual, too, including Jessie J, Fergie and Nicki Minaj. These women have more or less admitted to being bisexual in the past, but it’s curious so few men have in comparison. There must be some out there, surely?

I had a conversation recently with a friend who writes for TV and is something of a faghag-magnet on YouTube. He’s not quite Chris Crocker yet, but he says even on YouTube he is scared of mentioning his sexuality. Why? Because he thinks he will be typecast, that it will narrow the opportunities he will have, and that it’s irrelevant. If it’s irrelevant, I pointed out, then why care so much about keeping it a secret?

It reminds me of an ex I have. He’s been in Doctor Who, a family sitcom on the BBC, and a new sitcom on Channel 4. Yet his agent won’t let him appear in queer magazines or discuss his sexuality, in case it narrows the roles available to him. How anyone can’t see he’s a flamer anyway is beyond me. But fair enough. That’s his choice.

I do wonder, though. Do these men have a duty to be honest and open about their sexuality? I can’t help but feel their complicity in keeping gay men in the celluloid closet only helps perpetuate the notion that there are fewer opportunities for gay men in showbiz. Sure, Rupert Everett largely plays gay men, except for the odd animated prince, and John Barrowman is unlikely to be cast as James Bond. But surely if more gay and bisexual male celebs came out of the closet, it’d become less of a big thing.

After all, when Rupert and John are visibly gay, doesn’t it mean they’re going to get offered all the gay roles first? And perhaps casting execs think the public can’t handle gay men in straight roles because, well, that’s just always been the way it is and no one is standing up to challenge that assumption.

Don’t we need bold, fearless gay men of all stripes to step up and prove that we can be successful actors, that we can play the heroes, that we can rap and have street cred, that we can kick a ball and score a goal, that we can be just the same as everybody else?

We can never win the argument for change if we’re too scared to bring the argument up in the first place.

But back to Chris Brown: whether he’s a wife-beater or a bottom, he’s still just an arsehole.

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