Admittedly, I’m no expert on coming out.
But there’s little expertise needed to see what’s wrong with Kevin Spacey. The LGBTQ community has universally condemned how Kevin Spacey came out after actor Anthony Rapp accused the House of Cards star in a Buzzfeed interview of making a sexual advance toward him when Rapp was only 14 years old.
Spacey’s alleged behavior is monstrous in its own right, coming out or no. But the way Spacey announced his sexuality to the world in the wake of this sex-abuse accusation feels like a terrible insult on top of an even worse injury. It echoes some of the nastiest anti-gay propaganda ever churned out by homophobic propagandists. The smear that gay and bisexual men are pedophiles looking to snatch up little boys has deeply scarred the LGBTQ community, and unfortunately this lie remains pervasive in certain parts of modern society.
For decades, Spacey has lived in a so-called “glass closet” with various media outlets openly pondering and discussing his sexuality. Spacey’s choice to come out after this allegation surfaced seemed to be the epitome of opportunism. After years of distancing himself from the gay community, Spacey cowardly jumped behind the rainbow flag in the wake of this allegation, turning Rapp’s survivor story into Spacey’s own coming out party.
I don’t consider myself a good judge on what exactly constitutes a good coming out story. As a closeted gay man, I remain afraid to tell the truth about my own orientation. Though I have my own reasons, I know a stronger person wouldn’t have that fear.
But I know enough to realize that the LGBTQ community isn’t a shield. It’s not a get-out-jail-free card. It’s not an escape hatch. I know too many brave individuals who’ve proudly come out amidst real adversity.
I know gay kids who’ve had to put up with constant harassment and bullying in school.
I know trans women who’ve been shunned from their families and even encouraged to commit suicide.
It’s gross how Kevin Spacey used such a beautiful and brave thing in such a sleazy way. But nevertheless, I’ve still heard too many great stories to get disheartened.
Because for every Kevin Spacey, there’s a million inspiring coming out stories. And I hope that one day, I too can have a fraction of the courage from just one of those millions of stories.