Every time there’s the slightest hint a celebrity’s sexual preference might not be what we thought it was, the world turns into a group bloodhounds closing in on the kill.
Evidence is hunted down and examined with a take no prisoner’s attitude in tow, it’s a time when even denial can be viewed as clarification.
The latest celebs to have their sexually questioned are Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, a couple whose marriage is always under the microscope.
This week, a Facebook post by transgender actress and activist Alexis Arquette claimed Will and Jada are gay and that the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum paid off his first wife after she walked in on him with another man.
Alexis Arquette outs Will & Jada Pinkett Smith after their Oscar boycott revealing what everyone in Hollywood knew. pic.twitter.com/oaigiGzSnf
— Sam Kalidi (@samkalidi) January 21, 2016
“When Jada comes out as gay and her beard husband admits his first marriage ended when she walked in to him … then I will listen to them,” Arquette wrote in a Facebook post, which has since been deleted.
The post went on to detail other instances of the couple’s alleged secret sexual orientation, which ended with the phrase “Outing is healthy. You are either with or against us.”
You could argue that this post was just one baseless allegation on a single Facebook page. A mere drop in the vast ocean that is social media. Except that it’s been rolled up with every rumour about the Smith family, and run by every major news site and shared across the internet, igniting further discussion and accusation.
So, are Jada and Will both secretly gay?
I have no idea. Nobody would. Except for the Smith’s themselves and anyone else they chose to confide in which, given how hard it is to keep a secret in Hollywood, is probably a very small handful of people.
Watch Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith talk about their marriage together. (Post continues after video.)
The simple truth is their sexual orientation should not be up for speculation or debate. Celebrities, much like anyone else on the planet, should never be ‘outed’ or have to clarify their sexuality.
That said, while ‘coming out’ should not be expected or demanded, it has to be said that it’s greatly appreciated.
Anytime someone in the public eye speaks out about their sexuality, it makes the conversation just that little bit easier to have out here in the real(ish) world. Such is the power of celebrity.
Whether it’s Osher Gunsberg opening up this week about his sexuality by saying “I don’t think I’m out of the ordinary by saying, yeah, I’ve pashed a few blokes” Miley Cyrus and Lily-Rose Depp talking frankly about their gender fluidity or Ruby Rose sharing her own story about sexuality with Australia for more than a decade (and now the world), each and every statement is another little piece of the puzzle needed to make our world a more accepting place.
Think back to 2014, when swimming champion Ian Thorpe talked openly about his own sexual orientation for the first time, no doubt bringing hope to hundreds of men and women who found comfort and inspiration in his words.
But, as lovely as that was, I can’t help but think about the events surrounding and leading up to that now famous announcement.
Like the time a journalist first queried Ian about his sexuality, when he was just 16-years-old.
Or the way he was hounded for years to ‘come clean’ about his sexual preference. How, when he finally understood his sexual orientation claimed that he “felt the lie had become so big” he could not talk openly about it. Or the fact that, once he did come out, people threw up their hands in frustration that it had taken so long.
Ian Thorpe’s words were a great gift, but not one we should have expected. It was certainly not one we earned.
There’s a damaging idea that people in the spotlight release any semblance of ownership over their sexuality once their name is up in lights. That, as Alexis Arquette so elegantly put it, when it comes to the cause you’re “either with or against us.”
That is not true now and it has never been true.
People talking openly about their sexuality is a beautiful, freeing and aspiring thing – when it’s not cajoled or forced.
So, to every person in the public eye who has spoken about their sexuality – thank you. Your words are appreciated, and they are a gift – to a public who so often doesn’t deserve it.