lifestyle

We're so fine with bisexual people these days... as long as they're pretty and famous.

Miley. Cara. Laverne. Caitlyn. Ruby. Kristen. Ellen. The other Ellen…

There’s no denying that in the last few years there’s been an increase in stories of celebrities coming out.

Hell, even in the last year we’ve had a drastic amount of public figures representing the LGBT+ community: Caitlyn Jenner, Miley Cyrus, Kirsten Stewart, Jayden Smith, Laverne Cox and Ellen Page merely begin the long list of celebrities that are starting to let their guard down and show their fans who they really are.

Laverne Cox, Miley Cyrus and Ellen Page have all talked openly about their sexual orientation.

Read more: “I didn’t want to be a boy… I kind of wanted to be nothing.”

Just a few years ago, coming out as gay was one of the biggest PR spectacles a celebrity could endure – and not always in a good way. Ricky Martin hid his sexuality for fear of public backlash for years of his professional career, as did Ian Thorpe, as have many other athletes, performers and public figures. Ten years ago, Robbie Williams even sued for libel over a newspaper’s claim he might — *shock horror* — be gay.

But these days, it seems my Twitter feed never stops buzzing with the celebrations of a new celebrity joining the club.

Yep, be it gay, bi, trans, gender fluid — or anything else along the gender and sexual orientation spectrums — we’re definitely talking a lot more about sexual orientation and gender now than we were a few years ago.

So are we actually reaching a point where all these stories have contributed to a positive mainstream understanding of the LGBT+ community? Well, yes and no.

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There’s still a lot that gets left out of the discussion.

The extensive media coverage of Caitlyn Jenner’s story has helped normalise discussions around transgender issues for a number of people, and has probably also introduced this sort of conversation to many people who normally wouldn’t have thought about trans* issues before. But, before we get too excited, we have to remember that Caitlyn’s story is not representative of the experiences of all trans* people. In some ways, the media is letting us down by celebrating Caitlyn Jenner purely because she makes a beautiful woman.

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Read more: How I chose my name when I came out as a trans* woman.

There are a lot of trans* women and men who would absolutely love to have thousands of dollars of work done in order to ‘pass’ as the gender they identify with, but simply cannot afford that sort of surgery. Yet, there are also trans* people who don’t want to make the transition at all.

Read more: Caitlyn Jenner celebrates Father’s Day with her whole family. Almost.

There remains still many experiences lived by transgender people that Caitlyn Jenner’s story simply does not tell; experiences of harassment, abuse and even fatalities that go unmentioned when we’re dazzled by the glitz and glam of Caitlyn’s Vanity Fair cover shoot. Not only that, but many young people coming out as trans* simply can’t identify with someone who has waited almost their entire life to do so.

Cara Delevigne has spoken to Vogue about her sexuality. “I think that being in love with my girlfriend is a big part of why I’m feeling so happy with who I am these days. And for those words to come out of my mouth is actually a miracle,” she says. “It took me a long time to accept the idea, until I first fell in love with a girl at 20 and recognised that I had to accept it.”

Miley and Ruby Rose have lead the way in discussions on gender fluidity and in doing so, people are beginning to understand that there’s way more out there than identifying as cisgender.

But there are still so many representations of the LGBT+ community that aren’t reflected in the current celebrities who are fronting the cause.

Do we really need to wait until the next Golden Globes for a sweeping statement about asexuality before people finally begin to consider and accept the realities of those who aren’t driven by sexual agendas? Is it going to take a famous and successful polyamorous triad to convince us that polyamory isn’t just about loose morals and an aversion to commitment?

Ruby Rose. Image via Instagram.

All in all, with the widespread, viral discussion of LGBT+ issues only really arising when prompted by the coming out of celebrities, it still feels like they’re only important conversations to have if the subject of them is pretty and famous.

Yeah, they’ve got a lot of people talking, but we still have a long way to go before some parts of the LGBT+ community will feel truly welcome in mainstream society.

A long way to go.

Celebrities who identify as LGBT+:

Want to read more about Caitlyn Jenner?

The 7 questions you have for Caitlyn Jenner – answered.

The mistake you don’t want to make when talking about Caitlyn Jenner today.

Meet Caitlyn Jenner. Vanity Fair reveals the woman formerly known as Bruce Jenner.

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