A few days ago, indie film darling, and occasionally successful mainstream actress, Ellen Page, came out of the closet. Most of us yawned and went back to playing Flappy Birds, which led CNN to ask the question, “Is coming out still an act of bravery?”
I’d say…maybe. Perhaps. It depends on the circumstances. If you’re a reasonably popular indie film actress who isn’t bad looking and has probably given up on any real hope of massive, mainstream success…then no, it isn’t. If you’re someone at the tail end of your NBA career, aware that you probably aren’t going to play professionally again…then no, it isn’t. If you’re one of the best football players in the country, confident of getting a multi-million dollar contract once you’re drafted…then no, it isn’t. If you’re a transgendered person spending the next few years in federal prison for leaking documents…then no, it isn’t. If you’re a male figure skater…it’s kind of just taken as read that you’re gay.
But on the other hand, if you’re someone whose career is still on the rise, with no guarantee of further money, fame or success, then, yes. If you still have almost everything to lose, then coming out is an act of bravery. If you live in modern Russia, then coming out is an act of bravery. If you live in a fucking awful country like Uganda, then coming out is an act of almost suicidal bravery.
But for the most part, in 2014 America, coming out is…just a thing. And most people will yawn, and go back to playing Flappy Birds. And that is exactly how it should be.