Lindsay Lohan, Open Secrets and the “Post-Gay” Closet

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The always-insightful Ms. S of Dorothy Surrenders has persuasively argued that the media buzz around Lindsay Lohan and Sam Ronson will drop off because, now that the couple is finally, irrefutably out of the closet, their relationship is, well, boring.

We all know that the gears of the media machine are propelled by unconfirmed rumors and scandal, not domestic bliss. Which reminds me of Tolstoy’s famous line in Anna Karenina: “happy families are all alike.” It may be a sign of “progress” that queer families are being assimilated into this land of shiny happy sameness. Still, for me it’s a sad statement that most of us find love and happiness to be something of a yawner.

Ms. Snarker zeroes in on an important point in her post: Lindsay’s coming-out process is compelling precisely because it represents a younger generation’s take on being gay. It is, in a word, casual. Even–dare I say it?–“post-gay.” Does this no-biggie attitude “mirror that of so many young gay or questioning women today”, as Ms. Snarker suggests? I’m not sure, since Lindsay’s wealth, celebrity and power seem to me to put her in a Sapphic league of her own (or a very elite one, anyway). Are you a young LGBTQ person, open-minded heterosexual, or someone who doesn’t label your sexuality? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this question.

Which brings me to the a-ha moment I want to share with you:

After all this time and two of my own previous posts on Lindsay Lohan, I finally realize why I’ve been so fascinated by this story. Lindsay’s coming out makes visible a new “post-gay” closet, one that’s built on the premise that she’s been hiding in plain sight all along.

We’ve moved yet another step away from queerness as “the love that dares not speak its name.” Who knows, we may soon discover that the power of open secrets, like Lindsay’s, will usher in a new love that won’t shut up.

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4 Responses

  1. hmm, i think “post-gay” is a pretty good term for it, because it seems that the same people who are pretty much cool with this sort of meandering out of the closet path are less insistent on labels, and so might in general be more open to the pan-bi-not-strictly-gay realm of things.

    here in southern baptist land the coming out stories of people i know range from this utterly simple acceptance (mine was a lot like that) to being sent to “straight camp.” but mostly they fall in the slightly uncomfortable/disapproving, but i love you anyway realm in the middle.

    maybe this’ll be the love that needn’t bother (either speaking or shutting up).

    Thanks so much for the feedback on the post-gay thing, Lady B. Ahhh, the Bible Belt…. it is, if anything, a reminder that for much of the country being queer is not yet “no biggie.” But I’m doing my level best to convert and corrupt as much as possible for the greater good! xo -Sf

  2. I grew up in the Bible Belt, but since I ran in theater circles, I had a lot of queer friends in high school, none of them out (many not even to me). I always sort of assumed I was straight, partly since I fall on the femme side of the spectrum, but in my senior year I hooked up with a girl and started figuring things out for myself. Nobody was shocked. Even my straight friends kinda rolled with it. It wasn’t a secret and I didn’t feel the need to formally announce it to anybody, or label myself right then. About a year later, in college, I started identifying as a lesbian, which so far has worked for me. Anyway, the point of this story is that I was able to take my time figuring things out, and I never felt pressure from my peers to label myself. I think that’s true for a lot of people of my generation. (As a side note, this is why many coming-out stories of people of previous generations don’t resonate for me: I never felt closeted. There was never anything to come out of. When I fell in love, I fell in love (or lust), and the people around me knew it.)

    Welcome, Jessie! I’m so glad you commented on this. I wonder, how do you feel about labels in the LGBTQ community? Thanks so much for sharing your story. -Sf

  3. I definitely resonate with this on many levels. I first thought of myself as bisexual, then pansexual, now I usually just use the word “queer” because it seems to be so nicely overarching and inclusive. I perk up when I hear “lesbian” and “bisexual” thrown around in conversation, and when I hear “straight girl” too – maybe not as much, but I still feel like that includes me to some extent. I’m not trying to be all “hey my sexuality is so cool that it spans the whole spectrum”, I just don’t really see the need to peg myself as one or the other.

    Coming out for me – I never really came out. I did a couple of times, to a boyfriend and I tried to come out to my mom once (she didn’t believe me, then was just confused, but now I talk to her about my FTM transgendered lovers and she’s just sort of oh, okay which I guess is good?). But besides that, when conversations about sexuality came up, I would talk as a queer person without acknowledging the fact that I was queer first. Or if someone asked me about my sexuality, I would acknowledge it, but otherwise wouldn’t actually draw attention to it, I would just… act/behave it.

    That might have something to do with the culture I grew up in (Asian cultures don’t exactly encourage broadcasting/drawing attention to yourself/horn honking) but I’m also wondering if maybe we’re heading towards a generation that views sexuality as something extremely fluid, or seeing sexuality as a question-mark with all options open and straightness not being the default (maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part).

  4. […] or bisexual, or in or out of the closet.  In keeping with my previous analysis of her “post-gay” coming out, I remain agnostic on the question of her sexuality.  What interests me is how people seem to […]

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