On Monday morning Twitter told me that ‘Jodie Foster Came Out at Golden Globes’. I swiftly watched the video and 48 hours later I feel just as bamboozled and conflicted as to whether it was a coming-out at all.
As I sat and watched Jodie’s speech, I liked it, it won me over. It was calm, dignified and entirely on her own terms - a world away from a lot of coming out experiences. I don’t think celebrities need to come out with ‘a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show’ (her words) just as their heterosexual counterparts don’t feel the need to come out as straight. On reflection, however, Jodie’s speech feels like fool’s gold.
At first it sounded like a celebration, it looked like a celebration but I can’t help but feel at its core it was a slick slight of hand that celebrated the fact Jodie doesn’t want to publicly use the G-word. I mean, come on Jodie, I’m on your side! In more ways than one!
I have no need to know what Jodie Foster is having for breakfast or what her kids look like or even who she is dating. I do respect her privacy. Whether she likes it or not she’s in the public eye, she gave that speech and I desperately wanted her ‘declaration’ to be ‘I am...gay’ instead of ‘I am...single’.
I wish more of these fabulously talented women would come out and be comfortable using words like gay or bisexual or polysexual or pansexual, even though I know these labels can be unsatisfactory or reductive. Essentially, I want Jodie Foster to join the discussion, not hide away from it.
I think it is incredibly important that more people are ‘loud and proud’, and especially people in the public eye. I believe they can help show diversity, stability, success in their chosen field and hopefully creak open not only the closet but also people’s eyes. They can help show that we can be wonderful mothers, sisters, daughters, lovers, friends and award winning Armani wearing actresses - if we should so want.
I feel like she has shrugged off her responsibility and the fact that people like her, using words like gay, can help clip away at homophobia in a world where where you can get the death penalty for being gay, rape can be seen as a cure for homosexuality or your parents might disown you because you love a woman.
So, sorry Jodie, in response to your speech - your performance may have been good but the script, well, it let you (and me) down.
• Stef Smith is a Glasgow-based playwright. Her work includes Falling/Flying, which was inspired by transgender woman Angie Extravaganza, and the Olivier award-winning sex trafficking drama Roadkill.