|George Takei and Husband Brad Altman|
At the Allegiance blog site, actor George Takei offers his own take on Jodie Foster's recent did-she-or-didn't-she coming out statement. Takei notes the continuing importance of positive role models for young gay folks, some of whom feel so overwhelmed by the question of affirming their gay identities that they take their own lives.
And then he offers the following advice to straight friends and allies of gay folks (with some final advice to gay people, too):
Here’s how [we can each do our own part]: If you are straight, consider that it isn’t helpful to believe or announce that it "doesn’t matter" whether someone else is gay. Of course it matters. That person has likely suffered internal conflict, social opprobrium and personal pain that you have never experienced. So long as there is prejudice and inequality, it will continue to matter. If you have gay family members, friends or colleagues, recognize that they have faced demons and come out stronger, and that they are very brave to be open, even today. It does matter.
And if you are gay, don’t simply believe that others will carry the fight forward for you. We each must tend to our own gardens, so to speak, and do what each of us thinks is best for ourselves and our loved ones. Coming out is always a personal step, and one that is as different for each of us as our very life experiences are.
"So long as there is prejudice and inequality, it will continue to matter": yes.