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Aileen

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Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #1 
Major story in the sun today is that Joe McElderry is gay.

Why is that news?

He's had to confirm today that the stories are true and hopes fans will stick with him.

No-one ever has to confirm a true newspaper story that they are a heterosexual.

I'd be interested in everyones views on why, as a society, someone's sexuality is such big news!

Aileen
k-dog

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Reply with quote  #2 

i really feel like i should stay off this board as im so notorious for offending people, but here goes!

first off i think there should be real repercussions for newspapers outing people, its a disgraceful thing to do and one of the ultimate invasions (I think) on privacy that can be commited, one which can have extremely stressful, and too often, detrimental effects in terms of career/relationships and at times safety.

 

BUUUUUUUT.............

 

Newspapers only report on what is interesting to its readers, and frankly a well known figures sexuality IS of public interest, I think most people would be interested to learn what their favourite celebrities sexuality is, and its also of public interest when a leading political figure is ‘outed’ as gay, im pretty sure the vast majority of people would be interested if it became known that Obama (for example) was gay.

Peoples sexuality matters to other people as I think its perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be a part of WHO that person is, and people are reported on for being homosexual and not heterosexual because (cue possible backlash :s) to be homosexual is not (yikes) normal.

Now before you come hunting for me let me spell out that by normal in this context I mean majority, the majority of people are (apparently) straight, to the extent that it is assumed, again; rightly or wrongly, that people are straight, so until told otherwise that is the assumption that many/most people have, so in effect a newspaper almost IS reporting that the people it writes about are straight simply by not stating otherwise.

 

I do think, as I said, that the newspapers are wrong for outing someone, it makes me think of people being thrown to lions in Rome to entertain the masses, but sadly, as long as there is demand there will be supply, public are interested = newspapers reporting.

 

And then there is a whole other argument about whether or not the press SHOULD be allowed to report on this, im not sure that its fair to bind the press in any way as every time they are stopped from reporting something blurs the lines of freedom of speech a little bit more, government, for example should not be allowed to interfere in free reporting, but then who else can?

Aileen

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for that K-dog. I agree it's not a straightforward subject.  What worries me is that because of the natural pressure from our society to conform, many people find coming to terms with their sexuality really difficult.  This goes for gay people,  but it also works, in much the same way for, example, young girls who feel pressurised into having sex because they think that's what they should be doing at a certain age, or, to try and prove to themselves or everyone else that they are 'normal' young people rush into sex with the opposite sex. How many gay people, I wonder, had their first sexual encounter with someone of the same sex - not that many I suspect. How many of them were ready to have sex with anyone? Again,  probably a minority.

What worries me about outing people, is that quite often this happens before they are really comfortable in their own skin - and whilst I'd be the first to say that I'm interested in someones sexuality in the quest to better understand them - I have absolutely no desire to know about it until they are ready to share it. This, I see, as no different from any personal information anyone wishes to share, or not share.

I believe in freedom of speech, but that in bestowing that freedom on the press we are also entitled to expect that they would respect someone's right to privacy in matters that have no negative impact on society or our community or the sensibilities of someone else.

Saying all of that I applaud public figures who come out about their sexuality because the more good gay or transgender role models that exist in society the more likely society is to embrace all sexualities.
laurie

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Reply with quote  #4 
Is anyone old enough to remember the days when the gay community themselves set about 'outing' prominent people? It began as I recall in San Fransisco (though I will accept being corrected on any history) during the early 70's? The slogan of 'come out come out wherever you are' is the one I remember the best. 

The idea behind it was that the more people came out, the better accepted gay people would be. It was a strange time but I do remember as it reached the UK many very political debates and very high tensions as people in pubic jobs feared they might be 'outed'.

I agree it's a not nice thing to do to anyone but, also remembering the early debates of, 'if everyone came out, we would have to be accepted as we would be in, and part of, every family, community and job'.


Aileen

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Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #5 
Thing is I don't like to be labeled.  The trouble with the human race is that we like to label people - it seems to matter to us that we can all differentiate ourselves in some way - man/woman old/young gay/straight black/white rich/poor christian/jew protestant/catholic - and we use all of these labels to place ourselves (consciously or sub-consciously) in a pecking order.

The big question is - will that labeling and measuring ever stop, or is it part of the human psyche that we will never eradicate?

Boy...that's a thought to ponder!
newt

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Posts: 31
Reply with quote  #6 
Personally, I think the newspapers should just mind there own business. I don't think its important to 'know' someones sexuality. Im with Aileen. Until someone is actually comfortable saying it themselves, then it should remain quiet. Telling family friends, colleagues is one of the hardest things Ive ever had to do in my life. Had someone "outed" me before I was actually ready for this, I would have been devastated. I sometimes feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, but then thats a personal opinion. I suppose not everyone feels like that as society taught me that I got married had children and cooked and cleaned and kept house!!!! That is not me, but I do most things because I want to, because I can, because I have found a supportive partner.
k-dog

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Reply with quote  #7 
well aileen youv said yourself that your interested in sexuality to 'better understand' that person, i think its pretty much natural for us to 'label' people, sometimes people dont like it but i think thats how it is, and always will be.

labelling in terms of sexuality race etc etc does matter as its part of who that person is, and generally they should be able to feel proud of that

as to sex, i think the vast majority of everyone, in this culture at least, is not ready for their first sexual experience, its not particular to gay people, in fact i  would reckon that being gay but not coming out is positive in sexual terms at least! because a lot of gay people, as far as i know, wait a lot longer.

not many 13 year olds iv met would admit to being gay, but they do go looking for straight sex as a badge of honour
Aileen

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Reply with quote  #8 

Is it a badge of honour tho? Or is it peer pressure.

k-dog

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Reply with quote  #9 
whatever it is the effect is the same?
laurie

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Reply with quote  #10 
Sometimes some people need and want a label for themselves to give themselves an identity. If you feel different and know there is sometime about yourself that differs from the accepted 'norm', it sometimes helps people to find others like them and pick up that label. 
I see it with other groups such as survivors who use that label to avoid the label victim. As social creatures, even if we are different and not accepted by the majority of people, we want acceptance. Without labels and identity it is harder to find where you belong. In an ideal world we would all be accepted and just be people.
I chose to label myself to feel part of a movement towards greater equality for all people but I am labelled by the world too. I prefer to have a positive label of my choosing rather than the things others have called me which are not so nice.


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