Quote of the day: QUEER

June 25, 2016

QUEER

Q: What about the whole phenomenon of queer celebrity? I’m thinking about Caitlyn Jenner. Does her very public transition make a difference for social change?

A: Sometimes we get it backwards. Average, ordinary, unknown queer people coming out made it possible for queer celebrities to exist, not the other way around. But it does become a self-reinforcing dynamic. Now queer celebrities make the world safer for average, ordinary queer people to be out. But there weren’t out queer celebrities until average, ordinary queer people started coming out.

In much the same way, now you see out professional athletes, like Michael Sam. And the skier who just came out, Jason Collins, who I admire tremendously. I think he’s wonderful. And every time they come out, there’s always a lot of talk about shattering stereotypes, such as the one about gay men being bad at sports or effeminate. But it was really the hairdressers and ballet dancers that changed the world and made it safe for Jason Collins to come out, not the other way around. It was the queer people who couldn’t hide that made the world safe for queer people who could and, for a very long time, did choose to hide.

–Dan Savage, interviewed by Suzanne Stroh in The Gay and Lesbian Review

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