Did Jodie Foster “come out?”

I reprinted Michael Musto’s Out article “The Glass Closet” in Best Sex Writing 2008, and his chosen topic has been in the news of late with Jodie Foster’s recent “coming out.” There’s been much speculation about whether she actually came out and what its impact will be on her career and being gay in Hollywood. Here’s the CNN clip of her thanking “my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss” on December 4th at the Women in Entertainment Power 100 Breakfast.

Musto wrote:

“Bravo, Jodie Foster!” That cry has long sounded among easily charmed gay celebrity watchers from Hollywood to Gotham. After all, Jodie is one of the original out-but-not-really-out queens of “at least.” You know: She’s never come out publicly, but at least she’s never tried to claim she’s straight either. She’s talked incessantly about her kids, but at least she hasn’t named the father and tried to make it sound like he was any kind of love interest…

By all reports, Jodie lives an out life—within serious limits—while cagily avoiding any on-the-record revelations, a delicate dance that’s difficult to pull off—but not nearly so much so as double-bolting the door and living a total lie. Jodie, it turns out, is one of the foremost residents of a glass closet—that complex but popular contraption that allows public figures to avoid the career repercussions of any personal disclosure while living their lives with a certain degree of integrity. Such a device enables the public to see right in while not allowing them to actually open the latch unless the celebrity eventually decides to do so herself.

Some reactions:

Sarah Warn, editor of the popular lesbians in entertainment site After Ellen, gives a recap of her speech in the news.

Ross von Metzke at Gaywired looks at stars like Foster, Ricky Martin, Queen Latifah, Michelle Rodriguez and others:

It’s a trend in Hollywood-two steps forward, two steps back.

Foster’s speech, which was made at a mainstream event-Hollywood’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 brunch-was a definitive leap forward, something Grazia Magazine reporter Kiki King told CNN in a report on Foster’s “announcement” could, despite all wishful thinking that it wouldn’t, hurt the Oscar winner’s career.

“Women largely still have to be very thin, very beautiful and very straight in order to be able to get roles and become A-listers,” King explained on CNN. “I definitely think it could affect her career in that sense. But a lot of the gay publications, a lot of the gay Websites say that that’s not good enough-that these people, because they are celebrities, ought to be on the front line… because they ought to be able to take on these roles of leadership.”

Rupert Everett: “”She is 45 and just couldn’t be bothered anymore. After a certain age you can be gay in Hollywood. Before that, it’s not only not good, it’s impossible.”

The Guardian on Jodie Foster:

Perhaps, though, we should cut Jodie some slack. I don’t recall Nicole Kidman, say, having to “announce” her heterosexuality. The fact that the grand gesture of “coming out” is still a big deal just shows that most straight people still assume everybody else is heterosexual. The advantage for Jodie is that she only has to come out once. Non-celebrity lesbians and gay men have to do it every time they meet someone new.

I can’t find the link but I am almost positive that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman took out an ad in a major Hollywood newspaper “proclaiming” their heterosexuality.

New Zealand readers react

The Daily Telegraph posits that her statement was part of a deathbed promise to her friend Randy Stone.

What do YOU think? Did Jodie “come out?” Will her words have an impact or was this a non-story?

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