Monday, March 8, 2010

Jack Off: Thoughts on Sean Hayes and His Long Awaited Advocate Interview

Today The Advocate published an interview with Sean Hayes (the actor who played Jack in the long-running NBC sitcom Will & Grace) and I couldn't be more annoyed. Why? Let me explain.

For twelve years Sean Hayes has refused all requests to be interviewed in The Advocate. He's been very "coy" anytime he's been asked about his sexuality and always throws in something about privacy. I don't think allowing the America public to know if you date men or women is really a privacy issue. No one is asking for graphic images or details of sex acts, just a simple "yes, I'm gay," or "no, I'm not" or even "I like men/women/both." There are many celebrities that are private people. The newly Oscared Sandra Bullock comes to mind, yet we still know who she's married to and that she likes men. I work in a office with twenty some people and I know who likes men and who likes women. It is part of everyday conversation. So please, celebrities stop trying to go this route! Jodie Foster can you hear me? Anderson Cooper are you there?

When Will & Grace went off the air, The Advocate wrote a "fake" interview with Hayes where they pasted quotations from him with questions they would have asked if ever given the chance. The end result was a piece that made fun of the fact that everyone knows he's gay, yet he wouldn't say anything. Childish on The Advocate's part? Maybe, but it hit home the fact that a man who played one of the most well-known gay characters in TV history wouldn't ever speak to the largest gay magazine in the country. It is also of note that all three other stars appeared at different times in the magazine during the run of the show.

Now twelve years after Will & Grace hit the airwaves, Sean Hayes sat down for the first time with The Advocate. From reading the article it seems Hayes has finally granted the interview after realizing he has no chance in hell of ever being a straight leading man after playing the most flamboyant gay man ever for eight years. It took him twelve years to realize this? I could have told him this 11.5 years ago, before I even came out of the closet (I was only 16 then).

Hayes' interview is annoying. He claims the gay media is too demanding of gay celebrities and that he never hid who he was. I will give an inch here. He never lied. He never said he dated women or even pretended to be in relationships with any women, which is good, but doesn't erase the issue. He also never stood up for gay people. As a gay men, he should know how important it is to hear those words. He was a person that came into American homes weekly for eight years and could have had some real power, but instead he was a coward and self-serving.

To make things even worse, Hayes has gained no perspective in the last twelve years. He thinks The Advocate was wrong and he was right. He's also convinced himself that he's greatly contributed to the gay movement. He's quoted as saying, "I feel like I've contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in America, and if anyone wants to argue that, I'm open to it." There is so much wrong with this statement that I don't even know where to begin. I'm not sure what world Hayes is living in, but I don't see much success in the gay movement in America period. I also don't know how someone who refused for twelve years to comment on being gay and played one of the most ridiculous and stereotypical gay characters ever has made any positive effect.

As I have argued before, Will & Grace had it's funny moments, but it could easily be seen as causing more harm than good in the gay rights movement. The story-line still revolved around a man and a woman and their relationship. Each gay character was paired with a woman on the show and in nearly all scenes. They played up gay stereotypes for a heterosexual audience and it worked, and sadly many gays went along for the ride, because for many something is better than nothing.

Between this story and the anti-gay California Senator coming out today after his DUI coming home from a gay bar last week, I feel that we (gay people) are often our worst enemies. Like RuPaul says, "if you don't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else."

-Stephen (Frustrated)

6 comments:

  1. Tonight in workshop, someone told me that "normal people" would be more interested in reading my poems if I didn't write about "same-sex stuff."

    Yeah, I don't have any patience for anyone who doesn't come out, unless they're in a position where they would be fired/evicted/in serious danger if they did.

    I totally agree with you about the definition of privacy.

    Did people not listen to Harvey Milk's quote, "if a bullet enters my brain let it shatter every closet door." That meant so much to me when I was still closeted and thinking of becoming a high school teacher. I knew I had a responsibility to those kids and to myself and all people to live honestly. This kind of thing pisses me off so much, so I'm glad you wrote about it.

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  2. I love when people say that about work that deals with "same-sex stuff." Since when do you we only read things that are about us? I thought educated people or people who like to read, read things about various kinds of people to possibly learn something. If you think "normal people" don't want to read about "same-sex stuff," than why read Jane Austen anymore or Milton or any work that's not written about the "normal people" of today. The argument just doesn't hold up.

    I completely agree about coming out. I'm of course not encouraging people in very dangerous situation to do so, but lots of people are not in those situations and still don't do it and often cause harm by being so silent on the gay issue. The celebrity stuff is just getting really old.

    I also love that Harvey Milk quote. I'm a firm believer that change will only happen when more and more people live open and honest lives.

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  3. First of all, Chris and I are addicted to RuPaul's Drag Race. When she says that line, "if you don't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?" at the end of every show, then asks, "Can I get an amen in here?" - I shout to Jesus.

    Now onto Mr. Hayes. Just ugh. Because I'm sure he reads your blog, I'm going to address these next comments to him.

    Dearest Sean,

    We've already forgotten you. Your announcement is meaningless.

    Love,

    Bryan

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  4. Bryan,

    I love RuPaul's Drag Race! Tyra is from Orlando and we've seen her perform many times, and almost all of the season one contestants have performed at the club we go to all the time. RuPaul comes every year for Orlando Pride too.

    I also enjoy your note to Sean, and I'm sure he reads my blog daily.

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  5. This is so true. Staying silent is never the way to go. I remember when I was in high school, the other guys would always crack jokes about homosexual people. One day, they said something particularly nasty. So I said, Excuse me, can you please stop? When they asked why, I said, because I'm gay. Silence.

    I wasn't very popular, so I guess I didn't really care if my reputation was trashed or anything. But those guys never said anything ever again. At least when they were around me anyway. They were very sorry though, and I still talk to them now.

    The point is STAYING SILENT WON'T DO ANYTHING! WE NEED TO GET OUT THERE AND TURN SOME HEADS! Whoo, I'm full motivated now.

    Btw, Stephen, love your stuff. Keep up the good work. =)

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  6. Joseph,

    Thank you for the comment and compliment. You are very right. I think one of the most powerful things you learn as a gay person, is that people don't find it as fun to call an out person a fag or gay. I admire your strength to do that, so you keep it up too.

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