Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, LGBTQ celebrities came out to the public through cover stories in magazines. These publications reached the widest audience at the time, but now with blogs and social media, a celebrity doesn’t need that middleman and can communicate directly with their fans if they wish to come out. Sure, we all know this. But recently, a few celebrities have taken an even newer, different approach, coming out as people with fluid sexualities that can’t and shouldn’t be defined.
Over the weekend, actress Maria Bello told a heartfelt story regarding her explanation of her romantic relationships to her son in a “Modern Love” piece for The New York Times. Her son Jack has extreme compassion for his mother’s story and said the greatest thing to ever come out of a 12 year-old’s mouth, “Mom, love is love, whatever you are.” Bello is currently in a relationship with another woman, but she has previously been in relationships with men, perfectly exemplifying the fluidity of human sexuality. She approaches her quasi-coming out with grace through the piece. She never labels herself or attempts to make a largely political statement. Bello wants to tell her personal tale.
British Olympic diver Tom Daley took a different route on Monday. After swirling rumors and even an award for “world’s sexiest man” from Attitude, a gay men’s magazine, Daley took to YouTube to set the record straight. In his British-isms, Daley states he still fancies girls but that he is currently dating a man. Just like Maria Bello, there is no talk of labels. When a celebrity comes out, every media publication is ready to jump on a rooftop and yell, “GAY! GAY! GAY!” This is especially true for men. But it’s not always that simple.
These “coming out” pieces are reminiscent of Frank Ocean’s Tumblr post last year: Vague stories to show that yes, they are in this queer spectrum, but it doesn’t have to be a label. Each person owns his or her own sexuality and no one else can define it for you. Some people will try to make a big deal out of it, but let’s not.
Tom Daley says it best in his video, “Is it a big deal? Well, I don’t think so.”