Hard as it may be to believe, I won’t remember the 70th annual Golden Globes Awards for my beloved Tina Fey. Or Amy Poehler. Or Sofia Vergara’s golden globes. I mean, sure, they were all spectacular. And Tina and Amy should host everything ever always. Period. Full stop. But what I will remember and still can’t stop thinking about is the amazing acceptance speech and coming out of Jodie Foster. It was extraordinary on so many levels, none the least of which being that I never, ever, not in a million years thought it would happen.
Certainly, we all knew already. I knew as a young girl when I looked at an also young Jodie Foster in all her triumphant tomboy glory and felt that unspoken kinship. And I knew after whispers on “The Accused.” And I knew when I made her my very first Weekend Crush. And I knew in 2007, when she thanked “my beautiful Cydney” in another, less public, award acceptance speech. And I knew yesterday. And I know today.
Yet even without every saying “Yep, I’m gay,” Jodie’s very real, sometimes raw and even a little defiant admission of her personal and private truth was wonderful. Sure, some have groused that it was a little vague. Though I have no idea how calling her former partner Cydney Bernard “one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love, but righteous soul sister in life” in front of a viewing audience of more than 10 million people is in any way vague. Nor will we be deterred by her insisting that it isn’t a big coming out speech, in that strange bit of audio that got inexplicably cut: “I hope you guys weren’t hoping this would be a big coming out speech tonight, because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the stone age.”
That’s not vague, that’s talking about what she never talks about. And you could tell, too, because boy was she nervous. And, if you think about it, weren’t we all? Weren’t we all that nervous and jumbled, maybe even more, when we finally said it even one person, let along the universe? Even if everyone already knew. Even if you should have said it ages ago. For me, that made it connect even more. The humanness of it. The honest struggle. For each person who comes out, no matter how long it takes or how many people already know, is a simple act of bravery.
The grumblers of the world of course immediately complained about why it took her so long. How others paved the way and she slid in at the end. But I believe firmly that every person should be allowed to come out at his or her own time, perhaps with a little appropriate prodding, but only when ready. And so each person who comes out counts, no matter how long it takes, and should be celebrated.
Others have questioned whether she was criticizing stars who are already out and/or slamming reality television. For the latter I say, I would much rather live in Jodie’s private world than Honey Boo Boo’s overexposed world. We can be truthful about ourselves without turning our every bowel movement into a news event. Celebrity culture is the real target here, and our insatiable desire to know every last bit of salacious minutiae about the unknowable.
As to the former, I do not believe she was swiping at the Ellens or Melissas or Martinas of the world in the least. Instead, in her own way, she was explaining her own path towards this very public moment. A path that we should not forget began in the spotlight at the age of 3 and involved a madman with a gun who shot the President of the United States just to get her attention. Her guarded nature, her insistence on privacy, you can understand why those would be the bedrock of her very core. And, let us also not forget, that at 50 – that age she repeatedly told us she is – she comes from a different generation where baby doll rainbow flag T-shirts weren’t sold at Hot Topic.
So now what? I hope Jodie feels good about what happened. Relieved and proud and hopeful about her next era. I hope she knows how much it meant, even if it took so long and we all already knew. A two-time Oscar winner and bona fide Hollywood icon doesn’t come out as family every day. But, unlike her, I have no fear that anyone will ever forget that “Jodie Foster was here.” You are seen, you are more understood and you are not alone. We are all here, with you.
p.s. Sweetie, trust me, with those arms you certainly won’t be single long.
Republished with permission.