Being in the theater world, it’s no surprise that I’ve come across many homosexual performers, directors, composers, technical designers, etc. It’s an accurate stereotype. (Yes, Virginia, there are gay people in the theater.) But the truth is, I’ve never had any close gay friends. In college, I was very tight with my fellow conservatory classmates. Truth is necessary in acting and life, and there’s no doubt that we bared our souls to each other over those four years.
I was visiting two of my classmates in New York, two young women who have settled into the grueling theatre scene fairly well, considering the current economic situation. Investment bankers, you’ve got nothing on us performers! Upon my arrival we went out to dinner, catching up on each other’s lives and relationships. My good friend flippantly announced that she had come out of the closet a few months ago.
My response was “Oh. Congratulations,” then we simply moved on to whether we craved Greek or Thai food for dinner. It wasn’t that long ago in our society that a “coming out” declaration would render two of the following responses: the alien “WHAT?! OMIGOD, I had no idea!” or the smug, “Oh, honey, we all knew before you did.” And here I was, neither shocked nor surprised. My middle ground reaction has lead me to believe that perhaps homosexuality can finally be received as read: normal.
Of course, it’s not that way for many families and friends and cultural institutions. My mother’s response to this day about homosexuality; “Oh, I love gay people. They make such great shopping buddies.” As much I love Issac Mizrahi and Marc Jacobs, the spectrum of gay doesn’t end there. My father simply thumps his Bible and continues to complain about the current political administration while watching Fox News in his recliner. I guess there are some middle grounds that will never be found.
But for me, the most progressive action is the lack of reaction. I just want to talk about dinner, crushes, and whether the next drink is on me.