Friday, January 19, 2007

Setting the Record Straight...Again

A few weeks ago, I saw a video on YouTube titled "Setting the Record Straight...Again". The responses to this video were surprisingly civil and the resulting discussion has been interesting.

Some viewers assume Clay is living a lie, deliberately deceiving his family, friends, and fans. Others blame agenda-driven media for perpetuating baseless scandal around the inaccurate caricature of Clay Aiken as a campy gay diva. Those who insist Clay is gay often reveal telling reasons for their beliefs, based on offensive sexual stereotypes and personal prejudice. Many who believe he is straight are looking beyond the headlines and simply taking him at his word, something any honest person would desire.

The purpose for the video is to present Clay Aiken's own words instead of "they say" and rumors. I believe every person has the right to self-identify. Making a man's name into a punchline on the assumption he is lying about his sexuality is wrong.

"Clay Aiken" has become a sort of sneering media shorthand for "closeted homosexual". In my opinion, the many punitive attempts to "out" him amount to sexual harassment on a shamefully wide scale. Any good man deserves better, gay or straight. Celebrities must prove "malice" in court, which makes collecting libel damages difficult, even for very offensive stories.

Sexual bigotry is a societal weakness. Should anyone, whether celebrity or private citizen, gay or straight, be treated with disrespect based on reckless and invasive presumptions about their sexuality?

And what if there is no closet?

Since 2003, Clay Aiken has answered "the question". Isn't it time to accept his answer?