Is it hard for celebrities to talk to the media about their sexuality?” – The very question English film star Tom Hardy was ‘inelegantly’ asked in a press conference back in September at the Toronto film festival. Considering he was there to talk about his latest film Legend he defused the situation and moved on to the next question – and rightly so!
While we live in a society infatuated with everything celebrity and have created a media entirely saturated with the love life of Brangelina and whichever male artist was the inspiration for Taylor Swift’s latest single, we have forgotten one thing: celebrities are people too. They may eat more organically than we do, they may even be treated to a bed and a glass of champers when they get on a plane, but they still have a right to basic personal privacy. There are however many stars in the limelight who have chosen to be open about their sexuality. In the past few years we’ve seen the likes of Apple CEO Tim Cook and Hollywood actress Ellen Page come out as part of the LGBT community.
When news like this reaches young LGBT teenagers and people in parts of the world where homosexuality is still a crime, it provides them with the that there are others just like them who are out, successful and accepted. Due to the platform that celebrities hold, coming out can help normalise LGBT lifestyles and promote tolerance.
In the case of Tom Hardy (a self-proclaimed heterosexual), questions confronting his sexuality so publicly are merely intrusive and most of the time irrelevant. Had the same question been asked to a celebrity who was struggling with their sexuality, it would most likely cause them great anxiety. It tells that person that his or her sexuality has to be put under the spotlight, even if they are not ready for it yet. Imagine if we all had to deal with speculation about our sexualities in the work environment. Do the patients of a medical practice have the right to know the sexuality of their doctor? Of course not. Celebrities are under no obligation to be your role models; the only things we are entitled to know about them, are those which they choose to share.