In a season of “American Idol” that has been distinctly lacking in much of any fireworks only one contestant has managed to capture the collective imagination of the viewing public. And it hasn’t always been because of his silky smooth voice and occasionally over the top theatrics. What has really gotten fans talking this year is conjecture as to whether or not front-runner Adam Lambert is gay.
Photos have sprung up on various websites showing Mr. Lambert kissing men and he has never denied that the photos were real. In a recent interview with Access Hollywood he even went so far as to say “I am who I am. I have nothing to hide. This is about singing…and nothing else.” In a perfect world it would be nice to think that to be true, but Mr. Lambert could really signal a sea change in how gay people are perceived if he chose to admit the truth about who he is in clear language.
In all honesty, we as gay people have been through the whole “coy about being gay” situation with Adam’s “American Idol” precursor also known as Clay Aiken. It took years of people calling him “Gay” Aiken under their breath and a disturbingly high number of ex-paramours coming forward for Mr. Aiken to admit his sexual preference. Not that anyone should refer to being gay as their sexual “preference.” You either are or you aren’t. Choice doesn’t really play a big role in it, kind of like gender and race.
Many people will say that coming out of the closet is a very personal experience and everyone should be allowed to do it in their own time. While I whole heartedly agree with that in theory, we do live in an age when it is still okay to be openly disdainful of and mock people who are gay. If certain people can’t handle the concept of gays and lesbians creating strong families through marriage do you really think they can stomach the notion of two men kissing right in front of them?
Never before in music history has there been an artist that arrived on the mainstream pop culture scene as a proud and open homosexual. It took multiple albums before K.D. Lang and Melissa Etheridge ever admitted that yes, they were lesbians. And in hindsight, did that do any damage to their careers? Of course not. And back in the 1990’s the coming out stories of these two brave artists broke new ground in the never ending battle for acceptance that all gays and lesbians face.
What Mr. Lambert needs to understand is that being “out” is not just a singular act for every gay person. It is, in fact, a never ending process that continues day in and day out. When you are proud of who you are as a gay person, you must then be a responsible representative for all gay people. And this means being out with new people you meet and never making apologies for it. This is not for your benefit, either. Who wants to be the odd man out (pardon the pun) in 80% of social situations? Putting your bravest gay face forward is done in hopes that it just might make it a little easier for the next generation of young gays and lesbians that will face the same hatred and discrimination.
I realize that I am talking as if I am 100% sure that Adam Lambert is gay, which I can’t be until he clears up that situation himself. Gay, bi or uncertain, Adam Lambert is no doubt going to make a huge impact on the pop music landscape. He is too talented not to. I just hope he is brave enough to shout who he is from the rooftops with the strength and style he puts into his singing. For those of you out there who can’t handle the thought of listening to a song performed by a gay Adam Lambert I have this to say: “He’s Here/He’s Queer/Get Used to it.”