When I heard about Chuck Norris' support for the Boy Scouts's anti-gay policies, my first thought was, "I wonder how he and I never became friends." Lately I have come to realize that most of my closest "celebrity friends" have ended up making controversial anti-gay comments, and that's a dampening fact for this gay man.
I used to write for Christian magazines with über-positive, hopeful titles like Joy-Filled Jubilee!, Families of Faith!, and Biblical Beach Bodies! OK, that last one doesn't exist, but it should. I profiled Hollywood celebrities of the Christian faith throughout the years, trying to avoid the more radical ones (Gary Busey, Stephen Baldwin, et al.), but every now and then I became friends with actors who turned out to be "not good for the gays." These were real friendships, not phony Hollywood acquaintances.
Victoria Jackson was my first famous friend. We bonded over our love of Phil Hartman, our faith in Jesus, our fascination with David Sedaris books, and my appreciation for her blonde hair pieces. She was blunt and off-the-cuff, so we immediately hit it off.
Early on, I came out about my sexuality, and she was quite loving and accepting about the issue. She had questions for me, but she didn't seem to judge. She'd spent decades in show business, so I certainly wasn't the first gay friend of Victoria Jackson.
During my early years of struggle in Hollywood, Vicki actually FedEx'd me the keys to her SUV. She wasn't using it and wanted me to get off the buses and get around town with greater ease. For the next six months, until I could afford my own car, I drove her vehicle around L.A. That's the kind of generous friend she was. When I needed an actress to cameo in a Web series I had written, Vicki flew herself across the country (on her own dime) and worked for free. I attended many fancy dinners, public events, and trips to the Magic Castle with her. The most fun I ever had at a DMV was standing in line with her, watching two Hispanic women try to guess who she was. "¿Es Sally Struthers?" I overheard one ask another.
Things started to change in our relationship when Vicki began blogging -- in all seriousness -- that President Obama "bears traits that resemble the antichrist." Huh? People called me, asking what I thought of my friend's outrageous statements. One morning I awoke to an in-box full of emails asking if I had read her latest blog entry, reading:
This new al-Qaida magazine for women has beauty tips and suicide-bomber tips! Gimme a break! That is as ridiculous as two men kissing on the mouth! And I don't care what is politically correct. Everyone knows that two men on a wedding cake is a comedy skit, not an "alternate lifestyle!" There I said it! Ridiculous!
Um, no. Dear friend, two men kissing on the mouth is not ridiculous. It's romantic, a very loving gesture, and, if done with just the right mix of aggressiveness and sensuality, very hot.
That's when our friendship dissolved. We never officially broke up, but I did ask that I be removed from her Tea Party mailing list. The emails were just getting too bizarre. Fifteen years of friendship slipped away, into the vapors, as they sometimes do.
To be fair, many Christian celebrities I interviewed are the polar opposite of anti-gay. Zachary Levi gamely kisses Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin to the delight of Comic-Con fans, Amy Grant duets with Melissa Etheridge, Clay Aiken raises thousands on Celebrity Apprentice for his National Inclusion Project, and Kristin Chenoweth and Dolly Parton are both undisputed gay icons. Believing in Jesus doesn't corner these celebrities into a stereotypical box of religiosity.
Unfortunately, however, another friend of mine famously informed the world that homosexuality was "unnatural" and "destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization." I was stunned by Kirk Cameron's statement. The first thing I thought was, "I'm sorry, but when I came over to your house and played with your six children and shared laughs with you and your wife over glasses of wine and worked with you on various ministry projects, what part of my existence in your home undermined the foundation of your civilization? What part of me, being my likeable self in your living room, was 'unnatural'? What exactly about me 'destroys' you and your family?"
Kirk was, and still is, a caring, kindhearted guy. I truly believe him when he went on The Today Show to defend his comments: "I love all people. I hate no one. When you take a subject and reduce it to something like a four-second sound bite and a check mark on a ballot, I think that's inappropriate and insensitive. The truth is that these are issues that are very personal." I know he wasn't trying to hurt me personally when he shared his opinions on Piers Morgan, but that's just it: His comments were personal. They personally filled me with anger. Some might call it "righteous anger." As a passionate lover of free speech, I support anyone's right to share his or her interpretation of the Bible in a public forum. They have a voice and a platform and the right to share their points of view. But they need to know what my dad has said for many years: "Ideas have consequences." Sometimes our ideas misinterpret the context of Scripture. Some ideas lead young people to depression and even suicide. Often when we share our ideas, we lose friendships with people who love us.
When I came out of the closet, I was fortunate not to lose the love and support of my friends and family, most of whom were Bible-believing evangelical Christians. Over the years, though, I've had to defriend a few aunts, uncles, and former schoolmates. Even more unexpectedly, I'm learning to say goodbye to friends, even famous friends I used to have a crush on in my teen years. Oh, well. I'll always have the 150 Amy Grant songs I love on my iPod. She'll never let me down.
Life will be fine, as long as I never become close pals with Tracy Morgan or Brett Ratner or Blake Shelton or Patti Stanger. I just can't handle defriending another celebrity.
Take a look at other anti-LGBT comments made by celebrities, including Victoria Jackson and Kirk Cameron, below:
During<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/03/kirk-cameron-piers-morgan-homosexuality-unnatural_n_1318430.html" target="_hplink"> an interview with Piers Morgan</a>, the "Growing Pains" heartthrob who transitioned from a "teen-idol-atheist in Hollywood and became a devoted follower of Jesus Christ in the middle of [his] career" explained that he believes homosexuality is "unnatural... I think that it's detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization." On the issue of marriage equality Cameron remarked, "Marriage was defined by God a long time ago. Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve -- one man, one woman for life till death do you part. So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage. And I don't think anyone else should either. So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don't."
In recent years, Gibson has become better known for his public tirades -- which have included racist, misogynistic, and anti-immigrant slurs -- than he has for any of his movies. But <em>The Advocate</em><a href="http://www.advocate.com/Arts_and_Entertainment/Entertainment_News/Mels_Meltdowns_Included_Antigay_Speech/" target="_hplink"> cites a 1991 interview</a> Gibson gave to the Spanish newspaper<em> El Pais</em>, in which he spoke about gay men: <blockquote>"They take it up the a** ... this is only for taking a s***," he said at the time. "With this look, who's going to think I'm gay? I don't lend myself to that type of confusion. Do I look like a homosexual? Do I talk like them? Do I move like them?"</blockquote> Gibson is also <a href="http://fromtheleft.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/mel-gibsons-vicious-homophobic-past/" target="_hplink">believed to have strongly counseled</a> Heath Ledger against taking the role of Ennis Del Mar in Ang Lee's Oscar-winning film "Brokeback Mountain."
The former "Saturday Night Live" star and now Tea Party activist sparked national furor when she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/22/victoria-jackson-slams-glee-showbiz-tonight_n_838862.html" target="_hplink">slammed the hit show "Glee" after it featured a kiss between two gay characters</a> in a column for WorldNetDaily. In the column, Jackson wrote in response to an emotional, long awaited kiss between Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss). "Did you see "Glee" this week? Sickening! And, besides shoving the gay thing down our throats, they made a mockery of Christians - again! I wonder what their agenda is? Hey, producers of "Glee" - what's your agenda? One-way tolerance?" She later appeared on "Showbiz Tonight" to clarify her thoughts. "Well, it doesn't matter what I think," Jackson said. "What matters is what the Bible says. And I'm really concerned about our country because immorality is, well, let's see: secular humanism rules the airwaves, and it's stealing the innocence away from this whole generation of children. My daughter is a teenager and I can't find any show that she can watch." With that diatribe, Jackson was asked, based on her remarks, both in the column and in the interview, whether she was homophobic. "That's a cute little buzzword of the liberal agenda," Jackson smirked. "Basically, the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin."
In June, the singer and "The Voice" co-host<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/ceelogreen" target="_hplink"> lashed out on Twitter</a> after a Minnesota music editor gave an episode of the hit series a lackluster review. He tweeted: "I respect your criticism, but be fair! People enjoyed last night! I'm guessing you're gay? And my masculinity offended you? Well f--k you!" As E Online is reporting, Cee Lo <a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/cee_lo_says_sorry_outrageous_homophobic/248478" target="_hplink">attempted an apology </a>on Twitter, writing: "Apologies gay community! What was homophobic about that? I said I was guessing he [was] gay which is fine but its nice to [know] what u think of me." The comment was deleted shortly thereafter.
It was no laughing matter when "Grey's Anatomy" actor Washington referred to co-star Knight as a "faggot" during an on-set argument with Patrick Dempsey. Though Washington later denied using the word backstage at the 2007 Golden Globes, Knight said he was inspired to come out publicly after hearing his co-star use the word. "I've never been called that to my face," he told Ellen Degeneres. "So I think when that happened, something shifted, and it became bigger than myself." Washington was fired from the show shortly thereafter, but said he believed racism had been a factor in his dismissal, and claimed that Knight had manipulated the controversy.
Last year, the 65-year-old entrepreneur <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/nyregion/after-roasting-trump-reacts-in-character.html" target="_hplink">compared the legalization of marriage equality</a> to his reluctance to use a new kind of putter during golf, according to <em>The New York Times</em>. "A lot of people -- I don't want this to sound trivial -- but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive," he said. "It's weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can't sink three-footers anymore...I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist." <em>Correction: A previous version of this slide incorrectly stated Trump's age as 56. He is 65.</em>
The CNN analyst was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/roland-martin-david-beckham-glaad-super-bowl_n_1257036.html" target="_hplink">slammed for remarks he made</a> during this year's Super Bowl XLVI. Martin, who was actively tweeting throughout the game, poked fun at men who may have liked David Beckham's H&M underwear ads. He wrote that "real bruhs" would not purchase underwear advertised by Beckham, and that people should "smack the ish out" of a male supporter of the ad. In condemning his comments, GLAAD cited earlier statements by Martin, such as <a href="http://www.rolandsmartin.com/page/news.cfm?ArticleID=10" target="_hplink">a column in which he said that his wife</a> has "counseled many men and women to walk away from the gay lifestyle, and to live a chaste life," to say that his latest tweets were part of an anti-gay pattern. He <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/02/cnns-martin-defends-himself-against-glaad-113600.html#.TzAAcpn3MjM.twitter" target="_hplink">later responded to the backlash</a>, noting, "I was not referring to sexuality directly or indirectly regarding the David Beckham ad, and I'm sorry folks took it otherwise. It was meant to be a deliberately over the top and sarcastic crack about soccer; I do not advocate violence of any kind against anyone gay, or not."
Exactly how effective Brown's anger management classes are going is questionable, given the series of<a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/chris_brown_drops_n-bombs_homophobic/218318" target="_hplink"> homophobic, racially-charged tweets</a> he sent out last December after rapper Raz, formerly of the group B2K, set him off. "@razb2k n---a you want attention!" he wrote. "Grow up n----a!!! Dick in da ass lil boy...Tell me this @razb2k!! Why when the money was coming in u won't complaining about getting butplugged! #homothug!!!" Later, Brown wrote, "I'm not homophobic! He's just disrespectful!!!"
No stranger to perceived homophobia, Shelton was heavily criticized <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/blakeshelton/status/65999662171172865" target="_hplink">after he tweeted</a>, "Re-writing my fav Shania Twain song ... Any man that tries touching my behind he's gonna be a beaten, bleedin', heaving kind of guy." He later apologized for the gaffe via Twitter, noting: <blockquote>Hey y'all allow me to <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/blakeshelton/status/66171257435066368" target="_hplink">seriously apologize</a> for the misunderstanding with the whole re-write on the Shania song last night...</blockquote> <blockquote>It honestly <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/blakeshelton/status/66171941303762944" target="_hplink">wasn't even meant</a> that way... I now know that their are people out there waiting to jump at everything I say on here or anywhere</blockquote> <blockquote>But when it comes to<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/blakeshelton/status/66173127956242432" target="_hplink"> gay/lesbian rights</a> or just feelings... I love everybody. So go look for a real villain and leave me out of it!!!</blockquote> The original lyrics are, "Any man of mine better walk the line/ Better show me a teasin', squeezin', pleasin' kinda time."
Carolla came under fire by GLAAD in 2011, after going on a shocking <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2011/08/15/glaad-adam-carolla-lgbt-lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-the-adam-carolla-show-podcast-loveline-comedy-intolerance-transgender/#.T1d4UJfLyRk" target="_hplink">anti-LGBT tirade on a podcast</a> for his radio show, asking, "When did we start giving a sh*t about these [transgender] people?" He also reportedly insisted the acronym LGBT should be dropped in favor of using "YUCK" instead. Carolla <a href="http://www.sheknows.com/entertainment/articles/838735/adam-carolla-apologizes-for-his-shocking-anti-gay-rant" target="_hplink">later apologized for the rant</a>, noting, "I'm sorry my comments were hurtful. I'm a comedian, not a politician."
Though he later claimed his account had been hacked, Soulja Boy got heat when the following message<a href="http://www.essence.com/2011/06/23/celebrity-homophobic-rants/#kobes_poor_courtside_behavioral" target="_hplink"> reportedly appeared on his Twitter</a>: "I'm gonna keep talking sh*t to these white f*ggots until they unlike my page. f**king weirdo stalkers!"
Last year, the comedian came under fire for jokes he made during a stand-up act. <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2011/06/10/tracy-morgan-homophobic-act-rant-comedy-gay-threats-kill-son-30-rock/#.T1d3gpfLyRk" target="_hplink">Among the choice reported bits</a>: <blockquote>"Gays need to quit being p**sies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying." On the possibility of his son being gay -- Morgan said he "better talk to me like a man and not in a gay voice or I'll pull out a knife and stab that little n**ger to death." Afterward, Tracy told the crowd, "I don't "f*cking care if I piss off some gays, because if they can take a f*cking d**k up their ass, they can take a f*cking joke."</blockquote> Later, he <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/10/tracy-morgans-homophobic-remarks_n_874699.html" target="_hplink">apologized in a statement</a> to The Huffington Post: <blockquote>I want to apologize to my fans and the gay & lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville. I'm not a hateful person and don't condone any kind of violence against others. While I am an equal opportunity jokester, and my friends know what is in my heart, even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context.</blockquote>
The "Jersey Shore" came under fire when <a href="http://www.queerty.com/jersey-shores-ronnie-fulfills-guido-stereotype-of-being-a-homophobe-20100215/" target="_hplink">"unseen footage" of the show surfaced</a>, in which he used the terms "f**king faggot" and "f**king queer" during an altercation with an unidentified man on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. TMZ reports the reality star <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2010/02/19/ronnie-jersey-shore-homophobic-rant-apology/" target="_hplink">later tweeted an apology</a>, noting, "I apologize to my fans, In the heat of the moment i said a lot of things i didnt mean and im very sorry."
Alan Osmond, who shot to fame in the late 1960s and early '70s as one of The Osmonds, took heat in November <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/09/alan-osmond-anti-gay-article_n_1084463.html" target="_hplink">for penning an article</a> that some in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) blogsophere deemed homophobic. In his article for<a href="http://thefamily.com/" target="_hplink"> the website The Family</a>, the 62-year-old Osmond brother, who is Mormon, not only argued that being gay is not genetic, but also comes out in defense of "reparation" therapy, which is sought by those seeking to change their sexual orientation: <blockquote>Research has NOT proved that homosexuality is genetic. Even more important, many researchers whose studies have been used to support a biological model for homosexuality have determined that their work has been MISINTERPRETED. What is clear is that homosexuality results from an interaction of social, biological, and psychological factors. These factors may include temperament, personality traits, sexual abuse, familial factors, and treatment by one's peers.</blockquote> Before noting that "treatment success rates that exceed 50 percent," Osmond continued: <blockquote>Developmental factors aside, can individuals diminish homosexual attraction and make changes in their lives? Yes. There is substantial evidence, both historical and current, to indicate this is the case.</blockquote>
The rapper was slammed <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/50cent/status/23161813105" target="_hplink">after he tweeted</a>: "Perez Hilton calld me douchebag so I had my homie shoot up a gay wedding. wasnt his but still made me feel better." He was also called particularly insensitive <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/50cent/status/25954812348" target="_hplink">when he tweeted:</a> "If you a man and your over 25 and you don't eat pu**y just kill your self damn it. The world will be a better place. Lol"
With her danceable music and glamorous style, Donna Summer became an instant icon for the gay community during her 1970s heyday. So when she allegedly made a number of religion-inspired remarks about the gay community as well as HIV/AIDS during a 1983 performance, the "Queen of Disco" faced an immediate backlash. "It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," Summer was quoted as having said during the Atlantic City concert by the <em>Village Voice</em>. She is said to have also noted, "I've seen the evil homosexuality come out of you people... AIDS is the result of your sins. Now don't get me wrong; God loves you. But not the way you are now." She denied making the remarks for years afterward, calling the accusations "unjust and unfair." Summer noted in a letter addressed to members of ACT UP, "I did not say God is punishing gays with AIDS, I did not sit with ill intentions in judgement over your lives. I haven't stopped talking to my friends who are gay, nor have I ever chosen my friends by their sexual preferences."