I know what it's like to be outed. I was outed by the newspaper of record, The New York Times, specifically by Bob Morris in the Style section. When I wrote a letter to Max Frankel, the editor at the time, he asked if I wanted a retraction. No, I replied firmly. Then it would be like a double out. It all happened back in 1993. In truth, I was only out to myself back then, so I was rather mortified.
That said, where are lesbians going to get their gossip these days? The L Chat -- "Lezzie Gossip for the Elizabeth and Bertha in all of us," as the website states. Many allegedly closeted people are named and have threads devoted to them, and out lesbians like Ellen Page and Ellen DeGeneres have threads devoted to them as well. Admittedly bisexual Portlandia star and Sleater-Kinney musician Carrie Brownstein also has her own thread. (By the way, Ms. Brownstein was outed by the Times as well).
Earlier this year another thread appeared, one devoted to the alleged relationship between Ms. Brownstein and the Orange Is the New Black stunner Taylor Schilling. Is it fair? No. It's just a gossip site, even though The Star reported the same. Until Ms. Schilling comes out, if she happens to be gay, bisexual or fluid, I do believe she has the right to not talk about her personal life on TV shows or in the media. She owes us nothing.
That said, where is all this speculation coming from? There are pictures of the two of them hanging out together all over the world, from photos at a museum event, with Ms. Schilling holding the back of Ms. Brownstein's chair, to the recent ones of Ms. Schilling following Ms. Brownstein and her band around Great Britain and Ireland, and the other night to Austin. It has been rumored that Ms. Brownstein dated the singer St. Vincent before that went bust. Many L Chatters assume Ms. Schilling was the catalyst. L Chatters will boo me if I stated that maybe the two are just get-along-really-well gal pals, but I must ask: Are photographs and public sightings of the two together hard proof?
Outing has certainly been perfected since the days I was outed. Social media is obviously to blame. But we're losing perspective of human rights. They didn't protect me or Ms. Brownstein, but they should protect Ms. Schilling and everyone else.
In the end we all have friends we love to share company with. Ms. Brownstein is a talented writer, musician and actress. Maybe she's a barrel of laughs, as could be Ms. Schilling. And maybe the two just mesh together as pals. And that's where I'll stop. Whatever their relationship is, may they find peace in this suspicious and rather nosy world of ours. We do not know them. As for outing, maybe we'll come to the day when you aren't outed, you just are.
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