01/14/2013 04:24 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

What Jodie Foster Should Have Said

There is something I would like to talk about.

I've known I'm gay for as long as I can remember. And given the fact that I was a child actor trying to make a career as an adult, and given that it was the '80s, I don't think anyone begrudges me the fact that I claimed my right to privacy for many years instead of coming out on a public level.

The truth is that I was never "in the closet" to my family and friends, but the fact that I publicly sidestepped the issue of my sexuality until 2007 might have made it seem like I was ashamed or afraid for my career. The truth is that at awards ceremonies like these, I just wanted to thank my partner at the time, Cydney, and I wanted that thanks to be heard by everyone exactly the same way it's heard when Hugh thanks his wife, or when Julianna thanks her husband. When they do so, no one claims that they are pushing their sexual orientation on the public, or that they are exposing what is nobody's business.

But we get that all the time as gay people. When we share about our love lives, we are accused of sharing about our sex lives. When straight couples share about their love lives, they get reality shows. The words "flaunting their heterosexual preference" is never heard. Wives are never introduced as "friends." In fact, married men in the audience, try introducing your wife at a company function as "your roommate." Let me know how that works out for you.

The problem with my approach is that it created the impression that I was hiding something that I am very proud of. I'm proud of my family. I'm not ashamed of any relationship I've ever had, even the mistakes. And if I'd gotten the "gay" word out of the way, I probably could have helped us get where we are today a little faster. So I am sorry for being late to the party.

But I probably can move the conversation a little farther forward now by challenging all the Americans watching who still think whom you love counts more than how you love. You're mistaken. The love of a gay parent for her kids is the love a parent for her kids. The love of a gay man for his husband is the love of a man for his spouse. Is it anybody's business? Not really, but it would be a pretty sad awards dinner if everyone came without a person they hold near and dear.

We are buoyed by our friends, girlfriends, boyfriends and spouses. Whether or not we happen to have horizontal relationships with them is immaterial; it's the love that counts. And we should all be loud and proud about loving to the best of our ability as human beings, and it is that love that I shout from the rooftops.