January 15, 2013

IconOh what a speech!

Roll down the red carpet and party like you just won an Oscar, Jodie Foster has ‘come out’. Okay so we already know that Jodie is part of ‘our’ community, it is one of those facts that is not generally discussed but is universally accepted (much like gravity). Still, her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes was breathtaking. There seems a real sense of respect and admiration for one of Hollywood’s lifelong leading ladies. Jodie Foster is show business and show business has accepted her.

Of course Jodie has previously mentioned her then partner, Cydney Bernard, in a previous awards ceremony. But that didn’t quite have the scale of the Globes, and certainly the words ‘coming out’ were never used. That said, Jodie does tell us that this isn’t a ‘coming out’ speech as such…

“I hope you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming-out speech tonight because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age.”

(So maybe it is laziness that we are calling this a ‘coming out speech’ at all? In fact I have issue with the term in general, are we not ‘proper’ lgbt people unless we have struggled through this rite of passage? But I will refrain from delving into it here… moving on…)

Moving and engaging

No one seemed surprised by her speech (I wonder if people had been forewarned) but the A-List audience did appear suitably moved and engaged.

The most shocking statement about her entire speech was that she is fifty? How did that happen? She certainly looked beautiful, statuesque even, embodying all of the glamour and razzmatazz of Hollywood stardom. In simple terms, Jodie looked, as always, like the consummate professional and her speech reflected this.

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I like many things about this speech. I really like that she did not thank everyone in the world who has ever ‘come out’ before her, or all of the great lgbt advocates for all of their great work; I like the fact that it didn’t seem painful for her, none of it, that this seemed as straightforward and silky smooth as I don’t know, eating ice cream; I love the fact that she did it in her voice, in her way and that she kept her speech about her as an individual. It was a personal moment full of style and grace.

Criticism

Unfortunately, there is always someone who has to rain on my parade. You can do a search for yourself if you would like to read the hounds at bay criticising Jodie Foster for not coming out so publicly earlier. Perhaps this should be a fairer piece of writing and I should go on to analyse the critiques and come back to you with something less biased, but I’m not going to. Not just because I have always been a massive fan of Jodie but because sometimes I worry the lgbt community can’t simply just celebrate something and enjoy it without bitterness… As Jodie said in her speech,

“But now I’m told, apparently, that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show. You know, you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child. No, I’m sorry, that’s just not me. It never was and it never will be.”

Our stories our way…

Here is my pennies worth. LGBT people are individuals. It is up to us to decide when, how, if we say anything at all regardless of how far along the rainbow lexicon we identify. Not every star has to be an advocate. In fact the thing I have always admired most about Jodie is her ability to keep her private life private. She chose the time, she was in charge of her own coming out story and that is how it should be for each end every one of us. It’s still a shame that we have to do it at all. So let’s enjoy this happy moment and celebrate being individuals. Celebrate telling our stories in our way. Let us enjoy Jodie’s speech in all of its wonder.

Jodie Foster, thank you for not compromising, thank you for being in charge of your own life, and thank you for being an inspiration.

 

1 Response to Oh what a speech!

  1. yael says:

    I agree!
    well said and written
    i also liked that she said ‘I’m single’
    which takes immense courage and for me
    was groundbreaking in a way that i never
    heard any celeb saying this in an event that big.
    for this she is my hero of the week

    yael

kj

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