Yesterday, after I’d finally wrapped up all the work I had to do yesterday, I slammed my laptop shut and laid down on my sofa to unwind a bit. Flipping channels, I ran across a Seinfeld rerun — the one where a student reporter for the NYU newspaper comes under the impression that Jerry and George are secretly a gay couple and “outs” in the school paper. That episode was titled “The Outing,” but has come to be more widely known in pop culture as the “not that there’s anything wrong with that” episode, in reference to there not being anything wrong with being gay.
After that episode was over, I went for a walk, as is my after-work proclivity, and downloaded a couple of podcasts to listen to while I traipsed around my fair city on foot. One of those podcasts was the most recent offering of Marc Maron’s podcast — the guest was comedian Todd Glass, who used his appearance to come out of the closet after being motivated to do so by the slew of recent gay suicides triggered by homophobia.
I cannot listen to stories about kids killing themselves any longer without thinking [to myself], ‘When are you going to have a little blood on your shirt for not being honest about who you are?’
I always say, if you are homophobic, you better be positive you’re right. Because is it going to blow [that] all these kids are killing themselves, and … that in 20 years … you get to write a book about how wrong you were. They’re dead. So why don’t you have a soul-searching moment now? Go into your house, shut the door, and make sure you’re positive that you’re making kids feel like crap for no good goddamn reason…
Leave everybody the fuck alone. Let people do what they want. And that’s why that’s my bigger cause. You know the gay flag? I always thought it would be better to have another flag – not pro-gay, pro-everything. I don’t give a f*ck: transgender, gay, straight, you’re a little feminine. That flag means we don’t give a f*ck who you are. Come in. Come in to the store.
Watching that Seinfeld episode and then listening to the WTF podcast presented quite an odd juxtoposition: A fictional comic on a TV show that aired in the mid-90s panicking that being known as gay would kill his career, to a real-life comic in 2012 coming out of the closet in an effort to unburden himself of his secrets. We’ve come so far, yet still have so far to go.