When challenged on why he didn't come out when he was on top of the TV world, Hayes gets defensive... did he owe it to anyone to come out earlier, when it would have real impact?
Do celebrities have an obligation to come out? Richard Chamberlain came out recently, after waiting until he was like 140 years old and thirty years past The Thorn Birds. Does anyone care now? What would have happened if he came out when he was on Dynasty and being touted as Hollywood's premiere bachelor?
Out magazine has featured Jodie Foster and Anderson Cooper on its cover, challenging them to come out. Both looked away and did nothing. What is the morality here, and what are the career and financial repercussions? Putting aside the hate and potential violence, coming out can cost a career -- in 2000 Barbara Walters challenged Ricky Martin about his sexuality, and though he didn't directly respond, we were all left with the same impression (gay gay gay) and Walters now says she regrets it as she thinks it killed his career.
Research shows that when someone knows a gay person, they are more in favour of gay civil rights. So when tens of millions of people know you, your coming out will advance the cause of civil rights. So is that obligation or opportunity?
When I was a kid growing up in the 70s, the only gay role models were Paul Lynde, random guests on the Donahue show, and the florist who did my Bar Mitzvah. Would life have been easier with role models? I think so.
Sean Hayes is gay and seems bitter about being labeled gay. Ricky Martin's career may have been hurt. Jodie Foster has always dodged the question. Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, Adam Lambert, Rufus Wainright are all out with successful careers.
CNN's popular Anderson Cooper, long assumed to be gay, is rumored to be replacing Katie Couric as the next anchor of CBS news; will he use his ever-growing profile to step up and come out? Should he?