(Photo from Rolling Stone)
The "American Idol" runner-up has finally admitted what many suspected, that he is gay. He did so in the pages of Rolling Stone (which has excerpts from the interview online) because he thought it was "cooler" than just telling reporters generally, or coming out in People magazine like Clay Aiken. Lambert told the mag that he is proud of his sexuality. Too bad he isn't proud enough to have been out during his run on "American Idol." ...
I've already written a brief rant about this for tomorrow's Beacon Journal, but I am still irked at Lambert. He played it coy about his sexuality during "Idol," and I have to believe he did so because he thought it would hurt him with voters. Which doesn't sound like proud to me. It sounds like calculating, and cautious, and unwilling to face America as himself. Straight "Idol" contestants have shown off their wives and loved ones. Imagine Lambert mentioning a boyfriend, or having one in the audience.
This was also in my e-mail today:
“As more and more Americans get to know gay and lesbian people, it has a tremendous impact in terms of creating awareness, understanding and acceptance of our community,” said Neil. G. Giuliano, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “American Idol has become iconic in our culture, and as Adam continues to share his story during his post-Idol career, we hope his decision to live openly and honestly inspires gay people and opens the hearts and minds of his fans and others he will continue to entertain.”
I think Lambert could have had far more impact if he had lived "openly and honestly" during the show, instead of playing wink-wink-nudge-nudge with the audience. Yes, he has come out soon after the show ended, not waiting years the way Clay Aiken did. It's still regrettable. If he had come out during the show, he might not have won, but he would have competed on his own terms personally as well as musically. Hiding his sexuality, he still didn't win; and without winning, he's still getting things like the cover of Rolling Stones and a recording deal.
Now, part of my irritation may have to do with having seen "Outrage" recently. That's Kirby Dick's documentary about the contradictions in anti-gay politicians who are themselves closeted gays. Lambert didn't engage in that sort of hypocrisy; he never pretended offense at the speculation about his sexuality. At the same time, by not coming out during "Idol," he let people infer that there's something wrong with being gay -- otherwise, why would he think it could hurt him with voters?
And one of the film's many points is the act of coming out has been liberating for formerly closeted politicians. Rolling Stone talks as well about the "liberation of Adam Lambert." But I wish he had freed himself sooner, and from "Idol's" mighty pulpit.