Monday, June 11, 2012

Do you think Neil Patrick Harris gets tired of the attention?

It's no secret to those who know me that I have a "man"-crush on Neil Patrick Harris.  He's hilarious, he's well-dressed, he seems down-to-earth and he's pretty good looking. I feel like he befriends everyone he meets, which is saying something coming from me because I usually think speculating on what celebrities are like in real life is a waste of time since they get paid to act a certain way.

In any case, NPH was on The Colbert Report the other night and Stephen Colbert was saying, in his mock-Republican attitude, that NPH threatens him because he is a happy, likable gay man and his happiness doesn't threaten Colbert's happiness.  The obvious satirical commentary is that gay people aren't threatening and the stereotypical Republican point of view is silly.

It was a funny sketch, but I had something on my mind as I was watching. NPH has been publicly out for a few years now and his public demeanor changed very little from the time no one knew he was gay to the time everyone did.  And yet, every interview or video I've ever seen of him plays up his gayness.  For years, he was identified by his sense of humor, his showmanship and his comedic timing and now, it seems people only focus on his homosexuality.

To be sure, lots of that intrigue is tied to his happy domestic life with his partner and their twin babies, which I think is a happy thing to focus on, but still, I wonder if he ever gets tired of gawkers saying, "Neil, I like you and you are gay; therefore I am open-minded and tolerant."

It reminds me of something the black kid I knew in high school said (yes, that's right. Not "a" black kid or "one of many" black kids. "The" black kid). He said that he felt like a rockstar, because everyone wanted to be friends with him and everyone knew his name and voted for him whenever he did anything and then he transferred to another high school with more diversity.  He realized after transferring that we were being incredibly racist at my high school. It wasn't negative racism, but nonetheless, we apparently treated him differently due to his race. We wanted to prove we weren't racist, so we sought out the only black person we knew and fellowshipped the hell out of him.

In this wise, gay is the new black. Everyone says things like, "I've got a gay friend back home," just so they sound a little more open-minded, like they tolerate the presence of homosexuality.  And I'm like, why does it matter? Would you be friends with this guy if he wasn't gay?

I wonder if NPH gets annoyed with answering those questions about what it's like being in a committed relationship and having two (frankly gorgeous) kids with your partner. If it seemed like the interviewers were genuinely interested in his personal life, then maybe he'd be okay with it. But if it seems like they're just playing up the gay to get ratings, then I'd think it'd get pretty old pretty quick.

I guess my point is that being gay doesn't have to define a person. There are those for whom it does, but for me and lots of the other gays I know, we're normal people who happen to be gay.  It'd be a hard line to toe, because if I was out, I'd want people to know how normal I was, so I'd be pretty loudmouthed about it, which ironically would make me stand out more to those who saw me.

Just one more in a nearly endless list of things that make me scared to come out.

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