Now I know what Perez Hilton was talking about.
I profiled Perez 3-4 years ago for The Advocate for a story on gay bloggers. We were sitting at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in West Hollywood and he shared with me an anecdote about when he ticked off a bunch of Clay Aiken fans and, if I remember correctly, some even came looking for him at his HOUSE.
I’m probably about to tick off some fans right now.
Keep in mind that I don’t want to put a broad brush over anyone because it is clear Clay has many fans who really appreciate his music, his talent, and his journey from unknown to American Idol to big-selling artist to openly gay man on the cover of People magazine with his son. I’ve become a much bigger fan of Clay since he came out because it was uncomfortable to watch him get defensive or angry with interviewers who brought up his sexuality. Now he’s out publicly and no one can try and hurt him with these questions.
But the reaction to a recent item I posted on Clay’s new album indicates that there is at least part of his audience who do not want to be reminded – even in the most minor way – that the man is now one of the most famous gay men in America. It was so disappointing to read comments from so many people who were upset that I felt it necessary to write “the now openly gay Clay.”
Here is a sample of the remarks:
Susie: I’m a little annoyed that every entertainment site press announcement regarding Clay mentions his sexuality – that has nothing to do with his music! Why bring it up an article on his forthcoming album? … Nice article otherwise.
Sue: agree with Susie. What difference does it make if the man is gay. It’s his voice and talent you should be commenting on.
Judy: Totally agree with Susie~ Mentioning Clay’s sexuality is not necessary. It is ‘old’ news and has absolutely nothing to do with Clay’s voice..the awesome entertainer…the man that is he is!!!
Cara: I have to agree,,, what in the world does Clay’s sexuality have to do with this article whatsoever. Until that stops, nothing changes.
Ann: I agree Susie. Would this author say “And here’s a new upcoming CD by heterosexual singer, Justin Timberlake, etc.” It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Corrine: Susie said it better than I ever could — time to leave sexuality where it belongs — in a person’s private life.
JoJo: I agree with Susie’s comment above, why is it necessary to mention Clay’s sexuality when the article is about his music? Give it a rest people we all KNOW he is gay! Now lets put it to rest!
Molly: I was just about to echo what Susie, above, said about the gay issue. Just drop it and concentrate on the singing!
Val: Thanks for the article, and, I agree, there was no need to mention his sexuality. It’s all about his heavenly voice and the caring person he has shown himself to be.
Carolyn: Susie, ya beat me to it . I am actually pretty ticked off at yet another totally irrelevant gay reference. It’s old news, Greg. The man’s voice and charisma are what count.
Stargazer: The openly gay star thing has lost it’s ability to shock and awe. We all know it and we don’t care. We do, however, care about Clay’s fabulous voice and we care that we’re about to be blown away by some new music that is beautiful. Clay’s voice on these recordings is shock and awe and would be much better descriptor of the man and his music.
Cruz: First of all, “Claymate” is so 2003, and I’m not nor have I ever been a Claymate. I’m a loyal fan, no label necessary. Second, “openly gay” is important why? Because you say so? I don’t think so. Get over it already.
Donna: I agree with Susie about why Clay’s sexuality has to be mentioned all the time. Elton John is gay but you never hear his sexuality mentioned.Why can’t they just say Clay Aiken is covering the classics on his upcoming CD. I’m getting upset by the media always mentioning his sexuality. His sexuality has nothing to do with his music.
Cookie: Why does anyone care about anyone else’s life in their bedroom for crying out loud.,. Clay Aiken has the best voice out there.
Greg’s closing thoughts: Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I just want to say that when someone has the courage to come out – especially someone in the spotlight – it is not helpful to them to pretend it never happened. Don’t make us compartmentalize, try and grow with us and get over your own issues about it. We would prefer that you love us for who we are – not for a part of who we are.
I think the openly gay Clay Aiken would agree.