The snark of my title probably doesn't accurately reflect my feelings on the subject, so read on...
Jim Nabors, 82, has—surprisingly—come out as gay. He was prompted to do so when the media discovered he had traveled from his home in Hawaii to marry his ex-fireman partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, in Seattle.
Nabors, who was once the subject of a '60s urban legend that he had "married" Rock Hudson, tells Hawaii News Now:
"I'm 82 and he's in his 60s and so we've been together for 38 years and I'm not ashamed of people knowing, it's just that it was such a personal thing, I didn't tell anybod. I'm very happy that I've had a partner of 38 years and I feel very blessed. And, what can I tell you, I'm just very happy."
He went on to assert:
"I'm not a debater. And everybody has their own opinion about this and actually I'm not an activist, so I've never gotten involved in any of this."
That last part grosses me out. I totally understand that not everyone who is a public figure and gay will want to become embroiled in the political aspects of the fight for equality, but it's always disheartening to me when people conflate being out with being an activist, and when a gay person thinks it's okay for anti-gay people to "have their own opinions" about us. Of course everyone has a right to be a bigot, but the subjects of their bigotry don't have to aid and abet it.
And when the person saying they don't want to be an activist is coming from a place where they were probably protecting a lucrative career, I always wish they'd just be honest and say, "I don't want to alienate my audience and risk my livelihood."
Still, while I wouldn't hand Nabors an award for coming out now that he's retired, I'll say as I always say when this happens—it's very cool he finally did it and it's always, always a plus when public figures make it official. In his case, I find it interesting that while people coming out has probably helped to speed up the progress of marriage equality, this process is now reversing and I think the inevitable tide toward marriage equality is enticing more and more public figures out of the closet.