Which athletes and entertainers choose to come out of the closet?

Here is one not inaccurate description of the professional status of Jason Collins:

Collins’s announcement in a thoughtful, first-person Sports Illustrated story has created a conundrum for the NBA, which does not want to appear intolerant but whose teams could wind up passing on Collins this offseason. While he would represent a relatively inexpensive option for a team in need of a physical defender at the veteran minimum salary of roughly $1.35 million, Collins will turn 35 in December and is at a stage in his career when declining, low-impact players are generally pushed aside.

I would put it this way.  It is good news that he “came out” and he is to be applauded for his courage.  Still, I am discomforted by the fact that only a male athlete on the down side of his career would be the one doing this.

Female athletes are more likely to identify as lesbian or bisexual than male athletes will identify as gay or bisexual.  I suspect this does not involve a comparable fear of loss of endorsement income or mass appeal.

Could it also be that women are more open in this regard?  Martina Navratilova came out in 1981 at the age of 24 and at or near the peak or her career.

Hollywood is ostensibly a more “gay tolerant” culture than is professional athletics, yet how many leading movie actors have come out as gay or bisexual?  I can’t think of many.  Here is one list of openly gay actors and I have not heard of most of them.  The number one guy on that list is identified as “Actor, Starship Troopers.”  As for the others on the list, Ricky Martin is famous but mostly a singer and Rupert Everett very often plays gay or possibly-gay characters, so his coming out presumably involved much less career risk.

Presumably if an up-and-coming actor comes out, it is hardly for that actor to get roles as a romantic lead and perhaps as an action lead in a “buddy movie” as well.  If you look at this list, it seems well-known female celebrities find it easier to mix coming out with continued career success.  Ellen, Rachel Maddow, Rosie O’Donnell, and Jodie Foster do not seem to have obvious male counterparts, again outside of music and figures such as Ricky Martin, Elton John, and David Bowie, and even Bowie has sent some mixed signals over the years.

For all the talk about the macho culture of professional sports, I wonder how much the problem is in fact the viewing public and the “least common denominator” imperatives of some forms of commercialized entertainment, especially when funded by advertisements.  The commercial upside for male coming out is usually smaller than the downside, at least for sports and movies with built-in mass audiences, again with connections to image-conscious mainstream advertisers.  If male “coming out” is easier in the world of music, it is perhaps because the product is directly financed by consumers, which implies more of a niche audience and a willingness to forgo some classes of consumers altogether.  Alex and I discuss related mechanisms in our paper on avant-garde vs. popular culture (pdf).

I am happy to read about Collins.  But we will be seeing much more progress when up-and-coming handsome actors, shooting for big Hollywood roles, also come out as gay.  That to me still seems far away.


I don't know why everyone assumes that sports are full of closet homosexuals. According to the census there are twice as many British Asians as there are British homosexuals, but there are no British Asians playing in the Premier League. I find it more likely that gays just prefer other professions.

A lot of the "assumptions" are probably gay projection and/or fantasy. Of course if you're a dude who's into dudes you think that pro athletes are hot, and wouldn't it just be great if they thought you were too? Plus, a lot of sports probably are incredibly erotic...if you're gay. Imagine the archetypal closeted high school kid on the football or wrestling team. Just look at the guy who wrote Friday Night Lights.

Wow. You guys are exactly why the word "heteronormative" had to be invented. You have a lot of learning to do.

"Heteronormativity is the body of lifestyle norms that hold that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life. It presumes that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation..."

Apparently, the term was popularized in Michael Warner's 1991, "Introduction: Fear of a Queer Planet".

That's some cutting-edge modern scholarship there.

British Asians frequently play non-soccer sports, like cricket. Equating sport to the Premier League is a flawed method.

Furthermore, acting has historically been seen as a profession favoured by gay men.

Isn't society generally more tolerant towards the lesbian flavor of homosexuality than the male version? It is my perception that it is.

If so that'd explain Tyler's observation about why it is easier for female athletes etc. to come out but not the men.

In general, society isn't all that interested in actual lesbians, much to the anger and dismay of lesbians. Gay men tend to dominate female interests, such as dress design, but lesbians very seldom dominate male interests.

Rahul, my perception exactly.

Neil Patrick Harris is much more famous than his role in Starship Troopers - he's Doogie Houser! Also, he plays an over the top womanizer in the sitcom "How I met your mother" so it isn't obvious that gay actors can't play such characters.

I think part of the ongoing joke in that sitcom is that he is gay but plays a womanizer. It's the irony and novelty that amuses people. A gay actor who attempts to play a serious romantic role might be up against more stigma.

I don't think the joke is that he's gay, not at all. The joke is that he's fixated on this one idea of success that involves him trying to be as macho as possible.

I first saw him in Dr Horrible, which is sort of a romcom, and got several episodes into HIMYM before happening to find out the actor is gay.

I doubt it's that. He started with HIMYM in 2005 and came out publicly in 2006. Barney was just as ridiculous in Season 1 as in every other season.

He plays a hard partying, womanizing, bad boy in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle as well. He was very convincing, maybe that helped him fit the type cast for How I Met Your Mother.

Yeah, the Starship Troopers crack was pretty funny. I wouldn't call NPH exactly an A lister, but he's a well-known, visible, and quite popular working actor who is also widely known to be gay. Overall, though, I was a bit surprised at the obscurity of that list. Outside of Ian McKellen and George Takei, not a lot of known items on there.

Say that Vin Diesel (who has always been a fairly mysterious celebrity, whether out of contrivance or just because he prefers his privacy) announced tomorrow that he was gay. Would there then be a "Fast and Furious 7" in 2015?

I don't know ...

The "Fast and Furious" series has a disproportionately Hispanic audience, but few in Hollywood really know much about what Mexican-Americans like. It could be that, as with Morrisey and East L.A. Chicanos, they'd like a gay leading man. Or, maybe not ...

What about NPH playing himself in Harold and Kumar? He plays the persona of a stud actor that can have orgies with women whenever he wants...

NPH blows this premise behind this post away. He is a gay actor that plays many 'alpha male' roles.

Oh and Rock Hudson?

In the most recent Harold and Kumar movie, "Neil Patrick Harris" pretends to be gay in order to lower women's defenses.

Well, Rock Hudson wasn't publicly "out", though, which I think is the point. It's not that he's claiming there aren't any gay people in Hollywood, it's that the gay leading men in Hollywood are afraid to come out.

Also, don't forget that when Neil Patrick Harris was in the first Harold and kumar movie he was yet to come out of the closet.

Well, as often the case with Czech raised Martina Navratilova, she illustrates why there may be other factors in play than a simple (or simplistic) male/female distinction. From the noted link -

'I pressed her on this. She wasn't budging. Her situation was different from a gay NFL or NBA player, she insisted. She explained that she was competing in an individual sport, so she needed only to win. She didn't need to worry about being sabotaged by a homophobic coach. She didn't have to concern herself with team chemistry or locker-room dynamics. There was no social media or Internet to catalyze controversy, she pointed out.'

But after spending a good amount of space detailing how Martina Navratilova's explanations simply are not that useful in the context the author wants to frame, the article returns to the basic point -

'But Navratilova's capacity for hitting a ball over a net? Her "coming out" didn't hinder that. Not in the least. In 1982, the first full season after her announcement, her match record was a preposterous 90-3, as she became the first female athlete to earn more than $1 million in prize money in a single year. She was even better in 1983, going 86-1. There's your precedent.'

In other words, if Martina Navratilova had been playing for the (non-existent, and that is a telling fact right there, much larger than the discussion of coming out) American female equivalent of a pro sports team, would she have ended up in the same place of Collins? That is, would she have been potentially looking for work outside of sports after making her announcement?

Or not, as the case turned out to be for her. A major difference being, in addition to the reasons she herself stated, Martina Navratilova was an international athlete competing in an international sport.


Is Griner, who is 6'8", biologically female? Or is Griner more like Caster Semenya, the hermaphroditic runner who was allowed to compete in the women's 800m event in the 2012 Olympics only because South Africa played the race card?


Interestingly, Griner skipped the 2012 Olympics. The Olympics had sex testing for a long time because the Nazis and Communists used to enter men in the women's events, but I can't remember if they still do sex testing, or whether sex testing is considered sexist these days. It's all very confusing.

I've wondered the exact same thing myself. The icing on the cake was during the ABC News story of her ascent, they, after several minutes praising this "woman's" accomplishments, they flashed to Griner's speaking (for like 2 seconds). That is when I knew the delusion was complete.

I think they still test. ESPN the magazine did a article last year,maybe about Semenya,but don't have time to hunt up the link.

I was unaware that the WNBA existed in 1981. Or 1991. Ah, I see they started playing 16 years after Martina Navratilova came out.

But do tell me - what professional female team sports were being played in the U.S. in 1981? Professional in the sense of making enough money to live off of while playing that sport professionally, for the sake of clarity. Just because DC had a professional soccer team called the Darts back in the late 60s didn't mean that the player I knew who played for them quit his day job at the World Bank, or that he would have ever called himself a professional soccer player. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Darts )

World Team Tennis was a coed sport in the 1970s. Martina Navritilova was the Female MVP of the WTT in 1978, playing for the Boston Lobsters.

In general, most feminist ideas about sports were tried out a long time ago.

Seriously, you are calling this a 'team sport'? - 'Team matches consist of five sets, with one set each of men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_TeamTennis

Nice to see your definitions are as reliable in one area as another. Especially considering how during her career, Martina Navratilova did three of those above mentioned five - understandably, she did not play men's singles or men's doubles, undoubtedly due to some old fashioned feminist misunderstanding of what a team sport is - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martina_Navratilova#Career_statistics

But maybe you would wish to enlighten us about how golf is also a team sport? After all, there is this event called the Ryder's Cup, isn't there?

But then, why bother pointing out just how arbitrary and ridiculous your definitions are, considering how an entire false world view has been built on exactly such laughable foundations.

indeed, there is very often "gay speculation" in hollywood which seems to suggest that something would change if the public knew the truth. this post assumes jodie foster is. has she even come out? does anybody know if tom cruise is gay?

Jodie Foster referred to an ex-girlfriend in her lifetime achievement award speech at this year's Golden Globes, to which she brought Mel Gibson as her date.

Foster is a very interesting person:


Team sports isn't the issue. Lots of lesbians in the WNBA.

he plays an over the top womanizer

Barney Stinson is no James Bond. He's a (very good) parody of a heterosexual man, but not a convincing representation of one. A gay can easily pull the former off, not necessarily the latter.

You've heard of Rock Hudson? No?

Until very recently, gay men had to pass, or else. Not that hard.

Ever watch Jim Nabors in reruns of "Gomer Pyle, USMC?" No?

It takes a lot of skill to convincingly play something very different from yourself. Real good actors can, but they are usually best at playing somebody not all that different from kind of who they really are at their best. Robert Downey Jr. really is kind of a smartmouth, for example.

Steve Sailer has pointed out how few professional athletes died of AIDS compared to other professions, like dancers or theatre actors.

Sailer has also speculated that gay men prefer theatre to Hollywood because of the immediate reward of applause, while ambitious hetero actors are happy to perform in front of a bunch of technicians if it helps them achieve the fame necessary to get really hot chicks.

Sailer believes in the racial inferiority of several non-white races, so my prior is to seek more sensible explanations from more sensible people. Gay people rewarded by immediate applause? Is he taking economics classes from Niall Ferguson?

To be fair, Sailer may be right about male homosexuals being rare in sports or Hollywood compared to dance or theatre, even if the mechanism he proposes to explain this seems absurd.

Why is it absurd to think that gay males are more interested in starring in Broadway musicals than in movies full of explosions? Why is it absurd to think that gay males are more interested in dance than in golf?

Libraries are full of biographies of famous people -- it's not hard to educated yourself about patterns of human nature.

And apparently those patterns of human nature can always be ascribed to a sort of potted essentialism that happens to conform to the structure of the world as espoused by Steven Sailer. Or as The Onion once put it, stereotypes are a real time saver!

What I find so wondrous about the faux-rationalism on display here is that author's utter blindness to the fact that in another age, he would have been the one measuring people's skulls to find evidence of criminality or declaring the Irish obviously uncivilizeable. It's the science of human nature, dontcha know!

Haven't you met Harley riding, muscular, trucker, loud, brash gay stereotypes? I rather think that cohort fits better with explosions than lipstick. If you will insist on stereotypes at least expand them suitably.

I am not claiming that Sailer is not right about this because he expounds ridiculous views on a variety of other topics.He may be right about most anything, though he is also clearly wrong about all sorts of things. The point is that his view on any given topic is of little consequence because he has so often undermined his own credibility as an analyst and thinker.

This is the problem that Ferguson faces now. His discipline is essentially one of picking facts that seem relevant from earlier sources and weaving them into a narrative. A good deal of the persuasive power of such an approach is trust in the individual picking the facts and declaring them relevant. Otherwise, we must all assemble and read the same original sources in toto in order to evaluate the reliability and logic of the narrative. By tipping his hand and revealing his prejudice, Ferguson has cast a good deal of doubt on his capacity to select the relevant facts, whether or not the subsequent narrative that he spins from those that he chooses to present as relevant is apparently cogent.

The people who are aghast about Niall Ferguson's comments about Keynes are largely ignorant about the agenda of the Bloomsbury Group, of which Keynes was a member along with E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and Lytton Strachey. The goal of Strachey, author of "Eminent Victorians," which popularized gay snark, was to undermine the Victorian virtues of his colonial general father in favor of private pleasures. The success of Bloomsbury played a sizable role in the British turn toward pacifism and appeasement from roughly 1928 onward.

Strachey wrote to Keynes in 1906 about their project:

"It's madness of us to dream of making dowagers understand that feelings are good, when we say in the same breath that the best ones are sodomitical. If we were crafty and careful, I dare say we'd pull it off. But why should we take the trouble? On the whole I believe that our time will come about a hundred years hence, when preparations will have been made, and compromises come to, so that at the publication of our letters, everyone will be, finally, converted."

On the other hand, Keynes turned out to be made of sterner stuff than the truly "effete" Strachey. His conversion from a homosexual lifestyle to a heterosexual lifestyle in the 1920s with his marriage to prima ballerina Lydia Lopokova astonished and angered his old boyfriends, but from the vast amount we know about the lives of the Bloomsberries, it appears to have been genuine, even though the conventional wisdom today is that nobody can possibly change sexual orientations.

Keynes wound up more or less working himself to death in the service of his country from 1939-1946, helping win a war and build a postwar system that served better than the prewar system for a quarter of a century. I avoid having opinions on macroeconomic theory, but I find something heroic about Keynes' latter years.

Wait, good athletes don't get immediate reactions in the form of a crowd making loud noises?

Read up on Michael Jordan's legendary practices in front of practically nobody, such as for the 1992 Olympics or during the filming of "Space Jam," just for the pleasure of dominating his top rivals.

It's been a while since I was in theater, of course, but as I recall it, we spent a lot of time practicing in front of practically nobody. And yes, good actors spent a lot of time showing off to "practically nobody".

Here are some of the lyrics from "Applause," the title tune to the 1970 hit Broadway musical version of "All About Eve:"

What is it that we're living for
Applause, applause
Nothing I know brings on the glow
Like sweet applause
You're thinking you're through
That nobody cares
Then suddenly you hear it starting
And somehow you're in charge again
And life's a ball
Trumpets all sing, life seems to swing
And you're the king of it all 'cause
You've had a taste of
The sound that says love
Applause, applause, applause
When I was eight I was in a school play
I'll never forget it; I had one line to say
My big moment came
I said, "What ho! the prince!"
My sister applauded
I've been hooked ever since
It's better than pot, it's better than booze
A shot of applause will stamp out the blues
You work til you're dead
It ain't for the bread
Call me out of my head
Your bank account's bare
Your cat has the flu
Your losing your hair
Then you hear it
That happy sounds rolls over you
And just like that
Everything's right, this is the night
Love hits you right where you're at
Cuz you've had a taste of
The sound that says love
Applause, applause,
It's wondrous applause,
Thundrous applause,

"Wait, good athletes don’t get immediate reactions in the form of a crowd making loud noises?"

Well, Wilt Chamberlin probably did more than once.

"Steve Sailer has pointed out how few professional athletes died of AIDS compared to other professions, like dancers or theatre actors."

It's open to question whether or not reportal of deaths, or even death certificates, would be accurate given the stigma against AIDS. Reporting the proximate causes (cancer, pneumonia, et cetera) was more common.

From the New York Times:

FIGURE SKATING; AIDS Deaths Tear at Figure-Skating World
Published: November 17, 1992

In the last 12 months, three world- class Canadian figure skaters have died of AIDS. Another Canadian skater, Dennis Coi, a former junior world champion, died in 1987 of the same disease. John Curry of Britain, a former Olympic champion also suffering from AIDS, returned last month to his home in England to spend the remainder of his life.

The sport has been rocked hard by the illness, in stoic silence, in an Olympic year usually reserved for gold medals and triumphant tours that showcase nothing more controversial than triple jumps. So now figure skating is left with the task of educating its anxious athletes and avoiding the publicity that might damage this theatrical, marketing-driven sport.

"It's been devastating," said Tracy Wilson of Canada, who won a bronze medal in ice dancing in the 1988 Winter Olympics with Rob McCall, who died of AIDS last November. "I've lost three skating friends to AIDS, and you can safely assume there are others out there who have the disease and aren't talking about it."


Where are all the unexpected tragic deaths from cancer or pneumonia among pro basketball players, say? You could hide the cause in any one case, but the pattern of a lot of young men dying horribly would be impossible to hide.


A famous athlete dying suddenly tends to bring out rumors. I've heard a lot of rumors that the death of one very media-friendly football player who famously blamed his ill-health on steroids was really a case of dying of AIDS, but that case is closer to the exception that proves the rule that not all that many jocks died of AIDS compared to dancers or fashion designers.

I realize that we're all trained these days to plug our ears and shout "Stereotypes" whenever anybody points out patterns, but the reality is that if you pay attention to reality, the world turns out to be a very interesting place. Knowledge turns out to be more intriguing than self-inflicted ignorance.

On the other hand, Magic Johnson likely got HIV from gay sex.

The sports editor of the L.A. Times admitted years later that they were gearing up for a big story about how Magic was playing for both team, when suddenly he announced he had gotten HIV and he was adamant that he must have gotten it heterosexually and it would have been bad for The Narrative that stereotypes are always wrong, so they spiked the story in the interest of AIDS Awareness.

as far as I can tell, magic has been silent since collins. magic's son recently came out, and it seems likely that there might be a hereditary component. and yes, magic did not get HIV from needles.

You'd also have to look at rates of AIDS deaths among straight actors and dancers vs athletes. I'd assume a lower rate among athletes (gay or straight) because being a professional athlete probably requires a more disciplined lifestyle. Additionally, professional athletes are very likely to be in superior physical condition, so I'd think that it would take longer for them to die of complications from something like AIDS.

I don't see much reason to assume that athletes are, by nature or nurture, healthier than professional dancers. Both are difficult professions. But AIDS had a horrifying impact on male dancers, killing Rudolf Nureyev, Robert Joffrey, Alvin Ailey, and Michael Bennett (creator of "A Chorus Line").

I'm struck by how many people have remained oblivious to the patterns in AIDS deaths. I subscribed to the New York Times in 1992-93, and the obituaries made depressing reading. Men in heavily gay professions were dying young in large numbers. Fortunately, medical techniques progressed rapidly about that time, but it's striking how uninformed about the recent past many people are today.

The nature of the AIDS epidemic is one of those events that has been shoved down the memory hole. Mostly these days I read that it was, somehow or other, Ronald Reagan's fault. That says a lot about power in the 21st Century. "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

There is NO question that AIDS cut a swathe through the dance world in the 80s and 90s:


"If male “coming out” is easier in the world of music, it is perhaps because the product is directly financed by consumers, which implies more of a niche audience and a willingness to forgo some classes of consumers altogether."

You can see the media play to their audiences in the reaction to the Collins story too. The national, politically correct sports media praised him, but I have listened to more than one local Atlanta sports radio talk show that has shown some cynicism toward his motives. And while there is not outright homophobia, there is definitely an undercurrent. The difference in reactions makes sense when you consider that local sports media plays to blue collar people more than the national media. Plus I think the region where I live has something to do with it; maybe Northeastern sports radio is more progressive.

The media is desperate for somebody better than 1 point per game Jason Collins to come out. Ideally, it would be somebody who shatters stereotypes about gays not being, on average, terribly masculine: Ray Lewis, say.

I know of an outstanding retired baseball player who is well known to be gay, but there's almost zero demand for him to publicly state it because he's exactly who you'd guess might be gay out of all of the best 500 baseball players of all time: he's a refined, outgoing gentleman with an outstanding palate who was quite comfortable in the media spotlight during his long career.

But, he was a little pudgy, so he never excited gay sex fantasies. And he wasn't a stereotype shatterer. It would be nice if there were more jocks who behaved in a classy manner like this guy (he's the only player I've ever heard of who learned the local language to promote the team), but revealing that he was gay would just confirm meathead jocks' suspicion that anybody who acts civilized must be a 'mo.

Gee, Steve. Nice of you to make it hard to figure out who you're talking about.

Also, you "know of?" What's that all about. Do you have access to some secret registry or something?

Back in 2007, I posted a blog item:

"Where are the famous old gay baseball players?

"One of those dog-that-didn't-bark questions is why, despite the vast number of books written about baseball players, I have never heard of a single prominent player in history who sounded like he probably was homosexual. There are currently 750 major league baseball players. There must have been at least 10,000 major league ballplayers over the last 130 years."


Numerous commenters then responded with the name of a famous baseball player whom they said was well-known to be gay.

That's why they called them The Expos.

I seriously doubt any major leading men are actually gay. The only one I'm on the fence about is Hugh Jackman. One of the most attractive features in a man is masculinity and so Hollywood stars tend to be highly masculine. Most gay men are not very masculine, so they are unlikely to be Hollywood lead actors. Again we'll cite the fact that not a lot of top Hollywood actors got AIDS. I seriously doubt this was due to their chaste behaviour.

Travolta, who has four kids, is almost certainly at least bisexual.

In general, I think acting often attracts ambitious young males who enjoy flattery. I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few of today's leading men had launched their careers by allowing powerful gay men in Hollywood to sexually use them, but are practicing heterosexuals today. The current dogma is that nobody ever changes his sexual orientation, but a lot of Hollywood history raises questions about that.

Our society gets vastly worked up over sexual abuse by Catholic priests, but not by Hollywood gays, which tells you a lot about the relative power of priests to agents/producers/managers in current society.

It tells you that one side had a conspiracy to abuse children, and the other side has a homophobic conspiracy theory against it, publicised on economics blogs by known racists.

The priests were f--king boys, not adult men. Those two situations are entirely different. What you're describing is just a gay version of the casting-room couch--nasty, but not in the same league as diddling the choir boys.

The Catholic Church scandals revealed relatively few Jerry Sandusky-cases of sodomizing pre-pubescent boys. In most cases, priests are not linebacker coaches. Most of the scandals involved groping pubescent or post-pubescent boys.

Casting couch scandals involving boy bands (Lou Pearlman and the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync) and teen stars (the Coreys) are pretty nasty:


Most of the Catholic priest cases involved lonely gay men of gentle disposition getting overly fond of teenage boys, many of whom are gay themselves. Everybody assumes the Jerry Sandusky worst, but the details of many of these cases turn out to be milder than widely imagined. There's a reason we kept hearing over and over the horrible details of the Jerry Sandusky scandal -- it's closer to the exception that proves the rule than the norm.

I'm sorry Steve Sailer, I have to stop you here. You're comparing a scandal involving more than 10,000 minors over the past half-century to a practice for which you present two pieces of evidence and then allege is similarly widespread. I'm sure sexual abuse of minors does happen in Hollywood, and I'm sure gay men take advantage of their roles as producers and agents in just the same way that straight men do. If there is this massive unreported trend of child actors and singers being abused, by all means let it come out. But the media gets worked up about child sex abuse by priests because a vast number of people have come forward and said they were assaulted in their childhood. Here's the link I'm using for stats: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/The-Causes-and-Context-of-Sexual-Abuse-of-Minors-by-Catholic-Priests-in-the-United-States-1950-2010.pdf

Boys age 15 and older make up just 30% of the alleged victim total. This is not about lonely gay guys messing around with 17-year old boys, for the most part. I hope you'd agree that however arbitrary our society's definitions of manhood, sexual advances by priests towards thirteen- or fourteen-year old boys is absolutely morally reprehensible and worthy of universal condemnation. And more than 20% of that total *is* girls and boys--in surprisingly equal proportion--under the age of 10. There's nothing mild about this behavior, and your attempts to downplay its awfulness really deflate this "sober observer of uncomfortable facts" persona you like to put on in the comments.

You seem to have a sort of cultish following on this site, which is not surprising given its audience of mainly white, college-educated men who get boners for phrases like "human biodiversity" because it reinforces their pre-existing beliefs. That's fine, and I end up agreeing with a lot of what you say despite my own, more liberal, pre-existing beliefs. But you throw out a lot of stuff without much or any evidence to back it up, making this comment section into a sort of sophisticated racist circlejerk (that's the last phallic reference I'll make in this paragraph, but you're welcome to take Sophisticated Racist Circlejerk as a bandname or user id). I'm all for considering evidence that confronts my priors, but it has to be more than baseless speculation with bigger words.

Owen: best takedown of Sailer ever presented here

The Catholic priest scandals are well documented because the Catholic Church is a centralized organization with deep pockets and thus attracts huge lawsuits. The entertainment industry is more dispersed and more powerful.

Moreover, at present, the whole topic of sexual abuse of minors in the entertainment industry is not on the media's radar the way it is regarding the Catholic Church. However, that could change. For example, similarly nobody was paying attention in Britain two years ago, but now there is a huge scandal involving the BBC.

Moreover, the exact physical details of who did what to whom in the priest scandals frequently turn out to be less horrifying than the Jerry Sandusky tale. Priests tend to gentle gays, not inverted linebacker coaches.

In general, the Catholic priest scandals are not dissimilar to the English "public" (i.e., male boarding) schools' long, extremely well-documented history of pederasty. See, for example, the character of Captain Grimes in Evelyn Waugh's 1928 comic novel "Decline and Fall," a homosexual pedophile who is passed around from one school to another as scandals get hushed up.

For a radically unsettling perspective on priestly pederasty, watch Viola Davis's Oscar-nominated speech to Meryl Streep in John Patrick Shanley's 2008 movie "Doubt." From my review in The American Conservative:

Shanley’s actual text has a much less hackneyed point to make via the movie’s best performance. Viola Davis plays the victim’s mother, who, to Sister Aloysius’s shock, explains that she is at least relieved that her son’s latest admirer is a kind gentleman. After all, she took him out of public school to keep him from getting beaten up by other boys so much.

Shanley himself is struck by the duality he’s witnessed in homosexual priests. A child in his extended family was molested, but a similar man “saw something in me, and educated me; gave me a great classical education. But he was a predator, and in my case he did nothing about it, but in other cases he did do something about it.”


"And more than 20% of that total *is* girls and boys–in surprisingly equal proportion–under the age of 10."

How do you know that?

Is Kevin Spacey a leading man? I think he's mostly a stage actor in London running the Old Vic these days, but he was for awhile.

When he got the mojo in Hollywood around 2000 to stop playing villains and anti-heroes and start playing the characters that were the Real Me, he drove his audience away. Personally, I liked his Bobby Darin biopic labor of love, but its sweetness alienated fans who wanted him to do Keyser Sose some more.

He was good in 'House of Cards', but I'm not sure Netflix-only series counts.

Most sports were invented by males as tests of masculinity, so they appeal more to more masculine personalities, such as straight men and lesbian women. In contrast, a few dance-like sports, such as figure skating, appeal to more feminine personalities. For example, I don't think Olympic skater Johnny Weir tries to pretend he's straight.

Here's my 1994 National Review article on differences in sports proclivities between men and women, "Why Lesbians Aren't Gay:"


Just what the queer world was waiting for, Steve Sailer's take on "gay" vs. "lesbian."

Figure skating and other forms of dance really should be more appealing to masculine males, and I think they are in other cultures (Latin America and Russian ballet come to mind). You get a chance to dance with a potentially beautiful woman who shares a similar interest. What's not to like?

Maybe the "dancing is for pansies' stigma is beginning to change in American culture. We do now have shows like Dancing with the Stars, which features many prominent male athletes, who no doubt do it in order to hook up with the dance partners.

I've asked my readers about Russian male skaters and ballet dancers. The impression I've gotten from Russian readers is about what you'd expect: less of a gay skew than in the U.S., but it still exists in Russia.

You can kind of see this by looking at private lives of the three most famous Russian male ballet dancers of all time: Nureyev died of AIDS, Baryshnikov got Jessica Lange pregnant, and Nijinsky ... well, I'd always assumed that Nijinksy, who slept with his boss, the impressario Diaglihev, was gay and that his marriage was a farce, but the last thing I read said that Nijinsky was mostly straight and that Diaglihev was sexually abusing the beautiful boy in return for his job.

But, there is very little interest these days in examples of powerful gays abusing less powerful straights: it doesn't fit The Narrative about gays as the Eternal Victims.

Most sports were invented by males as tests of masculinity,

Wow. And here I thought races were invented to see who could run faster, and so on. Learn something every day.

"Learn something every day."

Hopefully, you do.

'applauded for his """courage"""'

Why exactly? What a low bar. One hears this all this time. And yet it seems to come out of movie plots rather than, you know, reality. Movies from the 1980's too. People, it's 2013 - this isn't brave.

I mean, I'm not even sure this isn't a net life plus for Collins, or that he doesn't see it that way too. Also, he's a jerk for stringing along his fiancee at the expense of her youth and only for his own benefit for almost a decade. What an inconsiderate, lying douchebag.

But everyone wants to spin it at """courageous"""". Whatever.

"Ricky Martin, Elton John, and David Bowie"

It was good for Bowie's career when he was young to play at bisexuality. Mick Jagger did the same thing. As far as I know, they are both basically straight.

In general, the number of guitar rock stars who died of AIDS during the 1980s-1990s was pretty much limited to extremely obvious gays like Freddie Mercury of ... Queen.

"It was good for Bowie’s career when he was young to play at bisexuality. Mick Jagger did the same thing. As far as I know, they are both basically straight."

What the fuck, dude.

1) How do you know they are basically straight?
2) How do you know it was "play" when they were? Because they are no longer *practicing* bisexuals? How do you know that?
3) Social pressures obviously influence the matches we ultimately form, and even the matches we desire to form, even if they don't totally influence our desires.

You gotta stop thinking about this in terms of "gay men are like THIS, straight men are like THAT" - firstly because there's no evidence that sexuality can be split neatly into two groups, and secondly because while there might be aggregate differences between groups, just like in other cases (men, women; whites, minorities) there are non-essentialist factors at play, as well as way more variation WITHIN a group than across groups.

"1) How do you know they are basically straight?"

Because David Bowie and Mick Jagger are two of the more famous individuals of their era and thus their sex lives have been discussed in countless articles and memoirs.

Heck, I've been to movies directed by Duncan Jones, the son born in 1971 to David and Angela Bowie.

Bowie and Jagger used to bang each other plenty. They didn't need the money, nobody was casting couching anyone, and they could've 'played at' bisexuality without actually going at each other over and over. So maybe they actually just liked it. So are they gay, straight, bi, or what?

No, they didn't. That was a story made up by Jagger's ex-wife. I realize that there are a lot of urban bong legends out there, but there is a huge amount of documentation readily available on the Internet.

The women athletes who get the most endorsements are the more feminine ones. The biggest demographic for advertisers are women with kids, but moms don't identify with butch lebians like Martina Navaritilova. Moms liked sexy heterosexual Chrissie Evert vastly more than they liked Martina. Chrissie's no shrinking violet (accounts of her recent third marriage, to superjock Greg Norman, are pretty hilarious), but she definitely likes guys.

The woman golfer who just cleaned up on Madison Avenue was Nancy Lopez, a very ladylike Chicana from New Mexico who debuted in 1979 and soon had a huge number of consumer packaged goods commercials. She went on to marry baseball player Ray Knight and have three kids.

Dear Tyler:

We went over all this in the comments back in 2007 when retired NBA nobody John Amaechi came out of the closet:


As I pointed out, the most likely gay male big sport athletes are ones with so much genetic superiority that they wind up playing the sport even if they aren't that crazy about it. Amaechi, 6'-10" and 270 pounds, hated basketball, as Jason Collins' twin brother Jarron pointed out. Amaechi liked going to art galleries instead, and felt that if NBA teams wanted to give him a few million a year to see if he'd ever learn to like basketball, well, he'd take their money.

Seven-footer Jason Collins isn't a disgrace like Amaechi was, but he's the archetypal guy you wouldn't be surprised if he turned out to be gay: seven-feet tall, gentlemanly, not a troublemaker.

Now, if six-foot-tall Allen Iverson announced he was gay ... well, I'd have to reassess some of my Bayesian priors, but Jason Collins fits my stereotype perfectly.

thanks for the link Steve ... wow, your statistics come from asking Google. you should watch the opening sketch of SNL this week there's a good joke for you.

What's the joke?

The opening sketches are usually written by Jim Downey, the uncle of Robert Downey Jr.

Are they 'usually'? Or is that just more weird unsubstantiated name dropping? We can use imdb too.

Emile Griffith was really good at boxing-maybe too good. If not for the Benny "Kid" Paret incident he would probably be celebrated as the greatest gay athlete of the 20th Century.

Or Bill Tilden.

Did you sort the list of gay actors alphabetically or something? It contains 426 names, a lot of them pretty famous.

Sort by STARMeter if you want famous ones.


Okay, I looked through the top 100 ranked by STARMeter. The only one that struck me as surprising was Jon Polito, a really ugly character actor who plays gangsters and private eyes in Coen Brothers movies.

Wow, never would have guessed that he's a brother Seamus.

Learn something new every day.

"But we will be seeing much more progress when up-and-coming handsome actors, shooting for big Hollywood roles, also come out as gay."

Why is that progress? Is the complete loss of a private self now the goal? You don't make us post our IQ next to our names when we comment ... our words, for better or worse, are the focus. Maybe these men want to be known for their athletic or acting abilities and not their sexual orientation? Yes, it is sad to think that their fans' expectations sometimes make them twist their public image, but surely that's a price of fame and maybe just self-protection. I suspect the truly brave ones are those who open up in real life and don't have the shine of stardom to distract themselves and others. And there it seems a lot of progress has been made.

100% agreement. These discussions are always bizarre to me. Although, I'd give TC the benefit of the doubt by saying perhaps he's using the response of gay actors as an indicator of the progress of society rather than society pushing them out as progress for actors.

Sexual orientation is already part of everyone's public image in countless subtle ways. The picture on my desk with me and my wife is an announcement that I'm straight. The fact that I casually mentioned that I have a wife, also an announcement of my sexual orientation. For public figures like athletes, missing a game because their wife is having a baby, an announcement of their orientation. Being seen out and about with an actress/model/local socialite also the same. Sexual orientation is quite out there all the time when you are straight, it's progress when it's the same if you're not.

As natural and innate as homosexuality is ... it is not a majority trait and sharing that information broadly may create some unnecessary headaches. Collins didn't just drop hints, he wrote a big article and it was an all-out media blitz...not everyone wants that. I am not trying to minimize the need for a safe private sphere for everyone to have their relationships. I am just saying they should get to choose the size of that sphere.

I found out a few years ago that I was bipolar and I am not ashamed of it now ... actually helped me clear up some confusing stuff ... but I don't walk into meetings with a 'I am Bipolar' coffee mug. When I think it is relevant or necessary information, I share, but mostly who cares?...it's my job to do economics, not to fight stigma. Back to the topic, you want to see progress for homosexuals read Jonathan Rauch's *Denial* ... beautiful, tragic, and I have to believe more rare today.

The two scenarios are not remotely comparable. But it is curious to imagine how this would've played out happend if Collins had just matter of factly put a picture of himself and his boyfriend on his desk (or in his locker, as the case may be).

"But let's not forget that Collins is still one of the best 1,000 basketball players in the world. He has always been better than his modest statistics would indicate, and his teams have been dramatically more efficient with him on the court. He is better at hoops than 99.9 percent of you are at anything you do. He might not be a demigod, but he's certainly a semi-demigod. Moreover, his basketball colleagues universally praise him as a physically and mentally tough player."


Jason Collins is seven feet tall (or at least, he's close enough to seven feet tall for the NBA). If he was 6'6" he wouldn't be a pro athlete. He was a good high school player who finally became a good Division I college player in his senior year at Stanford.

Here's a Sports Illustrated article that claims there are only 20 to 40 true seven-footers in the U.S. It's probably wrong (bell curves may well be fatter):


Whether it is because he is 7ft tall or for some other reason, he is still far more successful both absolutely and relatively at his profession than you or I are at anything.

If I'm more successful than most men my age, which I am, because I'm smarter than 98% of them, which I am, does that invalidate my accomplishments because they were facilitated by my intelligence, which I got mostly from my parents? How is this different from being tall, coordinated, handsome, etc.?

It's a basic question in thinking about sports: Wilt Chamberlain, at 7'1", won two NBA titles, while Michael Jordan, at 6'6", won six NBA titles. Who cared more about winning NBA titles: Chamberlain or Jordan?

If it turned out that Michael Jordan was actually secretly gay the whole time, I'd reassess a lot of my assumptions about sexual orientation. Jason Collins being gay, eh, not so much ...

So, Jordan won more titles despite his height handicap because of his superior hetero-powered desire to win at basketball?

Could it be that Jordan got lucky in some respects in terms of his team and the degree of competition?

Could it be that basketball requires more physical gifts than just height and Jordan got a better overall package than Chamberlain who may have desired to win as much or more than Jordan?

Do you care about trying to construct a real argument or do you lack the manly desire to do so?

You don't sound like you didn't pay much attention to the NBA over the last 50 years.

You should register your complaints with Bill Simmons of ESPN. In his "Book of Basketball" he asserted that Wilt's lack of concern with winning is evidence that he was gay. Wilt wasn't gay, but I can see where Simmons is coming from.

"Here is one list of openly gay actors and I have not heard of most of them"

What a nonsensical argument... of course you haven't heard of most of them - I'd wager you haven't heard of MOST ACTORS.

In any case, the acting community is much more tolerant than the professional athletic community... it is laughable that anyone would claim otherwise. Come to New York to see The Nance with Nathan Lane. Or anything with Nathan Lane, for that matter. Or anything with NPH.

Nathan Lane is gay?!?

Who could have imagined?

One of the actors on this list, Tommy Tune, was not an actor. He was a dancer. The list even acknowledges this, sort of, crediting him with an appearance on the 11/20/1969 episode of Dean Martin's Comedy Hour.

That's right, a 1969 episode.

I saw Tommy Tune star on Broadway in a musical based on Cole Porter's songs in 1983. He was also an outstanding choreographer. He won 9 Tony Awards.

Tommy Tune is 6'6". One of the lines in the musical was "Don't worry, I'll find you, I'll just look for the 6'6" white tap dancer."

With his coordination, I'm sure Tune could have played in the NBA in the 1960s ... if he'd been interested. He was often asked why he wasn't a basketball player. He said: "I liked the choreography, but I didn't care for the costumes."


Oh, and he's gay.

Why don't you come clean Steve Sailor...you have gaydar!

Better than that, I have Google Gaydar:


I'm sure he was outstanding at his profession. I just thought it was funny he's listed as an actor based on a single guest appearance over 40 years ago.

Richard Simmons had several appearances on David Letterman's show, right? Why isn't he a gay male actor then?

IMDB lists for Richard Simmons:

Fellini Satyricon
Nymphomaniac's Slave (unconfirmed) (uncredited)

I think Zachary Quinto fills the role as a handsome, up-and-coming, out-of-the-closet actor playing big roles.

"Which athletes and entertainers choose to come out of the closet?"

The gay ones?

Steve Sailer wins the internet for being clear and honest and inquisitive.

His detractors earn shame for their embrace of ignorance, innuendo, and transparent, censurious status-seeking. In the race to prove how tolerant we all are, decency and good sense are always the losers.

Cowen plays his little part in the elite worship of homosexuality as a way to humiliate the hoi polloi. "O what courage!" Give me a break.

Mood affiliation noted. Sailor is a bigot and McCarthyism-ite. Based on his keen gaydar, I think he, like the anti-gay MD congressman Robert E. Bauman back in the 80s, is a closet gay. As for gays and the arts, anybody who is anybody is gay in the arts. Leonardo da Vinci? Gay. Tchaikovsky? Gay. Walt Whitman? Gay. Michelangelo? Gay. That's just the arts. Biologically, 10% of male species are gay and pretty much all left-handers, so it's said. But only in the USA however, with its Puritanical background, is this a topic of interest.

So Sailer is a bigot because he notices that athletes tend to be heterosexual, whereas noticing that artists tend to be gay is just so obvious it doesn't even need to be noticed. OK.

Reel it in Ray. 'pretty much all left-handers?" So...we're on our third consecutive gay President? And ME too?

Sailor makes a lot of people resort to unseemly name-calling and innuendo. When this happens, you've lost.

I recommend y'all be less concerned with what Sailor THINKS and focus on the arguments he makes.

Right, it's pretty funny that the two main complaints about me are:

1. Steve Sailer has a secret agenda that he's not revealing. His taciturnity covers up his malign plot that he's carefully failed to mention in the ten million words he's published. How do we know this? Because we can just tell. We're really good at pattern recognition. Well, we're not good at enough at pattern recognition to argue with Sailer's examples, but we can sense that his all his examples are driven by something or other

2. Steve never lets a pattern go unrecognized.

We can only imagine what your SECRET agenda is like!

I think I'm probably the photo negative of a Steve Sailer. Why care so much about gays? I literally don't know a single gay that I know of. It's a make-believe issue. Not that that doesn't make it a real issue for real gays. It's just funny how the big deal that is always brought up is you can't get who you want to visit you in the hospital. Okay, we let gays do that and...all of a sudden at least 90% of people still can't get exactly who they want to visit them in the hospital.

How likely is it that something that affects sexuality only affects sexuality? About as like as that something that affects race only affects skin color. Ya'think maybe testosterone might have something to do with both sexuality and sports? Not that it matters for much of anything. But if people would just deal with reality half of Steve Sailer's market would just dry up and blow away.

Andrew says:

"But if people would just deal with reality half of Steve Sailer’s market would just dry up and blow away."


"Why care so much about gays?"

By the most recent estimate, homosexuals make up three or four percent of the American population. That's not a huge number, but on a global scale that projects out to well over 100 million individuals, which is certainly substantial. Moreover, homosexuals are certainly interested in homosexuals, and have analyzed the manifold topics at vast length, often with great wit and insight.

Straights, however, are discouraged from taking an objective, interested view of the topic. Instead, it is made clear to them that they should only notice how homosexuals are oppressed, and strive mightily for ignorance and obtuseness about anything else relating to homosexuality. As some of the comments show, many people have enthusiastically internalized these instructions and find anybody who ignores them disturbing.

"Straights, however, are discouraged from taking an objective, interested view of the topic. Instead, it is made clear to them that they should only notice how homosexuals are oppressed, and strive mightily for ignorance and obtuseness about anything else relating to homosexuality."

Kinda like how whites are discouraged from taking an objective, interested view of blacks. Instead, it is made clear to them that they should only notice how blacks are oppressed, and strive mightily for ignorance and obtuseness about anything else relating to blacks (especially sloth, stupidity, and criminal viciousness).

I thought all Sailors were gay.

Come on out, Steve. I hear the water's fine.

Sorry, reasoning by google searches and news story frequency is ignorant innuendo. There is nothing clear, honest, or inquisitive by collecting anecdotes and data that confirm one's stereotypes and passing them off as some sort of sophisticated, epistemically valid form of "pattern recognition."

by collecting = about collecting

So we are not supposed to use facts to update our priors?

What is your suggested alternative?

No, you aren't supposed to use anecdotes and biased sampling to update your priors. This is news to you?

From my bleachers, everyone can thank Freddie Mercury, though others may have someone else from their own generation.

As for sports, there are so many bottlenecks to success versus acting which has many parallel paths and outlets. It would have to be a 7 footer to come out first because they are virtually assured a seat on the bench.

What about Zachary Quinto? Young, handsome, up-and-coming star, came out as gay and still starring in those Star Trek buddy/action movies.

Whoops, missed Chris's comment, sorry for duplication.

Quinto is an interesting example, but my guess would be that playing Mr. Spock while gay is seen by studio executives as different from playing Captain Kirk while gay.

But, who knows? There is certainly a lot of slash fiction about Spock and Kirk written by female fans.

Tyler says "Rachel Maddow . . . [does] not seem to have [an] obvious male counterpart[]..." Isn't Anderson Cooper about as obvious a counterpart for Rachel Maddow as could exist, at least until Bill O'Reilly comes out?

You know I used to find the MR comment boards a bastion of intelligent discourse on the internet. And while I was never very active on these boards they were at least interesting to read. But honestly ever since Steve started posting here they've become downright unreadable.

I mean I know we're just supposed to ignore the trolls but... It's hard some times.

Ha! It's hard to ignore someone's name? Opinion noted, but he only comments here on about 1 of 20 posts- and the obvious ones of course, and his name is really obvious to ignore. That said, it's a known software problem.

You're right of course, and acting more mature than I am. It's just that when Steve does latch on to a thread he is so amazingly prolific.

There are basically two kinds of commenters/readers (with overlap). Those that want everything vetted for them and those that just want to shoot the shit. I don't know if Reddit or something else has solved this problem because I only come here.

The way it works is that Tyler reads my blog, then posts something on a similar topic, and then I put interesting examples in the comments.

Tyler and I have fairly similar brains in that we both can call up a relatively large number of empirical examples from memory. Tyler is better at theory and the more abstract kinds of recollection ("My Favorite Things about Arkansas") and I'm better at pattern recognition and argument, but we're more similar in our well-stocked memories than we are different.

It's hilarious that you think having an amalgam of examples which fit one's preconceived just-so stories qualifies as either pattern recognition or argument. Confirmation bias is not a skill.

I actually guffawed at that little gem of self-analysis.

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not calling for anyone to step in and "vett" for me.

I am calling on everyone to vett for me. I want it crowdsourced and I'd read his comments and disagree with many of them, but he already has a reputation, so he's done most of the work for me.

The name "David" appears on six other comments. You appear to be reading intently.

True but those "David's" are not me. It's just my first name, and a common one. I'm now using my full name. Which is also very common.

I am the other David, or at least one of them.

I'm hoping that there is only on Steve Sailer.

Though, it would be a dream if Sailer and Dr. Donald Douglas would team up in a sort of wingnut Becker-Posner format. I might be willing to pay to read that.

An army of Sailer's would explain the volume of tripe he manages to pound out. But my own theory is that Steve's an uncontrolled manic depressive. I usually would never try to armchair diagnose someone based solely on internet anecdotes but well... here it just seems appropriate. And honesty Steve's train of thought, it's seemingly random connections and frenetic pace, do remind me of my bipolar friend when she's having a manic episode.

Neil Patrick Harris' career peaked at starship troopers...he'll, cinema peaked at starship troopers. I haven't seen a more entertaining movie since.

Tyler's not saying it explicitly, but he seems to be highlighting what rational choice theory is implying...It's a sign of progress that a fading player may get a boost from a team owner who wants to build on a progressive narrative for his franchise, whereas 20 years ago he probably would have been ostracized. But if his "otherness" has value as a progressive token, it means homosexuality still isn't "normal".

If this is correct, then Coming Out might be a gambit for omegas near the margin of group membership, whether existing players near exit or potential players near entry at the bottom of the draft. It's progress that the strategy may work for raising an omega's status, but the fact (if true) that it's only an equilibrium choice for omegas implies that there's still a lot more progress to be made.

Right. Having a gay male pretend girlfriend didn't seem to help college defensive player of the year Manti Te'o in the NFL draft, who fell to the second round.

C'mon. It wasn't that 'he might be gay' that tanked his stock. It was the 'he might be too stupid to understand a modern NFL defensive scheme' that tanked his stock. Seriously, to fall for what he fell for and then publicly admit it is pretty stupid.

Perhaps, but how many defensive first-rounders have fallen for scams by bimbos, financial advisers, relatives, hanger-ons, AAU coaches, and the like? A linebacker getting scammed by some babe just shows he lets the little head do more thinking than the big head, which the NFL has plenty of experience with. This boy pretending to be a girl thing is too reminiscent of the "Nobody's perfect" last scene in "Some Like It Hot" for NFL guys too be totally comfortable with.

Tyler asks, re athletes: "Could it also be that women are more open in this regard?"

Maybe, but the glaringly obvious explanation for there being more out lesbians than out gay men in athletics is this:

1) Lesbians are often stereotypically "male" in appearance: strong jaws, masculine faces, etc. Perhaps they have an abundance of testosterone.

2) Male homosexuals are often stereotypically feminine in appearance -- slender girlish features and mannerisms, etc.

These two statements are not true all of the time, of course, but they're true often enough for gaydar to exist. And if they're true some of the time, it would explain why you find more lesbians who are interested in the rough-and-tumble of athletics and fewer gay men who are interested in sports at all unless it's a particularly flamboyant "sport" (figure skating).

"Male homosexuals are often stereotypically feminine in appearance — slender girlish features and mannerisms, etc."

I think you are conflating looks and behavior. Yes, mannerisms tend to be effeminate (but certainly not always), and as Michael Bailey of Northwestern has shown, there tend to be vocal mannerisms (e.g., the sssssssss lisp), but pure differences in looks ... I don't know. There may be something that old Italian ladies call "the gay face" that has to do with how a man's default facial expressions mold the muscles of his face over the years, but I just don't know about average differences in sheer looks.

Did Ernst Rohm have the "gay face ?'"


Any data behind this reasoning by stereotype, or is it just your folk wisdom and common sense telling you gays are girly and lesbians are butch?

You can start here:


Over the last couple of decades, J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern has published numerous studies on the different dimensions on which people of different sexual orientations tend to differ.

Here's an excerpt from my 2002 interview with Prof. J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern U.:

Q: What are some stereotypes about homosexuals that you've found not to be true?

A: One of the embarrassing facts from social psychology is that most stereotypes are true, in the only sense that stereotypes are ever true: on average.

I can easily think of only one stereotype about gays/lesbians that is false: the idea that masculine and feminine gay men (or lesbians) pair up in couples, one "husband" and one "wife." There is no relation between the masculinity of partners. In fact, gay men almost all want masculine partners. Lesbians mostly want feminine partners. This is despite the fact that gay men tend on average to be feminine in certain ways, and lesbians masculine. So, that Robin Williams' movie "The Birdcage" (in which a conventionally masculine "husband" is matched with a flaming male "wife") is motivated by a false premise.

Q: What stereotypes have turned out to have some truth to them?

A: One big thing is occupational and recreational interests. In fact, hairdressers, professional dancers, actors and designers tend to be gay men, at least at much higher rates than their population rate, which is somewhere between 1 and 4 percent. And women who are in the armed services, or professional athletes (two of the three best all-time women's tennis players are lesbian), are disproportionately lesbian. ...

Recently, we have shown that on average, gay men and lesbians are very different on average from straight people in the way they walk and speak. There is such a thing, evidently, as a gay voice. And lesbians tend to look different than straight women -- in particular, they have shorter hairstyles.

On the other hand, some stereotypes about homosexual people are due to the fact that they are in certain other ways psychologically like straight people of their own sex. For example, gay men have lots of sex partners compared with straight men. This is because they have a male-typical level of interest in casual sex, but because they are seeking other men with the same interest, they can have as many partners as they want. Straight men are constrained by the desires of women. I think that there is nothing intrinsically "gay" about having hundreds of sex partners. Lots of straight guys would if they could. But they can't, because they can't find female partners who'll have anonymous sex with them.

Q: Is it useful to investigate homosexuality in general, or do you need to focus separately on gay men and lesbians, because they tend to be different?

A: Gay men and lesbians are very different. In part, this is because in many gender-related traits, they have diverged in opposite directions. Gay men tend to be feminine compared with heterosexual men; lesbians tend to be masculine compared with heterosexual women. But they aren't even mirror images of each other. You can draw no conclusions about gay men from a study of lesbians, or vice versa.

Stereotypes like this don't come from nowhere. They're not universally true by any means, but there is certainly some sort of average difference going on, whereby lesbians are less feminine than average women while gay men are more feminine than average men.

Right. There's a voluminous academic literature on what correlates with male v. female homosexuality. But it overwhelmingly confirms that the usual stereotypes tend to be true on average, so it's of no use in The War on Stereotypes.

People seem to be ignoring the point of the post: cost-benefit analysis.

What is the expected value of Collins's coming out at this particular time? Clearly positive! He was out of contract anyway, and was unlikely to be picked up by another team. I see almost no downside to this for him. A few people will treat him worse, but many more will treat him better. At the margin, this increases his chances of getting a tryout somewhere.

Courageous, yes, but not as courageous as it would be if the expected value of the act were negative instead of positive.

Or just letting potential suitors know. Do it after being cut and there is no coverage. I don't know why people always bristle when I bring this up. This could be the hardest thing about being gay.

Collins is setting himself up for a pleasant post-NBA career giving speeches, collecting awards for bravery, and, in general, being paid attention to rather than be instantly forgotten. He's a well-educated (Harvard-Westlake, Stanford) man who has managed to make a huge amount of money despite his limited athleticism by figuring out what he's needed to do to stay in the NBA, and now he's working on his post-NBA career planning. He seems to be implementing a careful plan quite adeptly, judging by the lavish and laudatory coverage he's received.

...a conundrum for the NBA, which does not want to appear intolerant but whose teams could wind up passing on Collins this offseason

Too bad for rhe NBA.

If this makes him more likely to get a contract next year so what?

Why is coming out of the closet to improve one's chances of getting signed worse than staying in to improve those chances?

Two thoughts:

1) I think it's possible that this coming out is being managed strategically. Naively, you'd think outing is a win/lose situation if the player doesn't sign. But, it's probably win/win, since not getting signed (and being out) will draw publicity for the group.

2) The list of gay actors, and the fact that you haven't heard of most of them, is a real reminder of the stodginess of Hollywood. You'd think a list of right-leaning actors would be pretty sparse, but it's actually fairly easy to run off a lengthy list of B stars or better.

I'm glad that someone pointed out the fact that the list of gay actors wasn't ranked by starmeter. Once you do that, you get:

--Zach Quinto, who came out AFTER Star Trek, as I recall. Didn't mention it during Lost

--Jim Parsons, who hasn't come out, I don't think. Or it's very quiet. He thanked his lover in a long list when he won one of his Emmys.

--Ian McKellen came out 15 or 20 years ago, at least. Theater. Can't think of a single romantic lead he's played.

--Matt Bomer, of White Collar. I watch that show, and long before he came out it was clear he had no spark with the various women they paired the character up with. In the early episodes, he had a lot of sex scenes that really didn't work well. They've stopped that in later episodes, from what I've seen. Gorgeous man, no heat with women. His scenes with Tim DeKay, on the other hand, have all sorts of heat. And since he came out, all of his big movie roles have been gay men or in "gay movies" like The Normal Heart.

--Neil Patrick Harris--discussed. Pretty talented guy, but Broadway.

--Ezra Miller--talented actor at this age, at least, but if he has a career, it's going to be the Kevin Spacey path.

--Alan Cumming is as flamboyant as it gets, and ironically, the one guy on the list who is genuinely bisexual, with well-documented relationships with actresses. But he's doing a hell of a job as straight Eli on The Good Wife.

And so on.

As for Jodie Foster, she was famously closeted and only barely mentioned the fact that hey, she was gay, at 50. Travolta, who is probably gay, has never struck heat with actresses. Spacey has never really done a lot of romantic leads in his career.

There's a lot of room for actors and actresses who aren't romantic leads to be "out" and play gay or straight without it killing their career. Many actors on that list (Victor Garber, John Glover) could easily be cast as a married or straight supporting character without it being controversial, just as Alan Cumming is currently in The Good Wife. The bigger stars who aren't romantic leads don't risk much, but are still very quiet about their sex lives--Kevin Spacey still isn't out, Nathan Lane waited forever (he's known for the famous line in the late 90s, "look, I'm an unmarried musical comedy star in his 40s. What do you need, flashcards?").

All of this is to say that there probably aren't a lot of closeted hot actors who are major romantic leads. The odds of a George Clooney or Brad Pitt being gay is unlikely, because if they were gay, they wouldn't be major romantic leads. The heat just wouldn't be there. And there aren't many exceptions to that rule. Rock Hudson didn't strike a whole lot of heat with anyone except Liz Taylor, notorious best pal of many gay men. Montgomery Clift was only convincing as a romantic lead in one film I can think of: Red River.

What may be changing is the readiness of a top star who isn't a romantic lead (Quinto) to come out early in his career. Spock doesn't count, since women have worshipped Spock for decades precisely because he's not interested in women. Gay, Vulcan, whatever. If Quinto continues to get romantic leads, then we can revisit the assumptions.

Dear ER:

Interesting. Movie lead acting, which involves having your face projected 30 feet high for long periods of time, is a very exposing way to make a living.

I guess the most interesting and important Golden Age legend for testing theories about romantic leads would be Cary Grant, but I don't really know what to make of him. David Niven's profile of Grant perhaps hints and implies that Grant was gay, but they were rivals for roles (if the James Bond series had gotten off the ground in the 1950s one or the other would likely become Bond), so maybe Niven was stabbing Grant in the back?

The one Grant biography I've read offers a complicated story about how he was mostly gay when young and mostly straight when old, and that his conversion was aided by a psychiatrist who treated him with the then legal LSD and finally convinced the insecure actor that he was no longer Archibald Leach but that he _deserved_ to be Cary Grant. According to the book that conversion accounts for his gleefully triumphant performance in North by Northwest.

But who knows how much faith to put in stories that are now so encrusted in rumor and myth?

Cary Grant is a complicated case. First, he was probably bisexual. Second, his sexiest roles are the ones in which he plays an entirely unattainable man who must be won over or pursued: North by Northwest he's being pursued by Eva Maria Saint, Notorious he's angry at (and therefore unavailable to) Ingrid Bergman, Only Angels Have Wings, he's the love interest of both Thomas Mitchell and Jean Arthur, who worship him knowing he has no time for them. So in some ways Grant's more like Zach Quinto. He was married five times, and all of his wives still living denied his homosexuality. Randolph Scott was married twice as well.

Yes, part of the appeal of Cary Grant that made him perhaps the greatest movie star of all time is, paradoxically, his evidently less than average sex drive. He often played reasonable men who are just trying to go through life with a minimum of fuss, who are trying to concentrate on their important jobs of finally completing the assembly of a complete brontosaurus skeleton or whatever, and they just want to avoid all the complications that come with having Katherine Hepburn throw themselves at them. Is that too much to ask?

I'm laughing, because Bringing Up Baby was atypical for both Grant and Hepburn. Hepburn never once played a role like that again, the utter space cadet who intruded on every aspect of Grant's life. Very much like Kevin Costner in Silverado, who never went for the goofy hyuk hyuk charmer again and, the more famous he became, the more morose he got (until he reverted to previous form in Tin Cup). And of course, Ryan O'Neal channeled Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby in What's Up Doc, which may in fact be the Great Babs Best Movie.

The more typical Grant romantic moment is the one in Notorious, one of the most famously erotic kissing scenes in the Golden Era. Watch it closely, and it's clear that Bergman's doing all the work. Ditto the fireworks scene in To Catch A Thief--Grace Kelly is doing all the work; Grant is just inscrutable. I'm not sure Grant was ever really sexy in a non-Hitchcock movie.

In her profile of Grant, "The Man from Dream City", Pauline Kael takes this famous scene with Mae West as a prototype for the sexual dynamic in his movies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L0eJp7V2Zs

Everyone is out of the closet and always has been. Rock Hudson and James Dean were out of the closet. They made out on the set on Giant. The only thing that has changed is the media needing to get inside of celebrities bedrooms. What some think is a step forward in gay rights is just a step backward in privacy -- a much more important right.

Here's an empirical experiment that everybody can perform. There are about 8 million high school boys in the United States. About 1 million of them play high school football. Ask your gay male friends - did 1 out of 8 of them play high school football? Ask your straight male friends the same question. Do the results conform to the stereotype or not?

More generally, ask your male friends whether they played high school sports at all, and calculate the percentage of your gay and straight friends who did. Do your results bust stereotypes?

Excellent advice. Ask your friends:

1. Did you play high school football?

2. Were you in your high school musical?

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Do all American conversations degenerate into whimsy about movies and comments about NFL?


They have to, we can't quite talk about our real problems. For instance we have a criminal conspiracy of dandies that have robbed us blind as Ruling Elites, we're bankrupt, and we need to be distracted by Gay Marriage and various other species of squirrels. It also gives the powerless the illusion of both relevance, status and hence power. Power is narrowly defined for this specific example as *not helpless*. Being helpless sucks. So how Gay feverid you are is status seeking by the otherwise powerless.

Indeed the non-whimisical political goal of Gay Marriage is to gain a tiny but quite real advantage over straights; Gays are now a protected species. It's not just legal it's social - shut up Sailer you're a bigot - and this is the end of the conversation. *AH* but it isn't. All that work for nothing.

"In the race to prove how tolerant we all are, decency and good sense are always the losers."

Yes but who's the winner? Well it's status seeking by the Powerless. Which sadly only works inside the Prog Bubble now. If Sailer's fortunes depended on academic tenure he'd be right buggered.

Mr. Sailer - Bravo but I cry for others - Mercy. Do Consider what the men gave up for this tiny taste of musky propinquity. Really standing George Ball on the Head....gracious. Mercy.

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