I’m sure if you’ve landed on this blog, that you’ve seen the cover heard round the world, or at least the fandom. It’s a sweet picture on the cover of PEOPLE Magazine of Clay Aiken and his son Parker with Clay announcing that he is gay.
Reactions were all over the place within the fandom with the vast majority showing support for Clay. It was a very brave thing for him to do and a decision that he likely didn’t reach easily. I also admire Jaymes Foster for loving Clay so much that she put her 50 year old body through the preparation for IVF, when he could have adopted or used a surrogate. I am comforted that he has someone that he loves and trusts and who loves him back as they raise their son together in the glare of the public eye.
I do not have family members who have identified as gay and I didn’t meet an openly gay person until I was thirty. Contrasting that, my daughter has two classmates, one male and one female, who have been openly gay since they were 14. But in talking to others who have gay family members, friends or coworkers, it is an intensely personal process of self discovery and it differs for each and every person. It has to be a thousand times harder when you are a celebrity.
I hope that for Clay this process of self discovery and openness with the public will actually gain him the respect deprived from him from our tabloid society, with writers and comics who act like 13 year old boys. Let him live his life, let him flourish in his career. He’s an entertainer for the ages, maybe now people will pay attention to THAT.
What does this mean for me and my fandom? Nothing. He’s still the best voice I’ve ever heard, he’s still the best concert I’ve ever attended, he’s still one of the funniest entertainers that I’ve ever enjoyed and his good works with UNICEF and his own Bubel/Aiken Foundation have opened my eyes, my wallet and my heart to issues that I should have been paying attention to long ago.
And I’m still extremely excited to return to New York City next month to see him again in Spamalot. As Broadway.com said ‘He’s pretty darn amazing.” Today? In more ways than one.