Raven-Symone, Darren Young, Orlando Cruz: A big week for gay visibility

Posted on 20 Aug 2013 at 12:46pm

Raven-Symon-raven-symone-20682299-1514-2000Maybe the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on DOMA and Prop 8 had more real-world effects than we anticipated — and not just for marriage equality. In the last week or so, there has rarely been a day when some big gay news hasn’t emerged.

It all started on Aug. 5, when actress Raven-Symone — known to one generation of TV watchers as adorable little Olivia on The Cosby Show and another generation as the perky Disney teen on That’s So Ravencame out as gay. And in true millennial fashion, she did so via Twitter. (She said developments in marriage rights spurred on her decision.)

Usually, coming out stories get quick attention based on the context and starpower of the celebrity, but Raven’s revelation sparked surprising backlash by fans who were devastated that the little girl they loved on TV was (gasp!) lesbian. Of course, Raven is now a 27-year-old woman. Holding on to her childhood image for your own purposes is not only selfish, it’s weird.

Darren_Young_bioThe next big coming out was from Darren Young, a star of the WWE — the huge pro wrestling monster corporation responsible for launching the careers of The Rock, John Cena and many other hulking meatsacks who like to roll around in Spandex with other half-naked men. Despite the obvious homoerotic underpinning of pro wrestling — and the fact a handful of former wrestlers have come out in the past — the sport has been traditionally somewhat homophobic.

So we were delighted last week when Young (real name Fred Rosser) came out in a video recorded by TMZ … and the WWE handled it in classy fashion. It released on its website a statement in support of Young, saying, “WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar.” The statement even mentioned its anti-bullying program, which includes sexual orientation.

Also in sports — assuming you consider wrestling a sport — was the marriage proposal, announced on Facebook, of openly gay boxer Orlando Cruz to his boyfriend, Jose Manuel. The Puerto Rican featherweight posted the video (in Spanish) and Manuel accepted in a like fashion.

orlando-cruz jose

It wasn’t all good news for the gays. Damon Intrabartolo, a composer who co-wrote the gay-themed musical Bare (which Uptown Players successfully staged in 2008), died last week at age 39.

The most recent development wasn’t good, either: the detention at Heathrow Airport of David Miranda for nine hours. Miranda is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist (who lives in Brazil) who broke the Edward Snowden story, releasing details of U.S. spying. Folks of all political stripes protested the detention, which was widely perceived as payback for Greenwald’s reporting.

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