Jodie Foster steals the show for the LGBT community and beyond
By KARA YORIO STAFF WRITER | The Record
It was rambling, confusing and, at times, manic, but it was riveting, revealing and the moment of the Golden Globes. Hollywood legend Jodie Foster, for the first time, acknowledged publicly that she is gay during the awards show Sunday night. While some responded to the speech with a no-kidding shrug on Monday, others heard her words as a moving and monumental revelation.
"It brought me to tears," said Garden State Equality’s Jon Galluccio, a North Haledon resident and long-time proponent of gay rights.
The information itself was not particularly shocking; many already knew Foster’s sexual orientation. But the forum, the long-time-coming nature of the announcement and Foster’s stature made this the most talked about story of the night. Even in 2013, a star publicly acknowledging she is gay still garners headlines.
"Apparently, it is still a big deal," Galluccio said.
The response to Foster’s speech was largely positive, but she was criticized by some for the lack of clear wording (she never said the word gay or lesbian) and apparent anger and disgust with the media that she says seeks to invade her privacy. Some in the LGBT community offered a too-little-too-late analysis of Foster’s declaration.
"There are a wide variety of opinions about her speech, but the bottom line is, she came out in her own way, and in her own time, and I believe that's all we can ask of anyone, celebrity or not," said Cindi Creager, a New York City-based media trainer and media relations expert with career experience in the news industry and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) organizations.
But whatever the opinion, everybody was talking about it — not so much a reaction to the "Silence of the Lambs" star being gay, but that she finally acknowledged it and where she chose to make that revelation.
"She picked an important occasion to do so, while receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes, it doesn't get much more high profile than that," said Creager. "Choosing that platform clearly furthered the reach of her message. … This kind of revelation from a person of Foster's stature, and on such a large stage, helps to increase awareness and acceptance of LGBT lives."
During and immediately after Foster’s speech, Twitter exploded with reactions, including comments from fellow celebrities.
Emmy Rossum tweeted, "Jodie Foster is an inspiration. Incredible speaker. So moving."
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton wrote: "Thank you #JodieFoster for your sharing your grace & grit over 47 yrs, and most of all tonight. #AnExample #GoldenGlobes"
Ricky Martin, who came out in a statement on his website in 2010, tweeted, "Jody Foster On your terms. Its your time! Not before nor after. Its when it feels right!" [sic]
Foster’s speech notably never quite said the exact words, but it was sincere and the message was clear.
"So while I’m here being all confessional, I guess I just have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public, [a] declaration that I’m a little nervous about ..." she said, while holding her statuette. "I’m just going to put it out there, right? Loud and proud, right?
"I am … uh … single," she said to laughs, before going on to clarify that this was no big coming-out speech, because she already did her coming out "about a thousand years ago." She thanked her co-parent and "ex-partner in love" and talked to her two sons before bringing fellow entertainers in the audience to tears when she spoke directly to her mother who has dementia.
But that touching moment will be forever secondary to Foster finally publicly revealing her sexual orientation.
Like many in the LGBT community, Galluccio said, Foster built a wall around herself of close friends and family who knew her truth. As she wrapped up her speech, Foster seemed to acknowledge the difficulty of living life behind those privacy barriers.
"I want to be seen, be understood deeply and to be not so very lonely," she said.
"Jodie broke that wall [Sunday] night and I think she’s going to finally have peace," Galluccio said. "I think she’s going to have the best time of her life from this point forward."
Galluccio said that Foster’s admission further helps people identify a humanity instead of a stereotype. The star came off as a person who loves her kids, her mother and her privacy, traits relatable to any demographic.
"She did a justice that was heard around the world, for all for us in the LGBT community," said Galluccio. "From the bottom of my heart, I thank her, as a gay man and especially as a gay man with children."