A disappointing truth missed in Rebel furore

The comedian’s outing by the Sydney Morning Herald this week revealed a disappointing truth and eclipsed what she should be known for.

Rebel Wilson’s sexuality eclipsed the news cycle this week, and I find that incredibly disappointing. Surely we have to get to the point where sexuality isn’t such a loud conversation. Can’t it just be treated as mundane and ordinary? After all, it is.

In Wilson’s case, his sexuality became such a story because the Nine gossip columnist Andre Hornery wanted to write a article about Wilson’s new girlfriend, Ramona Agruma. Which then forced Wilson’s hand to announce that she was now dating a woman. She wrote on her Instagram, “I thought I was looking for a prince…but what I really needed was a Disney princess.” Cue fanfare, outcry, and long conversations about how cruel it is to “take out” someone.

All of which I agree with, people should choose how and when they announce their sexuality.

But I’m also bothered by the general interest, outcry and excitement over Wilson’s sexuality. Why do any of us care so much? This sends a clear message to LGBTQIA+ people that their sexuality is worthwhile and important, but is it? I think we should come to a stage in society where someone’s sexuality is not news; it is simply.

We have to reach a point where people no longer need to go out. Where people can explore their sexuality without everyone wanting to label it and obsessively talk about it. Wilson’s relationship announcement should have been just that, a relationship announcement and a slightly boring announcement considering she hasn’t linked up with another well-known celebrity.

Instead, people now define Wilson by her sexuality, there are tweets and thought pieces and a lot of straight male radio hosts weighing in and maybe people mean well, but it annoys me. Wilson is a beloved comedian, actress and figure in Australia, and now she is defined by the fact that she is dating a woman. I mean, really, who cares?

Of course, I understand there’s a separate conversation to be had here about pride and representation, but that’s for Wilson to navigate. Instead, the public is putting so much emphasis on her sexuality, something Wilson hasn’t even spoken about yet other than an Instagram post.

Unfortunately, this is often what happens to celebrities when they come out with their sexuality. They are typed, labeled and put in a box. Therefore, so many people decide to stay in the closet. Everyone from Ellen Degeneres at Neil Patrick Harris talked about how being open about their sexuality either kept them from landing roles or made it harder for them to land their iconic roles.

DeGeneres said she was told coming out could “ruin” her career and it did until she landed her own talk show. While I think we’ve reached a point where a celebrity’s sexuality is no longer career-breaking, I think it would be ignorant to claim that it still doesn’t impact your career. So, it makes perfect sense that Wilson might not have wanted to break the news, she probably knew that her sexuality would become one giant conversation, and ultimately one, over which she would have little control.

Why? Because again, as a society, we always seem to be a bit obsessed with people’s sexuality. We think that defines them, but how is that for us to decide?

I’m thrilled for Wilson that she’s found someone, is in love, and is living her best life. But I’m also depressed that there’s still so much emphasis on people’s sexuality; as Hugh Sheridan so aptly put it: “Labels are for clothes, not for people!

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