By now, you've probably seen the comments The Real O'Neals star Noah Galvin made to New York magazine about Hollywood's gay scene which included slamming the coming out of fellow actor Colton Haynes. Less than 24 hours later, Haynes swiftly responded to the remarks and Galvin has since apologized, but the interview brought to light a very ugly side of the gay community that needs to be changed ASAP—especially from its most famous members.
In his interview, Galvin deemed Haynes' kind-of-coming out-on-Tumblr and subsequent full-page-magazine-spread-confirmation-that-he's-out as "pussy bullshit." From the language alone, it's obvious this type of thinking is detrimental in calling a coming out as "bullshit," but Haynes isn't a model of acceptance either. In his retort, Haynes asked via an Instagram post, "Since when is a three pg article in Entertainment Weekly not an appropriate way to come out?"
The issue with both men involved is that there is an inherent judgement in the way someone has decided to reveal their sexuality, an extremely personal process without any type of rule system. Twenty-two-year-old Galvin told New York he was frustrated how in L.A. "half of the men are closeted and the other half are just dumb" and how "gay boys my age are either club kids or they're in college and they haven't come out yet and they're still DL on Grindr." Meanwhile, Haynes defends his actions by pointing out that a magazine spread is a great way to come out.
The larger issue here comes in that is no "appropriate" way to come out. One doesn't need to defend their actions by touting a large magazine publication as a way to legitimize their years-in-the-making coming out declaration, nor is someone better for being out since they were a teenager, like Galvin. Every person has their own process and every process should be respected. Shoutout to Haynes who added, "Shouldn't we all be supporting each other?"
Too many times in the gay community do we see people judging others who many are assuming to be queer due for their personalities, taste in music, hand gestures, or any other superfluous way that we've deemed worthy of a clue to someone's sexual orientation. If someone has yet to come to terms with their sexuality, that is completely on them and how they choose to go about that, especially if they're concerned about their safety. And while safety would be the largest factor for keeping an open mind about someone's coming-out process, I would argue it shouldn't be the main focus.
The LGBTQ community has made so many strides in acceptance and representation in mainstream media that it's almost too easy to forget that there are still loads of progress to be made. That comes from within the community first because if we are so easy to judge one another's processes—after we've all had our own personal journey to self-acceptance—it will only inevitably become the norm for those outside the community to begin doing the same.
Guys, girls, and everyone in between: June is Pride Month. This is the month where we should all be happy, inspired and, above all, proud that we've made the strides to be the confident, out people we are today while also remembering and lending support those who might not be quite there yet. There isn't a right or wrong, better or worse, way to do that and there isn't a right or wrong nor better or worse place to be in which you are proud. Come out how you want to, celebrate how you want to, and be proud how you want to. We're never going to get anywhere if we keep these senses of entitlement when it comes to our processes.
We need to treat the coming out process as we would any other part of our personality, body or DNA—we have been all dealt different cards and lifestyles to make our coming out processes as unique as our individual chemical makeup. Only when we start thinking about coming out in those terms will we ever eliminate comments like Galvin, Haynes and beyond.