Who Said I'm Gay?

A friend and I recently went to watch Zakes Bantwini do his thing on stage. The guy is an amazing performer and I enjoyed every moment of the show. BUT, like with the very first performance of his I saw at the Amstel Goleden Hour concert, my gaydar was on overdrive. There are certain things that straight guys would never do on stage especially with thousands of girls screaming infront of them.

Of course Zakes has never said he is gay... come to think of it he has never said he is straight either... hmm. Anyway, be that as it may I ended up being involved in a debate with my friend about who is gay or not in the industry.

My opinion is that, everyone has the right to keep their personal life private. I always get irked by people who think it is their business to “out” people whether they are celebs or just regular folks. However, I am human and there have been instances where I find myself thinking, you gotta be gay, when I interview or meet some of these celebs.

In a perfect world, someone famous can just say “Yes, I'm Gay” and not have that make front page news but unfortunately we do not live in that world... yet. Though we have made some strides over the years with shows like After 9 and some of our soapies having gay characters, we still live in a very homophobic country. 

I doubt that admiting that you gay would hurt one's audience pull or fan base but it might be an issue with the bosses. SA fans are the most understanding (or call it liberal) and forgiving fans in the whole world.

The problem is that people at the helms of the industry are the ones who have no faith in SA fans. They are the ones who think disclosing one's sexuality would be a problem. Take the Lundi's situation for example, the guy has never hidden the fact that he is gay but his record label always deny that he is thus making it an issue in the press and fan forums. Would any of his fans think any less of his talent if he just said he is Gay?

Then you have Dj Cleo who can't seem to shake off the gay rumours. Do you honestly think that if he were to say he is gay that would affect his career? I doubt that people would stop buying his music just simply because he is gay. The perception of course, is that disclosing one's sexuality would be a career suicide.

On the same boat is Theo Kgosinkwe of Mafikizolo fame. He is happily married with a son but some South Africans refuse to believe that the picture perfect family is what it seems to be. Prompting his wife to say in an article in a magazine that her husband is not gay, which had the opposite effect as it fueled the rumours even further. 

When I met Theo he actually told me that he doesn't accept friend requests from guys on his Facebook anymore. I kinda found that strange but hey, that's his choice. He didn't say the reason was because of the gay rumours and I didn't probe. You do the math...

The problem here is not about whether a celebrity is gay or not. The problem is the image that is projected by our own media about what being gay is. When South Africans think about being “Gay” all they know is Somizi, 3Sum, Iko Mash, Mika Stefano, and all the other feminine gay men that are in the public eye. To them it's unfathomable that someone who looks like DJ Cleo could be gay.

Ask and you'll be told that almost everybody in this industry is gay... ALMOST... so if that's the case then why is being gay still front page news. Why does it matter that someone is gay, Bi-sexual or whatever? Well, the answer lies in our tendency as South Africans to avoid dealing with issues head on. We more than happy to ignore the obvious and pretend that they do not exist.

Though I strongly believe that the coming out process is a personal one, I do think that if more people within the industry came out, that may give the gay label a different image. People could see that not all gay men are flamming queens. Not all gay men want to be girls :)


Anonymous said...

Amen to that dear. Tell me, why is it an issue if someone is gay but if someone is straight it's just fine. I mean really now, being gay is not what defines a person but the inner guy/lady inside, next to your heart, is what matters the most.

Anonymous said...

I really have my suspicions that zakes bantwini might be gay. Some of the things he does on stage are such gaydars and quite alarming lol.

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