I found out about a week beforehand through the rumor mill. Same old, same old. The NY Post page 6 reported that he was in Provincetown. A few bloggers said that he was dating Reichen Leklmuhl (I don't think I spelled that right, but I'm too lazy to look it up).
I've seen about that much evidence for Tom Cruise. And then there's Oprah. And Anderson Cooper. And, and, and. The list goes on.
And then, last night I was at a friends, and I check MySpace on a whim, and someone's quoted the Reuters story. I check Google news and it pulls up twenty something hits.
Now, I've always had this thing where I've believed that guys that I find attractive were never gay. In fact, it was sort of funny, in a sad way. Even the porn stars that I liked were straight.
And I had a crush on Lance Bass back in high school. Him and Nick from the Backstreet boys. So today and yesterday have been sort of dream-like. Something that I imagined came true (aside from the NM spaceport, I thought of it first, darn it). And because of that surreal quality, I'm really exited.
Kelly pointed out that he's dating someone, which is sort of an odd thing to say. After all, Brad Pitt is dating. I'm sure that Channing Tatum, Christian Bale, Chris Evans, Ryan Reynolds and about half of the other straight guys that I consistently fantasize about are also dating (or married). The thing is, I don't have to pretend that Lance is gay anymore . . . I know. How odd that that one little bit of information is so important. Straight girls must take it for granted, that the boys presented to them in the Bubblegum pop era were straight. After all, that was sort of the point, wasn't it? But Lance is gay. He's one of us, and I will jump in front of any shot at him, because now he represents me.
And he's now a spokesperson. A large one. A cute, internationally recognized, young gay male spokesperson. At its peak, N'sync was huge nearly everywhere, Europe, Japan, South America, and even in the U.S.
He may be the first gay superstar. It's a little early yet to tell, but he's getting into acting now (a slightly more real acting, I never saw his first movie, but I heard that it sucked. The review that I read said that his chemistry with Joey Fatone was better than with the leading lady).
So, he's on a sitcom and hopefully he's better at playing gay than playing straight, and he becomes a star. He may or may not have problems with Reichen, but it won't matter, because he'll be tabloid fodder, and even if there aren't problems, the Enquirer will make them up. Can you see the Lance's Straight Affair? stories yet? The Reichen caught with another boy stories?
And for the first time, all the gay boys have a real idol to look up to, just like the other boys do. They can look up to someone that's popular, someone that's famous, and someone that's rich, and they can say, I want to be just like him when I grow up. And they can have a crush on him at the same time, because, after all, he's one of them.
There aren't a lot of really well known gay people that you can match up with the straight people. Ian McKellan is a powerful figure, but he's never been a Tom Cruise. Rosie was never a beautiful woman. Ellen was never worshiped by legions of screaming fans. We're missing the Brad Pitts, the Jennifer Lopez's, the Snoop Dogs' and we were missing the Justin Timberlakes.
But hopefully now we aren't completely lacking them.
So, who cares that Lance Bass is gay? I care. And if Lance isn't the one, then maybe they next one will be the superstar. The one that we can point to and say he's ours, and everyone on the freaking planet will know what we're talking about.
I have to end with a note to Lance: You're going to give up your privacy. If things work out, you're going to be bigger than Justin Timberlake because the gay people can make you a god among men, but you're going to be hunted and hounded and pursued because of it. But while that might suck for you, it might also give some kid a gay hero, and our community would love to have gay heroes.
Please, be our hero Lance.