You have probably heard that Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, came out casually in an interview. He was generally considered gay, but he never felt the need to formally say so until now. Although I’m happy for him and everything, it got me thinking about the reading we just had, “Epistemology of the Closet” by Sedgwick. In her essay, she claims that open secrets have their own problems and lists why.
One of the points she makes is that everyone is at least slightly closeted. On the level of everyday people, this is true enough. A person might decide to be out to their Aunt Rose, but not Uncle Joe. But that argument kind of falls apart when the person is famous or has an internet presence. In the case of Tim Cook, for instance, he is now out to anyone who has a computer or knows someone who does through any degree of separation. “Epistemology of the Closet” was written in 1990, which was five years before I was born, so I don’t know how predictable this development would have been at the time of writing.
In the article I originally read about his coming out, the website also mentioned another article about Russian reaction. The reaction was only from a single person, but the article goes on to discuss the reasons many CEOs stay in the closet.
And now I’m getting off of my original topic, but although nowadays it would be rare to see people fired for their sexuality, and when they are they now get support from the courts and their communities, it happens. I’m from a suburb of Seattle (as I’m sure many of us are) and the firing of vice-principal Mark Zmuda was all over the news. So even though that was just an example in the original essay, thought you would be interested.