By Gisela Factora
Assistant Editorials Editor
Kevin Spacey (because I don’t want to grace you with the address of “dear”),
You were accused recently of assaulting Anthony Rapp when he was 14 and you were 26. You “apologized,” saying that you had no memory of the incident, but if it really happened, it could be attributed to “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” You also decided in your “apology” to come out as gay, subtly implying that your status as a closeted gay man was another reason why you assaulted Rapp.
There are so many issues with your “apology,” but for the sake of brevity and depth, I want to focus on the second half, in which you came out.
It goes without saying, but there is nothing wrong with being out as gay. What is wrong is your timing. The fact that you chose to come out at the same time as “apologizing” for an assault is despicable. The fact that you end your “apology” note with “I want to deal with [being gay] honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior” is despicable. Being gay has absolutely nothing to do with being an assaulter and a pedophile. The idea that gayness is inherently predatory is an age-old idea that is patently untrue, and is often utilized by the right as “evidence” of homosexuality’s supposed immorality. I am not saying that gay people are incapable of being rapists or pedophiles; on the contrary, the heteronormativity of anti-rape and abuse activism harms victims of rape or abuse within gay relationships. But gay people are not any more likely than straight people to be rapists or pedophiles.
As a gay woman myself, never once have I felt the desire to have sex with a child. Ever since turning 18, I’ve been overly cautious of the ways in which I interact with minors – what I do around or with them, what I discuss with them. I know that as a legal adult, it’s my responsibility to monitor my interactions with minors and ensure that I never stray into inappropriate territory.
I’m uncomfortable even just being friends with people who are younger than 16 or so, with few exceptions. As a 19-year-old, I have friends who are five years older than me, or even older, but the age gap is less dramatic because we’re in somewhat similar stages of life. Having friends five years younger is different, though. Each year of one’s early teens brings huge amounts of change, life experience and maturity, and there’s just too great of a difference between myself and the average 14-year-old for us to relate on much at all.
But even despite all these precautions, I am constantly afraid of being predatory, or being perceived as a predator. I’ve known that I’m queer since I was 12 or 13, and since realizing that I have always had the question in the back of my mind: am I being predatory?
In the locker room before P.E., at swim practice, in the bathroom, even just having a plain old crush on a girl. I think, “I have to stare at the wall to make sure that no one thinks I’m checking her out. Which bathroom do I use to get the least stares? Am I creepy for wanting to kiss her?” This is, of course, compounded with the fact that I’m brown and also butch, both of which are also often perceived as inherently predatory features. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the preconceived notions that queer men and transgender people, especially women, face.
The last thing that the LGBTQ+ community needed, especially in an era where our commander in chief speaks at fundamentalist Christian conventions and makes jokes about his vice president wanting to hang all gay people, was you blaming your pedophilia on your queerness.
We have nothing in common, and I’m frankly disgusted by the idea that there could be any singular thread that connects us. Your “apology” is offensive to all members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially to LGBTQ+ survivors and especially to Rapp, who has been out as queer for over a decade. Your “apology” was clearly an extremely manipulative attempt to utilize your newly revealed queerness for social capital, and to some extent it may have worked. But it didn’t work on me, and it didn’t work on the millions of other LGBTQ+ people that you threw under the bus with your statement based on false, tired stereotypes. We are not like you, and you are not a part of our community.
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