As much as we like to think we came out of the closet of our own accord, most of us endured some form of outing in our lives. Many of us got called “faggot” or “dyke” during sixth-grade dodge ball; many of us were discovered hiding a dog-eared International Male or Victoria’s Secret catalog under our mattress; many of us were walked in on while playing doctor with our best school friend. And by “many of us,” I mean me. But not everyone is so lucky. In the ’00s, many famous lesbians and gays got pegged for the first time in the tabloids. And while we can debate the ethics of outing from here to queerternity, no one can argue that the true heft of an outed gay’s balls can be measured by how courageously they live after being dragged, pushed, or lightly shoved from the closet. Some handled it by coming out publicly, some curled up into a ball, and others pretended it just never happened.
It was reported in 2004 that Cynthia Nixon was dating a lady, but she didn’t come out until two years later. Following her move to Brooklyn with Christine Marinoni, Nixon said she was “just a woman in love with another woman.” She had no choice, really. Brooklyn is one of the leading causes of lesbianism in America.
Thanks to numerous reports of sapphic activity, Michelle Rodriguez has gone in and out of more closets than Rachel Zoe. In an interview the actress said, “If I wanna fuck a girl, a boy, a dog—that’s my business.” Or, considering her time dating Vin Diesel, all three at once.
Ken Mehlman, George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign manager, was outed by Bill Maher on Larry King Live in 2006 and consequently resigned from his post as the Republican National Committee chairman. Curiously, CNN later scrubbed all reference to Mehlman’s sexual orientation in broadcasts and transcripts. In CNN’s defense, hearing Larry King say anything about sex makes me want to scrub myself too.
When Republican congressman Mark Foley’s inappropriate e-mails to young male congressional pages surfaced in 2006, then–House speaker Dennis Hastert told him to resign or be expelled. As with all creepy old twink chasers at the end of the bar, it practically took an act of Congress to get him to leave his seat.
In 2006 singer Lance Bass told People magazine he’s gay—a fact most savvy homos knew for years. But it was in 2002 that Bass received cosmonaut certification—to disprove rumors that his gayness could be seen from space.
Clay Aiken was outed to the tabs by a one-night stand long before he came out to People magazine in 2008. The trick, porn star John Paulus, had mentioned on a podcast that Aiken instructed him to make “quarter turns” while, um, “taking his turn on the mike.”
After being arrested in a Minnesota airport, Republican senator Larry Craig…oh, why bother. There’s really no joke left untapped.