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Tila Tequila Rihanna and Friends Gay Until Publication Date

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You are probably aware that alongside our mundane world, there is an ever-expanding parallel reality -- the Celebrity Industrial Complex -- where people try to make themselves look provocative and interesting so that you pay attention to them.

For example, Tila Tequila -- the pseudo-celebrity promotion machine -- has been making sure the mediaverse is fully aware she is engaged to Casey Johnson, the heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. (Can you believe it? Tila found someone with money! All those poor contestants over two seasons of A Shot at Love never had a chance! I can't believe she wasn't furreal!)

As reported by Us Weekly, Tequila prepares her fans for the big news in a video message, saying, "So are you ready for this big announcement that's going to change our lives? This is exclusive and going to be all over the news tomorrow, but because I love you guys so much, we are giving you the exclusive first."

She shows off a ring which she insists is "not fake, because my baby is a fucking baller. She's a billionaire! She's the heiress of Johnson & Johnson. Anyway, we are going to make love tonight for our honeymoon."

It's tough to stand out these days. With more and more celebrities and celebrity wannabes, provocative behavior is becoming integral to any fame-seeker's career pursuits. Some have to sneak into the White House to get airtime, but if you are a pretty young thing, you can try making out with another girl and becoming a fauxmosexual celesbian to get noticed.

Even talented artists do it.

Lady Gaga, for example, has a requisite kissing scene in her "LoveGame" video. And recently in an interview with the U.K.'s Mirror, Rihanna said she could see herself in a relationship with a girl and would be into playing a gay assassin a film, with Megan Fox as her girlfriend. (Oh, great, another lesbian killer character. How original.) Gossip Girl's recent three-way with Dan, Vanessa, and Olivia just happened to be magically timed for television's sweeps week.

What's surprising about Tequila's wedding announcement, Gaga's girl moment, Gossip Girl's menage, and Rihanna's admission is how unsurprising all the lesbian flirtation seems these days. What used to be alluring and headline-grabbing now seems sort of old hat. It's got an almost lazy casualness to it.

Being lesbo-promotional may have reached its peak when Britney french-kissed Madonna at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. It was just another day at work for Madge (I bet you she goes back to women in 2010), but for Britney it was clearly a publicity stunt. On CNN's Crossfire, she said she wouldn't kiss a girl again and that "I think I'm still clean living. I mean I don't go home and have orgies or anything like that."

In the Celebrity Industrial Complex, being identified as gay is still a liability, but playing with it can be a buzz booster. "It lends you street cred, lends you some of that sexy, or at least you're hoping it'll rub off on you," says writer Kera Bolonik, author of The L Word: Welcome to Our Planet. "But people, get your own sexy! Stop trying to steal everyone else's hard-earned sexy!"

It is interesting to compare the treatment of Adam Lambert's controversial tonsil hockey at the recent AMAs with that famous moment from 2003. After he was disinvited to Good Morning America, he appeared on CBS's Early Show and said that he thinks the controversy exemplifies a double standard -- that it wouldn't be a story if he wasn't a gay male. Even though they gave him time to speak his mind, CBS still blurred the footage of his AMAs performance.

It has been argued that depictions of lesbian sexuality are more "digestible" to mainstream media because straight men love to look at it. But I wonder what would happen if Rihanna were to come out as a lesbian and french-kiss, say, Melissa Etheridge onstage. You get the sense CBS would blur that too.

Maybe someday Rihanna will make that lesbian assassin film, Lambert will be able to make out in front of everyone, and Shia LaBeouf will be quoted saying "I cant wait to play a gay criminal!" in interviews, but for now, being gay or lesbian is still more popular as a promotional tactic for straight-identified people to get attention.

Or even an Oscar.

Not that we don't want to see Rihanna and Megan Fox make out. Playing with sexuality and sexual roles is always a good thing and fun to watch. But to really get our attention, maybe some of these celebrities should go all the way by coming out.

Put your mouth where your money is. Who knows ... unlike Britney, you may end up liking it.

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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