An Accidental Outing?

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Julianne Hough might have just outed “Mean Girls” star Jonathan Bennett. The “Dancing With the Stars” judge appeared on “Extra” to talk with Mario Lopez about Season 19 of the reality competition show. The conversation turned to a discussion about Bennett, who is a contestant this season.

“He tweeted me last year and said, like, I had a nice butt, but he also tagged my trainer,” she said. “And so I was like, ‘Oh, he’s hitting on me. I should try to go on a date with him.'”

“What happened?” Lopez asked.

“He’s gay,” Hough responded. “So, I was like, that’s not gonna work.”

Some blogs have dubbed him a gay man and he was rumored to have once romanced “Kyle XY” actor Matt Dallas, according to Out magazine. Even his Wikipedia page says “Jonathan Bennett is openly gay,” but has since been edited to remove that line. The 33-year-old actor has not publicly come out. My thought is simply this, he hasn’t confirmed or denied rumors, and he not on a crusade to have any mention of him being gay erased from the Internet. Colton Haynes’ publicity people went on a campaign to remove pictures of him and his boyfriend from the Internet, even though they can easily be found (including an earlier post on this blog). Bennett has done no such thing.

Maybe he takes the philosophy of Thomas More. More relied on the legal precedent and the maxim “qui tacet consentire videtur” (literally, who (is) silent is seen to consent) to attempt to save him from his eventual death at the hands of his friend King Henry VIII for treason. Bennett may understand that he cannot be, does not want to be, or does not care if he is labeled by his sexuality, and he therefore just does not answer questions regarding his sexuality. Bennett’s representative declined to comment on the actor’s sexuality or the Hough incident when contacted by the media.

Bennett starred in 2004’s “Mean Girls” (an entertaining movie) as heartthrob Aaron Samuels. Bennett knows firsthand how mean people can be. Bennett supports the Love is Louder project and uploaded a video of himself talking about the bullying that he had gone through. Bennett stated, “Of all people, I know how mean people can be to each other. I mean, we made a whole movie about it [referencing “Mean Girls”]. It happened to me in high school, it happened to me in college [and] it still happens to me today. And I’m not gonna lie, it sucks. Sometimes it really sucks. But it doesn’t have to forever because there are people out there who love you, and love is a lot louder than hate.”

I love that quote, and I wholeheartedly identify and agree with him. In my opinion, I don’t think people should act as if this is big news. Julianne Hough obviously didn’t think it was, and then again she could just be an insensitive woman. It seems that Bennett’s sexuality is not really a secret and he has done nothing to keep it a secret (unless he changed his Wikipedia biography). I can completely understand why celebrities often do not come out. There is a great deal of media attention, both good and bad. I can also understand why someone would not want their sexuality to be the main fact people know about them. Each of us is so much more than our sexual orientation.

I would love for him to acknowledge his sexuality, but I can understand why he doesn’t. The more people who come out, the easier it will get for each subsequent generation.

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About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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