'Wheel of Fortune' Host Pat Sajak Comes Out As Heterosexual & Mocks LGBTQ Community
In your daily dose of “What the hell?” news, longtime Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak came out as straight on Twitter last week. The 67-year-old television personality wrote, “Damn the career consequences! I’m hereby proclaiming my heterosexuality!” Uh, okay, but what was the motivation behind Sajak’s tweet? Aside from replying, “Exactly the point,” to someone who tweeted, “Should a sexual preference rather gay, straight or somewhere in between need an announcement or a label?” Sajak made no attempt to clarify or explain his actions.
Whether or not coming out is an important, valuable part of constructing identity has always been a contentious issue, even within the LGBTQ community — but I don’t think Sajak was trying to open up that kind of dialogue here. If that were his intention, he would’ve actually taken the time to construct an argument and make his position clear instead of joking around and tweeting cutesy replies to questions like, “How is your wife taking the news?” (Sajak’s response? “Therapy.”) No, I think Sajak’s intent here was to mock the recent crop of athletes and celebrities who have made the courageous decision to come out. And that, my friends, is really, really shitty.
I’ve got news for you, Sajak: Coming out in 2014 can still have very serious consequences for LGBTQ people. For anyone to make fun of those who have so bravely decided to open up about who they are, especially when doing so could have a profoundly negative impact on their lives, is nothing less than despicable.
Maybe Sajak “doesn’t care” how people identify. Maybe he would prefer that people’s so-called “private lives” remain private — I’ve heard it all before. (It should be noted that I can only draw conclusions based on Sajak’s initial tweet and subsequent replies, as he has not elaborated further.) But the LGBTQ community is beyond tired of remaining silent. For some, coming out is an intensely personal matter. For others, it’s an opportunity to shout their truth from the rooftops — and that’s okay. If you don’t like it, cover your ears.
Perhaps one day we’ll reach a point where everyone’s unique identity is so accepted, so embraced, and so celebrated without hesitation, coming out will turn into a “thing of the past.” But we’re not there yet. And some people don’t believe in labels and some people never feel the need to make any sort of identity-related “announcements” — that’s great! We’re all different and we all have the right to decide how, when, and even if we’re going to share parts of ourselves with others. Sajak doesn't get to tell people how to live their lives.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that Sajak’s little Twitter stunt was intensely offensive and totally uncalled for. He should be ashamed. I've never really watched Wheel of Fortune, but I'm sure as hell not going to start now. I'd like to buy a "no thank you," please, Pat.