Monday, March 10, 2014

The Palmer rises

So, did you hear that squeal sometime last night? That was the unrepentant scream of gay gals everywhere welcoming another friend into the fold. Last night at the Canadian Screen Awards Zoie Palmer thanked her female partner and their son publically for the first time, which was a subtle but unmistakable coming out. Now, you’d probably have to follow Zoie closely to realize the significance of her thanking “my incredible partner, Alex, and my beautiful son Luca.” In the pressroom afterward not a single reporter mentioned it. But we’re no amateurs. We’re lesbians. We know everybody who has ever considered kissing a girl’s business. So the “Alex” was Alex Lalonde and son was Luca, Lalonde’s from a previous relationship.

While she went more the Jodie Foster route than the Ellen Page route of coming out, it’s welcome none the less.

Last month, Zoie posted on her Facebook Page that she would be boycotting the Sochi Olympics because of Russia’s anti-LGBT policies. She said her decision was based on the “bigger picture” taking precedence.

It is my unequivocal belief that basic human rights and equality for ALL is paramount. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and queer individuals must be granted these rights and must never be told not to speak of who they are, must never be silenced, ignored, abused, attacked, alienated and treated like second class people. It not okay….
In retrospect, this now seems quite significant.

Now, I know some folks may argue that she was never “in.” But there were still more than enough surprised responses on my Twitter feed to show that what is common knowledge to some is not to everyone. And being out to friends and/or family, but not out publicly is still not all the way out. It just isn’t. So this simple acknowledgement still matters. It matters because every single person – every Ellen DeGeneres, every Jodie Foster, every Maria Bello, every Ellen Page, every Zoie Palmer – who comes out and declares herself means someone, somewhere feels a little less alone. Someone sees she isn’t so terribly different. Someone knows it can get better. It matters, it will always matter. It’s something to be proud of each and every time.

So, yes, squealing is most definitely in order. Also, Zoie darling, we’re going to be holding you personally accountable for the authenticity of all of the lady loving scenes on “Lost Girl” from now on. Just kidding! Mostly! (Not really, we will definitely judge.) With love!

I kid because I’m so incredibly happy and haven’t stopped smiling since last night. Congratulations to Zoie and her beautiful family. We’re proud of you, lady.

p.s. Because I know you’ll Google it anyway, here are Zoie and Alex at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

p.p.s. “Lost Girl” executive producer and all-around fandom balladeer Emily Andras tweeted out a link to an article about Zoie’s Fan Choice Award win from last night which also mentioned her thanking of her partner Alex Lalonde and son, Luca. So let that be the period on the end of the accusations by some folks that I was “prying” or “invading” into Zoie’s private life. I was doing neither, simply reporting what is genuine news. A search of my entire archive of posts, recaps and articles about “Lost Girl” and Zoie Palmer (both here on Dorothy Surrenders and on AfterEllen) will find exactly zero references to Zoie’s personal life or speculation about her sexual orientation before this point. ZERO. But when someone famous make the conscious choice to acknowledge her same-sex relationship publicly, it is equally important that we acknowledge it back. Each person who comes out makes the world a more open, more honest, more welcoming place and that matters. I in no way criticize Zoie for not doing it sooner, everyone is allowed her own time and own space to make these decisions. That is respecting her private life. But now that she has made it public I could not be happier for her and about it. Visibility matters, and that is what we celebrate here today.


T.Nguyen said...

I was beyond happy when I saw the new feeds on my tumblr and twitter. I'm so happy for Zoie that I literally couldn't stop fangirling!!! I'm over the moon!!!

I love Zoie Palmer and I have a newfound respect for her when she publicly came out. She indeed gave me hopes that it will get better...

Jamie said...

Very classy!! Also, love the super proud Anna Silk standing, or should I say beaming, right beside her.

Voo said...

oh happy day!!

Allison said...

Okay, I actually DO follow Zoie on Twitter, and I think I am moderately tapped into the Lost Girl fandom, and this was DEFINITELY news to me! I had no clue! So everyone complaining that she didn't technically "come out" because she was already out, no, just no. It's not the same at all, not win you're famous. Do you and I and other average Joe's ned to make a public Facebook statement, or come out to our mail carriers or every student in every one of our classes? I don't think so. But when you have a reach like Ellen Page, or even the much more modest reach of a celebrity like Zoie Palmer, being out publicly can make a HUGE difference, so I sincerely thank her for it.

And I mean, it's CANADA. It's LOST GIRL. This can only help her career ;)

Anonymous said...

I didn´t have a clue. It ´s complete suprise for me and I follow her on Twitter too!
Great news:-)

Kaz said...

Thx Ms Snarker for a great read. Yes, most of us who read AfterEllen are not suprised she is gay. But it still takes guts to stand up on a stage and acknowledge what many already knew.

Her show is Lost Girl and it claims to have no hangups about sexuality. Her being a gay lady on such a show means it is even more important for her to embrass who she is and not be affraid of letting everyone know just how NORMAL she is.

Love ya Zoie !!

amidola said...

Heya, I don't honestly care whether Ms.Palmer is gay or straight or whatever.I guess it is pretty awesome to be in a place in my life where that really doesn't matter anymore.
I am super grateful to her for bringing Dr.Lauren into our lives. Her nerdy,gorgeous,awkward,awesome self.
To me, what she came out as yesterday was not just as gay or whatever, but as happy. And since I am so super grateful and appreciative of the love and care she puts into the character we love so much, I am genuinely happy for her.
That Fan Choice award was well deserved :-)
That said, the three Ladies totally rocked their little black dresses/gowns last night and it was a total joy to watch Team Doccubus goof off on stage.

egghead said...

Clearly, Zoie Palmer was a bit upset about SOCHI. I read her tweet about it and realized then she was a very serious person politically. I thanked her about that seriousness. But I didn't KNOW SHE WAS GAY!! Surprised! Color me surprised. I am so glad. This takes my breath away. Thanks Zoie.

Heather_D_ said...

Snarker, I totally respect you and your opinion, but I disagree with the way some things here are worded.
In your tweet you said that Zoie was "acknowledging" her family, I know that you're point was that she mentioned them in a very public way, but it almost implies that she hadn't acknowledged them before, which is inaccurate and has a negative connotation.

I know you already mentioned people "arguing that she was never in" but she wasn't. And she wasn't just out to friends and family, she was living her life completely honestly and hiding nothing. She simply kept her family life out of the spotlight. It's not something you had to be a stalker to figure out, you just have to be bored enough to pay attention to her tweets, she also often took Alex to Cons with her.
I'm not trying to imply that I don't agree that this was a HUGE moment and incredible as far as visibility goes. I just want people to understand that the way she was going about her life, just living it without making a big issue, is also valid. She constantly makes comments that she hopes for a world where it doesn't matter who you love, you're a person. She was living in line with her hope for LGBTQ people.
So yes, the "grand gesture" is amazing and I'm so happy it happened, but she wasn't "in" and she didn't come "out"

Mel D said...

I'm so happy Zoie has publicly acknowledged her beautiful partner and son. She took this opportunity to show us how important her chosen family is to her. We loved her before but coming out (even in this subtle way) makes us feel proud and humbled. Thank you Zoie!

Sally said...

What a sweet and authentic way for Zoie Palmer to thank her partner and son in this public forum. Yay! I'm psyched for her, for them and for all of us.

I think it's significant still for celebrities to make public statements like this. Visit Toronto or DC or New York or San Francisco and you might think we're living in a post-gay world. But in non-metropolitan areas, that isn't the case at all.

This is something I noticed on all of the sites that reported on this (your blog, AfterEllen, The Geekiary (which is the article that Emily Andras linked to), and autostraddle). They each contain the sentence that Luca either "is" or "seems to be" Alex's son from a previous relationship. It varies a bit from post to post.

Something about that sentence strikes me weird for a couple of reasons. I guess one thing is that it's not clear to me where that information comes from in terms of source, but whatever. The more important thing is that Zoie called him her son in her speech, so it struck me as odd to mention his origins or to call him "Alex's son" in the next sentence.

While I understand that the implication is that he is Alex's _biological_ son, that detail seems irrelevant to me at this point, and probably is only relevant if Luca's parents want to go into the details with the public.

What do you think?

Stephanie said...

I ask you to consider removing this comment from your post: "Lalonde’s from a previous relationship."

Zoie said thank you to her partner and son. She didn't go into how her family was made, and I don't believe she or Alex have ever publicly discussed it.

I know it's probably not your intention, but the comment implies that Alex is Luca's "real" mother in a way that Zoie is not. As we queer folks know better than most, there are many ways to make a family.

Zoie called Luca her son. Why can't we just leave it at that?

TheWeyrd1 said...

But what did her CAT say??? HEH

Kate said...

First thing: I think it is totally appropriate to mention Ms. Palmer's Speech. She was always out and open in the same way most of us are (out to friends, family and coworkers). It is that extra layer that people in the public spotiight have to deal with. Sometimes in your life, especially when you have a family, it is more important to be a bit cautious, but I am always so happy when a person in the public eye feels able to take that step. Yah!

That said, I totally agree with the comments from Sally and Stephanie regarding her son. Mentioning the son is not a problem, since he was mentioned by Ms. Palmer. If her parents want to say more at some point, they are free to do so. But otherwise, a family is a family. Her son is her son. Why add any more comments to that?

We create our familes in so many ways as Stephanie said.. No need to do more except to cheer Zoie on and wish her and her family well. And I do .

Mel D said...

It's possible @cloverblob might be a little miffed she wasn't included in the thank you speech.

Scamp said...

Still waiting for "I am--single!" Jodie Foster to exit her glass closet.

Ria said...

First and foremost, I am a tried and true, dedicated and blue, unwavering Snarker fan. Seriously, whenever good or bad hits the fan, it is your analysis I want to read. Thanks for all of the great thoughts and fabulous writing.

And I too am bursting with happiness and beaming with pride that Zoie Palmer has so elegantly taken her coming out process to a wider audience.  That's my first point, right there: the coming out is a process, and that most of us will come out not just once but many many times in our lives. In a world where heterosexuality is assumed, every time we meet a new person, every time we move into a new job/circle/neighborhood/country, on any of our various social network sites, we will be choosing whether or not to come out: I'm almost seventy, I've been out for almost 50 years and I'm still coming out.  Palmer is of course a celebrity with a fair amount of fame, so her coming out road will be different than everyday citizen me, but it will still be a repetitive process.  I'm thrilled that someone with so much to lose (ie employment!  public adulation! etc!) and who is such a role model has made an unmistakable public acknowledgement.

So there's point number two. Ms. Snarker wrote:

While she went more the Jodie Foster route than the Ellen Page route of coming out, it’s welcome none the less.

Imo, Palmer came out in her own way, quite different from either Page or Foster.  Palmer came out in the style in which Lost Girl handles queerness of all flavors on the show: matter of factly, keeping calm and moving on with a world where of course girls are gonna love girls. And boys. And fae. And dogs. And any or all.  Kinda like one might come out in that post homophobic world.

Outside of the Lost Girlverse we are not in that world yet, of course. But in the infinite spectrum of ways people might and will come out, it's thrilling to see someone do it as we will be doing it after The Revolution/Evolution, in a land and time where civil rights are secured for all.

The wording "'s welcome none the less" in my ear casts a subtle shade on the way Palmer came out, and I think she did so magnificently.

(Returning to the comparison to Foster's coming out and that more slippery question it raises again- do I wish Foster had come out differently - well that is complicated. I thought she was struggling through some internalized homophobia, but I so appreciated her doing something that was obviously so difficult for her that I merely appreciated that she did it at all.  Casting aspersions on how other people come out is not my most first activity anyway. However! I feel completely free to cast aspersions on her support of Mel Gibson – oh Jodie Jodie Jodie!)

Finally, I second other people's comments about the necessity/desirability of identifying the exact lineage of "my beautiful son Luka"... I don't think any transgression occurs by doing so, but for me it sort of distracts from the simple power of Palmer's implicit statement: "my partner, my son. I get to define who is my partner and I get to define who is my son. Period."

Exactly! Brava! Well done, Ms. Palmer! And in the main done with your typical brilliance and flair, Ms. Snarker!

Kaz said...

Incase anyone missed this ... a fan made this to congratulate Zoie for her award ... and for coming out ... further.

Zoie Palmer HAPPY Dance

Rachelle said...

I had no idea :P

Anonymous said...

What, Ms Snarker?? You've had agressive messages about you supposedly invading Zoie's private life???? Pff, I always say that people are stupid (well, a majority) but each day I'm still surprised about how right I am...I despair about humanity. Don't worry Dorothy, most of us understand there's not any bad feelings in you when it comes to the women you like.
By the way, I convinced myself she was (another) straight actress maintaining the mystery "only" for not deceiving her fans...I'm happy for her. I like the person she seems to be. And I love Anna's reaction on this tweeter picture of Alex. So adorable. Makes me wanna hug her :p

Anonymous said...

Arrrgh, bad english! "twitter picture FROM Alex"...

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