The nonchalant age of sexual otherness continues! Oscar-winning actress and otherworldly human goddess Cate Blanchett is the latest public figure to declare herself not totally straight on a Kinsey scale without defining where she falls exactly. In a cover story for Variety magazine with Cate about her same-sex period love story “Carol” she said this:
When asked if this is her first turn as a lesbian, Blanchett curls her lips into a smile. “On film — or in real life?” she asks coyly. Pressed for details about whether she’s had past relationships with women, she responds: “Yes. Many times,” but doesn’t elaborate. Like Carol, who never “comes out” as a lesbian, Blanchett doesn’t necessarily rely on labels for sexual orientation. “I never thought about it,” she says of how she envisioned the character. “I don’t think Carol thought about it.” The actress studied the era by picking up banned erotic novels. “I read a lot of girl-on-girl books from the period,” she says.And then later, about her title character:
“Her sexuality isn’t politicized,” Blanchett says. “I think there are a lot of people that exist like that who don’t feel the need to shout things from the rafters.”
So there you have it. A movie about a lesbian love affair between a young woman and an older, married woman set in the 1950’s has come to help define our current cultural climate about coming out. It’s less a political statement and more of a simple statement of personal fact. While I still think the act of coming out is an incredibly important and often political act, it is first and foremost a personal decision. So this trend of casual coming out or, at very least, an extended definition of one’s sexuality is very interesting.
As much as we all agree we all hate labels (they’re for cans, and so on), it does make things more complicated for those of us who write about these things professionally. We can’t call her lesbian, obviously, because she is married to her husband Andrew Upton since 1997. I’d hesitate to call her bisexual, because she’s made no such definition herself. Queer? Maybe. Someone who has spent some serious time under the big umbrella of sexual otherness? Probably. A damn cool lady who has “many times” had relationships with women? Definitely.
So, like I was saying, how very interesting.