Monday, January 14, 2013

Did Jodie Foster Come Out? Yes: Here's the Complete Transcript of Jodie Foster's Coming Out Speech, Accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement in Television and Motion Pictures at The 70th Golden Globes, January 13, 2013


Revised on 16 Jan. 2013.

There's much more to be said about this whole matter. Lenses interrogating white supremacy, male supremacy, Western culture, the systematic eradication of lesbian existence, white queer politics, and feminism can all focus different points of attention on this event. I was quite disturbed to see Mel Gibson's face so front and center at this year's Golden Globe awards. I consider his expressed values and abusive and oppressive behavior (virulently anti-woman, homophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic) to be antithetical to progressive social change. But for right now, I'm narrowing the lens considerably to focus on who Jodie was to me in my early and later life.

Jodie and I are the same age and I grew up watching her on television and in movies, including lying atop my aunt and uncle's station wagon with my cousins while seeing her in Napoleon and Samantha at a Drive-In, with my parents watching Tom Sawyer on the big screen (indoors), on the small screen on The Partridge Family and Paper Moon, and in ABC Afterschool Specials, and in movies from The Little Girl Who Lived Down The Lane to The Hotel New Hampshire, to her especially fine and feminist work in The Accused and Silence of the Lambs, to Sommersby and Maverick, to two of my favorites in which I also thought she was brilliant: Nell and Contact. I also saw her in Taxi Driver, but not when it came out as it was rated R and I was underage, as was she.

I've watched her grow up and wondered early on about her sexuality. Among my lesbian and gay friends in my adult life, it was kind of known she was a lesbian. Not known the way I might now my best friend was lesbian or gay, but just known, the way it is known that Meryl Streep is heterosexual, but with the added secrecy about the actual orientation that straight folks don't need because they believe being straight is normal and natural. Being lesbian and gay is just as normal and just as natural--if any sexual or affectional orientation and ways of naming oneself can be said to be natural; it's just less prevalent and is, too often, socially despised.

So it was very cool for me to finally hear her come out beyond acknowledging a female partner as she did in 2007. I probably would have thought the speech was cooler if she did so while using the word Lesbian to describe herself. But it surprised me to read online that some people doubt she came out at all! Below is a transcript of her speech from 13 January 2013 as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hilton in California.

I think after reading this and re-watching the speech, there will be little doubt about whether she did or did not come out as lesbian. Here is the complete unedited speech in which she addressed several matters in addition to coming out, such as her love for her ex-partner, her sons, the future of her career (she's not retiring, by the way), and her, perhaps most poignantly of all, the expression of her abiding love for her mother at this time of her mother's dementia. Source for the transcript is *here*.
Well, for all of you SNL fans, I'm 50! I'm 50! You know, I need to do that without this dress on, but you know, maybe later at Trader Vic's, boys and girls. What do you say? I'm 50! You know, I was going to bring my walker tonight but it just didn't go with the cleavage.
Robert [Downey Jr], I want to thank you for everything: for your bat-crazed, rapid-fire brain, the sweet intro. I love you and Susan and I am so grateful that you continually talk me off the ledge when I go on and foam at the mouth and say, "I'm done with acting, I'm done with acting, I'm really done, I'm done, I'm done."
Trust me, 47 years in the film business is a long time. You just ask those Golden Globies, because you crazy kids, you've been around here forever. You know, Phil you're a nut, Aida, Scott — thank you for honouring me tonight. It is the most fun party of the year, and tonight I feel like the prom queen.
Thank you. Looking at all those clips, you know, the hairdos and the freaky platform shoes, it's like a home-movie nightmare that just won't end, and all of these people sitting here at these tables, they're my family of sorts, you know. Fathers mostly. Executives, producers, the directors, my fellow actors out there, we've giggled through love scenes, we've punched and cried and spit and vomited and blown snot all over one another — and those are just the costars I liked. But you know more than anyone else I share my most special memories with members of the crew. Blood-shaking friendships, brothers and sisters. We made movies together, and you can't get more intimate than that.
So while I'm here being all confessional, I guess I have a sudden urge to say something that I've never really been able to air in public. So, a declaration that I'm a little nervous about but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now, huh Jennifer? But I'm just going to put it out there, right? Loud and proud, right? So I'm going to need your support on this.
I am single. Yes I am, I am single. No, I'm kidding — but I mean I'm not really kidding, but I'm kind of kidding. I mean, thank you for the enthusiasm. Can I get a wolf whistle or something? Jesus. Seriously, I hope you're not disappointed that there won't be a big coming-out speech tonight because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now I'm told, apparently that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show.
You know, you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child. No, I'm sorry, that's just not me. It never was and it never will be. Please don't cry because my reality show would be so boring. I would have to make out with Marion Cotillard or I'd have to spank Daniel Craig's bottom just to stay on the air. It's not bad work if you can get it, though.
But seriously, if you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you'd had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you too might value privacy above all else. Privacy. Some day, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was.
I have given everything up there from the time that I was three years old. That's reality-show enough, don't you think?
There are a few secrets to keeping your psyche intact over such a long career. The first, love people and stay beside them. That table over there, 222, way out in Idaho, Paris, Stockholm, that one, next to the bathroom with all the unfamous faces, the very same faces for all these years. My acting agent, Joe Funicello — Joe, do you believe it, 38 years we've been working together? Even though he doesn't count the first eight.
Matt Saver, Pat Kingsley, Jennifer Allen, Grant Niman and his uncle Jerry Borack, may he rest in peace. Lifers. My family and friends here tonight and at home, and of course, Mel Gibson. You know you save me too.
There is no way I could ever stand here without acknowledging one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life, my confessor, ski buddy, consigliere, most beloved BFF of 20 years, Cydney Bernard. Thank you, Cyd. I am so proud of our modern family. Our amazing sons, Charlie and Kit, who are my reason to breathe and to evolve, my blood and soul. And boys, in case you didn't know it, this song, all of this, this song is for you.
This brings me to the greatest influence of my life, my amazing mother, Evelyn. Mom, I know you're inside those blue eyes somewhere and that there are so many things that you won't understand tonight. But this is the only important one to take in: I love you, I love you, I love you. And I hope that if I say this three times, it will magically and perfectly enter into your soul, fill you with grace and the joy of knowing that you did good in this life. You're a great mom. Please take that with you when you're finally OK to go.
You see, Charlie and Kit, sometimes your mom loses it too. I can't help but get moony, you know. This feels like the end of one era and the beginning of something else. Scary and exciting and now what? Well, I may never be up on this stage again, on any stage for that matter. Change, you gotta love it. I will continue to tell stories, to move people by being moved, the greatest job in the world. It's just that from now on, I may be holding a different talking stick. And maybe it won't be as sparkly, maybe it won't open on 3,000 screens, maybe it will be so quiet and delicate that only dogs can hear it whistle. But it will be my writing on the wall. Jodie Foster was here, I still am, and I want to be seen, to be understood deeply and to be not so very lonely.
Thank you, all of you, for the company. Here's to the next 50 years.
Thank you, Jodie, for 47 years of quality work in the entertainment industry. I hope in the next fifty, you get the life you most desire.

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