Closet Cases In The News: Charlie Crist and John Travolta | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

June 10, 2012

Closet Cases In The News: Charlie Crist and John Travolta

Republican and Democratic operatives have been speculating and whispering for years about former Florida governor Charlie Crist, and his sexual orientation. When Jim Greer, the former state chair of the Florida GOP,  goes on trial next month for organized fraud, theft, and money laundering, he is promising that intimate details of Crist’s personal “love” life will be revealed.

In a voice mail message that Greer left for Crist in June of 2011, he hinted that evidence related to Crist and Greer’s legal case would be hurtful to the former governor and his wife.

"Hey governor, it's Jim,'' the June 2011 voice message from Greer began. "I'm sure you know our friendship has ended, is over, and I'm just very saddened by that. But I wanted you to know personally from me that in the future there's probably going to be things coming out that are going to be very hurtful to both you and Carole (Crist's wife). But I'll be honest with you, I don't care anymore because I did everything that I could for you. I paid every bill you and Carole ever gave me. I defended every decision you ever made. I almost got in a fist fight the times when people said personal, terrible things about you."
That phone message sounds more like a spurned lover than a business associate. Why would Greer leave that message for Crist if their “friendship” was over? There is more to this story than meets the eye. Crist will be called as a witness during Greer’s trial.

John Travolta is apparently distraught over his former assistant granting an interview with the National Enquirer. Joan Edwards worked for Travolta from 1978 to 1994, and she confirmed to the tabloid that Travolta is gay.

“I did everything for him, including taking care of his personal and professional schedules,” Edwards is quoted as telling the supermarket tabloid. “Of course I knew he was gay. It never bothered me.”

Edwards goes on to recount details about Travolta’s life, including an alleged six-year affair in the 1980s with the actor’s personal pilot, Doug Gotterba. While Gotterba has never done more than confirm he was a Travolta employee, the pilot’s later lover, Robert Britz, did blab to the Enquirer about the purported affair.

If Charlie Crist, 56, and John Travolta, 58, are bisexual or gay, at the end of the day it isn’t that big of a deal. Some voters and campaign donors might be angry at Crist, particularly GOP extremists who are anti-gay, but how can you fault a guy for wanting to keep his private life just that - private.

There will be people who are upset with Travolta, and I challenge anyone to demonstrate that one of his roles would be played differently, because of his sexual orientation. The guy is an experienced actor, and I would argue that he is so consistent that you would get the same performance on-screen regardless.

Remember that Crist and Travolta grew up at a time when being bisexual or gay was kept secret, because it was political or professional suicide otherwise. If you were gay and had any political ambitions, you had to suppress being gay, and you had a wood paneled Buick in the drive, 2.4 children, an Irish setter, and a telegenic wife. 

I don’t have a problem with Crist playing the cat and mouse game about his sexuality, but Crist campaigned hard against marriage equality, and he also supported the Florida ban on same-sex couples adopting children.  That I have a problem with.

Was Crist’s inner turmoil and self loathing so great, that he had to work overtime to deny LGBT people their rights? That would be a travesty of epic proportions, and I hope that’s not the case at all.

Travolta was a mega-star in the 1970’s due to the hit films Saturday Night Fever and Grease. If Travolta was openly gay he would have never been cast in those iconic roles. You can’t speculate that he wouldn’t have been successful as an “out” actor, because there are so few “out” actors in Hollywood. Who really knows?

As people keep coming out of the woodwork saying that Travolta is gay, chances are good that it’s true. In spite of that, we could probably agree that under normal circumstances it’s none of our business. Travolta brought this speculation on himself when he made some pretty big mistakes in fulfilling his sexual needs, which has come back to haunt him (and us).  I don’t care to recount them here.

I have empathy for both of these guys, as well as pity. I can't begin to imagine the inner struggles they have, the lies, covering their tracks. It's got to be hell to be them 24/7.

The hardest thing for me to square about these 2 closet cases, and the only problem I have, is the message they are sending out to the world by remaining in the closet. They are inferring that something is wrong with being gay. They consciously choose to remain in the closet, and that’s not honest and authentic, and that’s not the message we need to be showing or sending to LGBTQ teenagers today.

Young people need every positive and good LGBT role model we can find. We need to affirm that you can find love, and have a very successful career when you get a good education, and you work hard toward your goals, whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender - or not.

You can be elected to public office if you are LGBTQ, and you can have a very successful show business career if you are LGBTQ.

There are so many people across the country who are transgender and straight, bisexual and gay, single and married, divorced and domestic partners, who are coming together to advocate for LGBTQ civil rights and fight for equality. These two closet cases could help make a positive difference, and join their community to fight for what is right.

You can like them, or not, though you have to admit with them as members of the tribe, the fight would be stronger with both of them on our side.

straight talk in a queer world.           

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