Belfast Telegraph

Why being gay isn’t just another fashion accessory

By Jane Graham

Isn’t it odd that while official estimates state that around only 7% of the UK population are gay, almost every second female celebrity seems to ‘go lesbian’ at some point?

High profile women increasingly seem to spend their time publicly ‘acknowledging’ their inner lesbian — even occasionally, if times are tough, bringing her out to play.

We all remember Madonna’s flirtations with her gay alter ago in the late Eighties when she was trying to flog copies of her ‘explosive’ photograph book Sex. She encouraged rumours that she was having an affair with bisexual actress Sandra Bernhard (rumours later exposed by Bernhard as baseless), and regularly posed in raunchy pictures with other women apparently trying to ‘corrupt’ her.

And where Madonna leads, swathes of stars with less ingenuity will always follow — the Grand Dame herself sexed up both Britney and Christina’s careers with a very public smooch at the MTV Awards.

Now we can hardly move without another lash-fluttering lady confessing her lesbian urges and posing for demonstrative photos just in case we weren’t creative enough to imagine where she might put her legs if said urges were to be fulfilled.

So we’ve had Courtney Love reminiscing about her ‘fun’ fling with Kate Moss, topping off a very gay year in which we’ve heard Lily Allen talking about her girly threesomes, Megan Fox declaring her lust for Angelina Jolie (which, bearing in mind their lookalikeness, is just lollipop Fox telling us she’d happily lick herself), Lindsay Lohan switching her allegiance from boys to girls, Katy Perry singing about the pleasures of kissing girls and Lady Gaga ‘admitting’ that her monster hit Poker Face is about the methods she deploys to cover up the fact that while she’s in bed with a man, she’s fantasising about a woman.

Funny how male celebs don’t generally go the same way — I can’t quite imagine Robert Pattinson/Paulo Nutini/Wayne Rooney posing in a tiny leather jock strap while another man nuzzles into his ear on the cover of a magazine.

Of course it may just be that women are more liberated thinkers, and less threatened by their own bisexual fantasy life.

However, when it comes to celebrity lesbian photo-shoots, staged gay kisses and brave ‘confessions’ of a girl-on-girl nature, I must sadly, and cynically, conclude there is but one motivational factor — men like them.

There is no audience as captive as a heterosexual man faced with the proposition of an attractive woman who is straight enough to want to have sex with him, but likely to be nursing a desire for a third female party at the same time. And such a man is as likely to open his wallet to encourage that idea as he is unlikely to close his eyes.

So basically, whether you’re selling an album, a new film or an autobiography, the lesbian avenue is the fastest, easiest, least imaginative route to ker-ching city.

How real lesbian women feel about this I’m not sure. Some might argue that it must be nice to represent the pinnacle of male fantasy — but, of course, real lesbians don’t give a fig about arousing men.

If I were a lesbian, I think I might be unimpressed by the notion that my sexual orientation is something to be used to hook in men, and then discarded.

But hey, who cares what real gay and lesbian people think; after all, they’re only 7% of the market.

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