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What's more, not coming out continues to feed the lie that there is something shameful about being gay. By not coming out -- or remaining in that gray area where people know you're gay but you won't say the words -- you are, as Ellen Page put it earlier this year in her stunning coming out speech, lying by omission.By not saying you're gay, you're letting others believe you are straight, because straight is still the default -- and preferred and privileged -- orientation in our society. I'm so tired of people blabbering on about how we need to respect people's privacy. My being gay is a part of who I am -- just like I'm 5'8" and left handed and allergic to morphine.



(He was even voted “Hottest Gay Celebrity” by users of Hot or Not.) But since Bennett’s never discussed his sexuality publicly, or alluded to a boyfriend on social media, we didn’t make any fuss about it. “He tweeted at me last year and said I had a nice butt…And I thought, ’Oh he’s hitting on me—I should try to go on a date with him! But when Mario Lopez asked what happened after that, she responds “He’s gay—so I was like ’That’s not gonna work!But if someone never says it himself -- and even his publicist declines to comment on whether or not he is or if he's out of the closet -- is he really?After we ran a story about Hough's gaffe, I was inundated with responses (both from Gay Voices readers and my own friends and acquaintances) that mostly fell into two categories: 1. people questioning why it mattered if he publicly came out and asking why we couldn't just let him live his life. You can be out to yourself, you can be out to your family, you can be out to your friends, you can be out at work, you can be out publicly and you can be out in some combination of all of the above.Here's why: Coming out is a radical act capable of upending deep-seated assumptions about who someone is and challenging our fundamental beliefs about what that ultimately means for how we understand and treat them.

In a world where you can still go to prison for being queer and hate crimes are still happening, it's a powerful weapon that disarms people and changes minds.

And sexuality certainly isn't a private matter for straight people, is it?