Spacey’s assault allegations affect LGBT community

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Spacey’s assault allegations affect LGBT community

Spacey’s Instagram post explaining his assault and his coming out.

Spacey’s Instagram post explaining his assault and his coming out.

Spacey’s Instagram.

Spacey’s Instagram post explaining his assault and his coming out.

Spacey’s Instagram.

Spacey’s Instagram.

Spacey’s Instagram post explaining his assault and his coming out.

Actor Kevin Spacey, known for his work in classics like American Beauty and House of Cards, was accused by actor Anthony Rapp in late October of a sexual assault from 1986, when Rapp was 14. Rapp coming forward demonstrates a time where victims of assault are no longer afraid to speak out the names of their abusers to receive the justice they deserve. Spacey responded to the allegations in a controversial way, disrupting the justice and causing trouble of his own.
Instead of directly responding to the accusation, Spacey chose to come out as gay as a method to excuse his actions. Spacey tweeted an explanation, saying he doesn’t remember the moment Rapp described, but if it did happen, “I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” Spacey then proceeded to announce that he now will choose to “live as a gay man.” This controversial statement drew an outcry from the LGBTQ community, who viewed it as an attempt to distract from the accusation.
Spacey’s coming out has brought to the surface past mistreatment linking the LGBTQ community and sexual assault, violating many of the values of the LGBTQ community. Pedophilia has long been equated with queer sexuality, and was once used to keep gay people from having jobs where interaction with children would deem necessary. For much of LGBTQ history, members of the community have been seen as sexual deviants and predators, with children presented as the target of choice. The conflation of pedophilia and homosexuality is feared to be yet another bashing of the LGBTQ community.
Spacey’s decision to come out in the wake of assault allegations only encourages harmful stereotypes about queer people. The LGBTQ community’s greatest dread is that Spacey’s case might revive the gay pedophilia stereotype.