The Out List
The Out List (2013) is a documentary that features interviews with LGBTQ celebrities as they discuss their experiences being LGBTQ. Three of those interviews are analyzed below.
Neil Patrick Harris: television and stage actor, writer, and producer
In this clip, Neil Patrick Harris states that visibility is important for “general, normal, mainstream, middle America” because these people don’t “get out and witness a lot of diversity.” In making such claims, he locates culture and diversity in the coastal metropolises and reproduces “middle America” as both backwards and homogenous. For Neil Patrick Harris, either there are no LGBTQ people in “middle America” or if they are there, they must not be visible as such. Mirroring the metronormativity of LGBTQ rights activist groups, Harris ascribes value to visibility and assumes that visibility means something similar across geographic places. Here, “middle America” is dependent upon the visibility of LGBTQ people elsewhere in order to advance in the same way urban places supposedly have. This thinking dangerously ignores the nuances of place and erases those whose sexual identities and expressions of outness differ from those of urban LGBTQ people.