Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Clay Aiken will make a big announcement in People Magazine Wed.

American Idol singer Clay Aiken (age 29) will say that he is gay in an interview to be published online around 4 AM PDT on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008 by People Magazine. Perhaps this story will take people's minds off of Wall Street, the stock market and bailouts.

Reuters is carrying the story (and it is very slow to load this evening!) here. The New York Daily News "gossip" is also carrying it (link) in a brief by Patrick Hugeunin.

However, Aiken has fathered a child by Jaymes Foster, who apparently was a surrogate mother. One could say, he has answered one moral question (by taking the "risk" of fatherhood) and created another (people who follow the gay marriage debate know that that is).

Aiken rocketed to fame by finishing second alongside Studdard on "American Idol" in 2003. He often sung outside in New York City on Good Morning America and could raise the roof with his songs. Some of them have interesting or perhaps ironic titles, like “Measure of a Man.”

He was raised apparently in a southern Baptist culture in North Carolina, and had he not won, he might have become a special education teacher. He did a lot of volunteer work with autistic children, and his book “Learning to Sing” discusses many sensitive points. On one substitute teaching assignment, I brought his book into the teacher's break room, and one teacher (reading the Book of Mormon) strenuously objected.

Wikipedia gives a lot of details about his charity work.

Aiken has always refused to discuss his private life until now. Recently, the usually lean and geeky star has looked a bit bloated, by his own admission, from anti-depression medications. Perhaps the public statement will relieve his mind and be good for his own health and energy.

In practice, it is rather common for younger celebrities (even when straight) to appear in “gay” establishments without attracting any particular notice, especially those that cater to supposedly “mixed” crowds (the “Gay Nineties” in Minneapolis has had that reputation).

Update: Sept. 24

The People story is online now. The title is "Clay Aiken: I'm a Gay Dad", by David Calpan, posted precisely at 7 AM EDT. The link is here. He says something like, "I cannot raise a child to lie or hide things." Do tell.

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