Beccy Cole, OAM is a queer woman — and proud to call herself out publicly — but that wasn’t always the case.
Having been in the public eye since winning the Star Maker competition at the Tamworth Country Music festival in 1993, it wasn’t until 1999 that she came to terms with her own sexuality.
“I didn’t know it was there for me to explore on my own,” Cole said, after realizing she was gay while watching two women kiss on the TV series Playing the Field.
“It was the most beautiful kiss,” she said. “I will never forget it. I still dream of having a kiss like that.”
The singer-songwriter and host of ABC Radio’s Saturday Night Country didn’t come out publicly until 2012.
Over that 13-year span, Cole has met “enough people” within the country music industry, including members of the media.
“I never felt like people would talk about it before me,” Cole said.
“But it almost happened once, and it was a Sydney newspaper and I said, ‘Could you please not?’ and they didn’t.
“But it almost happened.”
Cole was scared as a result because this was before she was ready to speak publicly about her sexuality.
“People say, ‘Oh, you know, you don’t have to go out these days,'” Cole said.
“I think coming out will always be relevant.
Apologies, but what if she wasn’t ready?
She praises actor Rebel Wilson for ‘watching’ the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age gossip columnist Andrew Hornery revealing his relationship with Los Angeles designer Ramona Agruma on social media ahead of his story.
“I think it’s good for her,” Cole said.
“She’s done really well… if you can’t do it on your terms, then I think that’s fine for her.
“I think a journalist gets grumpy because they haven’t jumped into someone’s real private life, I think that’s laughable and just plain wrong.
“But I think there are regrets there.”
Hornery has since apologized for the tone of his Saturday newspaper article, and the article has been removed from the website.
He also regretted his handling of the case.
“As a gay man, I know how much discrimination hurts,” Hornery wrote afterwards.
“The last thing I want to do is inflict this pain on someone else.”
Its editor, Bevan Shields, backed the apology, writing that “the inclusion of a two-day deadline was a mistake as it appeared to be an ultimatum or an attempt to pressure Wilson into making an announcement herself. -either or via the Herald”.
Cole said no one’s hand should ever be forced.
“But did she have that choice? It doesn’t seem like that.
“We’re not all ready to jump on the couch like Tom Cruise [did when announcing his then-new relationship with Katie Holmes].”
You’re also dating someone’s partner
Actress Magda Szubanski came out on live television in 2012 at a time when Australia was debating same-sex marriage.
She spoke to Patricia Karvelas on RN Breakfast this week.
“When you’re dating someone, you’re also dating their partner,” Szubanski said.
“So there’s a wider impact than just the idea of it being Rebel.
“The idea that you have that kind of a sense of entitlement to anybody’s privacy, whether they’re straight or gay, is a problem.”
She said while it’s safe for some people to go out, for others it’s not.
“I know, for me, once I came out it was like, ‘OK, now I’m a publicly gay person, it’s going to be a different experience for me to go to certain countries, potentially’.”
The ABC approached Hornery for comment, however, he declined. Comments were also sought from Wilson, but no response was received before publication.
Job , updated