Richard Simmons clarifies transitioning rumors, but he shouldn't have to
For the last week, there have been rumors circulating that Simmons was going to transition from male to female. Although some outlets claimed that they had sources who verified the stories, Simmons has confirmed that they are definitely not true.
The famous fitness instructor wasn’t planning on addressing the rumors, but in light of the Orlando shooting, he felt the need to confront them. He said, “Some tabloids have recently falsely reported that I am transitioning. In response, I feel compelled to set the record straight and refute these lies. Although I am not transitioning, I have and always will be supportive of those who are going through their journey.”
He went on to say that his life shouldn’t be the center of attention right now and instead, he said, “We should not lose focus on showing love, strength and compassion to all of the LGBT community during these tragic times. My broken heart and healing thoughts are with the people of Orlando and all other victims of prejudice, bigotry and hate.”
While it’s definitely true that we all need to focus on continually showing compassion and love toward each other, there is a bigger lesson to learn here — there is no situation in which people should out anyone. Coming out as gay, bisexual, trans or anything else is a deeply personal decision that takes a lot of time and courage to do. Pushing any person into coming out before they’ve prepared themselves is not only thoughtless, but it could be fatal in some situations.
Whether or not Simmons ever considered transitioning is no one’s business but his. He doesn’t owe us any answers. If anything, the people who reported the story owe him an apology for prying into private details they definitely shouldn’t have.
There’s a difference between breaking news and irresponsibly exposing someone’s private life. And when it comes to outting someone, it is always, always irresponsibly exposing someone’s private life.