Casey Johnson's Ex Turns Relationship Drama Into Pop Culture News

Watching this E! News interview with socialite Courtenay Semel—talking about her relationship with the late Casey Johnson—makes me wonder whether media portrayals of romances between gay women are moving beyond appealing to the male gaze.

The fact that an on-again-off-again relationship between two marginally famous women (Semel is the daughter of former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel, while Johnson was an heir to Johnson & Johnson) has been such a point of interest among Americans is encouraging, and interesting. Their sex lives seem beside the point: in fact, it's their relationship dramas, emotions, arguments, breakups and makeups - their interior lives - that are taking center stage.


In the interview, Semel talks about her regrets, her love, and her grief over Johnson's death, which humanizes the late socialite and underscores the authenticity of her sexual orientation and her feelings toward women a hell of a lot more than the publicity machine of Tila Tequila's tear-streaked cleavage and scratch-off lottery tickets ever could. Additionally, Semel's interview may demonstrate that we've finally moved beyond "Yep I'm gay" type celebrity coverage, that the love lives and scandals of famous gay people have crossed over into the mainstream, making them fodder for tabloid consumption right alongside those of heterosexuals. ("Lesbians: Just like us"?) Maybe it's not "progress", per se, but it's something.

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It seems to me that there is a strange standard going on. It seems like the public- both men and women - are more open to accepting lesbian couples than gay men. For example - my last boss considered himself an "open-minded conservative", whatever the hell that means. He believed that gay men and women should be allowed to marry and have the same civil rights as everyone else. However, whenever he saw any display of affection between 2 men he would always, as if on cue, say "that's gross!". My dad reacts the same way, and he also has no opposition to gay rights. And he lived in NYC and worked in fashion for 40 years!! My theory (and this is strictly for laughs folks so don't get too excited), and my wife backs me up on this, is that we men are hairy and smelly and while some men can have beautiful bodies, the genitalia looks like a cosmic mistake. Therefore, two men is twice the ugly. You don't ever hear a lot of women going on about how hot male-on-male sex is the way you hear men talk about girl-on-girl.