Matt Dallas And Blue Hamilton Engaged: Is Coming Out As Gay Shocking Anymore?

Matt Dallas and Blue Hamilton are engaged, as Dallas announced Monday in the form of a 110-character tweet that ended years of speculation about his sexuality.

Dallas, 26, once the star of ABC Family’s “Kyle XY,” decided to ring in the New Year in style by announcing that he is putting a ring on the finger of Hamilton, a musician on the label Trending Records.

The news came via the following short dispatch early Monday morning on Dallas’ Twitter account:

“Starting off the year with a new fiancé,@bluehamilton. A great way to kick off 2013!pic.twitter.com/FQ9y4tHe

The tweet not only revealed that the duo are getting married, it also confirmed that Dallas is gay, something that has long been rumored but that he had not previously addressed in public.

But coming on the heels of a succession of celebrities coming out of the closet in recent years without much incident, is it even a shock anymore to see such an announcement made in such a casual way?

The reaction across the Internet is almost universally one of happiness for the couple – though some fans of all genders are surely heartbroken to hear Dallas and Hamilton are off the market – and though the engagement is big news for them, it appears that the shock and even outrage, in some quarters, once expressed over celebs coming out is on the wane.

Though it’s great to see a largely positive reaction to news of a celebrity announcing that he is gay, it’s difficult to determine how much of the understanding is a factor of the increasing acceptance of homosexuality in America, or if it’s more of a function of the fact that Dallas has long been linked to gay rumors.

In 2009, for instance, PerezHilton.com reported that Dallas was romantically linked to actor Jonathan Bennett of “Mean Girls” fame, though that relationship reportedly died off later that year.

And in September 2009, JustJared.com reported that Dallas and Hamilton were seen eating together in West Hollywood.

Either way, it’s refreshing to see widespread acceptance, and even healthy indifference, to a coming-out announcement as high-profile as this.

The highest-profile coming-out by a long shot in the past couple of years has been that of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, whose homosexuality was long a never-denied open secret. He finally  publicly confirmed it in July.

Cooper also announced that he was gay in an understated way, by simply sending an email saying so to gay blogger and author Andrew Sullivan.

"The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud," wrote Cooper, who has been linked to New York bar owner Benjamin Maisani, according to the Huffington Post.

And Matt Bomer, an actor best known for his parts in USA Network’s “White Collar” and the film “Magic Mike,” came out while he accepted a New Generation Arts and Activism Award in February, the New York Daily News reported at the time.

He did so simply by acknowledging his relationship with his partner Simon Halls during his acceptance speech.

And actor Zachary Quinto, best known for playing Spock in “Star Trek,” chose to come out in an October 2011 New York magazine article.

An editor at the Huffington Post who covers such issues said recently that it appears that coming out is no longer a major shock for many in showbiz, pointing to the ease with which many high-profile artists have done so in recent years.

But that doesn’t mean there is no such thing as being in the closet, despite the many advances in gay rights in recent years, including those attained during the 2012 election, when three states legalized gay marriage by popular referendum and a fourth declined to outlaw it in its constitution.

"Gone are the days of the 'Yep, I'm Gay' magazine covers" -- a reference to Ellen Degeneres on the cover of Time -- HuffPost Gay Voices Editor-at-Large and SiriusXM host Michelangelo Signorile said, according to the Huffington Post. "With celebrities making a spectacle of coming out, and thus focusing on the fact that they were in the humiliating and painful gay closet. ... the closet isn't going away any time soon. But one step toward dismantling it among public figures it to make it a difficult and embarrassing place to be. From the looks of the latest celebrity self-outings, that's perhaps starting to take hold."

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