He seems to have told an interviewer in 1999 that he had a “wife,” and even for the latest, more open talk with the Advocate Chuck declined to allow his partner to be either interviewed or named. We doubt that revealing his gayness is going to matter much to his current fans (this is a fiction writer we’re talking about, not Will Smith), and that’s probably why he’s choosing to be more open now. But there is this weird bit at the end of the Advocate piece where he freaks out and refuses to cooperate with a photo shoot, similar to how he freaked out on an Entertainment Weekly reporter in 2003, after giving a fairly open interview, and personal details about the existence of his gay husband were retracted from the piece prior to publication.
The man’s never shied away from gay-ish content in his work, though, and a savvy fan might have noticed the following clues:
Clue #1. Fight Club
It’s a book about men living together in a weird cult, getting half-naked and fighting each other for pleasure and to feel more alive. In the novel, and in the movie, Edward Norton’s character is obsessed with Tyler Durden, portrayed by Brad Pitt, and spends a good deal of time obsessing over Tyler’s sexual prowess. The fact they turn out to be the same person is beside the point. Besides being narcissistic and psycho, it’s also wicked gay.
Clue #2. Invisible Monsters
This is a novel about a klepto pre-op tranny and is written from POV of her busted up model pal. The second chapter of the book begins: “What happens here will have more of that fashion magazine feel, a
Vogue or Glamour magazine chaos with page numbers on every second or
fifth or third page. Perfume cards falling out, and full-page naked
women coming out of nowhere to sell you make-up.” As Palahniuk said in a 1999 interview: “My editor said that Fight Club is hyper-macho and Invisible Monsters is hyper-camp.”
Clue #3. The Guide to Portland He Wrote, Fugitives and Refugees
In it he points out several gay sex clubs.
Clue #4. His Website Talks About His “Long-term Committed Relationship”
It says that he is not married, but that he has been “in a long-term committed relationship for over a decade.” Not that this should necessarily be a red flag.
Clue #5. His Freakout Blog Post in 2003 in Reaction to EW Attempting to Out Him.
You would have had to be a die-hard fan to catch it, because he later took the post down. He seemed more pissed about the reporter’s heavy concentration on the subject of his sexuality in the piece than the gay revelation itself, saying, “Of all the things
we’d talked about, now it boiled down to, Where
do you put your dick? I felt so pissed that I
couldn’t be a human being, that the only thing
interesting about me was this one aspect of my
He seems to have freaked out on the Advocate interviewer apparently out of surprise, or a sense of betrayal, that a writer for a fucking gay magazine might be interested in the gay angle. We empathize with the guy about not wanting to be labeled a “gay writer” and to have readers expect him to cover and re-cover that territory in his work, but the extended closet stay feels a little 20th Century to us. C’mon Chuck, it’s gonna be okay. Nobody’s on a gay witch hunt. Chill out.
Open Book: Chuck Palahniuk (The Advocate)
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