Sapphic Salon: The Death of An Heiress, The Milking of the Press
If you weren't aware of Casey Johnson while she was alive, you've most likely heard of her posthumously this week. The heiress to the Johnson & Johnson company passed away over the weekend, allegedly due to diabetes-related complications. She was 30-years-old, a mother of her adopted 3-year-old, Ava, and an out lesbian.
Unfortunately, her death has given rise to a very public and heated battle which makes rich people and lesbians alike look very sad and selfish and the media is eating it up. Casey was engaged, recently, to reality television star Tila Tequila. They courted each other only a short time before becoming engaged, as they both came from fresh break-ups, sharing the same ex-girlfriend, Yahoo! heiress Courtenay Semel.
Casey was in the spotlight as a socialite, with famous friends like the Hilton sisters, Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson. She never hid her sexuality, and it never seemed to be an issue publicly with her family or loved ones. Her image, however, becomes increasingly tarnished with the current fights over who loved her, who supported her, who didn't, and who should now take ownership of her beloved dogs.
Tila is more worried about her own image at this time, Tweeting non-stop and asking for the public not to blame her for the death, but to instead celebrate her relationship with the deceased. Casey's family was shocked by her engagement to Tila, and have no interest in maintaining a relationship with her.
Also on Twitter, one of Casey's ex's Jasmine Lennard flinging insults at Tila and begging Nicky Hilton to retrieve Casey's dogs from her. It's a public mess of something private that we have been subjected to this week, and mostly it just makes me incredibly sad.
In the bigger picture, Tila's bizarre videos, Tweeting and press statements about her beloved "wifey" and missing her seem like an attempt at publicity, which, just like her show A Shot at Love make her sexuality seem like a farse and something she utilizes for attention.
To someone who doesn't know any real-life gay women, this isn't the positive visibility we can hope for: Fiancees fighting with their parents and friends, living in rat infested houses, unable to take care of themselves and perishing because of it.
Just like the paparazzi following Lindsay and Sam's torrid relationship, it's an insane blitz of she-said, she-said, with anyone whose willing to come out of the woodwork as a "source" to be used as proof. It's extremely sad that someone's death is treated in the same way, and that the idea of female relationships will continue to be seen as catty and mythical, surrounded by drama and lack of family support.
These aren't our stories — the ones we want reported and talked and Tweeted about, but somehow, nothing else is as sexy enough as the death of a rich blonde and the story of her feuding wife-to-be. The best thing that anyone in Casey's life could have done is kept their matters private, and let her rest in peace, without the world now having an ill-advised opinion of someone they'd never known before.
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