There have been numerous speculations and rumors on whether a celebrity is gay and that is certainly true about That’s So Raven and The Cosby Show star Raven Symone. Many just presumed the actress was dating America’s Next Top Model contestant AzMarie Livingston as they were living together for some time. But nothing had been explicitly confirmed by Symone on her sexuality until she tweeted that she can finally get married and expressing gratitude:
This statement is after the country celebrated Minnesota and Rhode Island officially allowing same sex marriage as of yesterday. Symone went on to retweet followers expressing their support as well as addressing the rumors on the actress’s sexuality:
But is most important is that Symone did it in her own way and on her own time. Instead of addressing the rumors she did what anyone should do which is continue to live her life the way she chose to. And she decided to announce her sexuality in the same way. If only every one would take this and other instances of people, celebrity or not, being able to express their sexuality and who they are on their own time and no one else’s schedule. Too often people believe that you owe them your story but that isn’t true at all. This is your journey so anyone else that has the mindset of telling you when you should express that needs to have a seat and realize that it is your life. Coming out is about taking ownership reclaiming your identity, not pacifying what is expected of you from other people.
As I’ve stated before, since last year when President Obama declared his evolution of his beliefs that same sex couples should have the right to marry, we’ve seen many from the African American community speak up for marriage equality and against homophobia. As more musicians, politicians and celebrities spoke up it helped diminish the myth that African Americans are inherently more homophobic.
Recently rapper T-Pain also wanted to address anyone that still has problems with gays by going on twitter and delivering a very unique rant after there were multiple rumors and jabs directed at the sexuality of his assistant. Here’s more:
Earlier this month Snoop Lion (the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg) said he doesn’t think homosexuality will ever be fully acceptable in rap music. Perhaps a heterosexual male hip-hop artist having a gay assistant may be a start.
In February, hip-hop icon, philanthropist and all-around mogul Russell Simmons said that rappers are less homophobic than before. With T-Pain’s agency and A$AP Rocky’s recent supportive statements, maybe rappers are gradually coming around.
It’s great that more and more artists are speaking up rather than staying silent or worse joining in to prove their “manhood” when things like this happen. Hopefully more will standup when things like this happen.
When I came out eight years ago, I felt that as time went on, I wanted to contribute more to the cause of equality by speaking out because as the old saying goes “if you’re not a part of the solution then you’re a part of the problem”. So I try to make an effort whenever possible, even if it’s a small donation to an LGBT organization or writing a blog about the problems and issues within our community. And I always try to encourage but not demand the same in others. I believe every voice has power, and as a result, an impact in everything we do.
Even if it’s something as simple as a retweet on twitter or liking and sharing a Facebook status, I feel like if it further advances someone else’s voice. The message becomes a little bit louder and I am more than happy to do so. Visibility is and has always been a key component to the success of our community. Any civil rights movement that has been successful in history is because they stood out and made their presence known. Social media allows us to be visible and more powerful in delivering our message of equality than ever before.
But, we need to recognize that there is a limit to how effective that can be as there is to everything else. Sometimes the message can be counter-intuitive, counterproductive, contradictory, and just plain wrong. An example of this kind of wrong is what I found when I came across this ad today by an organization called FCKH8. Today they tweeted out this image with the caption“Jesus’s reason for wanting you to support gay marriage”. When I saw this, I became livid. There are so many things wrong with this picture. But let’s break it down so you see why this is so disturbing.
The message by what I presume is an LGBT equality group for marriage equality and their message is to “Legalize Love”. Of course I support that, it’s what I talk and write about daily. The group calls on both straight and gay allies to join together to eliminate discrimination and hate. They have an array of t-shirts, hoodies, wristbands and pens to promote the cause. Hell, I even support the eye candy they use to promote their merchandise on their website. I support all of this because allies are a bridge that enables us to spread our message.
Even with the fact that many don’t support businesses or organizations like this because we don’t know where all the profit is going to, I don’t mind it. Because it gets the word out and makes us more visible in some form and what we as a community want. They even donated 25000 dollars to help promote awareness and equality in Tennessee, my home state that is still trying to pass a bill that would ban students in grade K through 8 from saying the word gay in school. So, naturally I support that as well. That is not where the issue lies here.
Now some of you may be looking at this ad right now saying “What’s wrong with it, this is in support of marriage equality” and if that’s all you see then you need to look again. Because this ad supports hate. It is saying that abortion is wrong. I don’t support hate, in any form. And this openly invites hate on a woman’s right to choose for herself and I will never, ever support such hypocritical, vulgar, and flat out asinine degradation of ANYONE and their right. You don’t “Fuck Hate” by hating on another group. Ever.
Maybe the reason that I’m so upset is because I’ve seen such a vapid attempt like this before. Because of this belief by some leaders and activists within our community that fail to see the diversity that is in this community. It’s evident when you hear comments like “I can’t be racist, I’m gay” when you most certainly can be, despite how immeasurably ignorant a conclusion this is to invoke. These two issues don’t even mirror because they are two completely different issues. However, both should be treated with the same respect. Your status as a gay man does not eliminate your ability to be prejudice.
Some would argue that this ad shows a glaring privilege that is often overlooked and not approached for discussion by this community. Because some say that the truth is gay Caucasian men still have some privilege. It’s not so much about the right to marry but in the ability for a Caucasian male, regardless of sexuality, is still granted the ability to make a cause more visible. Don’t believe that’s true? Well this is what ads like this suggest, and why it is so important to speak out about how irresponsible an impact they have. Because this is not the kind of message we want to send.
I don’t know if it’s the inexperience of youth, an extremely tasteless joke or just willful ignorance but it needs to stop. How insensitive is it not only degrade but also condemn the rights of women by using the same tactics enacted by extreme republicans declaring kit is God’s Will to get married? Why would you ever want to place the condemnation on another group this way? By involving a prophet depicting children that are in danger to abortion and being gay saves the world that awful notion. I don’t even understand why whoever created this ad felt that this would ever be okay to publicly damn women’s rights. It is incredulously hypocritical (and quite ironic) to use religious propaganda to promote any cause.
Not to mention that there are lesbians, transgendered, and bisexual women that exists within this community as well. This ad completely disregards them and their right to choose. You are openly condemning these women when ads like this are a representation of this movement. They are facing the same struggles for equality that we are fighting for every day. This goes to show what goes wrong in a civil rights movement when someone becomes so intent on what they want for their community and for themselves that they don’t think about how it will affect others. You know who this ad speaks to? Gay, Caucasian Males. It does not reflect any other bit of diversity than that.
This all goes back to what I’ve talked about numerous times here and here about one of the biggest issues that exist in the LGBT community. That those of us that are a dichotomy, or members of other disparaged communities, face other issues that are completely disregarded pushed aside, or ridiculed by the group that knows what that feels like. Or at the very least knows what it feels like to be treated this way. Race issues and women’s issues in this community too often are treated this way. The only way that this erroneous use of judgment ever changes is when we call it out and explain why it’s wrong.
I’m angry at how insensitive this is to the other members of this community. How this ad openly disparages the women in our community that are always a side note in our struggle for equality. Normally the figureheads in the public eye are all male, all Caucasian and do not even begin to show the diverse dynamics of this community. And it has got to stop. Now. You all should be raging about this. We cannot afford to alienate one right over another. Civil rights movements are not about throwing other groups under the bus to get what we want. It is not always just about us. And we need to remember that.
I always try to find people that stand out and exemplify what an advocate for the LGBT community that don’t get enough recognition. And creator, writer of the STARZ hit Spartacus series Steven DeKnight is one of those people. He doesn’t do it as some in thing to do. He supports LGBT rights because like us, he knows that they are human rights. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel writer does an incredible job as a straight man illustrating gay men and women because he understands that we the same as everyone else.
DeKnight has dealt with relentless homophobia from so called fans of the series because of the fearless approach he takes in developing LGBT characters and their love lives. Most notably the homophobia comes as a result of the story of Agron And Nassir, two men that are high ranking generals in Spartacus’ rebellion against Rome. Some fans have been bold (or ignorant or both) to criticize how authentic the relationship is because of their love scenes as well as day to day interactions that every couple have each day.
DeKnight is quick to call out homophobia on twitter. Usually with a quick quip or flat out blunt honesty, he gets across that he is not a fan of bigotry or hate in any form. Even today he commented on an asinine tweet asking him to diminish the gay soldiers’ role on the hit tv drama. Here’s a few examples you can see on his twitter page:
He even takes the naysayers to task on Facebook, setting boisterous derelicts with nothing better to do than to disparage how two people should be able to express love to each other in whatever way they so choose:
It’s not hard to find examples of DeKnight’s honesty and compassion for equal rights. And that is what makes him an advocate and an ally to our community. Thanks again Steven for all that you do. Gratitude.
..plus he’s worked with Joss Whedon so that makes him extra cool.
You may remember the media blitz created by the so-called up and coming rapper Azealia Banks and her unnecessary twitter war last month with equally controversial blogger Perez Hilton last month. Banks very blatantly used homophobic anti-gay slurs after the two had a disagreement. The LGBT community took the self proclaimed “Rapunxel” of rap to task for her verbal diarrhea and her refusal to make a legitimate apology. You would think that run in would have taught her a lesson but apparently it didn’t.
Fresh off a new remix of the song “Harlem Shake” Banks was taken back when the originator of the song known as Baauer was not too keen on Banks reinterpreting his original song he suggests was created in 2001. Banks did not appreciate this return and began to angrily ask Baauer why he didn’t want her to use the song as a remix. He simply stated because it was not her song. This enraged Banks and the conversation disintergrated when questioned by Baauer’s supporters leading Banks to tweet more anti-gay slurs:
This of course caused members of the LGBT community to react but again, Banks seemed unphased by the tension she had once again created. Then Perez Hilton chimed into the debate, and then Banks turned back to her misogynistic, homophobic, and extremely immature rage:
At the time of this report Banks showed no signs of quitting this barrage of homophobic insults. Clearly her management fails to see how her using such language is alienating a fanbase that up until last month supported and embraced her. What bothers me most is that through all this, her message continually implies that femininity is weak and that gay is weak and an insult. I just like any other gay men love other men and trust, I don’t ever hear the term weak come up when we get down.
I’m so damn tired of this mindset that gay equals weak and from wherever she learned this flawed ideology she apparently continues making the same flawed statement. She can claim that because she is a bisexual woman that it gives her a pass but it doesn’t. It’s just as damning to those that are afraid of coming out that feel they don’t have a voice seeing a trait of femininity in gay culture be reduced to less than the majority. I don’t care what her experiences are anymore at this point. To say the least, it implies that we can use words that are meant to shame and degrade us and use against each other.
I’m no fan of Perez, because he has done some pretty shitty things to other members of this community too. But two wrongs don’t make a right. And at this point, fully support a complete boycott of all her music, works, projects, perfumes, or whatever the hell else she’s trying to promote. I won’t support hate in any form. Period.
And can I just say how frustrated I am seeing some of her supporters, more notably gay men, actually condoning this behavior on twitter right now? This is not about Perez, this is about her ass backwards way of thinking. This internalized homophobia laced with misogynistic, anti-woman ideology is disturbing and witnessing the very people she is insulting blindly justify her actions tonight really need to reevaluate their priorities. Her claiming that she’s being targeted as a woman is invalidated especially when she repeatedly puts femininity and women down in the same breath.
With what at first started as a trivial pointless verbal exchange on twitter between rapper Azealia Banks and infamous blogger Perez Hilton escalated into an ugly homophobic rant on twitter. It all started when Perez began to question Banks comments about her feud with another female rap artist Angel Haze. Banks did not handle the interference well and started making suggestive comments about Perez being gay, referring to her an
See at first the comments were elusive and the tone was to vague to discern if Banks was making a comment about his sexuality or promiscuity but the meaning of tweets like these became clear as the conflict deteriorated:
Even worse is when Banks tried to cover for what she said in the most misogynistic way, first by saying that if it’s okay for her to use racial slurs in her song lyrics that we should be okay with her using homophobic slurs (what poor, horrible logic). Then she tries to redefine the ani-gay speech and what it should mean? Yeah it doesn’t make sense:
Finally, after having twitter and her gay fans in an uproar, Banks tries to issue an apology but the damage has been done:
Here’s my thing, I know Perez has done (and most likely will continue to do) horrible, vile things. I am not excusing his past behavior in any way because he hasn’t tried to make amends to the community that he belongs to and that he has knowingly hurt and insulted. But as our parents and loved ones have always taught us is that two wrongs don’t make a right. Her being bisexual does not excuse or give her a free pass to say anything else she wants. And I don’t care that Perez instigated it, that still does not excuse her behavior.
The tone was disgusting in Azealia’a rant and using Perez’s sexuality as a weakness was wrong, misogynistic and seemed like self hated. It had the tone of anything relating to a woman or effeminate gay man is weak and that really pissed me off. What further enraged me was the fallout on twitter and seeing some of her fans, gay men, defending what she said. And some of those gay men that were calling out Azealia’s homophobia were using racial slurs to retaliate against her and the fans that supported her. Some of them even saying ignorant comments like “I’m gay so I can’t be racist” were baffling. I was and still am disgusted by this entire thing. Hate is hate. Using any of these slurs is wrong, no matter what the context of it is. There is no re-appropriation as they will always represent times of oppression and anger.
Last December both Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron became “unhinged” after learning that Rick Perry’s closet case strategist Tony Fabrizio was behind some pretty bad anti-gay ads condemning the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and calling for more religion in schools.
GOProud co-founder “Miss Frosty Bangs” LaSalvia herself tweeted “I’ve just about had it with faggots who line their pockets with checks from antigay homophobes while throwing the rest of us under the bus.”
Oh the hypocritical irony! Especially since they are upset and up in arms at Dan Savages remarks for them endorsing anti-gay Romney who’s against EVERYTHING pro-LGBT.
Where was Michele Malkin, Brietbart.com and the rest of the rightwing loons then?