Nobody is “openly black,” as George Carlin pointed out. Nobody is openly Oriental or openly female or any other type of sociological categorization. The only thing you can be “openly” is gay. Come to think of it, I have never even heard someone say “she’s openly lesbian.” Or bi.
Homosexuality is also the one category people feel irresistibly compelled to point out. “Wow, he’s is looking great today,” I said about someone in a course I was taking. “He’s gay, you know,” said the other person. I knew, but why did they feel they had to tell me? If I’d said that about someone married, would they have felt obliged to tell me he’s married? If he were Italian, would they say “He’s Italian, you know. From Milano. That’s why he always looks so fab.”?
If it’s not obvious already, I believe in equal rights for everyone of every sociological categorization, including LGBT. This article is not about equal rights. It’s about the sexualization of the media and of our society.
Open gayness is huge these days. Every TV show seems to need a token gay as well as a token black or two. Some of the hottest youtubers are not just openly gay, but play their gayness up to a level that can only be described as stereotyping. It’s kind of degrading, don’t you think? If someone non-gay were portraying gays like that, it would definitely be offensive. (Apparently if you make fun of yourself, it falls into the “If you are black you can say the N word” category.)
I get it. You’re gay. I’m middle-aged. It’s not a fashion statement. It’s just what I am. (I wish being middle-aged were a fashion statement! Who is with me on starting middle-agedness as the new trend?)
I call this gratuitous gayness because it’s simply the latest in the media’s ongoing sexualization of everything. It’s no different than ultra-skimpy fashion, high-heeled shoes for 5-year-olds, and heroes whose shirts fly off before they transform into their more powerful form.
I’d say I’d expect more from a community of people who has fought so hard for respect and equality. I’d expect them to act in a respectful way instead of making it seem like sex is the most important thing about their identities. But why would I expect that?
The honor badge of today’s society is to wear your genitals on your sleeve. Why should the newly-acceptable gay community accept anything less than to be objectified and sexualized just like any other celebrity?
So congratulations to the LGBT community. In my teenage daughter’s infamous words:
“Don’t you know, mommy? Gay is the new straight.”