Friday, September 27, 2013

Mackle-less Please?

Nobody called me a Faggot this week. So I'm back to writing fluff about fluff. 

I have a bit of imposter syndrome from last week's blog post. Most of my life does not involve advocating for the LGBTQ community. That’s not to say I don’t WANT to be an advocate…
It's just that I am not necessarily informed about many LGBTQ concerns until I encounter them firsthand. And it's surprising and fun that people are even interested in my point of view. 

Generally speaking, my realm of queer experience is kind of puny. I’m still largely preoccupied with figuring out how to get my Bieber bangs to do that swoopy thing (Oh Tegan and Sara, why don’t I know your stylist??? It’s an unjust world).

And being gay FEELS the same as being straight. So I forget I’m unstraight all the time. 

When I was in a heterosexual relationship, my sexuality was an itty bitty inconsequential part of my identity. I didn't re-realize multiple times a day that I was...whoa...with a MAN. 

But now that my partner is a woman, the outside world forces me to regularly re-out myself. I'm startled into acknowledging my gayness by the reactions of others many times a day. As a consequence, it has been difficult not to mistake my sexual identity for my entire identity. 

And here’s the secret… my gay life eerily resembles my previous straight life. 

I go to work, I go to the gym, I come home, I write letters, I juice things, I make food, I eat food, I clean, I watch movies, I play scrabble, I juice things, I convince Marvin that my face is not a cat bed. And I juice things. (Ask me about my new juicer, I dare you.) I can most often be found on the living room carpet, listening to Bryan Adams while folding origami sharks, drinking cucumber-spinach-apple-ginger-mysteryfridgevegetableend juice, double-fisting kale, pondering the merits of various running shoes and Google image-searching gluten free cinnamon buns. 

Those of you who have known me a long time know that my patterns of behaviour are not really evolving.

And these aspects of daily life have nothing to do with the gay (Although my new juicer is *FABUlouuuuussSSSSSS!!!*).

But lately, my running shoe pondering time has been encroached upon by thoughts of Macklemore. 

Yes, “Same Love”. 

Everyone I’ve talked to about Macklemore thinks I SHOULD love this song. Because I am in a same-sex relationship. At the gym, I swear on my last tofu strip they put this song on EVERY time I start my workout. As Lisa and I exit the changeroom, nine times out of ten it is to a “Same Love” soundtrack. Sheesh. They all KNOW a she keeps me warm, buddy behind the counter, or at least suspect it. I know the poor kids working there are just trying to follow Goodlife policy and make sure Every Body (even my gay body) feels welcome.

I am excited that a song about homosexuality has been so successful in the mainstream media. Initially I liked “Same Love.” I even mentioned it in a blog post after my brother sent me the youtube link. 

I think Macklemore is sharing SUCH an important message. He has a gay uncle (go gay Uncle!), and he wants to help remove homophobic lingo from the hip-hop genre. 

That's an entirely admirable goal. I'm not criticizing that. 
I am, however, criticizing this coat.

And it is unbelievably cool to see homo issues and marriage equality thrust into mainstream discussion. 

It's a kind of positivity brainwashing, and I can get behind that.

I know all this, so I feel like an asshole. Because I GET that it’s supportive. It’s a ra-ra Go Gaymos anthem. How amazing! Right? Right?

Nope. I still feel that I'm being coersed into liking The Gay Song. 

It's like cilantro. I know it's good for my liver, I know it absorbs heavy metal deposits, I know I should like it. But I just don't. 'Same Love" makes me feel the same way. I would rather lick Marvin's eyeball than listen to Macklemore sing about how he mistakenly thought he was a homo in third grade one more time.

Partially, I dislike this song because I’ve heard it approximately seven billion and fifty three times, and have every single lyrical gem permanently inscribed on my brain. It’s invasive. If I memorize a song, it should be intentional, goshdarnit.

But another aspect of this song make me feel conflicted.

My problem boils down to this: I can’t help but feel that a straight dude is capitalizing from playing the homo card.

After all, "Same Love"  employs the best marketing ploy ever… it's truly genius!

In our evolving society, people will rarely openly admit they don't support the LGBTQ community. So everyone has to claim to love “Same Love”. It’s The Gay song. If people admit they DON’t love The Gay Song, they risk appearing homophobic.

In the most extreme view, it's a threat...“Listen to our song, and talk about our song and how much you love our song, or you COULD be branded a discriminating hate-crime doing homo-hating slur-slinging bigot”.

Within mainstream media, Macklemore is perceived as an advocate for the gay community, and he’s not a gay. Maybe that's okay. We need vocal Allies. After all, it's not an "Us" and "Them". It's a "We".

And I AM mindful of that. 

But I can’t help but feel that Macklemore is an opportunist, and that makes me indignant. He is not a member of the community he advocates for (intentionally or otherwise). Macklemore has never experienced homophobia firsthand. That doesn't mean he can't write a song about equality, sure.

But I wish there were more mainstream successful LGBTQ artists introducing issues they have encountered firsthand. (Tegan and Sara have awesome hair, but they don't count. Say what you will, they sound the same as everyone else now, and their whiny snivelling about sexy time problems doesn't exactly positively influence people's views on homosexuality.)

"Same Love" sends a wonderful message, but it simultaneously highlights the fact that many people aren't ready for the LGBTQ community to self-advocate in mainstream forums. It sends the message that homosexuality is okay, but only because a straight guy who doesn't identify with any minority group tells us it is. 

 I’m not the first to notice the potentially problematic nature of a heterosexual man advocating for the gay community. It comes down to this: A hetero dude and an utterly unintimidating femme-y lesbian (albeit a reasonably talented one, I'm not hating on Mary Lambert, since it's really not her song anyways) are the best gay advocates we can find...really?

"Same Love" is HoMo LiTe. The censored, airbrushed, la-la-la Febreezed version.

I know I shouldn't hate the player. It's the game that needs changing. Macklemore himself is just doing what his agents (and popular culture) want to see.  I don't need a rich straight dude with a dyke-y haircut to tell me that GAY IS OKAY (and make a bazillion dollars doing it). 

I am impatient for our world to be at a place where nobody does, and his tunes are judged solely on musical merit. 

I know we'll get there eventually, but I am impatient. 

 I can't wait until the day when Mary Lambert gets to sing a gay song with a couple of super butchy backup dancers, while Macklemore sings a falsetto bridge in drag. 

Then I'll listen.

Unrelated note on “Same Love”:

Lisa and I have talked about this a lot.

“I can’t change, even if I wanted to, even if I tried”….I call bullshit. A little bit, anyways.

To claim an inability to change is to ignore the power of individual choice. We are all accountable for the way we live. My sexuality has shifted many times in my life, and will likely continue to evolve. It takes courage to be honest with yourself. And to decide to be open. A side effect of this honesty: I HAVE changed.  

I understand that many people will disagree with me on this. But speaking personally, I have not chosen to be with a woman because I was born gay and can’t change. I have chosen to be with a woman because I have decided to live my life as honestly and openly as possible. And I met a wonderful individual who also happened to be female.

Yup, that's the one!
And no, I don’t think that all women are sexually attracted to other women or that all men are attracted to other men. But I am sure that many more are than will admit to it. And I DO think that we choose whether to be courageous and act according to our current truth. Many choose not to.

We always have a choice in our follow through. People choose to act or not act on their attraction to other people. Being with another person romantically is a conscious decision.

Many factors influence who we find attractive, and our genetic makeup is only a small piece of the puzzle.

I hope I always choose to honestly examine my desires, and to act on my attraction to fantastic people, rather than their body parts. 

Whether or not those attractions fit within the parameters of my current sexual label. Whether or not it takes changing that label to continue living my truth.

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