Thursday, June 27, 2019

Taylor Made Pride

If you told wee baby gay Snarker that one day one of the biggest pop stars in the known universe would make an entire rainbow-filled music video filled with real out LGBTQ celebrities that chided “haters” for being homophobic, I’d have thought you were smoking that stuff that sometimes floated out of the back bathroom stall at school. As undeniably nice it is to have someone of the star wattage of Taylor Swift on Team Rainbow, I admit to feeling a little uneasy at all this shiny happy symbolism. It’s not that I dislike the video, it’s catchy Technicolor fun.

But it’s the same kind of unease I feel with all this new-found corporate pride we’re seeing everywhere. While I will always commend companies that support LGBTQ rights, they have to truly support LGBTQ rights and not just turn their avatars rainbow for a month. Because, repeat after me, corporations are not your friend – their only friend is money. That we the once untouchable are now suddenly profitable is a result of the tireless work of activists and advocates, not the benevolent hearts of CEOs.

It’s an interesting time to be queer. We’ve come so far. We’ve fought so hard. Yet here we are now 50 years after Stonewall, and LGBTQ people still aren’t equal to our straight, cis counterparts. Not by a long shot.

Yes, we no longer have to worry about being arrested just for being gay. Yes, we can get married and file our taxes together. Yes, we have major corporations clamoring to slap rainbows on all their products in order to court our very green dollars.

But here’s the thing. We are still getting stuffed in lockers. We’ are still getting turned away at cake shops. We are still getting fired for being ourselves. We are still getting banned from the military if we happen to be trans. We are still getting beaten on buses. We are still getting killed in the streets.

The increased acceptance of LGBTQ people in the public sphere is still a relatively new phenomenon. Ellen DeGeneres’ ratings tanked after coming out and then her show got cancelled just two decades ago. Today she is on TV every damn day and you can walk into any Target and find a “Pride” section.

My worry is that for all this surface progress, we still have so much farther to go before the law and the courts catch up. No federal laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment. No federal laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing. No federal laws protecting LGBTQ people from access to public amenities. Yet this perception of equality persists. It’s like, “Look, we gave you people marriage. And YouTube turned its logo rainbow. You’re good now, right?”

Obviously, this is not a new phenomenon in the American Political Playbook. For reference please ask any person of color if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 solved racism. Or ask any white woman if the 19th Amendment in 1920 solved sexism.

Now, to her credit, Swift advocates for the passage of the Equality Act in the Senate at the end of her video. Which is, again, undeniably nice. So I really don’t have a beef (or a Katy Perry) with Swift or this video.

I just have a beef with the precarious place we find ourselves as queer people. We are suddenly seen as more accepted than we really are. And while it’s always good to be thought of nicely, it would be even better if we were equal.


Carmen SanDiego said...

The video is okay, I wish the song was catchier. What I don’t understand is the segment of the LGBT community that wants to burn Swift at the stake.
The only reason gay rights have progressed as much as they have is because bigotry is no longer profitable. The corporations learned long before the politicians that discrimination is not good for business. The fact that such large and ubiquitous entities are openly and willingly associating with the LGBT community is a sign of acceptance. Corporations have been tremendous allies for the gay community, as seen in their lobbying against anti-gay legislation in Indiana and North Carolina. 
That may not be the prettiest of truths, but it is among the more pragmatic of them
Pride month is a wonderful event for celebrating our victories in winning our rights and recognizing lgbt people and our allies; it is not a time to ostracize the very people that helped us get here, and by extension ostracize ourselves.

Panty Buns said...

You are undeniably right.
Kudos to Taylor Swift. Despite being a vegetarian, I did really enjoy watching her video, but there is still a very long way to go. Gender and orientation based discrimination, lesbophobia and violence are still huge problems. Despite the increasing profitability of marketing to LGBTQ communities, the bigots and haters have gained control of the White House, the Senate, many of the courts, the boardrooms of corporate media, the telecommunications companies, and the corporations that own the search engines. The fight for equality goes on. said...

"LGBTQ people still aren’t equal to our straight, cis counterparts. Not by a long shot"
I don't think Lesbians are as equal to your males transitioning to females. There seems to be a rise of anti-women and particularly anti-lesbian.