Bless God and Bless Gaga

15 Dec

BLoGT contributor Jameson shares his thoughts on Lady Gaga’s speech at the National Equality March.

I should start by saying that I don’t particularly like Lady Gaga. Though my boyfriend, who went to her concert in spring, occasionally convinces me to listen to a handful of her songs, I am always loath to do so. It’s tantamount to gay heresy, I know, but I’ve never thought she seemed entirely worthy of the diva status awarded to her so early in her career (and it’s not as though I dislike pop divas—the first cassette tape I ever bought was Cher’s Believe in 1998). I just don’t think Lady Gaga’s especially talented or inventive and, to be frank, what has she done that Bjork didn’t do better five or ten years ago?

But my personal feelings for her aside, I couldn’t help but be impressed by her speech at the National Equality March on October 11. Not because it I thought it was overly well-written or delivered, but because of who she is, where she was that day, and what she said:

As a woman in pop music, as a woman with the most beautiful gay fans in the whole world, to do my part I refuse to accept any misogynistic or homophobic behavior in music, lyrics or action in the music industry.

It’s certainly not a specific strategy for change, nor is it a unique one. Across the country, thousands of people have committed themselves to fighting these forces—some have committed their entire lives. But what differentiates Lady Gaga from most of the activists in our country is that she is a pop diva, whether or not I approve. She’s sold more than three million copies of her debut album The Fame worldwide, and this gives her an audience for more than just her music. While the LGBT community has, for years, had the celebrity support of figures like Cyndi Lauper (who Lady Gaga considers an important influence), never before has a musician so embraced by the mainstream embraced us. What differentiates Lady Gaga from a whole slew of successful female pop artists is her public and outspoken dedication to progressive and inclusive politics. Granted, it’s doubtful that anyone hearing “Just Dance” for the first time was moved by its pro-gay message of love and acceptance. But Lady Gaga at least thinks about the political implications of her art—who’s listening to her songs and what they take away from them. And to her credit, there’s not a single instance of misogyny or homophobia in her music or her career; The Fame is, more than anything, a positive, empowered celebration of Gaga’s sexuality. She may not be a musical genius or the noblest activist out there, but she has a platform she’s not afraid to stand on, and the fame she needs to make people listen.

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