At 54, Madonna certainly knows her way around controversy and is not afraid to rock the boat, shake the sugar tree or stir the pot, and at this weekend's GLAAD Media Awards in New York City, she certainly made a statement.
"I think that's f**ked up," she said, referring to the ongoing controversy regarding the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay scouts and leaders. "I can build a fire. I know how to pitch a tent. I have a very good sense of direction. I can rescue kittens from trees. Listen, I want to do good for the community. Most importantly, I know how to scout for boys! So I think that I should be allowed to be a Boy Scout, and I think they should change their stupid rules."
Sporting a Boy Scouts uniform, she made her point, but at what cost?
To be clear, I am a huge fan of the Material Girl and have been ever since she was "like a virgin," and I continue to respect her as a talent who has endured in an industry that does not take kindly to women who do not play by the rules and make it a point to declare how little they care for those rules.
I also deeply respect the endless hours that GLAAD has invested in addressing how the LGBT community is represented in the media. I have attended and supported the organization at many of their functions, from the Sundance Film Festival to the GLAAD Media Awards in New York and Los Angeles, both as a representative of the media and as a guest, and I therefore feel compelled to share how deeply disappointed I am in GLAAD and Madonna.
Though I wish I did not feel it necessary to state that I am gay and could instead feel that my opinion would carry equal weight if I were straight, I consider myself both a dreamer and realist, and I therefore hope to avoid being discredited or ignored simply because I might be misconstrued as one of those straight people who do not get it.
So what is my gripe? It is really quite simple. GLAAD is an organization fighting for equality, understanding and compassion, and Madonna has been a staunch advocate for LGBT rights, using her notoriety in the name of those same values. To that end, what was gained by her choice to wear the Boy Scouts uniform and hurl insults at the organization? If we as a community know firsthand the sting of hate, sarcasm, discrimination and public humiliation, why do we continue to use them as weapons in our arsenal to gain respect and recognition, and why do we support organizations and celebrities who engage in such behavior?
It saddens me to think that both GLAAD and Madonna failed to take a moment to reflect on what would be gained by such a blatant disregard for rising above the rhetoric and the hate and instead choosing to walk the high road.
As a community, we can only expect to be shown the same respect that we show others, no matter how vehemently we oppose or despise their beliefs. I offer my apologies to the Boy Scouts for this flamboyant and unnecessary attack, with the caveat that I am deeply saddened by their decision to disenfranchise my community, the LGBT community. I do not agree with their exclusionary policies, but I also find Madonna's antics and the decision by GLAAD to support and promote them equally abhorrent.