01/17/2012 07:03 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

A Letter to Madonna from a Concerned Gay

Dear Madge:

Over the years, I was "crazy for you" just as much as the next gay, but lately I am worried. You had a solid handle on the pulse of pop culture once. Now you seem out-of-step. What happened?

Case in point: the Golden Globes. Ricky Gervais, when introducing you, rolled his eyes as he said you were "like a virgin." You are a 53-year-old woman with several children who published an erotic book titled Sex. You are obviously not a virgin. Ricky's joke was a poor attempt at humor. But what did you do in response to this "insult"? Tit for tat, you said, "If I'm still just like a virgin, Ricky, then why don't you come over here and do something about it? I haven't kissed a girl in a few years on TV."

That's the best you could come up with? Your rejoinder is calling him a girl? Is there something wrong with being a girl?

Oh, Madonna, I am so disappointed in you.

I know, I know, at the Golden Globes, Ricky pretends to be offensive and awful, and the Hollywood elite acts all scandalized and attempts some good zingers to one-up him. You always wanted to be part of that Hollywood A-list crowd -- you were an "actor" once and now you fancy yourself a "filmmaker" -- so it makes sense that you would join this game of outrage. But a comedian you are not. If you wanted a solid one-liner, you should have consulted Joan Rivers or Kathy Griffin.

I always thought you were a champion of female empowerment. Calling Ricky a "girl" seems beneath you. You, of all people, should know what it feels like for a girl in this world. Women like you are symbols of strength and confidence, helping to erode pervasive gender stereotypes. Have you seen those ridiculous new Legos for girls, for instance? Talk about reductive.

Yes, I said reductive. I can use that word, too. I looked it up. You used it to describe Lady Gaga's music. Must you really get in a public feud with Lady Gaga, another symbol of tenacity and might for today's girls? Madonna don't preach. You should be honored that Gaga is taking a page from your playbook. After all, didn't you do a little "borrowing" yourself back in the day? Remember when you stole Marilyn Monroe's looks and moves? I thought you were trying to ally yourself with another woman who used her sexuality and smarts to succeed, but now I am not so sure.

Pop culture is full of disgraceful stereotypes right now, so why are you feeding into it yourself? Did you see that awful Work It sitcom? That show teaches little girls that appearing as a woman makes you an object of ridicule and hilarity. There was a time, in your videos and stage shows, when you dressed men in female attire -- thigh-highs, high-heels, bras. You weren't ridiculing them, were you? I always thought you were allowing them to explore their hidden feminine side for empowerment. Maybe I was giving you too much credit. Were you just out to grab attention?

When I was a boy, the worst, most scathing taunt on the playground was to be called a girl. Once, a librarian mistook me for a girl, and I ran quickly out of the building before anyone heard her. I was young at the time, maybe 5 or 6, but I knew intuitively that it was shameful. It took me many years to understand that being feminine or effeminate was not a bad thing. As an adult, blurring genders is not a problem for me. But I believe it is still a problem for our kids. Look at that transgender child, assigned to be a boy at birth, who wants to join the Girl Scouts. I am sure that kid is not having an easy time of it. She is brave, yes, but we still live in a world where expressing yourself is not always welcome.

Oh, Madonna, don't reduce yourself to being catty, bitter, and pretentious. Who's that girl? I am desperately seeking the Madonna of yesteryear: daring, a ray of light, in a league of her own. That girl is still inside you somewhere, I bet. Please bring her back. Open you heart, express yourself like you used to do, so that I can justify my love for you again.