The first heel hasn't hit the streets yet for Pittsburgh Pride 2015, but holy rainbows has there been drama!
Here's the barebones recap:
The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, the organization that hosts the sparkly parts of Pittsburgh Pride, booked Iggy Azalea for their main-stage. Iggy Azalzea has tweeted near-homophobic things in her past. People were pissed. Apparently, the Delta Foundation has a history of exclusion, a near total lack of diversity on their Board, and this booking was yet another example of that.
The Delta Foundation responded by saying what we all say when we're caught doing something stupid: this is an opportunity to come to a greater understanding and build a stronger community. People were pissed. Apparently, the Delta Foundation has a history of exclusion, a near total lack of diversity on their Board, and this statement was another example of that.
Iggy Azalea then canceled her appearance. The Pride Foundation offers more lip service, stating, "We are meeting with key LGBT leaders to start a discussion that will make our collective community even stronger." People were pissed. See above.
Then, the new headliner is announced.
A reminder before the big reveal: here we have an organization that is being publicly pummeled for their lack of inclusivity and now they have everyone's attention to address the issue and role-model what an organization can do to create change that reflects the demography and interests of our complex LGBT community.
The curtain draws back on the new headliner and it's...Nick Jonas.
Straight. White. Nick. Jonas.
Well, now I'm pissed. And yet, of course, not at all surprised.
We do this in the LGBT community all the time. We Nick Jonas our issues: glitter up the problem with some star power (with visible abs), charge some hefty ticket prices and explain that, if we all just come together, everything will be fine.
The Human Rights Campaign Nick Jonas's us all the time with their abs-in-black-tie galas, all the while their staff are decrying a work environment where underrepresented voices are actively suppressed.
The Foundation for an AIDS Monument just Nick Jonas'd us with their big, attention-garnering announcement that they have added three new marquee Board Members: ab-licious (and white) Zachary Quinto and two other white guys.
And now Pittsurgh Pride is Nick Jonas'ing us. With the actual Nick Jonas.
Regarding Nick's booking, Gary Van Horn, the Board President of the Delta Foundation, said this, "Nick wanted to make sure that the community and Pittsburgh had a Pride event that they could be proud of."
Look, we know that these big city Pride celebrations have become about marquee names. We know that such a practice could not be further from the roots of Pride. We know that those were not celebrities that were harassed by the police at Stonewall 46 years ago. We know (or at least should know!) that those weren't white men who first fought back.
And yet, we let our organizations distract us with glitter, promises and white heartthrobs. We let our leaders make public statements that we need white men in order for us to have an event of which we can be proud. And we, in response, hoot and holler and raise our fists. For what? Unity?
We have to maintain our focus on how we are being represented. We have to start demanding diversity on the stages of Pride and in the boardrooms of the organizations hosting Pride. We somehow have to tear our eyes away from those visible abs and redirect our energy towards who was at the table when those visible abs were booked.
And, yeah, this might mean, no more Nick Jonas's. We have to be ok with that.