We live in a world where we now expect that our opinion matters, no matter what we have to say. It's 2014, we have so many outlets to speak our minds whether it be a happy thought or a mean tweet. However, with so many advances being made in entertainment, and so many allies for the LGBT community being outspoken about equal rights, why are we turning around and complaining about their help?
This past Sunday on the Grammy Awards, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed their hit "Same Love" with out singer Mary Lambert with a cameo by Madonna. As I am sure you all know at this point, Queen Latifa presided as over thirty couples -- gay and straight -- wed live on CBS's telecast of the show. A beautiful moment -- right? Not it you ask several of my gay peers in the media.
The following day tons of blogs and articles came out suggesting that Macklemore was just trying to make a profit of the LGBT community, that Queen Latifa, who many believe is a closeted lesbian, had no business being there, and let's not get started on Madonna's outfit. Guys, let's take a step back for one second, put our snark away, and look at the bigger picture here. A rapper who works in a community that is notorious for putting down the LGBT community released a song that basically says it's okay to be gay. Moreover, CBS, one of the most watched television channels in the world, filmed gay couples getting married and millions of people viewed two men or two women sharing their love for each other, and saw that there's really nothing wrong with it.
You're pissed that Queen Latifa, an Academy Award nominated actress and former rapper herself, who now a has her own talk show, who may or may not be a closeted lesbian, presided over the ceremony? What business is it of yours whether or not she's gay? You didn't like people forcing you out of the closet, so why is Latifa's sexuality our business? (Hint: it's not!) What happened on Sunday night was revolutionary, and I highly doubt that if a prominent white man endorsed Martin Luther King Jr., and asked to speak with him about desegregation in the 1960s, that he would have taken as big of an issue with it as the LGBT community does with our straight allies. We need them in our fight for equality, so why do we continue to condescend and ridicule every time someone outside of our group tries to help us?
The ridicule doesn't end when we are speaking out about people outside of our community. HBO released it's new series, Looking, two weeks ago, and the complaints came rolling in not long thereafter. "It's not realistic enough," and "There isn't enough diversity on the show," were two very big bones that the LGBT community had to pick with the new television program. Again, there are virtually no television shows that have strictly LGBT characters (or have several Latino LGBTs for that matter) on it, and instead of praising the show for it's different take on LGBT life, we automatically find what's wrong with it. Sure, it may not be your cup of tea. But, for the millions of people who live outside of New York, Chicago and San Francisco who are interested in what gay life in a major city may be like, it's something they may have never seen before. Sure, it may not be realistic, either, but some of the most watched television shows of all time have been about a housewife who moonlights as a witch, a family trapped in space and a high school full of teenagers who randomly burst into song at a moments notice.
Television has the power to change the world, but it's primary purpose is to entertain. A show about gay men, that I find very realistic, doesn't, in fact, need to be. Reality is not only boring, but most reality shows aren't even realistic anymore. If you want reality, go out and live your life, don't sit in front of a television set. It's a well-written show that focuses on the lives of gay men, that's pretty funny and very sexy at times. Let's take it for what it is and appreciate that it's no longer the 1960s, and shows like this can actually make it to the airwaves.
Finally, take a look at some of the comments on Huffington Post "Gay Voices" articles. What makes the Huffington Post so unique is that it is one of the only websites or media outlets in the country that allows the LGBT community to voice their opinions, thoughts, ideas and expressions for the rest of the world to see, that is constantly up-to-date and always publishing new articles and information. However, so many others within the community, at times, think this is a place to unload all of their issues in a comment box.
The Huffington Post allows LGBT readers to take a glimpse into the lives of other LGBT people, and sometimes learn something about our community that we may have not known about before. But some of us feel the need to be vile and angry for no reason other than the fact that we don't agree with what someone said. Yes, it is 2014, and yes, your opinion is apparently important, but at the same time it's sometimes unnecessary and mean. When we are mean to each other -- it gives others the idea that they can be mean to us as well. By no means do I think all LGBT people will hold hands one day, sing "We Are the World" and get along -- mainly because I am a realist -- I also know that there are very few places for us to get articles such as this one out, so why not start an intelligent conversation if we don't like something, instead of a fight?
When we complain about straight people helping us, not getting what we want out of television shows that have gay themes and putting each other down for helping our LGBT peers try to learn and entertain, it doesn't name us look witty or fabulous -- it makes us look like a bunch of ingrates. So many of us fight so hard for the rights of equality, and yet there are so many who fight the people who are trying to make our community more visible. Maybe Macklemore doesn't have it right, but at least he's trying, and that's so much more than we can say about so many others in the music industry.
Maybe "Looking" isn't he most culturally friendly show on television, or the most realistic, but at least it's allowed to exist, and it's pretty damn good. Perhaps we should all stop complaining and say a big thank you to the people who try to help us. Because their help and their willingness to put something out there that may create backlash is most likely more than what we've done today to help facilitate change. And instead of complaining because you think you can do it all better -- then go ahead and try to. You may just change someone's life for the better in the process.