I was really, really hesitant to post this, to be honest. I still feel torn. I strongly recommend reading this article, but I also recommend reading it with an understanding of bias (like you do on the Internet), and as always, please be careful reading the comments (like you do on the Internet): there are a higher percentage of good ones than elsewhere, but still…comments on the Internet.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, or Dan Savage, but I’ve never felt very strongly against them, either. Being sort of neutral, I mostly just keep my mouth shut: I really had nothing to add. They are all, I think, good enough to warrant their fans, even if I don’t like them personally, so I’m not going to but in with my neutralness.
I do have to say, though, that despite their popularity, I am rather surprised at the status they’ve gained for their role in the LGBT arena. Lady Gaga writes songs - at least one in particular - that appeal to the outsider in us, and I do think that’s good; Katy Perry I never really got, nor event spent much time listening to, because I didn’t feel there was anything to really draw me in; and Dan Savage is too abrasive for my tastes, despite being occasionally quotable. I suppose that I’m with the article in that, while I appreciate some of the mainstreaming that these folks have done, I can’t honestly identify them as heroes of LGBT. A lot of the heroes in my life are those with realistic journeys, or at least realistic journeys that are part of their story as to why they’re heroes: Lana Wachowski is one of my heroes because, after her talk at the HRC Visibility Award reception, she became a product of her story in a way - a success, a survivor, a step forward for her was a step forward for so many people.
Because of this, it’s really hard for me to accept a very public figure such as a performer or writer as a hero or idol of the LGBT crowd, or even just the gay crowd. This goes further when, because they’re so public-facing, their faults come out in the present, rather than something in the past which was overcome. I’m all about loving someone for their faults, or even because of them, but not idolizing them or placing them in the role of a hero. A hero, to me, as with an idol, is someone you can hold as an ideal for yourself in spite of or because of their humanity. I count Lana Wachowski as a hero due to the fact that she is who she is now because of her past, for example. Her story helped place her in that role for me.
However, I worry about posting this link, even though I think it’s worth sharing, because I know how much a hero or an idol means. I know that, in a lot of places, these folks mean a lot to people, and often for good reason: many times, it’s the legitimacy of seeing someone even talk about or mention tough issues in a public role that means a lot. I can dig why these people became heroes, even if I disagree with a lot of what they did. They’re not my heroes, but I can see how they would be for others. To you all: keep being awesome, thanks for the visibility, and I’m only sorry that we don’t see eye to eye on all things :o)