Friday, November 27, 2009

Out vs Out There

It's been close to a week since Adam Lambert's AMA performance and people still won't shut up about it.
When it comes to issues of homosexuality, I really believe there is a generational difference. I watched the AMA's Sunday night and actually loved how far "Glambert" took it. All the other performances were rather blah - including and especially Janet's hyped 8-minute performance - and Adam Lambert was the only singer to go the extra mile and put on a show. I was actually entertained watching it. I did not think the over-the-top sexuality was inappropriate; I've been exposed to that sort of stuff since I was a child.

I saw the Madonna kiss. I've seen footage of Hendrix simulating sex with his guitar. And when it comes down to it, there's a lot of sexual imagery that takes place on stage - involving mics and guitars; think about it. I'm not an idiot. I understand that gay men are more than the stereotypes. They are sexual beings. Why should they be ashamed? When I saw Adam push a dancer's face into his crotch I was surprised, sure but, I also thought it was brave. It was a moment, of ya, I'm gay. I like having sex with men. Get over it.

My parents, on the other hand, were disturbed. They felt uncomfortable. My dad, the intolerant that he is, was absolutely grossed out and had felt the need to voice his sentiments. It was actually distracting to my viewing experience. I spoke to my friends and they expressed undergoing a similar experience. They found that Adam Lambert had given the best performance of the show (not to mention, of his life) but, their parents were offended. I knew that people would be talking about it the next day but, I didn't think there would be so much backlash.

The media pounced on the story. The West Coast broadcast was edited. ABC turned its back on him. Good Morning America cut his performance the next day. The View denounced him for being sexually aggressive. I won't detail all the commentary but, I will say most accounts seemed to judge him for being a sexual deviant.

I really, truly feel the backlash has arisen from our national discomfort with homosexuals. After the AIDS scare of the 80s, we neutered gay men. The homosexual lifestyle was thought to be too decadent. We separated them from their sexuality so that they could be acceptable to the mainstream. Gay male couples on non-pay cable TV shows never get to demonstrate their affections for each other while straight couples pretty much can get it on whenever, wherever.

As my friend Sha'Donna attested, we've grown accustomed to the image of the friendly neighborhood gay. Will from Will and Grace. The safe gay. The one we can go shopping with, who will advice on fashion and relationships. What Adam Lambert did was step outside the comfortable box we had placed him in. He forced us to rethink our assumptions. He stood up for himself and applaud him for that. If we're going to move on as a society, we have to accept the gay man for all that he is.

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