DI Voices | Religion’s hypocrisy toward LGBTQ modernly malfunctions | II

By Micky Horstman, Columnist

I was motivated to write about my experience because of People magazine. The magazine recently ran a story initially titled “Lil Nas X responds to criticism of his ‘Industry Baby’ music video: Y’all hate gay people.” Social media erupted, as the context of the piece was so abhorrently homophobic, and the title extremely misleading.

The “criticism” he responds to, is a tweet from Dr. Boyce Watkins, who has nearly 125,000 followers on Twitter, which likens his performance to creating a superspreader of the AIDS epidemic.

People magazine blurred the username and didn’t name Dr. Watkins in their piece.

It’s funny how they try to protect the identity of a well-known homophobe but actively profit on nonconsensually taken photographs of celebrities. Since when do they care about privacy?

This is the second music video by Lil Nas X which has caught the public’s attention — his first being “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” —offers a satirical outlook of some of the hypocrisy and stereotypes the Catholic church imposes on the LGBTQ community.

“Industry Baby” provides a humorous response to the chaos that ensued after the first video, while doubling as a fundraiser for the bail project.

Neither video is targeted toward young audiences, and he consistently points out that the outrage he is receiving is because of his sexual orientation — not his sexual content. Nothing he’s done hasn’t been done by other male or female rappers. Same writing, only in a gay font.

I am trying to be better at consuming gay media. For the first time in my life, I’m actively learning and embracing my identity, rather than hiding it. One of the reasons I support artists like Lil Nas X or Troye Sivan is because they are unapologetically gay.

There isn’t enough representation of the LGBTQ community within multimedia.

What exists in TV shows or movies often have been moderated, containing characters with harmful stereotypes or are represented by straight actors. Mainstream movies like “Love, Simon,” “Call Me by Your Name” and “Brokeback Mountain” all feature “gay-for-pay” acting.

It’s very difficult to find a show like “Teen Wolf,” which contains a lot of gay representation, portrayed by gay actors and doesn’t conform to harmful stereotypes.

My experience with the University hasn’t been much different.

I have been in and seen productions where straight individuals have portrayed gay roles. What may seem like a niche issue actually is one of the most pressing. There’s an abundance of LGBTQ members in the arts — one of the few industries of its kind. Continuously casting straight performers in roles designed for queer ones reinforces the most harmful stereotype within the community: “Being gay is a choice.” It’s not.

Conservative media loves to push the narrative that universities are liberal safe spaces with no moral values. I think they’d be pleasantly surprised to learn that I’ve had debates in REL 110: World Religions, ESPY 202: Exploring Cultural Diversity and LAW 301: Introduction to Law, in which I am consistently surprised by the number of people who are willing to take away my rights based on their “morals.”

Their argument comes from the same hypocrisy identified by Lil Nas X, and they cite the same book I grew up reading — the Bible: A sacred text which emphasizes love, acceptance and kindness above all else, yet somehow implies that my love is not valid.

I went to Catholic school for nine years. I learned that everything you do is part of God’s plan, and you are born in his image and likeness. The Bible dictates you can’t be gay, but my Catholic school forgot to mention the parts of that same book that promotes polygamy, states you can’t eat pork and emphasizes the importance of slaves serving their masters. So maybe it doesn’t have all of the answers?

October, my mom calls me crying. She states the Pope had just given a speech on homosexual couples, offering them a place in God’s arms and emphasizing their right to a family. She was thrilled. Others were not.

March, the Pope walks back his remarks calling for priests to not bless same-sex unions. The pope cared more about appealing to his base, than appealing to his heart.

July, my sister sits in a Wisconsin church, she tells me that the priest begins his homily with a line thanking God that Pride month had finally ended. He spent the next 15 minutes complaining how difficult it was to endure the month as it was riddled with sin and hardship for true Christians.

Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s accepted.

People act as though the LGBTQ  movement has ended, but in 2020 alone, nearly 40% of LGBT youth seriously considered suicide. Don’t be fooled because the challenges and hatred are still there, and with social media, they’re organized and amplified tenfold. A lot of things have gotten better; a lot has stayed the same.

Older generations of queers tell us we are lucky. I know that I am, but I am also tired.

I don’t think people realize how draining it is; it’s exhausting, defending my existence in every class I take; it’s exhausting listening to other people’s opinions about what I should be able to do with my life: it’s exhausting being told that some other minority has had it worse every time you voice a complaint.

I still am scared to walk down the street holding hands with a boy. I dread how people will react to me being my authentic self. This fight for acceptance isn’t over; it has only changed shape.

But, as I sit and talk to my youngest cousin, I can see that her love for me outweighs anything she was taught in school. That gives me faith that we can make a better future. To her, and the rest of my family, I’ll never have to “tone it down.” I am thankful to God for that.

Micky is a junior in LAS.

[email protected]