I didn’t like Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” song when it first came out. I felt it was unoriginal, beat you over the head with what it was trying to say, and was not Gaga’s best work by any stretch.
Today, I saw the video.
For a few moments, I sat there stunned. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what I had just seen.
Then I was upset. Angry. And I couldn’t figure out why.
Suddenly, I realized what it was. This song is portrayed as Gaga’s “love letter” to the homosexual community. The Little Monsters she gave birth to in this video are supposed to be perfect, they have no prejudice. They’re all accepting, all loving, and they’re oppressed by others, but that’s okay because they were born perfect. They were born this way, and that can’t be wrong. The perfect children she gave birth to must be protected from the evil she also produced because all things must exist in balance.
Here’s what pissed me off, and it may be so far off base I should be hit with a stick. The gay community is an exclusive, angry, clique infested community where I am. If you’re not gay enough for them, they fucking hate you and call you a poser. If you haven’t known that you were gay since you could remember, you’re not really gay. You can’t be bisexual– you’ll be gay eventually, you’re just confused. If you’re a gay man, there’s a mold. If you’re a lesbian woman, there’s a mold. You have the lesbians who hate men and will just scream at them because they have a penis and have the audacity to think that a woman is attractive, and you have the catty gay men that are as bad as women are in their drama and yet shriek at every opportunity that vaginas are gross.
I’m painting a fuck lot of negative stereotypes here. I know that not everyone is this way. I know there are some wonderful queer people– I’ve met some. But those ones that make me feel like I’m a fraud because I love boys and girls equally, that say I’m just experimenting or confused because I wasn’t making my barbies have lesbian love scenes when I was six– you’re a drag. You’re not a queen. Fuck you in the goddamn ear.
Honestly, I wish I could ask Mama Monster about this. I really do. I want that gay community she talks about– that they accept that I’m a bisexual, bigender, biological female. I’m me. I’m who I’m supposed to be. My hair isn’t short because I’m a dyke– it’s short because I like it. I don’t hate my breasts because my mentality is partially male. I am not an extreme. I am not a drag queen or king– If I was a man, I’d be this same way: some days I want a pin stripe suit, some days I want heels. I can fall in love with either gender, I love *people,* not what is between their legs. I’m just figuring this shit out, I’m so sorry I’m not like the rest of you and have known this all my life. I’m new, I’m still figuring this shit out.
I know I’m being a jerk here– that gay people are just like every other group of people. They have prejudices and fears they act off of, they exclude some people, include others, and some of them have a very specific view of what being gay is and some of them do not. There is no happy, all inclusive group of people.
Mama Monster, that’s what made me so upset. I wish this race existed. I really do. I wish I could walk into a gay club and be accepted instantly, that my girlfriend and I could just be, that we wouldn’t be mistaken for straights pretending because neither of us are particularly masculine or feminine. I wish more of them didn’t care. I wish I wasn’t afraid to talk to other gay people because I’m afraid they’ll tell me I’m not really gay– I wish I could have more people that are like me, that are just this odd mess, that some days want to bind and pass, but some days seem to be adhering to the heterosexual norm. It’s not because I’m trying to fit in because it’s easier– it’s because it’s how I feel that day. The next day, it’ll change.
Maybe that prejudice is the evil that Mama Monster gives birth to in the video. Maybe that is her way of acknowledging that in what could be a group that loves and accepts everyone, there will always be a problem with that evil– that that is the choice between good and evil she speaks of. The evils of wanting to find people like you– and of wanting to shut anyone that could hurt you because they don’t understand exactly what you’re going through. You have to either take the pill of evil to protect your group, excluding people and being hurtful, or you have to accept everyone and leave open the possibility that someone could hurt you and your group.
I was born myself. Not gay. Not straight. Not feminine. Not masculine. I was born a mess. I was born confused. I was born unique. I was not born as all I will be– I am always evolving, always changing, and I am never static. And I refuse to stick to one identity to make anyone happy.
“Born This Way” is an anthem for the outcast, for the different. In that process of being different, can we not exclude the people who are different in another way? Can we overcome the fear that we’ll be misunderstood and attacked?
I haven’t. I don’t know if anyone really can. But Little Monsters– when I come to Gaga’s concert, I hope you prove me wrong. That I’ll be able to mesh with you and we can all be weird together. That the straights will be with the drag queens, that the trans folks will be right in there with everyone else, that the gay men will range from bear to twink and everything in between, that the lesbians will be femme and bull-dyke alike. That for a few hours, Mama Monster’s perfect race will exist. That we’ll all belong.
What a beautiful few hours that would be. What a beautiful place to be. If it can exist for a few hours there, maybe there’s hope it can survive outside too, out from under Gaga’s watchful eye. Take me to that dream world of acceptance, weirdness, and beauty that Gaga seems to be trying to create for all of us. Make that world exist, if only for a minute.
My paws are up, Mama Monster. I just hope they don’t get smacked back down.