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Homophobia in Music

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March 19, 2019

Homophobia in Music

Despite advances in gay rights, homophobia in music continues to appear. Sometimes it is overt. Other times it is more subtle. Often when musicians are called out for anti-gay lyrics they claim they are adopting a character, expressing themselves creatively, or that their lyrics have been misunderstood. Other times they become defensive and argue that free speech gives them the right to spew hate.

Whatever the artists' rational, anti-gay lyrics reinforce stereotypes and accelerate hostility and hatred of GLBT individuals. Of course, plenty of musicians change over time. Some who wrote homophobic songs early in their careers have gone on to change their views (or at least their tunes...).

One example is the rapper, Common who in 2007 said he would respond to gay fans' concerns by no longer producing homophobic music.They was like, 'Why you keep disrespecting homosexuality?' I thought about it. I ain't here to judge 'em, so I just decided not to approach it like that. Common isn't the only person to change his views.

Superstar Kanye West spoke out against homophobia during a 2008 concert saying that it took him time to, "break out of the mental prisons [of homophobia]" and encouraged the audience to, "Open your minds. Be accepting of different people and let people be who they are." In a 2009 interview with MTV he continued on this theme explaining,

"I used to be scared to talk to a gay person...And in hip hop, there's people — and let's not even say scared like homophobic — but they're scared of the way people gonna look at them." Common and Kanye West aren't the only musicians to speak out against homophobia. But as the offenders below show, there continue to be artists out there who still think mocking someone for being gay or using a gay slur is perfectly acceptable.

Katy Perry: Ur So Gay

I usually feel pretty immune to dumb pop songs. But Katy Perry's debut song, Ur So Gay, reaches a new low. The song is supposedly about an ex (possibly Pete Wentz?) of Perry's. It's your standard, we broke up, you done me wrong, now I'm going to bash you in song, ode that we've heard a million times before


But this version comes with a twist. The major crime of Katy's ex is not cheating or partying. Nope. It is being a straight guy who acts "gay." That is, if being gay means you are a soy eating, make-up wearing, Mozart listening, electric car driving depressive.Perry sings:

I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf / While j**ing off listening to Mozart / You b*** and moan about LA / Wishing you were in the rain reading Hemingway / You don’t eat meat / And drive electrical cars You’re so indie rock it’s almost an art / You need SPF 45 just to stay alive / You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys

Does Perry think that because she sings about kissing a girl in I Kissed a Girl she negates the homophobic references in Ur So Gay? That she's "part of the club" so it's okay? Or does she, like so many others, buy the notion that it's sexy and cool for two (straight) women to hook-up, but gross for guys to exhibit "gay" traits?

Whatever, her motivation, Perry's song reveals a lot more about her true character than it does about her ex, a guy who based on her song, I might actually enjoy hanging out with.

Lil' Wayne: Why the Need for so Many "No Homos" in His Songs?

What do you do if you're a straight male rapper and a picture of you kissing another man emerges? Apparently, if you're Lil' Wayne you have to prove your heterosexuality by inserting the phrase "No Homo" into a lot of your songs.

Now, I actually don't know if doing so is a specific response to the incident with the picture (something both men first denied but then later explained as being a "father son" type of kiss...). But whatever the motivation, saying "no homo" doesn't prove Lil' Wayne is straight, it just highlights his own insecurities about his sexual orientation. For example, in the song, Georgia Bush, Lil' Wayne raps: "Got money out the a** / No homo but I'm rich."

Oh right, because any reference to your posterior must mean you're gay!

And in his song, Lollipop, Lil' Wayne opens with, "Uh Huh / No homo / Young Mula baby / I say he so sweet make her wanna lick the rapper / So I let her lick the rapper." Lil' Wayne is by no means the only person in rap, (or any other genre) to use that phrase, but he is hugely popular right now.

So the more he uses a phrase like this, the more acceptable it becomes to promote the idea that it would be disastrous for a straight man to ever be mistaken for gay.

Eminem: Claims Portraying a Homophobic "Character" Makes His Lyrics Okay

Eminiem's songs have often been called some of the most homophobic in history. For example, his 2000 song, Marshall Mathers says this:"New Kids on the Block, sucked a lot of d*** / Boy-girl groups make me sick / And I can't wait 'til I catch all you f*****s in public / I'ma love it [hahaha]"

Equally upsetting was Criminal, another song off the same album, where Eminem raps: "Whether you're a f*g or a l*z, Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-vest, Pants or dress - hate f*gs? The answer's yes."Yet the next year, Eminiem appeared with the openly gay musician Elton John at the Grammys to perform a song together.

He has also claimed that he personally does not hate gay people. Rather he says he is portraying a homophobic character through his music.

He touches on same sex relationships in his 2008 memoir, The Way I Am, saying, "Ultimately, who you choose to be in a relationship with and what you do in your bedroom is your business," and later told the New York Times that he supports gay marriage because, "If two people love each other..

.I think that everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable, if they want."Some of Eminem's worst songs are now almost ten years old and many people felt he was turning a corner with his anti-George Bush song, Mosh. However, his 2009 album,

Relapse proves that some things remain the same. For example, in the song, We Made You, he raps, "Lindsay, please come back to seein' men/ Samantha's a you're practically a 10." Later he asks Portia de Rossi, "What's Ellen DeGeneres have that I don't?"

Maybe the homophobia in this song isn't as violent as it once was, but this song, combined with Eminem's rather weak explanations for his homophobic words of the past, don't really make me think that we are looking at a very changed rapper.

Beenie Man: His Anti-Gay Songs Bring Attention to Homophobia in Dancehall Music

Beenie Man is a Jamaican rapper who makes raggatron and dancehall music.In 2006, the rapper was forced to cancel a number of concerts after there was public outcry over his intensely homophobic lyrics. For example, his song Damn says, "Well I'm think of a new Jamaica, me come to execute all of the gays."In an interview with Britain's

The Independent, Beenie Man tried to explain that he wasn't actually homophobic, but rather was aiming his violent lyrics at child molesters. As he said: "Jamaica is not against gay people. Gay means consented sex. What we have in Jamaica is not what it is in England where two men live together...In Jamaica, gay is rape.

It's a big man with their money going into the ghetto and picking these little youth who ain't got nothing. And then give them money and then involving them."Seems like a bit of a cop out to me! Especially when you consider he could just be clear in his music if it really is child molesters he is talking about. And really, what does he mean, "In Jamaica gay is rape?"

The controversy surrounding Beenie Man raised awareness about homophobia in dancehall music, but so far few other performers in the genre have even bothered to speak to the issue.

Big & Rich and Brad Paisley: Homophobia Country Style

Hip Hop, rap and dancehall music often get labeled as being anti-gay. But country can also bring out some pretty nasty (though often more subtly) homophobic stuff.The country group Big & Rich is known for songs like Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy.

They are also known for writing a song supporting John McCain in the 2008 election, and for lead singer, John Rich's outspoken homophobia.For example, during a radio show to which he regularly contributes, the country singer went on a rant against gay marriage saying::

"I think if you legalize that, you've got to legalize some other things that are pretty unsavory. You can call me a radical, but how can you tell an aunt that she can't marry her nephew if they are really in love and sharing the bills?

How can you tell them they can't get married, but something else that's unnatural can happen?"While the group isn't overtly homophobic in their songs, the views of its members are pretty well known.Another country singer, 2008 Grammy nominee, Brad Paisley, has a popular song called, I'm Still a Guy.

Well love makes a man do some things he ain't proud of / And in a weak moment I might walk your sissy dog, hold your purse at the mall / But remember, I'm still a guy /.../ These days there's dudes getting facials / Manicured, waxed and botoxed / With deep spray-on tans and creamy lotiony hands / You can't grip a tacklebox / With all of these men lining up to get neutered / It's hip now to be feminized / I don't highlight my hair / I've still got a pair / Yeah honey, I'm still a guy

Now Paisley isn't coming out and saying that manicures, botox and holding a purse make a man "gay." But it isn't exactly a stretch to see homophobia in his condemnation of anything not hyper-masculine.

What is Internalized Homophobia?

Internalized Homophobia?

Answer: In its most general definition, internalized homophobia is a self-loathing of someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans and does not want to be. But there are many more subtle ways that this plays out in our community.

Because there are so many negative stereotypes about gays, lesbians and bisexuals in popular culture and religion, gays and lesbians often turn that into hatred for themselves.

This is called internalized homophobia. Internalized homophobia can be blatant, like the person who attempts to change their sexual orientation by Reparative Therapy or the young LGBT person who attempts suicide because they would rather be dead than be gay.

Internalized homophobia can be more subtle. For example, some lesbians may be uncomfortable or embarrassed by more butch or stereotypical lesbian-looking women. Gay men may act ultra-macho to hide the fact that they're gay. They may not even be aware that they have these feelings.

Or they may not recognize the feelings as internalized homophobia. Some may think people in the community who are too flamboyant, too out, or too political reflect poorly on you--or on gays and lesbians as a whole. Someone may be accepting of herself as lesbian, but not of the greater gay community. She may not want to associate with other LGBTs.

Justin Tranter on Homophobia In the Music Industry & Why Halsey Is 'The Realest of the Real Deal'

Justin Tranter is responsible for enormous hits with Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, but that doesn't make the gender-nonconforming songwriter immune to industry-entrenched homophobia. Not only does Tranter have credits on Halsey’s new album

but the hitmaker has co-writes on four songs on this week’s Billboard Hot 100. Still, the wordsmith deals with intolerance on a regular basis. In an extensive interview with Billboard,

Tranter pulls back the curtain on the industry's bigotry, shares stories about working with Halsey and Julia Michaels, and remembers the moment when old friend Lady Gaga discovered their success as a songwriter: "I got 25 texts in a row."

Do you think homophobia is still prevalent behind the scenes in the music industry?

Homophobia is still prevalent everywhere on the entire planet -- especially behind the scenes in the music industry. I’ve experienced some really very obvious, direct homophobia -- when I was still trying to be an artist, behind the scenes, being told to be less gay, be less feminine.

But also I like to quote -- well, misquote or paraphrase -- what Chris Rock said at the Oscars about racism in Hollywood. He was like, “It’s not like you get lynched racism, it’s like sorority racism. It’s like, we like Becky but she’s just not a Delta Gamma" or whatever he said.

That’s sort of when it comes to misogyny and homophobia in the music business. Meeting the female songwriters in the industry -- people do say outright awful shit to them. The thing that makes it harder for us to succeed is that the bros that are running the industry, they're not throwing down with us.

They may be slightly uncomfortable and won’t exactly know what to do in the session-- they can’t do the normal things like talk about girls in a degrading way. There are moments of very obvious homophobia and misogyny, and racism of course -- all these things still exist in this business. There’s the obvious moments and then there is the more subtle moments.

Is there a specific thing that someone said to you that really sticks out as a songwriter?

Two things. One, there is this cool new gay singer and I heard his single -- his voice is so crazy. I reached out to try to work with him and I got an email back saying, “Oh, I just never put you in the session because I assumed there would be too much 'gay' in one room.” They didn't think that was a bad thing to say.

Another time, I walked into a session and the producer knew my music and my songs but didn’t know me and what I looked like. I had just gone to dinner with friends and I was serving a pretty chic look and he literally sort of just stopped and was like, “Uh…” I was like, “Hi, I’m here to write a song with you,” and he was like,

“Uh I didn’t know you were going to be like that.” I was like, “What?” and he was like, “Well I mean you know…” and I was like, “No I don’t. I don’t know. You’re going to have to explain.” This is just a couple of examples of the shit you hear.

Do you have any memories growing up of when you started to express your feminine side?

Of course! Those are the best memories. One of the first things I can remember is picking up a stick and immediately thinking it’s a magic wand where of course my brothers always thought it was a gun. One time, for Gay Christmas -- a.k.a. Halloween -- where every f--king Halloween it was like,

“Yesss, I can dress up as a woman and then no one can get mad at me!” And then actually in fourth grade, I won ‘most creative Halloween costume’ when I was half man and half woman.

That is the most telling Halloween costume possibly of all time. There’s just so many great memories. I was very lucky that my family really supported me in exploring my femininity when I was young and so it was a joyous thing. My parents would actually explain that to me,

“Yes of course you can do whatever you want, we just want you to know that you are getting bullied -- this isn’t going to make it any easier.” But they were so supportive. I just got to do whatever I wanted and it was f--king great.

So femininity is sometimes rejected by gay men -- have there been times when you…

Sometimes? Sometimes being rejected? It’s always being rejected in the gay community.

Can you tell me about a specific experience?

It’s interesting to see the more femme that you present yourself, the more people sort of dehumanize you. If it is sexual, it’s very fetishized and if it isn’t sexual it’s just a prop. I’ll never forget this guy I was dating and we're still close friends, but when we first met and trying to date -- we were out at a club and I was giving the fierce look and people would just pet me


He was like, “Woah, does this happen all the time?” I had this jacket on with an interesting texture people would touch it and even take it off of me and put it on. He was the one that pointed out to me how odd that was -- it’s because of my femininity, I was just this object and sort of a toy for everyone to play with. Of course, being femme makes dating very difficult. One time,

I was working with the amazing producer Tricky Stewart. He’s an amazing guy -- one of the most open champions and allies of the business, if you ask me. He had brought me down to Atlanta to work at his studio.

I just went into the studio with daytime makeup on and I wasn’t wearing heels, and the people in the studio -- they weren’t with him, they were just working in the studio -- someone made a comment and they were like,

“Don’t talk to us.” And I was like, “Excuse me?” They were like, “Don’t talk to us. We don’t talk to people like you.” At first I thought they were kidding, but they weren’t kidding at all. The first thing I thought in the head was, “Oh my god, I’m not wearing heels, I’m not wearing makeup. I don’t have my feminine armor on.”

I felt so defenseless because I didn’t have my magical, feminine armor on. That was a really interesting moment for me to realize that how much the femininity was protecting me.

I’m sure that seeing such an unapologetic, queer person in a prominent role in the music industry has made quite an impression on some young kids struggling with their identity. Have you ever had anyone reach out to you and tell them about the impression you made on them?

Oh yeah! I’m fortunate enough that I do get messages from people saying how inspiring my story is and how they feel that they could do it too. And every single time I cry.

I’m tearing up just talking about it, because when I was growing up, the closest thing there was to mainstream, out-and-proud was RuPaul. Ru is all we had and it’s so funny that Ru is doing it again, f--king twenty years later.

I get those messages and it’s really amazing. Sam Smith posted a thing on his Instagram about how way back in the day, he sent me a message and I wrote back giving him confidence and the encouragement to pursue music. This was four years before he was famous. It’s pretty crazy. When a fan posted that, I lost my mind.

It was really cool too because in the industry, my band [Semi Precious Weapons] was viewed as a failure. We had an amazing fan base and toured like crazy and I don’t regret it for one second, but in the industry, it was viewed as a failure.

So, to see that me busting my ass and my three straight band members supporting me and my very over-the-top queer vision -- to get that message from Sam and to see that it inspired one of the biggest openly gay stars of all time, I

You've explained the queer undertones on Selena Gomez’s “Good For You”, but do you have any other songs that have queer meanings?

I really do pride myself on being able to help other people tell their stories and bring out the best in them. But I still, every song I’m writing, I still need to relate to it. I still need to find my true self in it or else it’ll feel dishonest. I mean everything has a queer meaning as far as I’m concerned.

I look at the majority of my songs and I feel very proud. I feel proud of being a part of a song that got Justin Bieber to be vulnerable and apologize. I’m really proud right now with Maroon 5’s “Cold” -- that it’s Adam Levine expressing vulnerability in fear of losing his girlfriend.

Obviously that’s not his real story, but that’s what the song represents. I’m really proud of “Cake By The Ocean” being a really flamboyant that’s over the top, sexually free song.

I’m really proud of the new DNCE song “Kissing Strangers” featuring Queen Nicki [Minaj] because my favorite line, “Open heart, open mind/ Never know what you’ll find/ Open heart, open mind/ Kissing Strangers” like being open minded to the love that might be in front of you.”

There’s an element of surprise and amazement in pretty much all of them. Some of my favorite highlights was watching Gwen’s [Stefani] dedication to telling her whole truth and nothing but her truth so-help-her-god is really f--king cool. Watching Courtney Love write some of the best lyrics of all time in like six minutes, while smoking -- that’s pretty cool. I think Selena [Gomez] is just really f--king impressive.

Me and Julia Michaels got an email from our publishers saying, “Hey Linkin Park thinks your stuff is dope, do you want to go in?” We were like, “What do you mean? That doesn’t seem like an obvious fit at all, but what a cool experience.”We just went in for a day -- we did our thing, they were so sweet.

Mike [Shinoda] is just a brilliant producer, brilliant writer. Chester [Bennington] is f--king dope -- his voice is just insane, like magical f--cked-up gold. We did two and half hours and then we left. I wish there was a better story for you.

Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom just debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. What was it like working with her?

Oh my god, it was so cool. The song we wrote [“Bad At Love”] is very queer. It was just amazing to watch her work. She works really fast, really smart. She’s like the realest of real deal.I’m really lucky I got to hang out with her and help her out because that girl is fine on her own.

We ended up talking every nine months or something because our paths cross or something cool happens. But it was really neat when it first started happening for me as a pop songwriter -- I think when the Gwen song came out, somehow it came across her radar that I had done other couple hits before that and I got 25 texts in a row like,

“Wait. What the f--k? What are you doing? Where are you? What’s happening? I’m so proud of you! Woah! Woah! Wait, really? Wait Bieber. Wait Selena. Wait Gwen.

”That was a really cool moment just because it’s been a long journey of us back in her New York days of Gaga opening for us and then us opening for Gaga. I think Lady Gaga and people from the past know how hard I’ve worked I think are all very, very proud of me, which is really cool.

You co-wrote Julia’s song, “Issues” -- how did you two know that was going to be her song and not someone else’s?

That was such a special moment. The minute I met Julia, I knew she had a very, very specific story to tell. Everyone that ever met her was like, “You’re an artist, you’re a star,” and I could see just the thought of that was very overwhelming for her.

So, I did my best to say it as little as possible, even though I wanted to say it every f--king day. What was cool, it was kind of like a double whammy -- when we wrote “Issues” she was so connected to it, as she should be.There was another song that she was maybe going to be a feature on and it ended up not happening and they put a different artist on it.

She was so devastated that they weren’t going to keep her vocals on the song that she was so close to -- this was a different song than “Issues.” It was right around the same time and I kind of just said to her when she was in the bathroom crying in the middle of the session -- which is very normal for us, it’s not like a big drama.

We’re songwriters, it happens. So, I kind of knock on the door, “Hey, honey I think we need to think about this. If your voice not being on the song is hurting you that much, I think it’s time for you to own the facts that you’re a fucking superstar.”

We had luckily written “Issues” in that same realm, maybe in the same month or so.

It was kind of that moment like, “Oh wait. Yep I’m very upset about this feature and I have this song that is still so important to me.” All the songs that we have written are very much our stories, but “Issues” -- it was like, “this is Julia, this is her.” She had to f--king keep it and I was so supportive


The other people we wrote it with were a little skeptical just because it’s such a special song and if you put it on a superstar, it has a better chance of working. But me and Julia were like, “Nope, bitches, that’s her song.”

So, it was really cool and now to see it work so well it’s just one of those moments you read about happening in somebody else’s life and you don’t think it’s going to ever happen in yours but it’s really cool to be a part of that.

Speaking of helping artists tell their stories, you started an imprint and signed two acts. Can you tell me about them?

Shea Diamond is just the queen of the planet. She is this unbelievable singer-songwriter. Beautiful, beautiful trans woman of color, who has lived just a life that if you saw in a movie you wouldn’t believe. A friend of mine sent me a clip of her singing the song, “I Am Her” acapella on YouTube.

She was singing it as a Trans Lives Matter event and I was just like, the voice is insane and the lyrics were some of the best I’ve ever heard. I just found it so inspiring to hear her in this one song -- she talks about the good and the bad things she has done in her life and how it all makes her, her.

I was just blown away, so I had to work with her immediately. We’re going to have an album out sometime in the next four or five months. Another queen of the planet is this disco group called Plasty that we’re about to start putting out stuff on soon.

Garrett Clayton Opens Up About Homophobia in Hollywood

Actor Garrett Clayton is opening up about his decision to come out as gay, explaining that he felt pressure from Hollywood to stay in the closet and the homophobia he experienced.

The former Disney star spoke with Gay Times in his first major interview since taking to Instagram in August to publicly come out as gay, revealing his relationship with writer Blake Knight


Clayton said Hollywood execs shamed him into staying in the closet for years even though he "finally feels comfortable" with his sexuality. He said at on point he was bluntly asked if he was gay by "somebody who was instrumental in starting my career."

"I could feel the pressure of the question, so I was like, 'Yeah, I'm gay, or bi, or whatever,' because suddenly I could feel that there was something wrong with that in this person's eyes," he said. "They looked at me and said, 'No one wants to fuck the gay guy, they want to go shopping with him, so we're going to have to figure this out.'"

The 27-year-old actor added: "It turned into this situation where I'd get calls and they'd say, 'You still need to butch it up.' I literally had to change everything about myself at that point, otherwise, I was never gonna make it."

"And that was so conflicting because here's somebody offering you your dream, but they're telling you that you're not good enough the way you are," Clayton went on to tell Gay Times. "You're talented, but who you are isn't good enough."

"They had me changing the way I walked, the way I spoke, the way I dressed, the way I answered questions," he said. "It got as petty as them saying, 'People need to see that you're into sports because they'll think that's more masculine, so why don't you go buy a sports hat, take some pictures in it, and make sure people see you in it.'"

Clayton, who starred in the gay porn drama "King Cobra," also detailed about his time in casting There'd be calls after I went into casting offices like, 'Hey, this is how gay casting thought you came across today, so here's what you need to do to fix it.' I even had cast members screaming drunkenly in the middle of a room, '

Who here thinks Garrett is gay?' and then yelling at me for not having come out yet," he said. "I convinced myself that I was the problem, and I got into a really dark place for a couple of years.

"Then I went to therapy for about a year and a half to really sort through all the things I went through growing up and the situations I found myself in while in Hollywood," Clayton told the publication. "I got to work through all those conflicting things."

Clayton recently made headlines for reimagining "I Put a Spell On You" to celebrate the Halloween cult favorite "Hocus Pocus."

Ellen Page Exposes How Homophobia Still Thrives in Hollywood

The actress and producer shared a harrowing story about the time director Brett Ratner allegedly outed her in front cast and crew during the making of ‘X-Men: The Last Stand.’

“You should fuck her to make her realize she’s gay.”

In a Facebook post on Friday, Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page shared the moment director Brett Ratner cruelly outed her on the set of his mediocre film X-Men: The Last Stand.

Page wrote, “I was eighteen years old. He looked at a woman standing next to me, ten years my senior, pointed to me and said: ‘You should fuck her to make her realize she’s gay.’ I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself. I knew I was gay, but did not know, so to speak. I felt violated when this happened.

I looked down at my feet, didn’t say a word and watched as no one else did either. This man, who had cast me in the film, started our months of filming at a work event with this horrific, unchallenged plea.

He ‘outed’ me with no regard for my well-being, an act we all recognize as homophobic.” (Page’s account was corroborated by her co-star in the film, Anna Paquin.)

It’s a chilling reminder that Hollywood thrives on powerful men who use sexism and misogyny to retain their position on the totem pole, and that they also take glee in mocking the sexuality of LGBT members of their community. Much of the applause Hollywood gives itself for being inclusive is lip service


Last year, Moonlight won Best Picture at the Oscars, but let’s not pretend it’s changed how gay men and women are treated in Hollywood. It wasn’t until 2014, almost ten year after Last Stand, that Page came out in a beautiful speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive conference. In her speech she said, “I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out.

My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain.” It’s a pain that Page has revisited in speaking out about Ratner, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct by at least six women in the past two weeks.

Actors like Page, Kristen Stewart, Jodie Foster, Matt Bomer or Colton Haynes, to name a few, have had their lives scrutinized while they were in the closet by a media and industry that reinforces gender stereotypes and allows powerful men to abuse people. When you’re caught between both of those warring forces, it’s no wonder many actors feel afraid to come out.

Would you come out if you were a leading man in an action-movie franchise, knowing that a director like Ratner could publicly mock you for your sexuality on set? And get away with it?

On Friday, in response to a piece gay comedian and writer Guy Branum wrote for Vulture on the toxic boys’ club of stand-up that allows predatory men like Louis C.K. to thrive, Hannibal and American Gods producer Bryan Fuller tweeted,

“I’m reminded of my first Star Trek Christmas Party as a genuine working writer in Hollywood. I walked in the door and a producer shouted across the crowded room, ‘I didn’t know they invited fags to this party.’”

“Fag” is still a word men like Ratner feel comfortable throwing around—and wielding as a weapon. Years after harassing Page on set, Ratner said in a public Q&A that “rehearsal is for fags” in response to an innocuous question about whether or not he rehearsed with his actors prior to filming Tower Heist.

It’s a question that speaks for itself if you’re one of the unfortunate few to have actually seen Tower Heist, but Ratner’s casual use of the word “fag” in a public setting with reporters present shows how men with power in Hollywood feel confident enough that casual homophobia won’t wreck their careers.

After his statement, Ratner was ousted from his producing duties at the 2012 Academy Awards but continued being a successful producer in Hollywood, courtesy of a $450 million co-financing deal with Warner Bros.

Keep in mind: he’d already been accused of masturbating in front of Olivia Munn and sexually harassing her at the time. It didn’t seem to matter. Could Page’s admission of Ratner’s alleged homophobia be a turning point for other actors to speak of homophobic abuse they’ve suffered in the industry?


But when we still have actors like Kevin Spacey who use their “coming out” to shield themselves from sexual assault allegations, thereby giving conservative pundits the opportunity to refer to gay men as child predators, it’s highly unlikely.

Celebrating queer lives is au courant when it’s time to hand out awards and allow stars to pat themselves on the back but Hollywood has no real desire to protect LGBT individuals and create a safe environment for them to come out.

Just take a look at next year’s Oscar contender, Call Me by Your Name. Even though last year’s Best Picture winner was the queer coming-of-age story Moonlight, this week Sony Pictures Classics promoted Call Me by Your Name using a photograph of actors Timothée Chalamet and Esther Garrel, straightwashing the central relationship of the film:

Chalamet and Armie Hammer. Because we can keep the gay stuff relegated to a dark movie theater, but in the harsh light of day, heteronormativity is the only option.

M I Ro

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