Billboard has ruffled feathers again by declaring another pop star as a “gay icon.” The fact that this pop star is Katy Perry shouldn’t really be a controversial choice, but in this day and age of social media, everybody is a critic. In any case, here is an important part of Billboard‘s article.
“Mere hours after President Donald Trump issued a ban on transgender people serving in the military, Katy Perry roared back by tweeting ‘#ProtectTransTroops’ along with this impassioned message of support to her more than 100 million Twitter followers: ‘ALL those who defend our right to live freely should be able to serve freely! There are THOUSANDS currently serving!'”
As Billboard noted, this isn’t the first time Katy Perry has displayed support for the LGBT community. Perry’s equality song “Firework” was dedicated to a major LGBT youth group, and in 2012, she recognized Transgender Day of Remembrance by spending it with staff and volunteers from The Trevor Project, which is a crisis intervention and suicide prevention group for LGBT youth. In the early part of this decade, Perry also championed marriage equality. Let’s also not forget that Katy Perry surprised a man who survived the Orlando Massacre at the Pulse nightclub.
However, many on Twitter don’t think that Perry should be considered a gay icon.
Of course, Katy Perry hasn’t been without controversy when it comes to the LGBT community. In 2007, she had a song out called “Ur So Gay,” and though it’s obvious she didn’t intend the song to be homophobic, many thought it played into homophobic stereotypes. Then, there was her breakthrough song “I Kissed a Girl,” which also caused controversy.
The Guardian explained what the controversy over both of Perry’s songs came down to.
“Perhaps the problem here is not that Perry is particularly offensive. Maybe the problem is just that her lowest common denominator reference points are a bit stupid – part of a Perez Hiltonisation of popular culture which dictates that scribbling ‘b***h’ or ‘f*g’ across someone’s face, or daubing some little spots of sperm on the corner of a man’s mouth.”
The article summarized that although Perry’s songs could easily be misconstrued, she is, in no way, a homophobe. However, Perry recently made people question her LGBT-friendly status. She had no problem collaborating with the group Migos, who are known for making homophobic remarks about other rap acts, on her single “Bon Appétit.” Perhaps to cover up the controversy, Perry suddenly declared that she was bisexual.
According to the Daily Mail, Perry gave a speech at a Human Rights Campaign event, where she admitted to doing more than just “kissing a girl.” Some thought that Perry was just trying to sell more records. While declaring herself as bisexual just when her record sales were tanking does sound like a marketing campaign, Katy Perry has done a lot more for the LGBT community than hurt it.
One has to remember that “I Kissed a Girl” was released about a decade ago, when bisexuality was still considered a sin, laws were being made to strike down gay marriage, and people in the LGBT community were being fired just for being themselves. Of course, we’re not in a post-LGBT world yet, but things have definitely improved in the past 10 years. At least Perry embraced bisexuality, and she did it at a time when it wasn’t considered cool to do so.
Katy’s breakthrough hit earned her many LGBT fans, who also paid a role in making her next album Teenage Dream a major hit. She’s an LGBT icon, and there really shouldn’t be an argument against that. Perhaps some misguided people in the LGBT community who criticize Perry for allegedly “hurting” the community should aim their vitriol at people who really are out to cause damage.
[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]