Society is always complaining about how celebrities are not good role models and how they have responsibilities to the public and their fans. What they do in public has an effect and if it’s done in private, should it come to the fore, it had better be good. In addition to that they have been urged to use their platform and influence to better society, make changes and help in dealing with social ills. They have done this to some extent, and they have endeared their time to causes closest to their hearts. I find myself wondering if homophobia is a cause, if gay equality is a cause and if that is so, do the celebrities we love, whose music we buy and movies we watch avidly do anything to advance gay rights? Should they be helping anyway?

On the international arena, most gay men are huge fans of Beyonce and the infamous “Mother Monster” Lady Gaga, so much so that our names on facebook are derivatives of these star’s names. We buy their music and anything that is endorsed by them we consume. So popular is Beyonce that she has never tweeted but boasts a following of almost 2 million fans. Her unborn baby has a twitter account, as sign of fan fixation, if you ask me. Lady Gaga is a 21st century history maker, over a hundred awards and millions of copies sold and she is only at album number two. Her youtube views of her controversial videos are hell raising, millions tune in to get a dose of the monster action. These artists are big, have influence and if they took the time, could lend a hand to the advancement of this sect of their fan base. We are fans, stans and all round supporters, almost like we are family, without the regular family gatherings. With that said, have our favourite stars spoken against homophobia, do we want them to or they obliged to, seeing as we are fans in need of voices?

A few years ago a rumour spread that Mrs Knowles Carter had said that her Christian beliefs prescribed that homosexuality is wrong and as such she could not endorse it, though it remains a rumour, her response was a meek rebuttal and life went on. She has said she appreciates her gay fans and in a recent interview with a US based gay magazine admitted to fusing gay slang in her music and act. But is that enough, is having members of staff enough, or do we not care, as long as we can ‘run the world’ at clubs every Friday? In her own country of America, where she is revered by the First Family, Beyonce has recorded a song to encourage kids to be active, has a foundation for girls, but her response to gay boys who look up to her is “I have seen them grow up to my music” and she hopes they can be who they want to be, through her music. In a country rocked by bullying based on sexual orientation and a national movement to block gay marriage, could ‘King B’ be taking her pink fans for granted.

In contrast Lady Gaga has been a vocal artist in all senses of the word. From dedicating her hit track “Born this way” to wearing a meat dress to an awards show all in support of gay rights. She has led marches and she was there hand in hand in New York when that State legalised gay marriage, embracing the victory personally. Her stance has been so great that she pulled out of a deal with a retailer that had exclusive rights to sell her album, because that corporation had backed a candidate who endorsed a Proposition 8 like law. Destiny’s leading Child took over and kept her deluxe edition at that retailer. Many have said that Gaga is using her fans for marketing and Publicity. Personally I say all celebrities do the same, but this is publicity for a worthy cause…

On the local scene we have gay bashing and killings in extreme cases of homosexuals. Do we need our local stars to speak out? Local songstress Lira performed at this year’s Johannesburg Gay Pride annual event, performing her hit ‘rise again’ and stressing how important that song is to the pink community. Apart from that, I have not heard anything from her. Other artist and celebrities are even famous for being “hags”, Bonang Matheba is a notable hag, she has a posse of gay friends, no names mentioned, Dineo Ranaka is a hag of note and the list goes on. These stars have been honoured by the Feathers as inspiring the gay community, but actually have they done anything for the gay community? Spoken out against bullying, maybe?

My point is if we are fans, as a collective, do we feel we need the added muscle of these big stars that we support to help on our cause, seeing as we don’t have that many gay and proud celebrities apart from Somizi

We are ok with consuming, but we are never ready to produce. We are fine with being used but never want to be paid, we are fine with hanging with the right crowd and tagging along, we never want to stand on our own. We never want to speak, for fear of judgement, by other gays. Perhaps it’s time we asked ourselves what have we done to make it better for ourselves, and perhaps asking if our fave girls in the spotlight really appreciate our support as a collective and demand that they do right by us. And if we cannot, maybe we need to SIT DOWN and stop complaining about equality, when we do nothing to advance it for ourselves. The struggle for racial equality was led by black people, and yes there were other races, but at the fore front were black people. The struggle (if there is one) for gay equality should be led by gay people. Part of that includes us recognising our place in it and asking the right questions. Asking if we are supporting tacit homophobes is a good place to start.

Written by Guest Writer: Motlatsi

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