I opened up my mailbox yesterday to find Adam Lambert peeking out at me. He is May’s cover story for Instinct Magazine. In the interview, Lambert talks about his upcoming album, Trespassing; his relationship with boyfriend Sauli Koskinen, a Finish reality star; and a wee bit about the issue I’d hoped would be addressed most–his lack of embracement within the gay community. Adam addresses this by stating that because he came from American Idol he may just be viewed as a flavor of the moment, but I believe that he is onto something more when he says:
“We’re very eager to celebrate a strong female. But to celebrate a fellow gay man–it gets catty sometimes.”
Adam is right. We are gaga over Gaga, mad about Madge and celebrate Cher; divas who let their freak flags fly; who own their individuality. So why is it that now that we have an out, proud gay male who fits that same mold; he is who he is, we are reluctant to embrace and own him in the same way? I believe that the answer lies in the fact that in some way Adam Lambert makes us ’embarrassed to be gay.’
We, as a gay male community, have still not completely managed to combat the steryotypical image in part of population’s heads that all gay men are ‘screaming queens.’ We long for a strong, butch, male to whom we can point and say ‘see world that is us.’ When we look at Lambert or a Johnny Weir, we are confronted with an image that makes us unconfortable. It makes us uncomfortable because it seems to reinforce a steryotype that we as a community are trying so hard to shatter in order to gain acceptance and full equality. The reality is, though, that men like Lambert and Weir are part of our community and we shouldn’t shy away from them.
We do have bold and striking members of our community who, while they may be sterotypes in some peoples minds, are individuals in their own. We should own those folks. We should own a Weir and a Lambert as much as we do a figure like a Gareth Thomas. Because while Lambert and Weir may not representallof us, they do represent some segment of our community. And those people are looking at Lambert and Weir; saying ‘that’s me’; and gaining confidence from that.
The Lamberts and Weir’s of the world are also making it easier for someone like a Ricky Martin or a Chely Wright to come out. Lambert and Wier are demontrating that you can be out and still have fans and a career. They are demonstrating ‘if I can do it, you can do it’ to others who may be more reluctant to be out and giving them just a little bit more courage and inspiration to reach for the knob on that closet door and turn it.
Finally, we should own the Lamberts and Weirs of the community because if we don’t, the haters will. The people who want to keep us down will use them to say ‘see gay people are different; they’re bad.’ Let’s not give them that power. When we own a Johnny Weir, we strip the power out of the hands of the haters to use those individuals as fear-mongering sterotypes against us. When we proudly claim Lambert as one of our own, we dilute the power of those who want to oppress us and make ourselves more empowered in the process. When we are proud of every intelligent, successful, well-adjusted person within our community no matter what stripe of the rainbow they make up, then we reduce the shame and stigma for everyone in the community and that’s the best reason of all to embrace our own.