Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Tweeted "WE DID IT" to Lady Gaga and Gaga in turn reported she cried tears of joy over the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal's passage in the Senate. Oh, brother.
In response to Senator Reid's ham-fisted attempt to get his grandchildren front row concert tickets, Lady Gaga responded,
"Can't hold back the tears+pride. We did it!i Our voice was heard + today the Senate REPEALED DADT. A triumph for equality after 17 YEARS"
With all due respect to a woman who can walk in heels designed for a race of crab-people and almost sort of rock a dress made of meat: This is not about you. Aside from the fact that Gaga seems to think America's history of violating the rights of gay people only extends back to the inception of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 1993, when she was a seven year old girl, the DADT ruling is a watershed moment for American gays because it means that servicemembers no longer have to lie in order to serve their country. The repeal of DADT belongs to the people who were oppressed by it, not by a crying pop star, and there comes a time when even the most attention-seeking of us owe it to the cause to sit back and let other people enjoy their victory.
Gaga wasn't alone in crowing over the victory as though a whole new world of freedom is now available to her. Katy "Lesbianism As Straight Male Entertainment" Perry also had to get in on the action, Tweeting,
"SUPPORTING ALL OUR TROOPS! RT @Pink: Congrats 2 US!!! REPEAL of DADT & 17 years of allowing Human Rights Violations. There's hope after all!"
Yes, Katy Perry. There's hope for you, after all. Hope that gay people will forget that you wrote, recorded, and perform a song that uses the word "gay" as an insult and start buying your albums. (At least she could have been clever with her response to the repeal, maybe saying something like "I kissed a girl & I liked it & now that girl is joining the Marines." Or something. Be better, Katy Perry!)
I don't begrudge celebrities for adopting causes; fighting for social justice is an honorable way to use one's fame to promote the greater good and give voice to the voiceless, but it's one thing to work to support a cause and it's another thing to co-opt it. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are cis white women who, quite frankly would not have their daily lives affected in any way, shape, or form had the DADT repeal failed. Their internet-professed tears of joy and victory sound a lot like an obnoxious attempt to do the equivalent of photobomb a seriously important victory for gay Americans.
Yesterday saw a victory for human rights, and today is a great day for everyone except John McCain, Maude Flanders, and the Grinch to feel unfamiliarly warm, fuzzy feelings about our legislative branch. Today is a day for members of America's military to know that the end of hiding who they are in order to keep their jobs is within sight. Today is not a day for people who were not personally oppressed by Don't Ask, Don't Tell to make it about themselves, although I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that they are.
Lady Gaga, Katy Perry React To Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal [MTV]
Image via AP