Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gay Performers Like Adam Lambert Held To A Different Standard

If anything, the outcry over the controversial American Music Awards performance by gay singer Adam Lambert proves that gay performers are held to a far different standard than heterosexual performers. For years, performers like Michael Jackson, Madonna or Britney Spears have been performing shows with highly sexualized content such as crotch grabbing or suggestive sexual movements. But when an openly gay performer Adam Lambert did the same thing at the American Music Awards, then the public outcry began. Further, it has been social conservative organizations such as the Parent's Television Council which have pressed members to file FCC complaints.

This is part of the problem. Entertainers in the United States are supposed to create entertainment, yet are tightly constrained by a complex web of censorship legislation that social conservative complainer's can use to mow down freedom of expression by using government as a tool to impose huge and excessive fines, or in some cases imprisonment. Couple this with the anti-gay rights focus of many right wing social conservative organizations. All of this sets up a climate of hostility where a gay performer such as Adam Lambert will be judged by a far different standard than a heterosexual performer like a Madonna or a Britney Spears. Probably the gay kiss of a band mate might have been the straw that broke the camel's back for many social conservatives.

Compared to outlandish performers such as Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert's American Music Awards performance wasn't all that much different. But in the current repressed social climate in the U.S. where gay rights are far less socially acceptable than in Europe, gay musicians are only likely to be judged by a different standard here.

As part of the backlash to Adam Lambert's AMA performance, GOOD MORNING AMERICA quickly bent to public pressure and canceled a scheduled appearance of Lambert as a result. No one can accuse GMA of having balls. Maybe they should grow a good set and not so easily wilt to public pressure. There is no guarantee that Lambert would be raunchy. This is simply a blanket ban on an entertainer. It's like a modern-day Joe McCarthy type blacklisting. Will popular TV shows begin to blacklist gay entertainers out of fear?

It might take a few days for the dust to clear. However, the fallout over the Adam Lambert performance might mean a more tight and repressive social environment for performers to operate in with less freedom of expression in at least the short-run. But for now, the gay kiss by performer Adam Lambert is like the gay kiss heard around the world, or at least in the more socially conservative United States.


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