Op-Ed: Katy Perry: Homophobe or The Future of Gay Rights?


Well apparently it is Katy Perry week on Musformation! A lot of people of the side of gay rights aren’t too keen on Katy Perry for her songs “UR So Gay” and “I Kissed A Girl”.  While the former has the usual negative association with the word “gay” prevlant in the teenage vernacular, the latter seems to be quite pro-gay. Everywhere I look there is another moronic, badly thought out rant against everything she stands for. While this may never have been the way she planned, in the long term, the gay community may be thanking this daughter of two pastors for her inadvertent work for gay rights.

Raised On It
Growing up in a racially diverse town, my best friends were from nearly every race from the time I entered Kindergarten. When people discussed racism, it took conditioning and lectures to understand why anyone would see a difference in people over the color of their skin. That was just the start; I caught the bug of childhood ignorance around the time I heard Axl Rose railing against “Immigrants, Fa**ots, and N***rs”, seeing as I thought Axl was the coolest thing I had ever seen, I thought being an ignorant racist was part of it. Later on, in my teens, I found punk rock and I matured to realize my ignorance was not my bliss.
“Ain’t No Big Deal”- Katy Perry from “I Kissed A Girl”
An important part in achieving equal rights for the LGBT community is for the general populace to see being gay as “no big deal”.  When I was coming of age I had the totally awesome, but totally ignorant, retard Axl Rose as a role model, so I was guided down the wrong path. As today’s youth come of age and form their opinions on the pressing issues of today, they are presented with popular songs actually embracing gay culture. While the song is the most shallow, cursory form of pro-gay language, it is still an embrace and praise of the act of same-sex affection. 
The Jill Sobule Arguement
Now you may be thinking “Jill Soluble had a song that said the same thing and it was popular?!?”. This song is a much bigger deal then Jill’s Lillith Fair anthem. “I Kissed A Girl” is now tied with The Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand” as the longest running number one song of all time! Yes, we have no stretch of facts here; you have read that sentence correctly. This means it sold a lot of records, and in order to do such a feat, you need to sell records to numerous demographics: young, old, gay, straight, black, white, brown, etc. Jill may have went up the hill of chart success but Katy is now on top of that hill and embedded in the cultural zeitgeist for years to come. 
What Critical Mass Consumption Of This Song Does
Now think about 12 year olds of today hearing this song; coupled with MTV’s “A Double Shot Of Love”, “Tila Tequila” showing same-sex make outs non-stop. These teens are growing up learning that being gay is a normal part of society, not something you keep a secret. This changes the game when Mommy comes home spewing Rick Warren’s Sunday anti-gay speech. The teenager thinks the parent is overreacting, out of step and see’s being gay as normal and the mindless rhetoric of the past is dealt another near-fatal blow. 
In the same way we hear of kids educating their parents on Barack Obama and telling them about why he should be their president, we now have a youth whose introduction to sexuality is that gay is just another sexual orientation and a normal thing. While they won’t have constructed the intellectual logic behind defending gay rights, their instincts will be to be supportive since their role model is standing on that side of the movement. Ms. Perry even offers a stance on the argument over whether being gay is a choice when she sings “just human nature”, following it with a positive connotation of kissing a girl was “brave”. 
With every year that passes, ballot initiatives that ban gay rights win by a smaller margin. When we have a legion of teens growing up watching a Mormon teen coexisting in the same apartment as a post-op transgendered male, on television weekly with Katy Perry as their soundtrack. While Katy’s “UR So Gay” , a bad song on the album and barely heard in comparison to other singles, may reinforce a stupid stereotype of the gay male’s personality, this is a small complaint compared to the great good the assimilation of positive connotations her hit single pushes.
Like many progressions in a civil rights movement we will not enjoy the way change came about for this movement, and have probably yet to see some of the uglier moments of this struggle. Without a doubt we will look back and wish the end result came about from more reasonable and pragmatic means, but this song will help the progressive view points towards LGBT for years to come as each age group is exposed to the message of the song. Link this article to me in 6 years when the 12 year olds of today vote on the Prop 8 of tommorow. Those backwards thinkers opposing gay rights will find themselves with a legion of voters who heard about same sex affection over their local supermarkets radio. I have a feeling the backwards thinkers will find themselves on “the wrong side of history.”

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.

  • anonyme

    GAAAH, no. This is just wrong. Katelyn is a trans WOMAN, assigned the male gender at birth. Katy Perry is not pro-gay. Anyone who uses the word “gay” as an insult is not, and whats more, her using words like “retarded” and “tranny” show her for the bigot she is. She’s just looking for popularity.