Wednesday 22 September 2010

Equality as a meat suit

"Lady Gaga, the pop music sensation whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, was here to make an impassioned speech to the crowd of college students, parents with small children, teenagers and service members calling for the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. A military authorization bill being considered by the Senate this week would repeal the 17-year-old policy, which allows gay and bisexual people to serve as long as they do not disclose their orientation or engage in homosexual acts. Supporters of a repeal are not sure they have the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster. Maine has become the last-minute battleground for them because its two Republican senators, Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe, are publicly undecided on the issue.
“Equality is the prime rib of America, but because I am gay, I don’t get to enjoy the greatest cut of meat my country has to offer,” Lady Gaga said, referencing a dress she wore last week to the MTV Video Music Awards that was made out of cuts of steak."
The video and the transcript of the speech. While I find her music only interesting when it is covered by other artists, it's hard to deny the appeal of a politically conscious pop star who is known almost everywhere around the world. I can't really come up with an example for something this outspoken from the years that I listened to mainstream pop music (not counting whatever "American Idiot" by Green Day was meant to communicate). Bright Eyes singing "When the President Talks to God" during a late night show just doesn't have the same kind of reach.
"Doesn't it seem to you that we should send home the prejudiced, the straight soldier who hates the gay soldier, the straight soldier whose performance in the military is affected because he is homophobic, the straight soldier who has prejudice in his heart, in the space where the military asks him to hold our core American values, he instead holds and harbors hate, and he gets to stay and fight for our country?"
Austria and all other EU member states allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly. Here's a list of countries and their respective policies on Wikipedia.

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