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Legislation Is Great But Adam Lambert On American Idol Just May Be Able To Help Us More

Updated on March 27, 2009


Any forty-something (and forty-something plus) will tell you that when you look at the recent history of our country and when I say recent I mean 1950’s to today, you begin to understand that while lawmakers can make it illegal for someone to discriminate it’s often someone who isn’t a politician who makes the bigger impact on the daily lives of the minority group seeking acceptance with the majority. If you look at the struggles of the black community (many which continue today) you would see that it wasn’t the minute that they got rid of water fountains for “colored people” that things changed. It was major sports teams hiring black athletes, it was Diahann Carroll in a television series titled, “Julia” as the first African American to star in her own series and a host of other events and people that broke the barriers long after laws were put into place. Legislation is great but Adam Lambert on American Idol just may be able to help us more – Don’t Get Me Started!

I grew up performing and for a kid who was teased from day one, the “arts” were my sanctuary. I think that’s true for more than just kids who are gay, I think about the art rooms filled with so-called “disenfranchised youths” who can finally feel they belong somewhere on a campus and get to express themselves. So when I see school systems getting rid of arts programs I always think about the injustice we’re doing to kids to not expose them to the arts (which have shown to make kids better students, stay in school longer, etc.). I think of the kids like me who would have become a complete introvert (and worse) had I not had the performing arts at my public high school. Sure it’s great for the sports inclined to have schools retain sports programs because they bring “glory” to the school and make the Friday night local paper with the latest scores and great performances from youth athletes but I’m sorry to break it to you, sports aren’t for everyone. I have a dear friend who has created and developed a dance program in a public school for over twenty years, growing it to over 100 students per day that she sees (almost a tenth of the large campus of students) and yet her program is in danger of being cut this coming year while the athletics program will continue to be funded full force. But I digress.

I wrote a blog when the Adam Lambert “scandal” hit that there were photos online showing him kissing another guy. (Read that here I was amazed that in a short couple of days 2200 people had looked at the blog. I’m sure most didn’t care about my take on the situation and only wanted to look at the lip lock photo but what got to me more were the comments. Sure there was one that said, “Gay or straight, the time has come, Elvis has risen.” And of course there were some that had the whole, “I was really disappointed when I knew he was gay” and while I don’t think you could do any sort of accurate analysis from the comments from my post on a larger picture, when I watched Adam Lambert’s most recent performance “Tracks Of My Tears” I began to hope again that maybe, just maybe he could change a lot of people’s minds about the gay issue, making it a non-issue.

If you watch while Adam Lambert takes the criticism from the judges you can see he has been in theatre where directors and choreographers give you notes constantly but what I always see is a quiet reserve from him and a true appreciation for the praise that I think will strike a chord in people in a more positive way than we’ve seen in seasons past. If you remember the crazy girl from the auditions this season who couldn’t shut up or contestants who have thought it would get them more votes to yell at Simon, they seemed to not last because their bravado was bigger than their talent. Adam Lambert appears to be a classy artist who allows his performance to speak for him.

And while some may think this is a love letter to Adam Lambert I can assure it is not. Frankly the whole black hair makeup and black nail polish is a huge turn off to me and I don’t think he’s going to be some sort of gay advocate marching in the street (nor should he feel compelled to be). I don’t believe in “outing” anyone and if he’s not ready to say he’s gay well that’s fine too. I just hope that he doesn’t fall into the trap of many of the previous gay American Idol contestants and say he’s not gay. He can say, “That’s my personal life and I don’t care to discuss it.” But please Adam, I beg you not to go the way of a Clay Aiken who adamantly denied it and then we were supposed to all carry him on our shoulders when he finally admitted what everyone knew and no one cared about anyway.

All of this to say that although some people don’t understand why the arts are important, I wish we could help them understand that the arts often do more to change people’s minds than laws. Celebrities like it or not are role models. So when all of your daughters were running around at 15 with large sunglasses saying, “That’s hot” like Paris Hilton (making most of us cringe) like it or not, thanks to the media and her fabulous press team, she was everywhere and was a role model. My hope is that Adam Lambert can do the same for not just us forty-something gays but the kids out there. Though some will say it’s a choice us gays know that we came from the factory this way. We know that kids who are gay still have a higher suicide rate than straight kids and that there are lawmakers who are still letting their religious zealous be their guide creating discriminatory laws when they should re-read the constitution which states “All men are created equal under the law.” It doesn’t say “All straightee men” and it took years for people to realize that “women” were included in that “men” statement and it will probably take even more time for us gays to be included in that statement. So by all means, let’s get equal rights for the gays under the law but I think we need to remember that legislation is great but Adam Lambert on American Idol just may be able to help us more – Don’t Get Me Started!

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    • profile image

      Ro 8 years ago

      You are not the first writer to express gratitude to Adam Lambert. Another writer commented that Adam Lambert made him proud to be gay. I don't know why there has to be mean people. And they are not just mean to gays, either. Our technology far exceeds our humanity, does it not?

    • Lifesrich profile image

      Lifesrich 8 years ago from Southern California

      Oh you just started... I hope you never stop.

      or for that matter older boys and girls. Better yet. Each other.

    • profile image

      8 years ago

      And I must add that Freddie Mercury, the star singer of Queen, (whose song Bohemian Rhapsody was Lambert's first audition song) didn't really hide his sexual orientation. Gay rights was not a mainstream or accepted issue in his time, and Freddie Mercury died of AIDS in an era when AIDS was considered to be a gay disease. But his openness was just one drop in the bucket leading toward gay rights and acceptance of homosexuality.

    • profile image

      8 years ago

      I'm sorry, but this is complete B.S. This country is not just made up of politicians and superstars. That may be what mass media wants you to think, but that's because they're trying to make money. YES, we need people to come OUT on on television, but that goes for every single sphere of life. People wouldn't be able to come out on T.V. if the time weren't ripe. Oscar Wilde was a gay playwright in the 19th century, and he ended up in jail because his homosexuality became politicized. In fact, it used to be perfectly acceptable for rich men to be out and gay, but that was before the concept of "gay" existed and became politicized. The closet was as much as political one as anything. After Oscar Wilde was tried for the publicism of his homosexuality, it became a political issue, and then gay people were subject to increased violence and repression.You should read academic studies and articles on the subject, not expect to discover the mysteries of gay rights by reading tabloids.