I’ll never forget the first time I heard Katy Perry’s instant hit, “I Kissed A Girl.” It was a rare occasion where I was at a lesbian bar with some friends (I don’t go out because I can’t handle large crowds in confined spaces). All of a sudden, this song started and within the first two measures the whole club was cheering wildly. I paid attention to the lyrics and discovered why quickly.
I am not as thrilled with that song as so much of the gay community is. A few years ago, I worked part-time as a mentor at a shelter home for girls taken from their parents by CPS. One of the girls, the first night she was there, announced to the rest of the house that she liked to tell girls at school that she was a lesbian purely for the shock factor. I explained (without giving myself away) that saying that sort of thing for that reason could be offensive to actual lesbians, particularly if one of them asked her out and she had to tell the truth. I explained that it wasn’t nice because not only is coming out a difficult process for some people, but if you give a lesbian hope and she falls for you, she’ll be crushed when she finds out that you lied. The girl didn’t quite understand what I was saying and refused to stop doing it.
I’m still struggling to figure out when it became chic to say you’re gay.
I like Katy Perry. I still remember when she was recording under her real name, Katy Hudson, as a Christian singer. I remember when she made an appearance on the POD song “Goodbye For Now”. Even though I prefer hard rock and heavy metal, I do like Katy Perry’s music. I don’t really care for this particular song, though, because being gay should not be a fashion statement. I don’t think that’s how she meant it, and I certainly don’t mean to criticize her too harshly because she’s not the only person to have sung, written, or talked about experimenting with same-sex relationships. This song is one of the most widely-recognized missives about it.
When I began to realize that I might actually be a lesbian, my whole life turned upside-down. I had been raised in a culture that wasn’t very forgiving. Southern Christian churches in the late 80’s and early 90’s were far more anti-gay than they are now, believe it or not. The only time I ever heard anyone talk about gay people it was usually in church and the things said were very disparaging – and usually accompanied by the most shocking images the Christian world could find of gay pride parades and festivals. I was raised to believe that being gay was an illness, and if you were gay then G-d had given up on you. I spent six months so depressed that I am, to this day, surprised that I survived.
Hearing a song like “I Kissed A Girl” was almost a slap in the face to the struggle that I recall as the darkest point in my life. I don’t think for one second that Katy Perry meant to offend anyone with the song – not even her parents, who are still deeply religious. That song is just one part of a growing popularity contest on who can be a better friend to the gays. More often than not, it includes straight people saying that they pretended to be gay and using that to say they understand how I feel.
No. You really don’t. If you’re going to support us, then support us. Don’t toss out your version of “I Kissed A Girl” and claim it as a badge of honor. If you are straight, be straight and happy and support us as exactly who you are.