Previously week, two conflicting messages have emerged from the world of popular culture, and I am uncertain which represents progress.
In a single nook we’ve “Renaissance: A Movie by Beyoncé” – a cinematic showcase and celebration of the queer affect in her current tour and music. Final weekend, it opened No. 1 on the field workplace, a testomony to her gravitas and artistry.
LZ Granderson writes about tradition, politics, sports activities, and navigating life in America.
Within the different nook, we’ve Billie Eilish, who accuses Selection journal of outing her. The Grammy and Oscar winner took to Instagram to precise her displeasure, utilizing phrases like “as an alternative of speaking about every thing else that issues” and “actually, who cares.”
For context: Selection did not rule out Eilish.
She had talked about in an on-the-record interview that she was “bodily attracted” to girls and that “I by no means actually felt like a lady,” and this was reported in a Selection cowl story in November. The truth that Eilish initially spoke to the journal about her attraction to girls so nonchalantly was refreshing. It revealed a level of peace about her identification versus nervousness.
Her Objection got here later, following a pink carpet occasion on Saturday the place she confronted questions in regards to the feedback. Maybe the context felt confrontational. Who is aware of. What is obvious is that she doesn’t consider that sexual orientation is a subject for the general public to dwell on.
Beyoncé does that quite a bit. She reportedly started constructing the album and tour almost 5 years in the past, with the objective from the begin to uplift the contributions and lives of queer individuals of coloration — particularly those that are trans and nonbinary. This started as a tribute to her followers in addition to her homosexual “Uncle Johnny” who launched her to points of queer tradition that affect her at the moment.
So there’s one reply to Eilish’s query about “who cares” about somebody’s sexuality: Lots of the individuals seen in Beyoncé’s live performance movie care about illustration. Those that couldn’t cover their upbringing. Those that did and hated it. Those that by no means thought they might see somebody like themselves on the massive display screen.
You already know who else cares? Crusaders like Home Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).
He cares a lot that he has spent a lot of his skilled life attacking queer rights. We just lately realized that he wrote a ahead for a guide that contained anti-gay sentiments. And now he’s second in line for the presidency.
Eilish, who’s 21, did not actually marvel who cares about sexual orientation. She in all probability meant the comment to counsel what must be a societal norm, as in: Why is her sexual orientation a subject price discussing anyway? Such a good level. Except she’s now relationship Taylor Swift, who cares, proper? That is the objective: to not care.
Eilish’s sexual orientation and gender identification should not matter, however we do not stay in that world but. We stay in a world the place 315 anti-LGBTQ+ payments have been launched final yr. The place greater than 520 had already been launched in Might this yr: legal guidelines towards drag, towards gender-affirming care, towards books. Legal guidelines establishing the precise to discriminate.
I do know what Eilish was attempting to say.
I additionally know what conservatives are doing on the earth we stay in now.
The disconnect explains why the Renaissance tour resonated the way in which it did.
It was not about making political statements in defiance of those that search to do us hurt. It was about being heard regardless of the legislative and cultural makes an attempt to silence us. Keep in mind, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis cares about us a lot that he advocated a “do not say homosexual” legislation.
In order a lot as I embrace progress towards a time when sexual orientation and gender identification are non-issues, I can not but assume “who cares?” The Republican Social gathering consistently reminds us that they do: They need queer individuals erased. The Beyoncé fan base resoundingly informed us they care about illustration, too: They lastly must see queer individuals of coloration celebrated.
Sadly, Eilish’s “who cares” remark is extra aspirational than an indication that we have really gotten there as a society. Regardless of how good it feels to say it.