Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Comment of the Week: Luminum on Glee, The Movie

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | August 21, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Born This Way, Brittany, Chris Colfer, Glee, Kurt, Lady Gaga, LGBT references Born This Way, Santana

Comment of the WeekOn Adam Polaski's post "'Glee' Movie Continues LGBT Exclusion in 'Born This Way,'" noting that one line was removed from Lady Gaga's song "Born This Way": "No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender life, I'm on the right track baby, I was born to survive," luminum comments:

Though to respond to your question "What's the point!?", you might wonder even with the lyric included, what the point of the song is. The fact that it's apparently written to be pro-LGBT makes sense, but then she also throws in everything else: income level, race, ethnicity. So it becomes a pretty diluted message about "everyone is great" with no real thrust in particular for LGBT issues specifically. It doesn't really make sense that it's a LGBT anthem, since its lyrics, by weight, are equally distributed to everyone under the sun.

Of course, the LGBT aspect has more weight because of the "born this way" line being commonly associated with the LGBT struggle (nor does it really make sense that people who are poor, black, white, "beige", "Cholas", Lebanese or "Orientals" need to be reaffirmed that they were "born this way"). But that's an issue with her thought process and writing that she hasn't acknowledged either short of calling critics "haters".

This comment made me wonder whether the song, and the show itself, are really so LGBT positive, or are we just so starved for attention that anything that mentions us somewhere without the usual negativity seems wonderful. What say you, Projectors? What does it mean that they left us out of Glee: The Movie?

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In full disclosure, I've made it pretty apparent that I don't like Lady Gaga for a variety of reasons. Regardless, it's obvious that the song is intended to be pro-LGBT, and there is value in that, but my comment was just to point out that the song, absent of whatever commentary and context Gaga gives outside of the lyrics and single itself, is more pro-everybody than pro-LGBT specifically.

Personally, I think it's a poorly written song with trite lyrics that pander rather than give a sense of heartfelt meaning and thought; its message is far from revolutionary. Then you have all the racial stuff... Egads.

There are so many songs out there that aren't as explicit as "Born This Way. No, they don't literally say "transgender", "gay", "lesbian", or "bisexual", however, they carry more meaning, more depth, more thought, and a stronger message about what it means to be LGBT or what it means to be persecuted or to rise above it. It just seems to sad to me that explicitness is winning over depth and insight.

in full disclosure, I am a huge Lady Gaga fan and have been following just about everything she's done since "Born This Way" was released in very close scrutiny. as she's stated many times, the pro-LGBT sentiments are only part of the song's overall message. what Gaga is espousing in the song is a constant evolution, an infinite rebirth of the self until you become the best you that you can be (hence her using Rick "Zombie Boy" Genest, who was indeed born that way). what she is aiming for isn't really pop music's response to "It Gets Better," but rather "Make It Better."

Who really cares if they mention "transgender" or not?
Unless the goal is to be some sort of third sex/gender like the katoey or hijra.
Perhaps it is one of those big differences between people who "identify" as members of the "Transgender community" and those of us, "evil separatists" who want nothing to do with it.
Most "evil separatist" want nothing to do with being branded with the letter"T".
If it is so important to be considered transgender that you have to have a T mentioned are you really identifying as a woman or man(as the case may be)?

Then taking your attitude here, who really cares if they mention lesbian, gay, man, woman or child? If you are going to claim to be a separatist, then take it to the limit...separate yourself and tell us what the hell YOU are...or claim to be. Statements such as yours are just garbage and a waste of space...it's a shame that you appear to be so closed minded and feel that you can just trash another's identity, be it in agreement with your personal views or not - it's a personal attack and shows your own personal prejudice to those who DO identify any particular way. You must be a very bitter person.

False Consciousness arguments on your part. For shame -- this undermines the concepts you have stated you stand for.

Who really cares if they mention "transgender" or not?

First, the use of transgender in this case is critical since the contextual argument (which you admittedly don't support in the first place) fundamentally is inclusive of transsexuals.

So your question, in context, is "Who really cares if they use 'transsexual' or not?"

In such a case, it matters to those people who have not started out, since it tells them that going through the process they may or may not be aware of or may or may not have decided to go through, is acceptable to them, and that it is possible for them to live a fairly decent life during and after their journey through that process.

It also matters to those of us who are currently engaged in makign that process easier and more supportive, as it provides to people a sense of personal and social acceptance.

That's the general "who". As for the specific "who", well, Jillian apparently does, Adam Polaski apparently does, and several other people apparently do, since the subject is enough to elicit responses that indicate Glee "should have" sone so.

That you failed to understand that strikes me as odd, usually are a tad bit more perceptive.


Absolutely. I could have answered humorously, but I suspect my humor would be outside the realm of what you would consider funny, and in this case might have violated the TOS here.

Unless the goal is to be some sort of third sex/gender like the katoey or hijra.

Culturally speaking, this suggestion is laughable at best, and demonstrates a deep and abiding lack of knoweldge regarding the US, in particular, cultural understanding, as well as exhibiting a colonizing ethnocentric bias that's likely unexamined.

Perhaps it is one of those big differences between people who "identify" as members of the "Transgender community" and those of us, "evil separatists" who want nothing to do with it.


Since disavowal of membership in a community of identity precludes membership, thereby, it cannot, natively, have anything to do with that division.

THere is, of course, membership in a class of oppressed persons, which is not engaged in by choice, and there there may be some value, but in order for that to happen, those "evil separatists" would have to be able to understand that their calls for such separation are self-defeating. Which is highly unlikely.

Most "evil separatist" want nothing to do with being branded with the letter"T".

Just as an observation, it might startle you to realize that the implicature of the previous statement requires this sentiment to be understood fully, thus making this particular line a redundancy.

While you may have written it for the stylistic purpose of reinforcement, I thought I would remind you of this.

If it is so important to be considered transgender that you have to have a T mentioned are you really identifying as a woman or man(as the case may be)?

To the question of membership in a community of identity, yes.

To the question as put to an indiviudal, yes.

In my case, I identify as none of the above -- and yet I am still a woman. So identity is not the fundamental source of determination as a woman.

First off, let me respond to Suzan: Really Yourself! If you are an "evil separatist" because you had $20,000 laying around and you already had your surgery, bully for you!But, not all of us HAVE 20 grand, and perhaps more importantly, some don't even want surgery. Is that any reason to be dismissed, not taken seriously, or denied one's rights? Are you that cold!? As to "Glee The Movie", granted there is reference to other issues in the song; ethnicity, poverty, etc. But from Lady Gaga's own publicity and support for LGBT, yes & Q, people, it has been picked up and made an anthem for the LGBTQI community. Now, what it means that they cut the heart out of the song is that the movie producers went for the almighty dollar. In order to garner maximum box office receipts they presumably removed that line so they didn't appear to appeal to a narrower audience. In other words, despite the accepted "anthem" nature of "Born This Way" they threw us under the bus! All Hollywood cares about is Money, money, money!! Censor Elvis' hips, cut the "F" word, and others, out of certain songs. I say it again, when you cut the heart out of a song that has become an anthem, leaving nothing but Glitz & Glamor, "What's the point" I am disappointed in Glee, AND Lady Gaga, for not protesting the butchering of her song.

It's just a song. Personally, I don't see it as an "anthem" at all, but I know some do and I respect that. I just wish they would have taken the money from doing the movie and put it towards something perhaps more needed than another movie exploiting people's sexual identity or way of being in the world. You are right Liz, Hollywood is about the almighty dollar and profits. Will the day ever come that we forget about all these "differences" and just act as reasonable, respectful and responsible PEOPLE? I guess there always have been differences that we use to separate the human race into manageable sub-catagories for various reasons, and there always will be. Even thought I live under the "umbrella" of sexual acronyms doesn't mean I have to validate it by championing movies, songs, and pride stickers constantly. Personally, I would rather my sexuality and gender NOT be the primary focus of who I am or who you think I am when we meet face-to-face. It's but a small fraction of a person, in my beliefs. I am happy that I didn't even THINK about wasting my hard earned money on seeing this film. With Hollywood it has to be "gay enough to get tongues wagging and wallets opening" but not "too gay" that it would be truly believable by those who disagree with the concept in general. Someday someone will make a real film about what it's REALLY like to live in our world, using believable and realistic appearing characters and aplot.

Jaime Dunaway Jaime Dunaway | August 22, 2011 9:58 AM

Still have never seen Glee and wouldn't watch the movie. Just don't have any interest in it, whether it has positive lgb content or not. I certainly wouldn't call it t friendly. As for Lady Gaga, she lost me during her antics over the whole "she's a man" thing. There are much better artists out there that don't have to promote themselves in such a way to make a buck.

Personally, I'm not certain that the song is, in and of itself, supportive of the LGBT community.

That it has a message that people are born different from each other and that people should celebrate those differences has always truck me as the core of the song's ideas, and I could care less about the artist performing the song itself.

The message of the song has never truly been about LGBT people, in my thinking, but can readily be taken as such. It can also be taken as such in the name of feminism, of racial equality, of class consciousness, and so forth and so on.

The importance of the line, however, is becomes oversized, however, when it is edited out. In doing so, those who edit it out actually make the song's meaning as I described it less important -- they found the rest of the song to not be as important to excise as that one piece.

So the question then becomes why is that one line so important? What about that line makes it so bad?

The answer there is likely related to some sense of aversion or anxiety that the subject of that line presents to those doing the editing. Something along the lines of "if I include that line, then "x" will happen as a negative consequence".

The issue, then, is about that negative consequent. What is it? Why do they think that way? What can be done about that thought process?

Since the reason will always involve some aspect of aversion or anxiety, and the subject of the line is LGBT people, it is not a far jump to assign those concerns, that aversion or anxiety, to something regarding transness or homosexuality or bisexuality.

So the issue isn't so much the song, but those people who edit out the song that make it so important as a gay rights anthem. *They* see it as such, regardless of how we see it, and that points out the oppression class(es) to which we belong, which is apparently structured lower than all those others.

So while the song may or may not be all that much about us, the way the song is being *edited* is very much about us. And that's the problem, not the song itself.