Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" music video is out and I couldn't be more disappointed. I'm disappointed because this is not my story and this video does not represent me, or any of my peers in the LGBT community.
Sure, the song is catchy, the lyrics are powerful but the video is a circus show of costumes, glamour and skinny dancers. It has little to do with the LGBT community other than a couple pink triangles and the hint of a rainbow.
Lady Gaga had an opportunity to deliver an incredibly powerful message on behalf of the LGBT community but missed the mark entirely. She could have used this video to educate the opposition on the notion that many of us are born gay and that being LGBT is not always a choice. This could have been achieved by incorporating real voices from the LGBT community into the video.
Instead, she went with the cookie cutter "super attractive people dancing around while scantily clad" route. But why? If this song was truly meant to be my anthem, then my story should be told, right? Instead, the video is chock full of people in excessive make-up and bikinis telling me to be true to who I am.
We certainly need celebrity advocates like Lady Gaga to help us win LGBT equality, but I want an advocate who is willing to step out of the "fame box." Aligning actions with words is critical to successful communication and she's almost there. Lady Gaga has spent the last two years publicly voicing her acceptance of and fighting for LGBT equality, including the video she made in partnership with the Service Members Legal Defense Network to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the speech she gave at the National Equality March in Washington, DC, in 2009. Both of these events are honorable actions but, selfishly, I want more. Most people know Lady Gaga as a singer and not a political activist - this was her opportunity to educate.
For this video, I wanted to feel something more. "Born This Way" should have been focused on telling our stories rather than another over-the-top theatrics fanfare. For example, do you remember Michael Jackson's "Man In the Mirror" music video? Sure you do! That was a song with powerful lyrics and powerful imagery to accompany the words. And guess what? Michael Jackson isn't even in the video.
This is exactly the type of approach that I wanted to see with Lady Gaga's video. The video could have used regular home videos submitted by fans or footage of her meeting with some of them. It would have been fun to see Lady Gaga lead a cheesy group hustle with a bunch of LGBT youth.
In short, I wanted to see the theatrics set aside because the message of this video is so powerful. I understand this may have been hard because it would have affected the typical MTV approach that we're used to seeing, but we needed this song to resonate with so many more people than just the LGBT community.
Maybe Lady Gaga is showing how she was "born that way" by making an over-the-top video that fits her stylistically, but we need the message to reach parents of LGBT people, government officials, educators, and others who may be grappling with the issue of understanding what it means for someone to be gay. Instead, with its ridiculous costumes and make-up, the video caters to only a small population of people.
I find instances like these frustrating, to say the least. The opportunity to educate those who may be on the fence about LGBT acceptance is lost.