When Lady Gaga released "Born This Way" earlier this spring, she heralded the song as a "message song," one to tell people to just be themselves. She toldVogue that Elton John called it the "gayest song" he had ever heard. And over the past few months, it's become something of an anthem for the LGBT community, even for people who aren't huge Gaga fans.
It's surprising, then, that the most overt reference to accepting the LGBT community has been left out of recent performances of Gaga's No. 1 hit. Yesterday, she performed the song as part of her Good Morning America concert, and a few weeks ago, Gleefeatured the song in an episode by the same title.
In both instances, a key verse is missing: "No matter gay, straight, or bi / lesbian, transgender life / I'm on the right track, baby / I was born to survive."
What gives, Gaga?
The reasons for censoring those lyrics to the song made more sense when it happened in Malayisa, an incident that made headlines in March when the song was released. While the censorship is still inexcusable, the radio broadcasters who chose to render the LGBT-accepting verse unintelligible were complying with strict government decency laws. The broadcasters in the Muslim-majority country said they were taking precautions to avoid government fines or other penalties.
But on Good Morning America and Glee, the verse was excised without great fanfare or outrage. Aside from this piece on La Figa, I found hardly any mention of the missing lyrics. In both performances, lyrics referencing racial diversity- including "You're black, white, beige, chola descent / You're Lebanese, you're Orient" and "No matter black, white or beige, Chola or Orient-made..." - were not removed.
In a March interview with The Daily Express, Gaga specifically addressed the "Born This Way" editing in Malaysia:
What I would say is for all the young people in Malaysia that want those words to be played on the radio, it is your job and it is your duty as young people to have your voices heard.
Consider this article, then, a young person in the United States saying that I want those words to be played on TV. I'm not sure whether the missing lyrics were a producer's decision, Gaga's own choice, or simply an irrelevant cut that had to be made for the sake of time. But if it's the latter - did they really have to cut those specific lyrics?