When Malaysia’s top radio broadcaster blurred out the pro-queer lyrics of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”—y’know, the part that goes, “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track, baby. I was born to survive.’— they did it so not to offend government censors. But it looks like the same lyrics also got removed from Glee and Lady Gaga’s recent performance on Good Morning America. Only this time, the Lady herself might have done the censoring.
Why Would Lady Gaga And Glee Censor Born This Way’s Pro-Queer Lyrics? / Queerty.
Not explicitly about Glee, but the Queerty writer does mention how bizarre it is that on the gayest show on television that verse was cut from the song. And it’s being cut everywhere. The radio edit that plays here (according to my other half — I’m afraid of the radio) doesn’t have that verse in it. When this song is “cut for time” it is always that verse that goes. Funny.
It was apparently cut from the Good Morning America performance, a show, which, according to Queerty, have quite a record in playing down queerness.
What gets me is if ABC and FOX are the ones requiring these cuts, why do none of these performers or artists or writers have the guts to speak up and say that their work is being censored?
Glee I had kind of glossed — they commonly cut lyrics for time, had already run another song uncut that ep, and they were already being explicitly pro-queer on account of Kurt essentially being the master of that particular ceremony — but for some reason the Good Morning America cut stings.
Like, I could theoretically exist in the Glee-verse, but I can’t exist in my own universe’s morning TV slot?
The problem in Glee appears to be the trans specific lyric. There’s a serious pattern of not-caring and censoring trans words (except slurs) when gay issues are given front-and-centre attention. Like we have Kurt, front-and-centre wearing a “Likes Boys” t-shirt. His boyfriend serenaded him. He sang a song from Sunset Boulevard. It couldn’t be gayer. But Glee’s handling of trans issues is starting to stink up the room.
I have to agree with Christian’s point about it being a not-so-staggering omission in Glee due to the tendency to cut down songs and because while the second season of Glee was in larger part about coming to terms with homohobia, I think this particular episode was about self-acceptance, and only 2 of the Glee club have sexuality as their chosen struggle (and only 1 of them owns it). So I think for this song, this time, it would have been almost redundant to have chosen to leave those lyrics in, because in a very transparent way, that lesson was being taught in other ways during the episode, and there were other, more general lessons to be learned.
BUT with regard to the transbigotry you have brought up previously, I am not an informed enough viewer to weigh in much. My first real education on this subject began last summer at my first fan convention (Harry Potter, huge con in Florida) — which was the gayest place on earth for 3 days. I have always been fairly fluid in my own sexuality, and really invested in gay rights due to my core friendships, but that con was the first time I had really met people who spoke about being transgendered. I learned the term cisgendered, and had some really amazing conversations with really fantastic (and really hot) folks. Nothing like watching Severus Snape walking down the hallway and not knowing what’s under those robes… But I digress.
I was an informed “friend” of the GLB community, and I knew NOTHING of trans issues. While this, I think, makes the case FOR rather than against including the topic in the arsenal of Glee’s mission to educate the masses, it also explains some of their hesitation. It’s very foreign to most people. It just seems “weird.” It is so out of the wheelhouse of the viewing public that I’m not sure where a really good starting point would be in taking up the topic. I would say probably by introducing a truly transgendered character with as much charisma as Kurt, or by a frank discussion about Kurt’s gender identity (because the writers are back and forth on that one).
But I don’t think hitting one line of a Gaga song would have brought the issue to anyone’s mind. And leaving it out only piques the interest of those who are already enlightened.
The reason it bothers me is because there are trans kids out there watching Glee. They are something like 4 times as likely to attempt to kill themselves as gay kids (25 x the US national average) and significantly more likely to be discriminated against in all kinds of horrible ways.
And that one word in a song could make all the difference in the world to a kid who feels totally hopeless and invisible. The slightest visibility is such a huge big deal, because it’s just not something anyone talks about in the mainstream in any kind of helpful way.
More than that though — both Rocky Horror and Born This Way are well known. Trans people out there listening are aware that they’ve been intentionally excluded, and that, well, that just feels like bullying and it makes me really freaking angry.
DG, I hadn’t thought about it from that angle — from the inside out, rather than the “educational mission” of Glee.
Yeah, now I can see why it gets under your skin so badly.
I tend to think of Glee as a weapon against ignorance, but you are right that is just as (if not more) powerful/significant as a beacon for those who identify with the themes and characters.
I like to be schooled. This is why I’m now stalking your blog.
The version that the Glee cast is doing on tour also has the lines about sexuality and gender identity cut out.
Really?! Crud. I was hoping that because that bit is left in in the song I purchased off iTunes after the episode aired, and I was really hoping that the live show would have it.
er, sorry. but ARGH!
I know, right? It’s really frustrating, particularly their choice to purposefully choose properties (like Born This Way and Rocky Horror) that contain specific messages, and then wipe them clean of the very messages that those properties are promoting. The Rocky Horror episode was especially egregious, given that despite the property being about queer sexuality and genderfuck/crossdressing/etc, the episode was made all about heterosexuality, but Born This Way is equally disappointing. (Much as I loved Mercedes’ and Rachel’s Take Me Or Leave Me, the choice to take one of the few lesbian duets and turn it into a straight girl sing-off was also really irritating to me. Why take on queer cultural artifacts only to strip them of their queerness?) The fact that they’re doing to show version instead of the recorded version on tour is just the cherry on the cake–I’m wondering how much the choice to do it that way has to do with the fact that this tour is being released as a (Fox) movie.
Ergh, yeah, ok. I’d forgotten about the movie. That does help explain it.
Its funny to hear the apologists claiming things were cut for time
Explain how the word transexual was replaced with sensational in their cover of the rocky horror picture show
Or even worse to me, was their censorship of John Lennon’s “Imagine”
Apparently imagining there is no heaven is not easy for the producers of Glee
Wait, really? I actually cannot stand that song so I didn’t notice… what was cut?
It bugged me beyond all reason that that verse was cut. It just made no sense to me at all!
Totally agree with Kate about them changing the very essence of Take Me or Leave Me. It’s one of my favourite songs from RENT, and having it turned to, as she aptly calls it, a straight girl sing-off really irritated me. Why do the song if you’re going to de-queer it??
It is a brilliant song. Is it bad that I don’t even remember that song being performed on Glee? Did they change the words (they must have!)?