In place of the LGBT line, the Glee kids repeat a previously-sung line, “No matter black, white, or beige, chola, or Orient-made, I’m on the right track baby, I was born to be brave.” The “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen” line is still in place (take a listen, at around 2:33, in the clip below).
This is not to say that Glee is homophobic; it’s not. It features some of the most positive LGB messaging on television, with five LGB characters, at least two LGB actors, a prominent anti-bullying arc, one of the most high-profile young, gay fictional couples ever, and dominant themes of self-acceptance.
Rather, the decision to excise the LGBT-specific references is confusing. Why, on a show that’s so committed to diversity and anti-bullying messaging, would a song like “Born This Way” be maneuvered away from being too LGBT-specific? Especially when the LGBT lyrics are removed and replaced by race-specific lyrics that had already been referenced earlier in the song?
A representative from Glee was not immediately available for comment.
via ‘Glee’ Movie Continues LGBT Exclusion in ‘Born This Way’ | The Bilerico Project.
Not holding my breath or anything, but I’m enjoying seeing the bigger sites bringing this up. More delighted that Glee are getting requests for comment.
They didn’t actually replace the lyrics, they just cut that part of the song. Selective cutting, I don’t know, but Glee always cuts part of songs, so that was not in itself unusual They do sing that line in the full-length track that was sold. So they weren’t changing around and replacing lyrics.
In the video he references, they actually repeat one verse, instead of actually including the LGBT lyrics.
I always assumed that, given other lyric edits they’ve done (such as in Rocky Horror) the problem with that line was the use of “transgender” and it was done at FOX’s behest. The show is pushing a lot of the network’s boundaries as it is already.
That’s the conclusion I’ve come to here too.
I just listened, and I don’t think they actually change lyrics. After the “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen part,” Gaga says:
“No matter gay straight or bi, lesbian transgender life, I’m on the right track, baby, I was born to survive, no matter black white or beige, chola or orient made, I’m on the right track, baby, I was born to be brave.”
It sounds like they just cut the first half of that in their aired version, they didn’t replace verses with already sung verses.
That said, I think the other verse would have been better since this was kind of repetitive, and I don’t know why Glee made the cuts that it did (so I’m defending them against implications of transphobia). It’s just that the original link made it seem like this was an exception, and Glee cuts almost everything that they air. Why they made the cuts that they did is another issue, but it’s not like this is the only video they’ve cut.
I’m also really, really curious about why they make some of the cuts that they do. Is it Fox’s decision? How hard does Ryan Murphy fight? After Rocky Horror, I convinced myself that some of the lyric changes must just be because CD ratings were different (because the way that they changed Touch A Touch A Touch Me just made no sense but I don’t think the original lyrics were worse than the scene between Will and Emma) but I don’t really think that’s true. But why (excuse me if I’m being ignorant?) would they accept transvestite but not transsexual? Seriously, I don’t understand that.
I know there are trans commenters here who could probably answer this better than me (I’m cisgendered), but in case none of them feel like speaking up, here’s my two cents: Mercedes singing about being a transvestite is fairly non-threatening, because “transvestism” is about not ‘passing’ while wearing clothing of the opposite gender. Whatever threat there might be to “transvestite”, even that is stripped because we know she’s not a transvestite, because she’s a woman wearing women’s clothes. Mercedes singing about being a transsexual would be threatening, because “transsexuality” is about ‘passing’ as the the gender not assigned to you at birth. She “looks like” a woman, but so do transsexuals. If she’s calling herself transsexual, how do we know what her “real” gender is?
Transvestism has been used for comedy enough that at least some versions of it are mainstream and socially acceptable–think Some Like It Hot, Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire, Big Momma, boys dressing up as girls for Halloween. Transvestism in popular culture is always very clear about the fact that it’s a man dressed up as a woman, and usually the joke is how very much he fails at it—or the joke is that other people buy it, when the man is so “obviously” not a woman. The joke is that it’s unnatural and weird that a man would dress as a woman, because men and women are so very different. It’s like a dog wearing pants!
Transgendered people are viewed as more threatening than transvestites, because they want to be accepted as the gender they identify as. This is very often read as “deceiving” people into thinking the trans person in question is something they are not, usually with the implication of “tricking” people into intimacy with a person of the sex they would not generally wish to be intimate with. (See the scene in Ace Venture where the female villain is revealed as “really” a man, and a room full of men apparently previously happy to make out with her all spit in disgust, because they made out with “a man.”) Doubly so for transsexuals, which usually refers to people who have had sexual reassignment surgery and therefore have fewer external markers of the sex they were assigned.
There are also political implications to acceptance of trans identities that aren’t there for transvestism—it’s not just “please accept me when I’m wearing clothes generally reserved for the opposite sex”, it’s “legally recognize me as the gender I identify as, let me change my driver’s license so that I am accepted as the sex I identify as, allow me access to hormone therapy and surgery if I desire it, recognize my hetero marriage as legal if I live in a state that does not allow same-sex marriage”, and so on. Glee has pushed forward a lot of messages about social acceptance, including acceptance of people who don’t easily fit into gender binaries, but not so much for legal acceptance. Don’t throw rocks at the gay kid in the skirt, yes; let Rachel’s dads get married, no.
BTW, all of this is mostly dealing with popular conceptions and stereotypes of transvestism and trans issues, not really the complexity of the actual communities.
Replying here since I can’t reply directly to the response I’m actually replying to (seriously, so weird).
Thank you for explaining that.
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