Rose McGowan didn’t charm many people when she recently said, “Gay men are as misogynistic as straight men, if not more so.” She further criticized the entire gay rights movement by saying it’s made up of “people who have basically fought for the right to stand on top of a float wearing an orange speedo and take molly.”
This gross overgeneralization is clearly wrong. The LGBTQ community is a microcosm of our greater world and country. There’s inevitably going to be racist, sexist, and otherwise prejudiced people in the community — just like in any other community. For those of us who have benefited from the gay rights movement, we know we’ve gotten further than just dancing on floats (seriously, who just stands on a float?).
The fallout from this statement was swift, and McGowan has since attempted to apologize. However, I think a large point and a chance to evaluate the LGBTQ movement were sorely missed through all the anger and hurt.
I do think that the LGBTQ movement often ignores others, especially the people who make up the B and T factions. Our national outcry right now is that gay couples can’t get married. Marriage inequality is an injustice, but there are so many issues that need addressing — some of which are literally life and death.
We’re still debating in our own community whether bisexuality even exists. The media often portrays bisexual women not as full-fledged human beings with a connection to one another. They’re just props for straight guys to fantasize about. Of course that isn’t LGBTQ advocates’ fault, but we should be making an uproar over this pervasive and perverse representation of our sisters. Bisexual men aren’t even in the media. You can’t name five bisexual male characters right now on cable. And no, your OTP or favorite bromance doesn’t count. NBC even straight washed a bisexual male comic book character in their new show Constantine.
Despite the It Gets Better narrative, gay youth are still much more likely to be homeless or to abuse alcohol and drugs than young straight people. This obviously impacts their educational advancement, future life goals, and finances. In fact, despite the popular myth that gay people are well to do with fine taste, studies have shown that LGBTQ people are much more likely to live in poverty.
Our most neglected community members are our transgender brothers and sisters. Transgender people are at especially high risk of unemployment. Outside of Orange is the New Black, transgender characters are often portrayed as sex workers or offensively stereotypical caricatures. It’s even damn hard to find a transgender character played by a transgender actor.
HIV/AIDS infection, education, and prevention are still major problems for our community. In fact, a drug that can reduce the risk of infection by 90 percent is so stigmatized that people are afraid to take it and doctors are afraid to prescribe it. That’s terrifying considering that gay and bisexual men under 24 and over 45 make up the only U.S. populations where the rate of HIV/AIDS infections is increasing.
Marriage equality needs to happen, but it’s not the only thing that needs to happen. I understand not every organization can tackle every problem. I just think it’s time that the funeral of a transgender woman who was murdered deserves the same attention as a wedding ceremony for two gay men.