The internet has been a game changer for the LGBT community with more resources than ever for people to find acceptance and support. In order to sexually discover themselves, it is easy for people to find information about what can be expected, what is not condoned and what people deem ‘appropriate’ (Dill, 2012). Despite the positive trajectory, we are still in a transition period which means awareness and understanding must be pushed to ensure an equal future for all sexual orientations and gender choices.
Lady Gaga is a known icon in the LGBT community because of her activism and is the queen of controversial music videos. Her track ‘Born This Way‘ garnered huge attention initially for the lyrics which directly speak of equality.
“No matter gay, straight, or bi,
Lesbian, transgendered life”
– Lady Gaga
However, here Zafar (2011) deconstructs how the video explores various historical and artistic references – such as Michelangelo, Bernini, Madonna and Alvin Ailey to mention a few – that reinforces her message. There is no direct correlation to the overall intent of the lyrics to the music video, however her references (once researched) provide clarity. Alternatively, her music video for ‘Poker Face‘ depicts the face value of the lyrics, when in fact the song was about her bisexuality.
Artists such as Hozier and Troye Sivan take a more literal approach in directing. Their music videos ‘Take Me To Church‘ and ‘Fools‘ portray realistic perils of gay men in the struggle to be accepted by family and the communities. Dill (2012) also mentions how the actions of people who are in the spotlight help adolescents ‘predict likely consequences of sexual beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours’ (p. 13) which is why visual representation can be such an important tool in this context.
While providing an awareness to the struggles the LGBT community experiences daily is definitely making a huge difference, sometimes simply acknowledging it as normal is all that is needed. Disclosure captures this perfectly in their video for ‘Latch‘, as does this lovely number below.
Author Unknown (2011) Lady Gaga Spreads Positive Message for Queer People; LGBT Advocates Applaud VMA Drag Show, International Business Times, accessed 31/3/16, available here
Dill K E (2012) Mass Media Influences on Sexuality, The Journal of Sex Research, accessed 1/4/16, available here
Zafar A (2011) Deconstructing Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ Video, The Atlantic, accessed 1/4/16, available here