Pride Month 2016| Why Noah Galvin Was Right
So, if you didn’t read the controversial Noah Galvin interview in which the out 22 year old actor spilt the tea about Hollywood’s ‘glass closet’ issue, dragged Colton Haynes’ coming out (and like maybe talked about the show that’s made him relevant for a hot second) I suggest you go do so here before continuing to read this post-because what I’m talking about today is largely brought on by the issues Noah addressed in it. Yes, I know he apologized, but uh…
I’m sure that if you have already seen this interview, you’ve heard of the controversy surrounding the whole thing-from the initial interview, to the apology, to Colton’s clapback. I’m also sure you saw the swift and loud response on social media.
If you want to hear my opinions specifically on what I thought of the response to Noah Galvin’s interview on social media, watch the YouTube video below where I talk about just that.
At the core of it all, people were pissed.
When I was introduced to the interview, a friend of mine referred to it as “half important and half problematic.” And I think it’s the most accurate description of what Galvin had to say.
He speaks about discussing the question of coming out or staying in the closet and how he eventually made the decision to come out because there’s a tendency within the industry for gay characters to be played by straight actors-a tendency he wanted to challenge by daring to open and honest with his audience. He also discusses how that’s a decision that doesn’t come without consequences in the industry-he’s recently missed an opportunity because he was considered ‘too gay’ for the role.
Honestly, I can’t fault him for that stuff.
Part of the reason I’m out right now on all my social media and sending out my queer opinions for the whole world to see is to challenge the attitude that says I have to pick between coming out and having a career. If you watched my first Pride Month video, you know that getting the opportunity to finally play a queer character during my second semester of college actually really helped me reconnect to my own queerness-I believe that creates a level of authenticity no straight actor will really have. So I absolutely think it’s important that Galvin, as a gay actor, is playing a gay character and also boldly making the choice to not stay closeted during that process.
Once the interviewer gets on the subject of Colton Haynes’ coming out, that’s where things get problematic as hell. Critiques are one thing, but Galvin goes OFF on Haynes’ coming out, saying “That’s not coming out. That’s fucking pussy bullshit.”
Not only did he criticize Haynes’ coming out, but he shared a story about an actor who guested on The Real O’Neals who, after flirting with Galvin and being asked by Galvin if he was gay, replied “Well … I don’t know. I’m more like, go with the flow.” Galvin replied:
Shut the fuck up. Get out of my face with your wishy-washy bullshit answer. You’re a fucking faggot. Like, I know you are. You know you are. Stop beating around the bush. Just go make out with me in my dressing room.
I was gagging. And not in a good way hunty, I could not believe what I was reading.
I was indignant when I first read this article, like I had been personally slighted in some way. I was talking about Noah Galvin on Twitter, I was mentioning his name and sharing the interview on Facebook, mama was pacing ‘round their house like it was their J-O-B talking about this boy y’all. I had all kinds of problems with this interview. For example:
Problem 1: It’s not just offensive to call someone’s personal experience with oppression and the very culmination of their own self acceptance journey weak or cowardly-it’s oppressive. *I say weak or cowardly here, because we all know that’s what he meant when he said ‘pussy’-which is a whole ‘nother issue (yes, gay men can still be misogynistic).
Problem 2: When you say ‘faggot’ as an expression of animosity towards a queer individual, you’re not using it any differently than the people who created the word’s negative connotation to hurt us in the first place.
Problem 3: I’m just tired of members of the LGBTQIA+ community hatefully policing each other. People, there’s enough hate being sent our way without us fighting each other.
Problem 4: The media blew this anti-queer mess up and no one seemed to be looking critically at that at all. It seems awfully convenient to the existing heteronormative agenda to publish content fueling a narrative about internalized homophobia and gays lashing out at fellow members of the queer community. Yeah, I’ll probably read about that kind of shit alongside your “scholarly” reports about black-on-black violence. No thanks.
But once I calmed down and reread the interview a few times, I realized something.
Noah Galvin was right.
Nah, I’m just playin’ y’all. A little.
See, what I did pull from what he had to say is that Hollywood has created and maintained a culture of handling speculation about one’s sexuality in a way that exploits the queer gaze.
Did Colton Haynes do that? Abso-friggin’-lutely he did.
To be clear, his coming out is not what I’m talking about here. That’s a personal journey that I believe none of us get to judge. I’m saying the decisions he made in terms of publicly addressing the rumors, the actual choices he made in fueling speculation about his sexuality prior to officially coming out, that shit is problematic.
I think it’s problematic because to me, it’s like you’re trying to reap the benefits from an identity that most people who identify with it are also oppressed for. I’ve often observed this when white gays try to take from black people and start tongue popping and going “OKURRR???” tryna call themselves sassy black women.
I take issue with people trying to take the pretty parts from an oppressed community without living any of the ugly-like if you want some of my blackness, you betta take the shitty stuff too, because for me it’s a package deal bud.
I have to take my kinky hair and brown skin with the fact that the police force in my country doesn’t care about my life. I have to take the fact that I sleep with men (or try to at least) with the fact that I’m more likely to be bullied or killed for being true to myself.
What this all boils down to is a larger problem I have with queerness being used in the media as a publicity stunt or an advertising ploy. Queerbaiting is real and it’s freaking everywhere.
To take it back to Teen Wolf, which Colton Haynes was previously known for prior to joining the cast of Arrow, nothing was more infuriating than to see how Stiles Stilinski’s relationship with Derek Hale was handled on that show. See, Teen Wolf’s writers are very aware of their young audience and write with their more liberal tastes in mind. This partially resulted in the infamous Sterek pairing-featuring continual hints at Stiles possibly not being straight and more than a few close scenes with at least homoerotic subtext, yet with no intentions of canonically making their relationship anything more than an odd friendship, leaving the show’s queer fans snubbed and frustrated.
But this post is not about my thoughts on Teen Wolf so in regards to that, TL;DR: I think that show lives to exploit the queer gaze. Moving on!
Teen Wolf may only be one example, but the problem exists beyond just TV shows. Colton Haynes is not the first nor only celebrity whose public treatment of his own sexuality has had some problematic elements. Straight ally Nick Jonas is a name that often gets mentioned in these conversations-as much as it pains me to admit having a problematic fave (I LOVE NICK JONAS). Then, there’s this guy:
James Franco is another celebrity who publicly handles his sexuality in a way that stirs speculation, taking advantage of the queer gaze in an exploitative way.
When he did that bullshit ass interview between his straight self and gay self I rolled my eyes like I was cast in The Exorcist. It made me wildly uncomfortable, but it took me forever to really nail down why.
Well, I like to think that I’m gay in my art and straight in my life. Although, I’m also gay in my life up to the point of intercourse, and then you could say I’m straight. So I guess it depends on how you define gay. If it means whom you have sex with, I guess I’m straight.
I had a hard time figuring out how to talk about the issue too, because I believe so strongly that someone’s coming out journey is their own and not for the judgment of others. But then I realized what was pissing me off.
Franco is fully aware of how people speculate about his sexuality, and he’s taking advantage of that speculation through a series of public decisions to fuel that talk. That’s something entirely separate from his personal coming out journey-regardless of whether he’s on one.
Look no further than the recent interview in which he says that “There is a bit of overfocusing on my sexuality, both by the straight press and the gay press and so the first question is why do they care?” He chalks it up to him being a celebrity and basically goes lol y u so nosey about the whole thing.
Then he follows that up with this gem. “It’s where my allegiance lies, where my sensibilities lie, how I define myself. Yeah, I’m a little gay, and there’s a gay James.”
Who has not only the nerve, but the audacity to say the media over focuses on his sexuality, even going so far as to call out the queer media separately from the straight media, when he’s the one pandering to us with statements like ‘I’m a little gay’? He’s aware of the queer gaze (enough to even specifically reference it with that ‘queer press’ mess) and he’s aware of the fact that he’s playing us all.
Taking on part of the queer identity to basically get free press is exploitation.
I have a problem with people who get to act on queerness without all the negative consequences that our homophobic system places on those of us who aren’t in a position to be like “but I’m still straight ;).” It’s just harmful and toxic for someone, regardless of how they identify, to attempt to claim only the pretty parts of an experience that other people are oppressed for, especially when those other people have no choice.
So yeah, if that’s what Noah Galvin wanted to say, I’m with him.
This is blog post is part of a series I’m making about gender, sexuality, and queerness throughout Pride Month. Be sure to follow me here and subscribe to me on YouTube, as I’ll be uploading content on these topics there as well. Finally, like my Facebook page to see all of the makeup looks I’ll be posting this month to show my pride. Happy Pride my Buddies ❤
Thanks for reading. Leave a ❤ if you liked this story and follow me if you’re interested in joining me on my musings about identity! Share this story if you want to start this conversation with other people. If you have thoughts or opinions of your own on this topic, leave a response so we can keep the conversation going.
If you want, check me out on YouTube. Subscribe if you liked this because I post similar content there. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook as well to stay updated whenever I post new content. I’m also on Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat as Dev Blair.
Our community only has one rule: Always remember to love and encourage yourself! Never forget it :3 #FightHateWithLove